Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Friday, July 17, the 198th day of 2015. There are 167 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On July 17, 1945, following Nazi Germany’s surrender, President Harry S. Truman, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill began meeting at Potsdam in the final Allied summit of World War II.

On this date:

In 1821, Spain ceded Florida to the United States.

In 1917, during World War I, the British royal family adopted the name “Windsor,” replacing the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

In 1918, Russia’s Czar Nicholas II and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks.

In 1935, the entertainment trade publication Variety ran its legendary headline, “Sticks Nix Hick Pix” (which might be translated as, “Rural audiences reject rural-themed movies”).

In 1936, the Spanish Civil War began as right-wing army generals launched a coup attempt against the Second Spanish Republic.

In 1944, during World War II, 320 men, two-thirds of them African-Americans, were killed when a pair of ammunition ships exploded at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in California.

In 1955, Disneyland had its opening day in Anaheim, California.

In 1965, the Righteous Brothers single “Unchained Melody” by Alex North and Hy Zaret was released on the Phillies label.

In 1975, an Apollo spaceship docked with a Soyuz spacecraft in orbit in the first superpower link-up of its kind.

In 1981, 114 people were killed when a pair of suspended walkways above the lobby of the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel collapsed during a tea dance.

In 1996, TWA Flight 800, a Europe-bound Boeing 747, exploded and crashed off Long Island, New York, shortly after leaving John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 230 people aboard.

In 1998, Nicholas II, last of the Romanov czars, was formally buried in Russia 80 years after he and his family were slain by the Bolsheviks.

Ten years ago: The Iraqi Special Tribunal filed its first criminal case against Saddam Hussein for a 1982 massacre of Shiites. Tiger Woods closed with a 2-under 70 to win the British Open for his tenth career major. Sir Edward Heath, former British prime minister, died in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, at age 89. Actress Geraldine Fitzgerald died in New York City at age 91.

Five years ago: Federal authorities in Puerto Rico arrested alleged drug kingpin Jose Figueroa Agosto after a decade-long chase through the Caribbean. Thousands of gays and lesbians from around Europe marched through Poland’s capital, Warsaw, to demand equal rights and more tolerance in the heavily Roman Catholic nation.

One year ago: Eric Garner, an unarmed black man accused of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, died shortly after being wrestled to the ground by New York City police officers; a videotape of the takedown showed Garner repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe.” All 298 passengers and crew aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were killed when the Boeing 777 was shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine; both Ukraine’s government and pro-Russian separatists have denied responsibility for downing the aircraft. Microsoft announced the biggest layoffs in its 39-year history, outlining plans to cut 18,000 jobs. Legendary Broadway peformer Elaine Stritch, 89, died in Birmingham, Michigan.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Donald Sutherland is 83. Actress-singer Diahann Carroll is 80. Comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor is 75. Rock musician Spencer Davis is 76. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is 68. Rock musician Terry “Geezer” Butler is 66. Actress Lucie Arnaz is 64. Actor David Hasselhoff is 63. Rock musician Fran Smith Jr. (The Hooters) is 63. German Chancellor Angela Merkel (AHN’-geh-lah MEHR’-kuhl) is 61. Television producer Mark Burnett is 55. Actress Nancy Giles is 55. Singer Regina Belle is 52. Rock musician Kim Shattuck is 52. Country singer Craig Morgan is 51. Rock musician Lou Barlow is 49. Contemporary Christian singer Susan Ashton is 48. Actor Andre Royo is 47. Actress Bitty Schram is 47. Actor Jason Clarke is 46. Singer JC (PM Dawn) is 44. Rapper Sole’ is 42. Country singer Luke Bryan is 39. Actor Eric Winter is 39. Hockey player Marc Savard is 38. Actor Mike Vogel is 36. Actor Tom Cullen is 30. Actor Brando Eaton is 29. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jeremih (jehr-uh-MY’) is 28. Actress Summer Bishil (BIHSH’-ihl) is 27.

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