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This Day in History

Today is Sunday, June 30, the 181st day of 2013. There are 184 days left in the year.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Lea Massari is 80. Actor Tony Musante is 77. Actress Nancy Dussault is 77. Singer Glenn Shorrock is 69. Jazz musician Stanley Clarke is 62. Actor David Garrison is 61. Rock musician Hal Lindes (Dire Straits) is 60. Actor-comedian David Alan Grier is 57. Actor Vincent D’Onofrio is 54. Actress Deirdre Lovejoy is 51. Actor Rupert Graves is 50. Boxer Mike Tyson is 47. Actor Peter Outerbridge is 47. Rock musician Tom Drummond (Better Than Ezra) is 44. Actor Brian Bloom is 43. Actor Brian Vincent is 43. Actress Monica Potter is 42. Actor Rick Gonzalez is 34. Actress Lizzy Caplan is 31. Rhythm-and-blues singer Fantasia (“American Idol”) is 29. Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps is 28.

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In 1859, French acrobat Charles Blondin walked back and forth on a tightrope above the gorge of Niagara Falls.

In 1886, Arturo Toscanini, a 19-year-old cellist, made his legendary conducting debut leading the orchestra of an Italian touring company’s performance of the Verdi opera ‘‘Aida’’ in Rio de Janeiro.

In 1908, the so-called Tunguska Event took place in Russia as an asteroid exploded above Siberia, leaving 800 square miles of scorched or blown-down trees.

In 1912, Canada’s deadliest tornado on record struck Regina, the provincial capital of Saskatchewan, killing 28 people.

In 1921, President Warren G. Harding nominated former President William Howard Taft to be US chief justice, succeeding Edward Douglass White.

In 1933, the Screen Actors Guild was established.

In 1934, Adolf Hitler carried out his ‘‘blood purge’’ of German political and military rivals in what is known as ‘‘The Night of the Long Knives.’’

In 1953, the first Chevrolet Corvette, with its innovative fiberglass body, was built by General Motors in Flint, Mich.

In 1958, the US Senate passed the Alaska statehood bill by a vote of 64-20.

In 1963, Pope Paul VI was crowned the 262d 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 for 17 days.

In 2003, 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.

In 2008, 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 with ‘‘organizing and directing’’ the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in waters off Yemen, and would seek the death penalty. (Al-Nashiri, who is being held at Guantanamo, has yet to stand trial.)

In 2012, 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 UN-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.

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