Today is Thursday, August 1, the 213th day of 2013. There are 152 days left in the year.
Highlights in history on this date:
1291 – The Swiss cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Nidwalden sign a mutual defense pact and are later joined by surrounding areas to form the Republic of Switzerland. It is the oldest government still in existence.
1560 – Scotland’s Parliament abolishes papal jurisdiction and approves a Calvinistic confession of faith, thus founding the Church of Scotland.
1589 – Henry III, the last of the Valois line of French kings, is fatally stabbed by a Jacobin monk while laying siege to Paris, occupied by Catholic rebels.
1625 – The British Parliament moves to Oxford to save itself from decimation as the black plague rages through London, killing thousands each week.
1664 – Turks are defeated at St. Gotthard-on-the-Raab in Hungary by Holy Roman Empire troops.
1790 – The first U.S. census is completed; showing a population of 4 million people.
1798 – Britain’s Admiral Horatio Nelson destroys French fleet in Battle of the Nile, stranding Napoleon Bonaparte and his forces in Egypt.
1807 – Jerome Bonaparte becomes King of Westphalia, created from former Prussian possessions west of Elbe River.
1808 – British troops land in Portugal to help oust French forces, succeeding a year later.
1894 – Japan and China declare war on each other over dominance in Korea. China is forced to cede Taiwan when the war ends after a year.
1914 – Germany declares war on Russia at the start of World War I.
1927 – Communists rise in Nanchang, China, and hold the city for a few days. The event is now celebrated as the origin of the People’s Liberation Army.
1936 – The Olympic games open in Berlin with a ceremony presided over by Adolf Hitler.
1944 – The people of Warsaw rise against the Nazis, in the hope of liberating the city before the arrival of the Red Army. The city is largely destroyed in two months of fighting.
1958 – Jordan’s King Hussein dissolves federation of Jordan with Iraq.
1966 – The Chinese Communist Party opens a meeting that declares the start of the ultra-leftist Cultural Revolution, which lasts 10 years.
1971 – U.S. Defense Department begins to pullout almost 3,000 U.S. troops from Vietnam.
1975 – Leaders of 35 nations meet in Helsinki, Finland, and affirm a peace charter in Europe.
1981 – Rock-music video channel MTV makes its first broadcast.
1988 – An explosion by the Irish Republican Army kills a British soldier at an army barracks in London and wounds 10 others. The attack was the first by the IRA on the British mainland since 1984.
1990 – Talks between Iraq and Kuwait over oil and border disputes break off, with 100,000 Iraqi troops massed on the Kuwaiti border.
1993 – The U.S. Coast Guard stops listening for Morse code distress signals on the 500-kilohertz radio frequency, which it had monitored continuously since 1924.
1995 – A Swiss woman, Bea Wyler, 44, becomes Germany’s first female rabbi since the Holocaust. The appointment stirs controversy within Germany’s Jewish community.
1996 – Former Nazi SS Capt. Erich Priebke is absolved by a military court in Rome of charges for a World War II massacre of 335 Italian civilians.
1997 – Rocket fire sends more than 7,000 Cambodian refugees fleeing to Thailand as forces of coup leader Hun Sen attack rival bases along the border.
1998 – Milan Kovacevic, a Serb doctor implicated in some 2,000 deaths in concentration camps during the Bosnia-Herzegovina war, dies of a heart attack weeks after the start of his trial on war crimes charges in The Hague, Netherlands.
1999 – Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat meets with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a leftist Palestinian faction opposed to the peace process. It is the first such meeting since the 1993 Oslo accord with Israel.
2000 – Philippine ambassador Leonides Caday escapes assassination in Indonesia when a bomb blows up his car; Philippine Muslim separatists are blamed for the attack, which killed two people and injured 20.
2001- Britain’s Queen Mother Elizabeth is hospitalized for treatment of anemia, three days before her 101st birthday. Azerbaijan switches to the Latin alphabet from Cyrillic to reduce Russian influence on Azeri culture.
2002 – Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri invites U.N. weapons inspectors to visit Iraq for the first time since 1998.
2003 – A suicide bomber driving an explosives-laden truck in Russia smashes through the gates of a military hospital in the southern republic of North Ossetia and kills 50 people.
2004 – Assailants trigger a coordinated series of explosions outside five churches in Baghdad and Mosul during evening services, killing 11 people and injuring more than 50 others in the first major assault on Iraq’s Christian minority since the 15-month-old insurgency began.
2005 – Southern Sudanese riot in Khartoum, smashing cars and shops and blaming the government for the death in a helicopter crash of their hero, Vice President John Garang.
2007 – A bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, jammed with rush-hour traffic suddenly breaks into huge sections and collapses into the Mississippi River, pitching dozens of cars 60 feet (18 meters) into the water and killing at least four people.
2008 – At least 32 people are killed after a train catches fire in southern India.
2009 – Iran state TV confirms that Tehran has detained three Americans who crossed the border from northern Iraq, saying they failed to heed warnings from Iranian guards.
2010 – The death toll from massive floods in northwestern Pakistan rises to 1,100 as rescue workers struggle to save more than 27,000 people still trapped by the raging water.
2011 – Muqtada al-Sadr lambasts the American “enemy” in Iraq during his first speech in the country since returning from exile, fiery rhetoric from a new powerbroker in the government that will make it difficult to extend the U.S. military deployment beyond the end of this year.
2012 – The U.N. chief urges some 1,200 Iranian exiles to follow orders to leave a camp in northern Iraq, the site of two deadly raids by Iraqi forces, and resettle in a new refugee camp near Baghdad.
Herman Melville, U.S. author (1819-1891); Richard Henry Dana, U.S. writer (1815-1862); Yves St. Laurent, French fashion designer (1936-2008) ; Dom DeLuise, U.S. actor (1933-2009); Chuck D, U.S. rapper (1960–); Coolio, U.S. rapper (1963–); Sam Mendes, British film director (1965–); Tempestt Bledsoe, U.S. actress (1973–).
Thought For Today:
As scarce as truth is, the supply is always greater than the demand — Josh Billings, American author (1818-1885).