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Jul 20, 12:01 AM EDT

Today in History

Today in History

Today is Thursday, July 20, the 201st day of 2017. There are 164 days left in the year.

Today's Highlights in History:

On July 20, 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. (The drawing of numbers by various officials continued until shortly after 2:00 a.m. the next day.) The Corfu Declaration called for creation of a unified Yugoslav state.

On this date:

In 1861, the Congress of the Confederate States convened in Richmond, Virginia.

In 1871, British Columbia entered Confederation as a Canadian province.

In 1923, Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa was assassinated by gunmen in Parral.

In 1942, the first detachment of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps - later known as WACs - began basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. The Legion of Merit was established by an Act of Congress.

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 1954, the Geneva Accords divided Vietnam into northern and southern entities.

In 1968, the first International Special Olympics Summer Games, organized by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, were held at Soldier Field in Chicago.

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, Pennsylvania, killing more than 80 people and causing $350 million worth of damage. The U.N. Security Council voted to admit Vietnam to the world body.

In 1982, Irish Republican Army bombs exploded in two London parks, killing eight British soldiers, along with seven horses belonging to the Queen's Household Cavalry.

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

Ten years ago: 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. Tammy Faye Messner, who as Tammy Faye Bakker helped her husband, Jim, build a multimillion-dollar evangelism empire, then watched it collapse in disgrace, died at age 65 near Kansas City, Missouri.

Five years ago: Gunman James Holmes opened fire inside a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, 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.) After years of preparation and months of buildup, London's Olympic moment finally arrived as Royal Marine Martyn Williams carried the Olympic torch from a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter into the Tower of London on the shore of the River Thames (tehmz).

One year ago: Undercutting calls for Republican unity, Texas Sen. 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 (REH'-jehp TY'-ihp UR'-doh-wahn) declared a three-month state of emergency following a botched coup attempt.

Today's Birthdays: Actress-singer Sally Ann Howes is 87. Author Cormac McCarthy is 84. Rockabilly singer Sleepy LaBeef is 82. Former Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., is 81. Actress Diana Rigg is 79. Artist Judy Chicago is 78. Rock musician John Lodge (The Moody Blues) is 74. Country singer T.G. Sheppard is 73. Singer Kim Carnes is 72. Rock musician Carlos Santana is 70. Rock musician Jay Jay French (Twisted Sister) is 65. Rock musician Paul Cook (The Sex Pistols, Man Raze) is 61. Actress Donna Dixon is 60. Rock musician Mick McNeil (Simple Minds) is 59. Country singer Radney Foster is 58. Actor Frank Whaley is 54. Actor Dean Winters is 53. Rock musician Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam) is 51. Actor Reed Diamond is 50. Actor Josh Holloway is 48. Singer Vitamin C is 48. Actor Omar Epps is 44. Actor Simon Rex is 43. Actress Judy Greer is 42. Actor Charlie Korsmo is 39. Singer Elliott Yamin (yah-MEEN') (American Idol) is 39. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen is 37. Rock musician Mike Kennerty (The All-American Rejects) is 37. Actor Percy Daggs III is 35. Actor John Francis Daley is 32. Country singer Hannah Blaylock (Edens Edge) is 31. Dancer-singer-actress Julianne Hough is 29. Actress Billi Bruno is 21.

Thought for Today: "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen." - Albert Einstein, German-American physicist (1879-1955).

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