Today in history

By The Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, July 3, the 184th day of 2019. There are 181 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On July 3, 1976, Israel launched its daring mission to rescue 106 passengers and Air France crew members being held at Entebbe Airport in Uganda by pro-Palestinian hijackers; the commandos succeeded in rescuing all but four of the hostages.

On this date:

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

In 1863, the three-day Civil War Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania ended in a major victory for the North as Confederate troops failed to breach Union positions during an assault known as Pickett’s Charge.

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

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

In 1950, the first carrier strikes of the Korean War took place as the USS Valley Forge and the HMS Triumph sent fighter planes against North Korean targets.

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

In 1979, Dan White, convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting deaths of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, was sentenced to seven years and eight months in prison. (He ended up serving five years.)

In 1987, British millionaire Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand became the first hot-air balloon travelers to cross the Atlantic, parachuting 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.

In 1996, Russians went to the polls to re-elect Boris Yeltsin president over his Communist challenger, Gennady Zyuganov in a runoff.

In 2003, the U.S. put a $25 million bounty on Saddam Hussein, and $15 million apiece for his two sons. (The $30 million reward for Odai and Qusai Hussein went to a tipster whose information led U.S. troops to their hideout, where the brothers were killed in a gunbattle.)

In 2013, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, was overthrown by the military after just one year by the same kind of Arab Spring uprising that had brought the Islamist leader to power.

Ten years ago: In a surprise announcement, Sarah Palin said she would resign as Alaska governor, effective July 26, 2009. Vice President Joe Biden visited Baghdad, where he pressed Iraqi leaders to do more to foster national reconciliation and offered U.S. assistance in achieving that goal.

Five years ago: Hurricane Arthur struck North Carolina as a Category 2 storm with winds of 100 mph in the late evening, taking about five hours to move across the far eastern part of the state, but causing far less damage than feared.

One year ago: The Trump administration said it would not encourage schools to use race as a factor in the admissions process, rescinding guidance from the Obama era that was meant to promote diversity.

Today’s Birthdays: Playwright Tom Stoppard is 82. Writer-producer Jay Tarses is 80. Actor Michael Cole (TV: “The Mod Squad”) is 79. Attorney Gloria Allred is 78. Folk singer Judith Durham (The Seekers) is 76. Actor Kurtwood Smith is 76. Country singer Johnny Lee is 73. Humorist Dave Barry is 72. Actress Betty Buckley is 72. Rock singer-musician Paul Barrere (Little Feat) is 71. Actress Jan Smithers is 70. Actor Bruce Altman is 64. Talk show host Montel Williams is 63. Country singer Aaron Tippin is 61. Rock musician Vince Clarke (Erasure) is 59. Actor Tom Cruise is 57. Actor Thomas Gibson is 57. Actress Hunter Tylo is 57. Actress Connie Nielsen is 55. Actress Yeardley Smith is 55. TV chef Sandra Lee is 53. Singer Ishmael Butler is 50. Rock musician Kevin Hearn (Barenaked Ladies) is 50. Actress-singer Shawnee Smith is 50. Actress-singer Audra McDonald is 49. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is 48. Actor Patrick Wilson is 46. Country singer Trent Tomlinson is 44. Actress Andrea Barber is 43. Singer Shane Lynch (Boyzone) is 43. Actor Ian Anthony Dale is 41. Actress/comedian Jule Klausner is 41. Actress Elizabeth Hendrickson is 40. Rhythm-and-blues singer Tonia Tash (Divine) is 40. Country singer-songwriter Sarah Buxton is 39. Actress Olivia Munn is 39. Actress Shoshannah Stern is 39. Rock singer-songwriter Elle King is 30. Actor Grant Rosenmeyer is 28. Actress Kelsey Batelaan is 24.

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).

By The Associated Press