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Today in History: July 8, 2020

Today is Wednesday, July 8, the 190th day of 2020. There are 176 days left in the year.

IN MINNESOTA  HISTORY

ON THIS DAY IN 1775, Alexander Henry, one of the first Englishmen to journey west to present-day Minnesota, traveled up the Pigeon River to Partridge Portage.

Today’s Birthdays

Singer Steve Lawrence is 85. Actor Jeffrey Tambor is 76. Rock musician Jaimoe Johanson is 75. Ballerina Cynthia Gregory is 73. Actress Kim Darby is 73. Actress Jonelle Allen is 72. Children’s performer Raffi is 72. Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck is 71. Actress Anjelica Huston is 69. Writer Anna Quindlen is 68. Actor Kevin Bacon is 62. Actor Robert Knepper is 61. Rock musician Andy Fletcher (Depeche Mode) is 59. Country singer Toby Keith is 59. Rock musician Graham Jones (Haircut 100) is 59. Rock singer Joan Osborne is 58. Writer-producer Rob Burnett is 58. Actor Rocky Carroll is 57. Actor Corey Parker is 55. Actor Lee Tergesen is 55. Actor Michael B. Silver is 53. Actor Billy Crudup is 52. Actor Michael Weatherly is 52. Singer Beck is 50. Country singer Drew Womack (Sons of the Desert) is 50. Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco is 47. Actress Kathleen Robertson is 47. Christian rock musician Stephen Mason (Jars of Clay) is 45. Actor Milo Ventimiglia is 43. Rock musician Tavis Werts is 43. Singer Ben Jelen is 41. Actor Lance Gross is 39. Actress Sophia Bush is 38. Rock musician Jamie Cook (Arctic Monkeys) is 35. Actor Jake McDorman is 34. Actress Maya Hawke is 22. Actor Jaden Smith is 22.

Today’s Highlight in History

On July 8, 2000, Venus Williams beat Lindsay Davenport 6-3, 7-6 (3) for her first Grand Slam title, becoming the first Black female champion at Wimbledon since Althea Gibson in 1957-58.

Today in History

In 1776, Col. John Nixon gave the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, outside the State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia.

In 1889, The Wall Street Journal was first published.

In 1947, a New Mexico newspaper, the Roswell Daily Record, quoted officials at Roswell Army Air Field as saying they had recovered a “flying saucer” that crashed onto a ranch; officials then said it was actually a weather balloon. (To this day, there are those who believe what fell to Earth was an alien spaceship carrying extra-terrestrial beings.) Demolition work began in New York City to make way for the new permanent headquarters of the United Nations.

In 1950, President Harry S. Truman named Gen. Douglas MacArthur commander-in-chief of United Nations forces in Korea. (Truman ended up sacking MacArthur for insubordination nine months later.)

In 1972, the Nixon administration announced a deal to sell $750 million in grain to the Soviet Union. (However, the Soviets were also engaged in secretly buying subsidized American grain, resulting in what critics dubbed “The Great Grain Robbery.”)

In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford announced he would seek a second term of office.

In 1989, Carlos Saul Menem was inaugurated as president of Argentina in the country’s first transfer of power from one democratically elected civilian leader to another in six decades.

In 1994, Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s communist leader since 1948, died at age 82.

In 2011, former first lady Betty Ford died in Rancho Mirage, California, at age 93. Atlantis thundered into orbit on a cargo run that would close out the three-decade U.S. space shuttle program.

In 2012, Roger Federer equaled Pete Sampras’ record of seven men’s singles titles at the All England Club and won his 17th Grand Slam title overall, beating Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.

In 2014, President Barack Obama appealed to Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency spending to deal with the immigration crisis on the nation’s southern border, where unaccompanied children were showing up by the thousands (Republican lawmakers rejected the request). Washington became the second state to allow people to buy marijuana legally in the U.S. without a doctor’s note.

In 2018, divers rescued four of the 12 boys who’d been trapped in a flooded cave in northern Thailand with their soccer coach for more than two weeks. (The remaining eight boys and their coach were rescued over the next two days.)

Ten years ago: The largest spy swap between the U.S. and Russia since the Cold War unfolded as 10 people accused of spying in suburban America pleaded guilty to conspiracy and were ordered deported to Russia in exchange for the release of four prisoners accused of spying for the West. Violent protests erupted in Oakland, California, after a Los Angeles jury convicted a white former transit officer, Johannes Mehserle, of involuntary manslaughter (instead of murder) in the videotaped fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, Oscar Grant. During an ESPN prime-time special, basketball free agent LeBron James announced he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat.

Five years ago: On a rough day for tech, a “router issue” at United Airlines suspended all of the company’s flights for nearly two hours, leading to 800 flight delays and 60 cancellations; a “technical problem” at the New York Stock Exchange halted trading; and the Wall Street Journal’s website, WSJ.com, had “technical difficulties.” (Government officials said it did not appear that the incidents were related, or the result of sabotage.) Medicare said it planned to pay doctors to counsel patients about end-of-life care, the same idea that sparked accusations of “death panels” and fanned a political furor around President Barack Obama’s health care law.

One year ago: Iran began enriching uranium to 4.5%, just breaking the limit set by its nuclear deal with world powers. Billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein was charged with sexually abusing dozens of underage girls; the newly unsealed federal indictment came more than a decade after he secretly cut a deal with federal prosecutors to dispose of nearly identical allegations. After a remarkable run at Wimbledon, 15-year-old American Coco Gauff lost to former No. 1 Simona Halep, 6-3, 6-3, in the fourth round.