Today in History: 1st Corvette: Toscanini; Tonguska Blast: "Night of the Long Knives"

By: AP
By: AP

Today's Highlight in History:
On June 30:
In 1859, French acrobat Charles Blondin (blahn-DAN') walked back and forth on a tightrope above the gorge of Niagara Falls as thousands of spectators watched.
In 1886, Arturo Toscanini, a 19-year-old cellist, made his legendary conducting debut as he stepped in as a last-minute substitute to lead the orchestra of an Italian touring company's performance of the Verdi opera "Aida" in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In 1912, Canada's deadliest tornado on record occurred as a cyclone struck Regina, the provincial capital of Saskatchewan, killing 28 people.
In 1921, President Warren G. Harding nominated former President William Howard Taft to be chief justice of the United States, succeeding the late Edward Douglass White.
In 1933, the Screen Actors Guild was established.
In 1934, Adolf Hitler carried out his "blood purge" of political and military rivals in Germany in what came to be known as "The Night of the Long Knives."
In 1958, the U.S. Senate passed the Alaska statehood bill by a vote of 64-20.
In 1963, Pope Paul VI was crowned the 262nd head of the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1972, for the first time, a leap-second was added to Coordinated Universal Time to account for the slowing rotation of the Earth.
In 1985, 39 American hostages from a hijacked TWA jetliner were freed in Beirut after being held 17 days.

Ten years ago: Israeli and Palestinian commanders shook hands as bulldozers dismantled checkpoints and Palestinian traffic flowed freely in the Gaza Strip. Comedian-actor Buddy Hackett died in Malibu, Calif., at age 78.

Five years ago: President George W. Bush signed legislation to pay for war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the rest of his presidency and beyond, hailing the $162 billion plan as a rare product of bipartisan cooperation. The United States announced that it was charging Saudi Arabian Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri (ahbd al-ruh-HEEM' al-nuh-SHEE'-ree) with "organizing and directing" the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in waters off Yemen, and would seek the death penalty. (Al-Nashiri, who's being held at Guantanamo, has yet to stand trial.)

One year ago: Islamist Mohammed Morsi became Egypt's first freely elected president as he was sworn in during a pair of ceremonies. An international conference in Geneva accepted a U.N.-brokered peace plan calling for creation of a transitional government in Syria, but at Russia's insistence the compromise left the door open to Syria's president being a part of it. Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir died at age 96. Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan became the first player in a Grand Slam tournament to win every point of a set on her way to beating French Open runner-up Sara Errani 6-0, 6-4 in the third round of Wimbledon.

Thought for Today: "I believe the future is only the past again, entered through another gate." -- Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, English dramatist (1855-1934).

On June 30...
In 1975, singer Cher and rock star Gregg Allman were married. The marriage lasted ten days.
In 1976, police raided singer Neil Diamond's house. They didn't find enough marijuana for an arrest, but Diamond did give them copies of his new album, "Beautiful Noise."
In 1977, Marvel Comics released a comic book based on the members of the rock band Kiss. The band members contributed some of their blood to the ink used in the books.
In 1978, Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols released his version of "My Way."
In 1981, Jerry Lee Lewis was hospitalized in Memphis because of a stomach ulcer. After two operations, doctors gave him less than a 50-50 chance of recovering. Within a few months, he was back on his feet.
In 1992, actor Tom Hanks got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He showed up at the ceremony with some of his co-stars from the movie "A League Of Their Own."
In 1994, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam testified before a congressional hearing concerning rising concert ticket prices.
In 1995, country singer Garth Brooks was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2000, eight people were trampled and crushed to death and 43 injured at the Roskilde (ros-KIL'-deh) festival in Denmark. The crowd had surged toward the main stage where Pearl Jam was playing.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Nancy Dussault (doo-SOH') is 77. Singer Glenn Shorrock of the Little River Band is 69. Jazz bassist Stanley Clarke is 62. Actor David Garrison ("Married...with Children") is 61. Guitarist Hal Lindes of Dire Straits is 60. Boxer Mike Tyson is 47. Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps is 28.


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