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Today in History

Today is Tuesday, July 20, the 201st day of 2021. There are 164 days left in the year.

Birthdays: Actor-singer Sally Ann Howes is 91. Author Cormac McCarthy is 88. Former senator Barbara A. Mikulski, Democrat of Maryland, is 85. Artist Judy Chicago is 82. Rock musician John Lodge (The Moody Blues) is 78. Country singer T.G. Sheppard is 77. Singer Kim Carnes is 76. Rock musician Carlos Santana is 74. Rock musician Jay Jay French (Twisted Sister) is 69. Rock musician Paul Cook (The Sex Pistols, Man Raze) is 65. Actor Donna Dixon is 64. Rock musician Mick MacNeil (Simple Minds) is 63. Country singer Radney Foster is 62. Actor Frank Whaley is 58. Actor Dean Winters is 57. Rock musician Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam) is 55. Actor Reed Diamond is 54. Actor Josh Holloway is 52. Singer Vitamin C is 52. Actor Sandra Oh is 50. Actor Judy Greer is 46. Singer Elliott Yamin (American Idol) is 43. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen is 41. Rock musician Mike Kennerty (The All-American Rejects) is 41. Dancer-singer-actor Julianne Hough is 33. Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg is 33.

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In 1917, America’s World War I draft lottery began as Secretary of War Newton Baker, wearing a blindfold, reached into a glass bowl and pulled out a capsule containing the number 258 during a ceremony inside the Senate office building.

In 1942, the first detachment of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps — later known as WACs — began basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.

In 1944, an attempt by a group of German officials to assassinate Adolf Hitler with a bomb failed as the explosion only wounded the Nazi leader. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated for a fourth term of office at the Democratic convention in Chicago.

In 1951, Jordan’s King Abdullah I was assassinated in Jerusalem by a Palestinian gunman who was shot dead on the spot by security.

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In 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon after reaching the surface in their Apollo 11 lunar module.

In 1976, America’s Viking 1 robot spacecraft made a successful, first-ever landing on Mars.

In 1977, a flash flood hit Johnstown, Pa., killing more than 80 people and causing $350 million worth of damage. The UN Security Council voted to admit Vietnam to the world body.

In 1990, Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, one of the court’s most liberal voices, announced he was stepping down.

In 2002, 29 people died in a blaze started by bartenders who were doing tricks with fire at an unlicensed night club in Lima, Peru.

In 2007, President George W. Bush signed an executive order prohibiting cruel and inhuman treatment, including humiliation or denigration of religious beliefs, in the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects.

In 2010, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted almost totally along party lines, 13-6, to approve Elena Kagan to be the Supreme Court’s fourth female justice.

In 2011, six Republican presidential hopefuls traded tweets in the first presidential debate conducted through Twitter, outlining their agendas across the popular social media service. NBA star Yao Ming announced his retirement in his hometown of Shanghai.

In 2012, gunman James Holmes opened fire inside a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colo., during a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” killing 12 people and wounding 70 others. (Holmes was later convicted of murder and attempted murder, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.)

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In 2015, the United States and Cuba restored full diplomatic relations after more than five decades of frosty relations rooted in the Cold War. The UN Security Council unanimously endorsed a landmark deal to rein in Iran’s nuclear program.

In 2016, undercutting calls for Republican unity, Texas Senator Ted Cruz stubbornly refused to endorse Donald Trump as he addressed the GOP convention in Cleveland, igniting thunderous boos from furious delegates as he encouraged Americans to simply “vote your conscience” in November. A federal appeals court ruled that Texas’ strict voter ID law discriminated against minorities and the poor and had to be weakened before the November elections. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency following a botched coup attempt.

In 2020, scientists at Oxford University said their experimental coronavirus vaccine had been shown in an early trial to prompt a protective immune response in hundreds of people who got the shot.