Today is Sunday, July 18, the 199th day of 2021. There are 166 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History
On July 18, 1918, South African anti-apartheid leader and president Nelson Mandela was born in the village of Mvezo.
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In 1536, the English Parliament passed an act declaring the authority of the pope void in England.
In 1863, during the Civil War, Union troops spearheaded by the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, made up of Black soldiers, charged Confederate-held Fort Wagner on Morris Island, S.C. The Confederates were able to repel the Northerners, who suffered heavy losses; the 54th’s commander, Col. Robert Gould Shaw, was among those who were killed.
In 1872, Britain enacted voting by secret ballot.
In 1940, the Democratic National Convention at Chicago Stadium nominated President Franklin D. Roosevelt (who was monitoring the proceedings at the White House) for an unprecedented third term in office; earlier in the day, Eleanor Roosevelt spoke to the convention, becoming the first presidential spouse to address such a gathering.
In 1944, Hideki Tojo was removed as Japanese premier and war minister because of setbacks suffered by his country in World War II. American forces in France captured the Normandy town of St. Lo.
In 1964, nearly a week of rioting erupted in New York’s Harlem neighborhood following the fatal police shooting of a Black teenager, James Powell, two days earlier.
In 1969, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., left a party on Chappaquiddick (chap-uh-KWIH’-dihk) Island near Martha’s Vineyard with Mary Jo Kopechne (koh-PEHK’-nee), 28; Kennedy’s car later went off a bridge into the water. Kennedy was able to escape, but Kopechne drowned.
In 1976, 14-year-old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci (koh-mah-NEECH'), competing at the Montreal Olympics, received the first-ever perfect score of 10 with her routine on uneven parallel bars. (Comaneci would go on to receive six more 10s in Montreal.)
In 1984, gunman James Huberty opened fire at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro (ee-SEE’-droh), California, killing 21 people before being shot dead by police. Walter F. Mondale won the Democratic presidential nomination in San Francisco.
In 1994, a bomb hidden in a van destroyed a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 85. Tutsi rebels declared an end to Rwanda’s 14-week-old civil war.
In 2005, an unrepentant Eric Rudolph was sentenced in Birmingham, Alabama, to life in prison for an abortion clinic bombing that killed an off-duty police officer and maimed a nurse.
In 2013, Detroit, which was once the very symbol of American industrial might, became the biggest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy, its finances ravaged and its neighborhoods hollowed out by a long, slow decline in population and auto manufacturing.
Ten years ago: Gen. David Petraeus handed over command of American and coalition forces in Afghanistan to Gen. John Allen as he left to take over the Central Intelligence Agency. Reeling from months of tragedy caused by a devastating tsunami and earthquake, Japan celebrated after its women’s soccer team won the World Cup by beating the United States 3-1 on penalty kicks, after coming from behind twice in a 2-2 tie.
Five years ago: Republicans opened their national convention in Cleveland as they prepared to nominate Donald Trump for president; Trump’s wife, Melania, delivered a speech in which she assured delegates and voters that her husband had the character and determination to unite a divided nation. (Mrs. Trump’s well-received address was marred by two passages with similarities to a speech first lady Michelle Obama delivered at the 2008 Democratic convention; a speechwriter accepted responsibility for the passages in question.) President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to retired Lt. Col. Charles Kettles, a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War credited with helping rescue more than 40 American soldiers under heavy fire.
One year ago: The World Health Organization reported a single-day record of new coronavirus infections – more than 259,000 worldwide – for a second day in a row. South Africa became one of the five worst-hit countries in the pandemic. Florida reported more than 10,200 new cases and 90 additional deaths. Canadian officials said the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team would not be able to play its home games in Toronto during the shortened 2020 season because it wasn’t safe for players to travel back and forth from the United States. (The Blue Jays would play “home” games in the ballpark of their minor league affiliate in Buffalo, N.Y.)