Today’s Highlight in History:
On July 8, 1972, the Nixon administration announced a deal to sell $750 million in grain to the Soviet Union. (However, the Soviets were also engaged in secretly buying subsidized American grain, resulting in what critics dubbed “The Great Grain Robbery.”)
On this date:
In 1776, Col. John Nixon gave the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, outside the State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia.
In 1853, an expedition led by Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Yedo Bay, Japan, on a mission to seek diplomatic and trade relations with the Japanese.
In 1907, Florenz Ziegfeld staged his first “Follies,” on the roof of the New York Theater.
In 1947, a New Mexico newspaper, the Roswell Daily Record, quoted officials at Roswell Army Air Field as saying they had recovered a “flying saucer” that crashed onto a ranch; officials then said it was actually a weather balloon. (To this day, there are those who believe what fell to Earth was an alien spaceship carrying extra-terrestrial beings.)
In 1950, President Harry S. Truman named Gen. Douglas MacArthur commander-in-chief of United Nations forces in Korea. (Truman ended up sacking MacArthur for insubordination nine months later.)
In 1967, Academy Award-winning actor Vivien Leigh, 53, died in London.
In 1981, The Go-Go’s released their debut album, Beauty and the Beat.
In 1989, Carlos Saul Menem was inaugurated as president of Argentina in the country’s first transfer of power from one democratically elected civilian leader to another in six decades.
In 1994, Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s communist leader since 1948, died at age 82.
In 2000, Venus Williams beat Lindsay Davenport 6-3, 7-6 (3) for her first Grand Slam title, becoming the first Black female champion at Wimbledon since Althea Gibson in 1957-58.
In 2010, the largest spy swap between the U.S. and Russia since the Cold War unfolded as 10 people accused of spying in suburban America pleaded guilty to conspiracy and were ordered deported to Russia in exchange for the release of four prisoners accused of spying for the West.
In 2011, former first lady Betty Ford died in Rancho Mirage, California, at age 93.
In 2016, on the first day of a two-day summit in Warsaw, NATO leaders geared up for a long-term standoff with Russia, ordering multinational troops to Poland and the three Baltic states as Moscow moved forward with its own plans to station two new divisions along its western borders.
Ten years ago: A bomb in eastern Afghanistan killed six NATO service members on a day in which a total of 29 people died from roadside bombs and insurgent attacks. Roger Federer equaled Pete Sampras’ record of seven men’s singles titles at the All England Club and won his 17th Grand Slam title overall, beating Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4. Academy Award-winning actor Ernest Borgnine, 95, died in Los Angeles.
Five years ago: At the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, world powers lined up against President Donald Trump on climate change, reaffirming their support for international efforts to fight global warming. After their first face-to-face meeting, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he thought Trump believed his denials of Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential vote.
One year ago: President Joe Biden said the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan would end on Aug. 31; in a speech in the White House East Room, Biden made an impassioned argument for exiting the nearly 20-year war without sacrificing more America lives, but acknowledged that there would be no “mission accomplished” moment to celebrate. Amid increasing coronavirus infections, Tokyo’s governor said fans would not be allowed in Tokyo-area stadiums and arenas for the Olympics, which would begin in two weeks. Former South African president Jacob Zuma turned himself over to police to begin serving a 15-month prison term for contempt. Lawyer Michael Avenatti was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for trying to extort up to $25 million from Nike; Avenatti had gained fame representing porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against Donald Trump. Fourteen-year-old Zaila Avant-garde of Louisiana spelled “murraya” correctly to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee, becoming the first African American champion.
Today’s Birthdays: Singer Steve Lawrence is 87. Actor Jeffrey Tambor is 78. Rock musician Jaimoe Johanson is 77. Ballerina Cynthia Gregory is 75. Actor Kim Darby is 75. Actor Jonelle Allen is 74. Children’s performer Raffi is 74. Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck is 73. Actor Anjelica Huston is 71. Writer Anna Quindlen is 70. Actor Kevin Bacon is 64. Actor Robert Knepper is 63.
Country singer Toby Keith is 61. Rock singer Joan Osborne is 60. Writer-producer Rob Burnett is 60. Actor Rocky Carroll is 59. Actor Corey Parker is 57. Actor Lee Tergesen is 57. Actor Michael B. Silver is 55. Actor Billy Crudup is 54. Actor Michael Weatherly is 54. Singer Beck is 52. Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco is 49. Actor Kathleen Robertson is 49. Christian rock musician Stephen Mason (Jars of Clay) is 47. Actor Milo Ventimiglia (MEE’-loh vehn-tih-MEEL’-yuh) is 45. Singer Ben Jelen (YEL’-in) is 43. Actor Lance Gross is 41. Actor Sophia Bush is 40. Rock musician Jamie Cook (Arctic Monkeys) is 37. Actor Jake McDorman is 36. Actor Maya Hawke is 24. Actor Jaden Smith is 24.