Today in History — July 8

/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Sunday, July eighth, the 189th day of 2007. There are 176 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On July eighth, 1776, Colonel John Nixon gave the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, in Philadelphia.

On this date:

In 1663, King Charles the Second of England granted a Royal 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 1907, 100 years ago, Florenz Ziegfeld staged his first “Follies,” on the roof of the New York Theater.

In 1919, President Wilson received a tumultuous welcome in New York City after his return from the Versailles (vehr-SY’) 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 1947, U-S Army Air Force officials in Roswell, New Mexico, announced that an object that had crashed nearby was a weather balloon -- not a “flying disc,” as initially reported.

In 1950, President Truman named General Douglas MacArthur commander-in-chief of United Nations forces in Korea.

In 1986, Kurt Waldheim was inaugurated as president of Austria despite controversy over his alleged ties to Nazi war crimes.

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

Ten years ago: The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee opened politically charged hearings into fund-raising abuses, with chairman Fred Thompson accusing China of trying to influence the 1996 U-S elections. NATO extended membership invitations to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. The Mayo Clinic and the government warned the diet-drug combination known as “fen-phen” could cause serious heart and lung damage.

Five years ago: WorldCom and its former auditors clashed over responsibility for nearly four (b) billion dollars in accounting improprieties, as WorldCom’s former C-E-O and finance chief, Scott Sullivan, refused to testify before a House panel investigating the debacle.

One year ago: Four U-S soldiers were charged with rape and murder and a fifth with dereliction of duty in the alleged rape-slaying of a young Iraqi woman and the killings of her relatives in Mahmoudiya (mahk-moo-DEE’-ah). Discovery astronauts Piers Sellers and Michael Fossum went on a seven-and-a-half-hour spacewalk to test a repair technique for space shuttles. Amelie Mauresmo beat Justine Henin-Hardenne, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 at Wimbledon to win her second Grand Slam championship. Actress June Allyson died in Ojai (OH’-hy), California, at age 88.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Mickey Carroll is 88. Singer Jerry Vale is 75. Singer Steve Lawrence is 72. Actor Jeffrey Tambor is 63. Ballerina Cynthia Gregory is 61. Actress Kim Darby is 60. Children’s performer Raffi is 59. Actress Anjelica Huston is 56. News columnist Anna Quindlen is 55. Actor Kevin Bacon is 49. Rock musician Andy Fletcher (Depeche Mode) is 46. Country singer Toby Keith is 46. Rock musician Graham Jones (Haircut 100) is 46. Rock singer Joan Osborne is 45. Writer-producer Rob Burnett is 45. Actor Corey Parker is 42. Actor Billy Crudup is 39. Actor Michael Weatherly is 39. Singer Beck is 37. Country singer Drew Womack (Sons of the Desert) is 37. Christian rock musician Stephen Mason (Jars of Clay) is 32. Actor Milo Ventimiglia is 30. Rock musician Tavis Werts (Reel Big Fish) is 30. Singer Ben Jelen (YEL’-in) is

28. Actress Sophia Bush is 25. Rock musician Jamie Cook (Arctic Monkeys) is 22.

Thought for Today: “History must stay open, it is all humanity.” -- William Carlos Williams, American author and poet (1883-1963).