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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 Wednesday, July 25, the 206th day of 2007. There are 159 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On July 25, 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 were killed. (The Andrea Doria sank the following day, eleven hours after the crash.)

On this date:

In 1866, Ulysses S. Grant was named General of the Army of the United States, 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 Victor Emmanuel III, and placed under arrest. (However, Mussolini was later rescued by the Nazis, and reasserted his authority.)

In 1946, the U.S. detonated an atomic bomb near Bikini Atoll in the Pacific in the first underwater test of the device.

In 1952, Puerto Rico became a self-governing commonwealth of the U.S.

In 1957, Tunisia became a republic.

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

In 1987, Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige died of internal injuries he’d sustained while participating in a rodeo. (He was succeeded by C. William Verity.)

In 1994, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Jordan’s King Hussein 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: Autumn Jackson, the young woman who claimed to be Bill Cosby’s out-of-wedlock daughter, was convicted by a federal jury in New York of trying to extort $40 million from the entertainer. K.R. Narayanan was sworn in as India’s president, becoming the first member of the “untouchable” Dalits caste to do so. Golfer Ben Hogan died in Fort Worth, Texas, at age 84.

Five years ago: Encouraged by a tapping sound coming up from the depths, rescuers in Somerset, Pa., brought in a huge drill in a race to save nine coal miners trapped 240 feet underground by a flooded shaft. Zacarias Moussaoui declared he was guilty of conspiracy in the Sept. 11 attacks, then dramatically withdrew his plea at his arraignment in Alexandria, Va.

One year ago: Israeli troops sealed off a Hezbollah stronghold and widened their control of southern Lebanon; an Israeli airstrike hit a UN border outpost, killing four observers. President Bush was visited at the White House by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who said he and Bush agreed that training and better arming Iraqi forces as quickly as possible was central to efforts to stabilizing his country.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Estelle Getty is 84. Actress Barbara Harris is 72. Rock musician Verdine White (Earth, Wind & Fire) is

56. Singer-musician Jem Finer (The Pogues) is 52. Model-actress Iman is 52. Cartoonist Ray Billingsley (“Curtis”) is 50. Rock musician Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) is 49. Actress-singer Bobbie Eakes is 46. Actress Illeana Douglas is 42. Country singer Marty Brown is 42. Actor Matt LeBlanc is 40. Actor D.B. Woodside is 38. Actor Brad Renfro is 25.

Thought for Today: “Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless.” — Sinclair Lewis, American author (1885-1951).