updated 7/8/2005 12:04:23 AM ET 2005-07-08T04:04:23

Today is Friday, July 8, the 189th day of 2005. There are 176 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:
On July 8, 1776, Col. John Nixon gave the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, in Philadelphia.

On this date:
In 1663, King Charles II of England granted a charter to Rhode Island.

In 1853, an expedition led by Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Yedo Bay, Japan, on a mission to seek diplomatic and trade relations with the Japanese.

In 1889, The Wall Street Journal was first published.

In 1891, Warren G. Harding married Florence K. DeWolfe in Marion, Ohio.

In 1919, President Wilson received a tumultuous welcome in New York City after his return from the Versailles Peace Conference in France.

In 1947, demolition work began in New York City to make way for the new permanent headquarters of the United Nations.

In 1950, Gen. Douglas MacArthur was named commander-in-chief of United Nations forces in Korea.

In 1975, President Ford announced he would seek the Republican nomination for the presidency in 1976.

In 1993, a jury in Boise, Idaho, acquitted white separatist Randy Weaver and a co-defendant of slaying a federal marshal in a shootout at a remote mountain cabin.

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

Ten years ago: Chinese-American human rights activist Harry Wu was arrested in China and charged with obtaining state secrets (he was later convicted of espionage and deported). A deadly heat wave began in the nation's midsection; it claimed more than 800 lives, more than half of them in Illinois. Steffi Graf won the women's singles title at Wimbledon, defeating Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.

Five years ago: Venus Williams beat Lindsay Davenport 6-3, 7-6 (3) for her first Grand Slam title, becoming the first black women's champion at Wimbledon since Althea Gibson in 1957-58. The Pentagon's missile defense project suffered its latest setback when a rocket that had taken off from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific failed to intercept a target missile launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

One year ago: Enron founder and former chairman Kenneth Lay pleaded innocent in Houston to charges related to the company's collapse. Adelphia Communications Corp. founder John Rigas and his son Timothy were convicted in New York of looting the cable company and deceiving investors. A Swedish appeals court threw out a life prison sentence for the convicted killer of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, ruling that Mijailo Mijailovic should receive treatment for his "significant psychiatric problems."

Today's Birthdays: Singer Jerry Vale is 73. Singer Steve Lawrence is 70. Actor Jeffrey Tambor is 61. Ballerina Cynthia Gregory is 59. Actress Kim Darby is 58. Children's performer Raffi is 57. Actress Anjelica Huston is 54. News columnist Anna Quindlen is 52. Actor Kevin Bacon is 47. Rock musician Andy Fletcher (Depeche Mode) is 44. Country singer Toby Keith is 44. Rock musician Graham Jones (Haircut 100) is 44. Rock singer Joan Osborne is 43. Writer-producer Rob Burnett ("Ed") is 43. Actor Corey Parker is 40. Actor Billy Crudup is 37. Actor Michael Weatherly ("Dark Angel") is 37. Singer Beck is 35. Country singer Drew Womack (Sons of the Desert) is 35. Christian rock musician Stephen Mason (Jars of Clay) is 30. Actor Milo Ventimiglia is 28. Rock musician Tavis Werts (Reel Big Fish) is 28. Singer Ben Jelen is 26. Actress Sophia Bush is 23.

Thought for Today: "Fools are more to be feared than the wicked." — Queen Christina of Sweden (1626-1689).

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