Today is Friday, July 18, the 199th day of 2014. There are 166 days left in the year.
On July 18, A.D. 64, the Great Fire of Rome began, consuming most of the city for about a week. (Some blamed the fire on Emperor Nero, who in turn blamed Christians.)
On this date:
In 1536, the English Parliament passed an act declaring the authority of the pope void in England.
In 1792, American naval hero John Paul Jones died in Paris at age 45.
In 1872, Britain enacted voting by secret ballot.
In 1932, the United States and Canada signed a treaty to develop the St. Lawrence Seaway.
In 1944, Hideki Tojo was removed as Japanese premier and war minister because of setbacks suffered by his country in World War II. American forces in France captured the Normandy town of St. Lo.
In 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed a Presidential Succession Act which placed the speaker of the House and the Senate president pro tempore next in the line of succession after the vice president.
In 1964, nearly a week of rioting erupted in New York’s Harlem neighborhood following the fatal police shooting of a black teenager, James Powell, two days earlier.
In 1969, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., left a party on Chappaquiddick Island near Martha’s Vineyard with Mary Jo Kopechne, 28; some time later, Kennedy’s car went off a bridge into the water. (Kennedy was able to escape, but Kopechne drowned.)
In 1976, at the Montreal Olympics, Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci received the first-ever perfect score of 10 with her routine on uneven parallel bars. (Comaneci would go on to receive six more 10s at Montreal.)
In 1984, gunman James Huberty opened fire at a McDonald’s fast food restaurant in San Ysidro, killing 21 people before being shot dead by police. Walter F. Mondale won the Democratic presidential nomination in San Francisco.
In 1989, actress Rebecca Schaeffer, 21, was shot to death at her Los Angeles home by obsessed fan Robert Bardo, who was later sentenced to life in prison.
In 1994, a bomb hidden in a van destroyed a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 85.
Ten years ago: A spokesman said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would not apologize for mocking certain lawmakers as “girlie men,” despite criticisms from Democrats that the remark was sexist and homophobic. Todd Hamilton gained a playoff victory over Ernie Els to win the British Open. Former Environmental Protection Agency chief Anne Gorsuch Burford died in Aurora, Colorado, at age 62.
Five years ago: The Taliban posted a video of an American soldier who’d gone missing June 30, 2009 from his base in eastern Afghanistan and was later confirmed to have been captured; in the recording, the soldier (later identified as Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl) said he was “scared I won’t be able to go home.” Authorities in Tennessee arrested Jacob Shaffer in the deaths of six people, five of whom were found slain near Fayetteville; the sixth body was discovered in Huntsville, Alabama. (The victims included Shaffer’s wife, her father, her brother and teenage son. Shaffer later admitted to all the killings and was sentenced to life in prison.)
One year ago: Once the very symbol of American industrial might, Detroit became the biggest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy, its finances ravaged and its neighborhoods hollowed out by a long, slow decline in population and auto manufacturing.
Today’s birthdays: Former Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, is 93. Conductor Kurt Masur is 87. Skating champion and commentator Dick Button is 85. Movie director Paul Verhoeven is 76. Musician Brian Auger is 75. Singer Dion DiMucci is 75. Actor James Brolin is 74. Baseball executive Joe Torre is 74. Singer Martha Reeves is 73. Blues guitarist Lonnie Mack is 73. Pop-rock musician Wally Bryson (The Raspberries) is 65. Country-rock singer Craig Fuller (Pure Prairie League) is 65. Actress Margo Martindale is 63. Singer Ricky Skaggs is 60. Actress Audrey Landers is 58. Golfer Nick Faldo is 57. Rock musician Nigel Twist (The Alarm) is 56. Actress Anne-Marie Johnson is 54. Actress Elizabeth McGovern is 53. Rock musician John Hermann (Widespread Panic) is 52. Rock musician Jack Irons is 52. Actor Vin Diesel is 47. Actor Grant Bowler is 46. Retired NBA All-Star Penny Hardaway is 43. Alt-country singer Elizabeth Cook is 42. Actor Eddie Matos is 42. MLB All-Star Torii Hunter is 39. Dance music singer-songwriter M.I.A. is 39. Rock musician Daron Malakian (System of a Down; Scars on Broadway) is 39. Rock musician Tony Fagenson (Eve 6) is 36. Movie director Jared Hess is 35. Actor Jason Weaver is 35. Actress Kristen Bell is 34. Rock singer Ryan Cabrera is 32. Christian-rock musician Aaron Gillespie (Underoath) is 31. Actor Chace Crawford is 29. Actor Travis Milne (“Rookie Blue”) is 28. Bluegrass musician Joe Dean Jr. (Dailey & Vincent) is 25.
Thought for today: “Miracles are propitious accidents, the natural causes of which are too complicated to be readily understood.” — George Santayana, American philosopher (1863-1952).