The Almanac, Celebrity Birthdays, Today in History, July 16 –

Today is Monday, July 16, the 198th day of 2012 with 168 to follow.

The moon is waning. Morning stars are Venus, Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus. Evening stars are Mercury, Saturn and Mars.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include English painter Joshua Reynolds in 1723; Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science Church, in 1821; rights activist Ida Bell Wells-Barnett in 1862; Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen in 1872; baseball great and “Black Sox” scandal figure “Shoeless” Joe Jackson in 1887; actor Percy Kilbride (“Pa Kettle”) in 1888; vaudeville great Blossom Seeley in 1891; popcorn tycoon Orville Redenbacher and actor Barbara Stanwyck, both in 1907; actor/dancer Ginger Rogers in 1911; actor Barnard Hughes in 1915; Bess Myerson, 1945’s Miss America and TV personality, in 1924 (age 88); actor Corin Redgrave in 1939; tennis Hall of Fame member Margaret Court in 1942 (age 70); singer/actor Ruben Blades and violinist Pinchas Zukerman, both in 1948 (age 64); Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Stewart Copeland in 1952 (age 60); playwright Tony Kushner in 1956 (age 56); cyclist Miguel Indurain in 1964 (age 48); football Hall of Fame member Barry Sanders in 1968 (age 44); and actors Phoebe Cates in 1963 (age 49), Will Ferrell in 1967 (age 45), Rain Pryor in 1969 (age 43) and Corey Feldman in 1971 (age 41).

On this date in history:

In 1769, the first Roman Catholic mission in California was dedicated at the site of present day San Diego.

In 1790, the U.S. Congress designated the District of Columbia as the permanent seat of the U.S. government.

In 1918, Russian Czar Nicholas II and his family were killed by Bolsheviks, who had held them captive for two months.

In 1935, world’s first parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City.

In 1945, the first test of the atom bomb was conducted at a secret base near Alamogordo, N.M.

In 1951, J.D. Salinger‘s “The Catcher in the Rye” was published.

In 1959, Billie Holiday, considered one of the greatest jazz singers despite a tragic life, died of cardiac failure at age 44.

In 1969, Apollo 11, the first moon-landing mission, was launched from the Kennedy Space Center, carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan was unanimously nominated as the Republican candidate for president at the GOP National Convention in Detroit. He chose George H.W. Bush as his running mate after former U.S. President Gerald Ford declined to join the ticket.

In 1990, Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev dropped his objections to a unified Germany in NATO.

In 1991, at its London summit, the Group of Seven agreed to support the Soviet Union’s economic reforms and its admission to the International Monetary Fund.

In 1999, John F. Kennedy, Jr., his wife and her sister were killed when their single-engine plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Martha’s Vineyard. The son of former U.S. President John Kennedy was 39.

In 2004, Martha Stewart was sentenced to five months in prison and five months of house arrest after being found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding and making false statements to federal investigators.

Also in 2004, at least 75 children were killed in a fire that engulfed a school in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu.

In 2006, North Korea said the U.N. Security Council resolution sanctioning Pyongyang for its recent missile tests was a prelude to a new Korean war.

In 2007, a reported 85 people died when a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden truck into a Kirkuk compound that housed offices of Kurdish politicians in Iraqi Kurdistan.

In 2008, Taliban militants attacked a U.S. base in Afghanistan, killing nine U.S. soldiers and wounding at least 50 NATO troops in the most deadly assault against U.S. troops in three years.

Also in 2008, an apparent breakthrough in efforts to negotiate a power-sharing government in Zimbabwe fizzled. Officials said the Movement for Democratic Change, the main opposition group, refused to sign a memorandum of understanding.

In 2009, opposition parties and a human rights group disputed election results that returned Denis Sassou-Nguesso to power as president of the Republic of Congo.

In 2010, investment giant Goldman Sachs agreed to pay $550 million to settle a U.S. government lawsuit alleging client fraud.

Also in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI approved tougher Roman Catholic Church laws dealing with sexual abuse charges against church officials in an effort to quell the current scandal involving alleged pedophile priests.

In 2011, 1,000 or more new refugees from drought-stricken Somalia, some walking for weeks, were reported arriving daily at a camp in neighboring Kenya only to find there was no room for them and no other place to go, leaving many to die under trees near the camp.

A thought for the day: From Ogden Nash: “The cow is of the bovine ilk; One end is moo, the other, milk.”

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