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Today in history: July 25

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

Today is Tuesday, July 25th, the 206th day of 2006. There are 159 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History
Fifty years ago, on July 25th, 1956, the Italian liner Andrea Doria collided with the Swedish passenger ship Stockholm off the New England coast late at night and began sinking; at least 51 people died as a result of the impact. (The Andrea Doria sank the following day, some eleven hours after the crash.)

On this date
In 1866, Ulysses S. Grant was named General of the Army, the first officer to hold the rank.

In 1868, Congress passed an act creating the Wyoming Territory.

In 1943, Benito Mussolini was dismissed as premier of Italy by King Victor Emmanuel the Third, and placed under arrest. (However, Mussolini was later rescued by the Nazis, and re-asserted his authority.)

In 1946, the United States detonated an atomic bomb at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific in the first underwater test of the device.

In 1952, Puerto Rico became a self-governing commonwealth of the United States.

In 1963, the United States, the Soviet Union and Britain initialed a treaty in Moscow prohibiting the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, in space or underwater.

In 1978, Louise Joy Brown, the first “test tube baby,” was born in Oldham, England; she’d been conceived through the technique of in-vitro fertilization.

In 1986, movie director Vincente Minnelli, known for such musicals as “Gigi,” “An American in Paris” and “Meet Me in St. Louis,” died in Los Angeles.

In 1994, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Jordan’s King Hussein (hoo-SAYN’) signed a declaration at the White House ending their countries’ 46-year-old formal state of war.

In 2000, a New York-bound Air France Concorde crashed outside Paris shortly after takeoff, killing all 109 people on board and four people on the ground; it was the first-ever crash of the supersonic jet.

Ten years ago: Divers searching the wreckage of T-W-A Flight 800 off Long Island, New York, recovered the flight data and cockpit voice recorders.

Five years ago: Three masked men gunned down Phoolan Devi, India’s onetime “Bandit Queen,” killing the outlaw-turned-legislator who was idolized by the poor as a champion of the lower castes.

One year ago: The AFL-CIO splintered as the Service Employees International Union and the Teamsters announced they were leaving the labor federation. Corporal Dustin Berg, an Indiana National Guard soldier, pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in the death of an Iraqi police officer (he was later sentenced to 18 months in military prison). Four adult Boy Scout leaders were killed in an electrical accident while setting up camp for the organization’s Jamboree in Bowling Green, Virginia.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Estelle Getty is 83. Actress Barbara Harris is 71. Rock musician Verdine White (Earth, Wind & Fire) is 55. Model-actress Iman is 51. Cartoonist Ray Billingsley (“Curtis”) is 49. Rock musician Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) is 48. Actress Illeana Douglas is 41. Country singer Marty Brown is 41. Actor Matt LeBlanc is 39. Actor Brad Renfro is 24.

Thought for Today:

“I have always believed that God never gives a cross to bear larger than we can carry. ... No matter what, God wants us to be happy. He doesn’t want us to be sad. Birds sing after a storm. Why shouldn’t we?” -- Rose Kennedy (1890-1995).