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This day in history

Today is Wednesday, July 29, the 211th day of 2020. There are 155 days left in the year.

Birthdays: Former senator Nancy Kassebaum-Baker is 88. Actor Robert Fuller is 87. Former senator Elizabeth H. Dole is 84. Actress Roz Kelly is 78. REO Speedwagon keyboardist Neal Doughty is 74. Boston-based executive-turned-leadership guru Larry Moulter is 70, Documentary maker Ken Burns is 67. Rush singer-musician Geddy Lee is 67. Rock singer Patti Scialfa (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band) is 67. Country singer Martina McBride is 54. Actor Rodney Allen Rippy is 52. Rhythm-and-blues singer Wanya Morris (Boyz II Men) is 47. AHip-hop DJ/music producer Danger Mouse is 43. Actress Rachel Miner is 40. Actress Allison Mack is 38.

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In 1914, transcontinental telephone service became operational with the first test conversation between New York and San Francisco. The Cape Cod Canal, offering a shortcut across the base of the peninsula, was officially opened to shipping traffic.

In 1957, Jack Paar made his debut as host of NBC’s “Tonight Show.”

In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, creating NASA.

In 1967, an accidental rocket launch on the deck of the supercarrier USS Forrestal in the Gulf of Tonkin resulted in a fire and explosions that killed 134 servicemen. (Among the survivors was future Arizona senator John McCain, a Navy lieutenant commander who narrowly escaped with his life.)

In 1975, President Ford became the first US president to visit the site of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland.

In 1981, Britain’s Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in a glittering ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. (The couple divorced in 1996.)

In 1994, abortion opponent Paul Hill shot and killed Dr. John Bayard Britton and Britton’s bodyguard, James H. Barrett, outside the Ladies Center clinic in Pensacola, Fla. (Hill was executed in Sept. 2003.)

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In 1997, members of Congress from both parties embraced compromise legislation designed to balance the budget while cutting taxes.

In 2015, Afghan authorities announced they were certain that the Taliban’s reclusive leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, had died in a Pakistani hospital in 2013. Microsoft released its Windows 10 operating system, an upgrade of Windows 8.

Last year, Britain’s weather agency confirmed that the country had seen its highest temperature on record, 101.7 degrees, during the heat wave that broke temperature records across Europe in the preceding days.