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Today in history: July 16

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Sunday, July 16, the 197th day of 2006. There are 168 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On July 16, 1945, the United States exploded its first experimental atomic bomb, in the desert of Alamogordo, N.M.

On this date:
In 1790, the District of Columbia was established as the seat of the United States government.

In 1862, David G. Farragut became the first rear admiral in the U.S. Navy.

In 1918, Russia’s Czar Nicholas II, his empress and their five children were executed by the Bolsheviks.

In 1935, the first parking meters were installed, in Oklahoma City.

In 1951, the novel “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger was first published.

In 1969, Apollo 11 blasted off from Cape Kennedy on the first manned mission to the surface of the moon.

In 1973, during the Senate Watergate hearings, former White House aide Alexander P. Butterfield publicly revealed the existence of President Nixon’s secret taping system.

In 1979, Saddam Hussein became president of Iraq.

In 1981, singer Harry Chapin was killed when his car was struck by a tractor-trailer on New York’s Long Island Expressway.

In 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, died when their single-engine plane, piloted by Kennedy, plunged into the Atlantic Ocean near Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

Ten years ago: President Clinton told the National Governors Association he was granting states new powers to deny benefits to recipients who refuse to move from welfare to work. Russian President Boris Yeltsin met a day late with Vice President Al Gore, easing some of the concerns about his fragile health.

Five years ago: South Asian nuclear rivals India and Pakistan failed to reach an accord on their half-century dispute over Kashmir, ending a landmark three-day summit on a solemn note. Russia and China signed their first friendship treaty in more than half a century. Jacques Rogge was elected to succeed Juan Antonio Samaranch as president of the International Olympic Committee.

One year ago: A suicide bomber blew up a fuel tanker near a Shiite mosque in Musayyib, Iraq, killing nearly 100 people. More than a week after the London terror bombings, British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned that an “evil ideology” of Islamic extremism was bent on spreading terror through the West. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” the long-awaited sixth book in J.K. Rowling’s fantasy series, officially went on sale.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Barnard Hughes is 91. Former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh is 74. Soul singer William Bell is 67. Actor Corin Redgrave is 67. Former tennis player Margaret Court is 64. Violinist Pinchas Zukerman is 58. Actor-singer Ruben Blades is 58. Rock composer-musician Stewart Copeland is 54. Dancer Michael Flatley is 48. Actress Phoebe Cates is 43. Country singer Craig Morgan is 41. Actor-comedian Will Ferrell is 39. Actress Rain Pryor is 37. Actor Corey Feldman is 35. Rock musician Ed Kowalczyk (Live) is 35.

Thought for Today: “The teenagers aren’t all bad. I love ’em if nobody else does. There ain’t nothing wrong with young people. Jus’ quit lyin’ to ’em.” — Jackie “Moms” Mabley, American singer and comedian (1894-1975).