Today in History

Today is Tuesday, June 30, the 181st day of 2015. There are 184 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On June 30, 1865, eight people, including Mary Surratt and Dr. Samuel Mudd, were convicted by a military commission of conspiring with John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. (Four defendants, including Surratt, were executed; Mudd was sentenced to life in prison, but was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson in 1869.)

On this date:

In 1859, French acrobat Charles Blondin (blahn-DAN') walked back and forth on a tightrope above the gorge of Niagara Falls as thousands of spectators watched.

In 1908, the Tunguska Event took place in Russia as an asteroid exploded above Siberia, leaving 800 square miles of scorched or blown-down trees.

In 1912, Canada's deadliest tornado on record occurred as a cyclone struck Regina, the provincial capital of Saskatchewan, killing 28 people.

In 1921, President Warren G. Harding nominated former President William Howard Taft to be chief justice of the United States, succeeding the late Edward Douglass White.

In 1933, the Screen Actors Guild was established.

In 1934, Adolf Hitler launched his "blood purge" of political and military rivals in Germany in what came to be known as "The Night of the Long Knives."

In 1949, "The Missouri Waltz" became the official state song of Missouri,

In 1958, the U.S. Senate passed the Alaska statehood bill by a vote of 64-20.

In 1963, Pope Paul VI was crowned the 262nd head of the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1972, for the first time, a leap-second was added to Coordinated Universal Time to account for the slowing rotation of the Earth.

In 1985, 39 American hostages from a hijacked TWA jetliner were freed in Beirut after being held 17 days.

In 1994, an Airbus A330 passenger plane crashed after takeoff from Toulouse, France, on a test flight, killing all seven occupants. The Supreme Court ruled, 6-3, that judges can bar even peaceful demonstrators from getting too close to abortion clinics. The U.S. Figure Skating Association stripped Tonya Harding of the national championship and banned her for life for her role in the attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan.

Ten years ago: Federal Reserve policymakers boosted the federal funds rate by one-quarter percentage point to 3.25 percent, the ninth such increase since the Fed began to tighten credit in June 2004 in an effort to keep inflation under control. Spain became the third country (after the Netherlands and Belgium) to legalize same-sex marriage.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama talked about the economy at a town hall in Racine, Wisconsin, saying, "We got it moving again," and that he intended to get "our debt and our deficits under control," but warned he wouldn't slash spending at the expense of the economic rebound. Benigno Aquino III was sworn in as the Philippines' 15th president.

One year ago: A sharply divided Supreme Court ruled that some companies with religious objections could avoid the contraceptives requirement in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, the first time the high court declared that businesses can hold religious views under federal law. President Obama tapped former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald to take over the troubled Veterans Affairs Department. The Israeli military found the bodies of three missing teenagers just over two weeks after they were abducted in the occupied West Bank, allegedly by Hamas militants. Writer, actor, producer and director Paul Mazursky, 84, died in Los Angeles. Actor Bob Hastings, 89, died in Burbank, California.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Lea Massari is 82. Actress Nancy Dussault is 79. Songwriter Tony Hatch is 76. Singer Glenn Shorrock is 71. Actor Leonard Whiting (Film: "Romeo and Juliet") is 65. Jazz musician Stanley Clarke is 64. Actor David Garrison is 63. Rock musician Hal Lindes (Dire Straits) is 62. Actor-comedian David Alan Grier is 59. Actor Vincent D'Onofrio is 56. Actress Deirdre Lovejoy is 53. Actor Rupert Graves is 52. Boxer Mike Tyson is 49. Actor Peter Outerbridge is 49. Rock musician Tom Drummond (Better Than Ezra) is 46. Actor Brian Bloom is 45. Actor Brian Vincent is 45. Actress Monica Potter is 44. Actor Rick Gonzalez is 36. Actress Lizzy Caplan is 33. Rock musician James Adam Shelley (American Authors) is 32. Rhythm-and-blues singer Fantasia is 31. Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps is 30.

Thought for Today: "In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism." — Hannah Arendt, German-born American philosopher and historian (1906-1975).

(Above Advance for Use Tuesday, June 30)

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