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Today in History — July 3

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

Today is Tuesday, July 3, the 184th day of 2007. There are 181 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On July 3, 1863, the three-day Civil War Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., ended in a major victory for the North as Confederate troops retreated.

On this date:
In 1608, the City of Quebec was founded by Samuel de Champlain.

In 1775, Gen. George Washington took command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, Mass.

In 1890, Idaho became the 43rd state of the Union.

In 1898, the U.S. Navy defeated a Spanish fleet in the harbor at Santiago, Cuba, during the Spanish-American War.

In 1944, during World War II, Soviet forces recaptured Minsk.

In 1962, Algeria became independent after 132 years of French rule.

In 1971, singer Jim Morrison of The Doors died in Paris at age 27.

In 1976, Israel launched its daring mission to rescue about a hundred passengers and Air France crew members being held at Entebbe Airport in Uganda by pro-Palestinian hijackers.

In 1987, British millionaire Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand became the first hot-air balloon travelers to cross the Atlantic, jumping into the sea as their craft went down off the Scottish coast.

In 1988, the USS Vincennes shot down an Iran Air jetliner over the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 people aboard.

Ten years ago: In his first formal response to charges by Paula Jones of sexual harassment, President Bill Clinton denied all allegations in her lawsuit, and asked a judge to dismiss the case. Lockheed Martin Corp. announced it was buying Northrop Grumman Corp. for $7.9 billion. (However, the merger fell apart when the Justice Department objected on antitrust grounds.)

Five years ago: Jean-Marie Messier, the chairman of Vivendi Universal, was formally removed from his post and replaced by Jean-Rene Fourtou of the pharmaceutical company Aventis.

One year ago: Former Private Steven D. Green was charged in federal court in Charlotte, N.C., with raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl (Abeer Qassim al-Janabi) and killing her, her parents and sister. (Four members of Green’s unit were charged as well; one later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 100 years in prison.) A subway train derailed in Valencia, Spain, killing 43 people. Annika Sorenstam ended 10 years of frustration by winning the U.S. Women’s Open, her 10th major championship.

Today’s Birthdays: Movie director Ken Russell is 80. Jazz musician Pete Fountain is 77. Playwright Tom Stoppard is 70. Writer-producer Jay Tarses is 68. Singer Fontella Bass is 67. Actor Kurtwood Smith is 64. Actor Michael Cole (“The Mod Squad”) is 62. Country singer Johnny Lee is 61. Writer Dave Barry is 60. Actress Betty Buckley is 60. Rock singer-musician Paul Barrere (Little Feat) is 59. Actress Jan Smithers is 58. Former Haitian President Jean-Claude Duvalier is 56. Talk show host Montel Williams is 51. Country singer Aaron Tippin is 49. Rock musician Vince Clarke (Erasure) is 47. Actor Tom Cruise is 45. Actor Thomas Gibson is 45. Actress Hunter Tylo is 45. Actress Connie Nielsen is 43. Actress Yeardley Smith is 43. Singer Ishmael Butler is 38. Rock musician Kevin Hearn (Barenaked Ladies) is 38. Actress-singer Audra McDonald is 37. Country singer Trent Tomlinson is 32. Singer Shane Lynch (Boyzone) is 31. Rhythm-and-blues singer Tonia Tash (Divine) is 28. Actor Grant Rosenmeyer is 16. Actress Kelsey Batelaan is 12.

Thought for Today: “I suppose it can be truthfully said that Hope is the only universal liar who never loses his reputation for veracity.” — Robert G. Ingersoll, American lawyer, politician (1833-1899).