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Today in History

Today is Saturday, July 31, the 212th day of 2021. There are 153 days left in the year.

Birthdays: Actor Don Murray is 92. Jazz composer-musician Kenny Burrell is 90. Actor France Nuyen is 82. Actor Susan Flannery is 82. Singer Lobo is 77. Actor Geraldine Chaplin is 77. Former movie studio executive Sherry Lansing is 77. Singer Gary Lewis is 76. Actor Lane Davies is 71. Actor Susan Wooldridge is 71. International Tennis Hall of Famer Evonne Goolagong Cawley is 70. Actor Barry Van Dyke is 70. Actor Alan Autry is 69. Jazz composer-musician Michael Wolff is 69. Actor James Read is 68. Actor Michael Biehn is 65. Rock singer-musician Daniel Ash (Love and Rockets) is 64. Actor Dirk Blocker is 64. Entrepreneur Mark Cuban is 63. Rock musician Bill Berry is 63. Actor Wally Kurth is 63. Actor Wesley Snipes is 59. Country singer Chad Brock is 58. Musician Fatboy Slim is 58. Rock musician Jim Corr is 57. Author J.K. Rowling is 56. Actor Dean Cain is 55. Actor Jim True-Frost is 55. Actor Ben Chaplin is 52. Actor Loren Dean is 52. Actor Eve Best is 50. Actor Annie Parisse is 46. Actor Robert Telfer is 44. Country singer-musician Zac Brown is 43. Actor-producer-writer B.J. Novak is 42. NHL center Evgeni Malkin is 35. Hip-hop artist Lil Uzi Vert is 27.

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In 1715, a fleet of Spanish ships carrying gold, silver and jewelry sank during a hurricane off the east Florida coast; of some 2,500 crew members, more than 1,000 died.

In 1777, during the Revolutionary War, the Marquis de Lafayette, a 19-year-old French nobleman, was made a major-general in the American Continental Army.

In 1919, Germany’s Weimar Constitution was adopted by the republic’s National Assembly.

In 1933, the radio series “Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy,” made its debut on CBS radio station WBBM in Chicago.

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In 1945, Pierre Laval, premier of the pro-Nazi Vichy government, surrendered to US authorities in Austria; he was turned over to France, which later tried and executed him.

In 1954, Pakistan’s K2 was conquered as two members of an Italian expedition, Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli, reached the summit.

In 1964, country singer-songwriter Jim Reeves, 40, and his manager, Dean Manuel, were killed when their private plane crashed in bad weather near Nashville.

In 1970, “The Huntley-Brinkley Report” came to an end after nearly 14 years as coanchor Chet Huntley signed off for the last time; the broadcast was renamed “NBC Nightly News.”

In 1971, Apollo 15 crew members David Scott and James Irwin became the first astronauts to use a lunar rover on the surface of the moon.

In 1972, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Thomas Eagleton withdrew from the ticket with George McGovern following disclosures that Eagleton had once undergone psychiatric treatment.

In 1991, President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in Moscow.

In 2003, the Vatican launched a global campaign against gay marriages, warning Catholic politicians that support of same-sex unions was “gravely immoral” and urging non-Catholics to join the offensive.

In 2011, ending a stalemate, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders announced an agreement on emergency legislation to avert the nation’s first-ever financial default.

In 2014, the death toll from the worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history surpassed 700 in West Africa.

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In 2016, Pope Francis told young people who had flocked by the hundreds of thousands to a Catholic jamboree near Krakow, Poland, that they needed to “believe in a new humanity” stronger than evil, and cautioned against concluding that one religion is more violent than others.

In 2020, a federal appeals court overturned the death sentence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, saying the judge who oversaw the case didn’t adequately screen jurors for potential biases. (The Supreme Court has agreed to consider reinstating the death sentence.) Mexico became the country with the third most COVID-19 deaths in the world, behind the United States and Brazil. Even as Florida reached a new daily high in coronavirus deaths, the imminent arrival of Hurricane Isaias forced the closure of some outdoor testing sites. With six Major League teams sidelined by the pandemic, Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke to union leader Tony Clark about the importance of players following the coronavirus protocols. British filmmaker Alan Parker, whose movies included “Bugsy Malone,” “Midnight Express,” and “Evita,” died in London at the age of 76.