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Today in History - Friday Edition

Today is Friday, July 31, the 212th day of 2015. There are 153 days left in the year.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Author J.K. Rowling turns the big 5-0 today.

    Today's Highlight in History:

    On July 31, 1715, a fleet of Spanish ships carrying gold, silver and jewelry sank during a hurricane off the east Florida coast, scattering most of their treasure along the ocean floor. Of some 2,500 crew members, more than 1,000 died.

    On this date:

     

    In 1777, the Marquis de Lafayette, a 19-year-old French nobleman, was made a major-general in the American Continental Army.

     

    In 1875, the 17th president of the United States, Andrew Johnson, died in Carter County, Tennessee, at age 66.

    In 1919, Germany's Weimar Constitution was adopted by the republic's National Assembly.

    In 1930, the radio character "The Shadow" made his debut as narrator of the "Detective Story Hour" on CBS Radio.

    In 1933, the radio series "Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy," made its debut on CBS radio station WBBM in Chicago.

    In 1942, Oxfam International had its beginnings as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief was founded in England.

    In 1954, Pakistan's K2 was conquered as two members of an Italian expedition, Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli, reached the summit.

    In 1964, the American space probe Ranger 7 reached the moon, transmitting pictures back to Earth before impacting the lunar surface.

    In 1972, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Thomas Eagleton withdrew from the ticket with George McGovern following disclosures that Eagleton had once undergone psychiatric treatment.

    In 1973, Delta Air Lines Flight 723, a DC-9, crashed while trying to land at Boston's Logan International Airport, killing all 89 people on board.

    In 1989, a pro-Iranian group in Lebanon released a grisly videotape showing the body of American hostage William R. Higgins, a Marine lieutenant-colonel, dangling from a rope.

    In 1991, President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in Moscow.

    Ten years ago: Police arrested seven people during a raid on an apartment in southern England, bringing to 21 the number in custody in the relentless hunt for accomplices in the failed July 21 transit bombings in London. Jeong Jang shot a 3-under 69 to win the Women's British Open by four strokes.

    Five years ago: Chelsea Clinton married investment banker Marc Mezvinsky in the upstate New York village of Rhinebeck. Orchestra leader Mitch Miller died in New York at age 99. Tom Mankiewicz, 68, a screenwriter of James Bond films such as "Diamonds Are Forever" and "Live and Let Die," and the first two "Superman" movies, died in Los Angeles.

    One year ago: The CIA's insistence that it did not spy on its Senate overseers collapsed with the release of a stark report by the agency's internal watchdog documenting improper computer surveillance and obstructionist behavior by CIA officers. The death toll from the worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history surpassed 700 in West Africa.

     

    Today's Birthdays:Actor Don Murray is 86. Jazz composer-musician Kenny Burrell is 84. Actress France Nuyen is 76. Actress Susan Flannery is 76. Singer Lobo is 72. Actress Geraldine Chaplin is 71. Former movie studio executive Sherry Lansing is 71. Singer Gary Lewis is 70. Actor Lane Davies is 65. International Tennis Hall of Famer Evonne Goolagong Cawley is 64. Actor Barry Van Dyke is 64. Actor Alan Autry is 63. Jazz composer-musician Michael Wolff is 63. Actor James Read is 62. Actor Michael Biehn is 59. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is 59. Rock singer-musician Daniel Ash is 58. Actor Dirk Blocker is 58. Entrepreneur Mark Cuban is 57. Rock musician Bill Berry is 57. Actor Wally Kurth is 57. Actor Wesley Snipes is 53. Country singer Chad Brock is 52. Musician Fatboy Slim is 52. Rock musician Jim Corr is 51. Author J.K. Rowling is 50. Actor Dean Cain is 49. Actor Jim True-Frost is 49. Actor Ben Chaplin is 46. Actor Loren Dean is 46. Actress Eve Best is 44. Retired NFL quarterback Gus Frerotte is 44. Actress Annie Parisse is 40. Actor Robert Telfer is 38. Country singer-musician Zac Brown is 37. Actor-producer-writer B.J. Novak is 36. Actor Eric Lively is 34. Country singer Blaire Stroud (3 of Hearts) is 32. Singer Shannon Curfman is 30. Actor Reese Hartwig is 17. Actor Rico Rodriguez is 17.

    Thought for Today: "The trouble with the public is that there is too much of it." — Don Marquis, American journalist, poet and dramatist (1878-1937).