By The Associated Press
Today is Thursday, July 28, the 210th day of 2016. There are 156 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On July 28, 1976, an earthquake devastated northern China, killing at least 242,000 people, according to an official estimate.
On this date:
In 1540, King Henry VIII’s chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, was executed, the same day Henry married his fifth wife, Catherine Howard.
In 1655, French dramatist and novelist Cyrano de Bergerac, the inspiration for a play by Edmond Rostand, died in Paris at age 36.
In 1794, Maximilien Robespierre, a leading figure of the French Revolution, was sent to the guillotine.
In 1821, Peru declared its independence from Spain.
In 1866, British children’s author Beatrix Potter was born in London.
In 1914, World War I began as Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.
In 1932, federal troops forcibly dispersed the so-called “Bonus Army” of World War I veterans who had gathered in Washington to demand payments they weren’t scheduled to receive until 1945.
In 1945, a U.S. Army bomber crashed into the 79th floor of New York’s Empire State Building, killing 14 people. The U.S. Senate ratified the United Nations Charter by a vote of 89-2.
In 1959, in preparation for statehood, Hawaiians voted to send the first Chinese-American, Republican Hiram L. Fong, to the U.S. Senate and the first Japanese-American, Democrat Daniel K. Inouye, to the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced he was increasing the number of American troops in South Vietnam from 75,000 to 125,000 “almost immediately.”
In 1984, the Los Angeles Summer Olympics opened.
In 1995, a jury in Union, South Carolina, rejected the death penalty for Susan Smith, sentencing her to life in prison for drowning her two young sons (Smith will be eligible for parole in 2024).
Ten years ago: Actor-director Mel Gibson went into an anti-Semitic tirade as he was being arrested on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California, on suspicion of driving while drunk; Gibson later apologized and was sentenced to probation and alcohol treatment. A gunman who witnesses said identified himself as a Muslim American walked into the offices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and opened fire, killing a woman, Pamela Waechter, and wounding five others before he was arrested. (Naveed Haq was later convicted of aggravated first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of release.) Former Peruvian President Alan Garcia was inaugurated for a second term, 16 years after leaving office.
Five years ago: The body of the military chief of the Libyan rebels’ National Transitional Council, Abdel-Fattah Younis, was found dumped outside Benghazi along with those of two top aides. The president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Rev. Howard Creecy Jr., died in a fall in his Atlanta home seven months after taking office; he was 57.
One year ago: President Barack Obama wrapped up his trip to Kenya and Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, where he urged African leaders to leave office peacefully after their terms expired. It was announced that Jonathan Pollard, the former U.S. Naval intelligence analyst who had spent nearly three decades in prison for spying for Israel, had been granted parole. In a case that outraged animal lovers, Zimbabwean police said they were searching for an American who had shot and killed a well-known, protected lion known as Cecil during a bow hunt; Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist, issued a statement saying he thought everything about his trip was legal. (Officials in Zimbabwe later said Palmer had not broken the country’s hunting laws.) Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in using underinflated footballs during the AFC championship game was upheld by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Darryl Hickman is 85. Ballet dancer-choreographer Jacques d’Amboise is 82. Musical conductor Riccardo Muti is 75. Former Senator and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Bradley is 73. “Garfield” creator Jim Davis is 71. Singer Jonathan Edwards is 70. Actress Linda Kelsey is 70. TV producer Dick Ebersol is 69. Actress Sally Struthers is 69. Actress Georgia Engel is 68. Rock musician Simon Kirke (Bad Company) is 67. Rock musician Steve Morse (Deep Purple) is 62. CBS anchorman Scott Pelley is 59. Alt-country-rock musician Marc Perlman is 55. Actor Michael Hayden is 53. Actress Lori Loughlin is 52. Jazz musician-producer Delfeayo Marsalis is 51. Former hockey player turned general manager Garth Snow is 47. Actress Elizabeth Berkley is 44. Singer Afroman is 42. Country musician Todd Anderson (Heartland) is 41. Rock singer Jacoby Shaddix (Papa Roach) is 40. Country singer Carly Goodwin is 35. Actor Jon Michael Hill (TV: “Elementary”) is 31. Actor Dustin Milligan is 31. Actor Nolan Gerard Funk is 30. Rapper Soulja Boy is 26. Pop/rock singer Cher Lloyd (TV: “The X Factor”) is 23.