Today is Friday, August 2, the 214th day of 2013. There are 151 days left in the year.
Highlights in history on this date:
1637 – Dutch expel Portuguese from Gold Coast in Africa.
1776 – Members of the Continental Congress begin adding their signatures to the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
1824 – Turkey captures island of Psara from Greeks.
1830 – France’s King Charles X abdicates after July Revolution against his conservative policies.
1903 – Macedonians take up arms to free themselves from Turkish rule. The rebellion is crushed in 11 days.
1928 – Italy signs 20-year treaty of friendship with Ethiopia.
1934 – Germany’s President Paul von Hindenburg dies at age 87, and Adolf Hitler assumes the title of “Der Fuehrer.”
1935 – Britain passes the Government of India Act, separating Burma and Aden from India and granting self-government with a central legislature in New Delhi.
1939 – Scientist Albert Einstein says in letter to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt that America should start an atomic research program.
1940 – Hermann Goering, Germany’s chief of the Luftwaffe, gives the “Eagle Day” directive to destroy British air power and start to invade Britain.
1943 – A U.S. Navy patrol torpedo boat, PT-109, commanded by Lt. John F. Kennedy, sinks after being hit by a Japanese destroyer off the Solomon Islands. Kennedy is credited with saving members of the crew.
1951 – In an effort to slow down the influx of illegal immigrants to the United States, a Mexican-U.S. migrant labor treaty is signed, bringing 300,000 Mexicans to work on U.S. harvests.
1959 – The U.S. military discloses it has successfully tested heat-seeking missiles to be used by infantrymen targeting low-flying planes.
1962 – North Vietnamese patrol boats fire on U.S. destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin, prompting the U.S. Congress to authorize intervention in Vietnam.
1963 – The United States tells United Nations it will halt all sales of military equipment to South Africa because of its apartheid policy.
1977 – North Korea creates a “military sea boundary” off its coastline and says foreign military, civilian ships and planes need permission to enter the zone.
1980 – A bomb explodes at the train station in Bologna, Italy, killing 85 people.
1990 – Iraqi tanks and infantry overrun Kuwait in a predawn strike; Kuwaiti royal family flees to Saudi Arabia.
1992 – Security forces arrest 50 armed Islamic extremists and seize an arms cache containing 130 bombs in Algiers.
1993 – Serb gunners destroy a vital bridge in Croatia, severing the only land link between the southern Dalmatian coast and the rest of the country.
1995 – King Fahd replaces his oil and finance ministers in Saudi Arabia’s most significant leadership shakeup since he came to power in 1982.
1996 – The first 1,700 Rwandan refugees begin returning home, despite fear of reprisals from the new Tutsi government.
1997 – The United States ends a 20-year-old ban on the sale of most advanced weapons to Latin America.
1999 – In India, 226 people die when two trains crash head-on in the predawn darkness near Gaisal, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of Calcutta.
2000 – In Kashmir, Islamic guerrillas open fire on a crowd of unarmed Hindu pilgrims and Muslim porters during supper; the 24-hour wave of violence that follows leaves 101 dead.
2001 – Muslim extremists seize 36 Filipinos on the southern Philippine island of Basilan; at least four are beheaded.
2002 – Kazakh authorities sentence Galymzhan Zhakiyanov, founding member of the reform movement Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DCK), to seven years in prison for corruption and abuse of power.
2003 – The U.S. State Department suspends two programs that allowed foreign air travelers on certain routes to enter the country without a visa.
2005 – Snipers and soldiers in green berets keep watch as King Fahd, one of the world’s wealthiest monarchs, is laid to rest in Riyadh, Saudia Arabia.
2006 – Ukrainian President Viktor Yushcheno says that he is nominating his former Orange Revolution foe, Viktor Yanukovych, to become prime minister.
2007 – An overnight train derails in central Congo after its brakes failed, killing about 100 people.
2008 -Two French humanitarian aid workers kidnapped on July 18 in Afghanistan are released.
2009 – Nigerian government forces hunt for surviving members of a radical Islamist sect after heavy fighting leaves at least 700 people dead and buildings and cars scorched.
2010 – President Barack Obama hails this month’s planned withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops from Iraq — “as promised and on schedule” — as a major success despite deep doubts about the Iraqis’ ability to police and govern their country.
2011 – Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, 83 and ailing, goes on trial on charges of corruption and ordering the killing of protesters during the 18-day uprising that toppled him, and many Egyptians are celebrating the chance at retribution against a longtime authoritarian ruler.
2012 – Kofi Annan announces his resignation as peace envoy to Syria and issues a blistering critique of world powers, bringing to a dramatic end a frustrating six-month effort to achieve even a temporary cease-fire as the country plunges into civil war.
Edward A. Freeman, English historian (1823-1892); Romulo Gallegos, Venezuelan president and novelist (1884-1969); Myrna Loy, U.S. actress (1905-1993); James Baldwin, U.S. author (1924-1987); Peter O’Toole, British actor (1932–); Isabel Allende, Chilean author (1942–); Joanna Cassidy, U.S. actress (1945–).
Thought for Today:
A man who does not lose his reason over certain things has none to lose — Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, German dramatist (1729-1781).