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Today in History - June 30
[June 30, 2014]

Today in History - June 30

(Canadian Press DataFile Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Today in History for June 30: In 1859, French acrobat Blondin crossed the Niagara gorge on a tightrope. Before reaching the Canadian side, he stopped to drink champagne and perform other feats. A crowd of 25,000 watched.

In 1908, a meteorite or small comet landed in the Tunguska basin near Vanovara, Siberia, devastating more than 7,800 square kilometres. Residents described it as a fiery ball and some suspected it was a UFO. Due to the rotation of the Earth, if the collision had occurred 4 hours and 47 minutes later, it would have destroyed St. Petersburg. Scientists have advanced over 80 theories explaining the event but none was ever conclusive.

In 1909, in Rome, the Roman Catholic Pontifical Biblical Commission issued a decree interpreting the first 11 chapters of Genesis as history, not myth.

In 1930, the Allies completed their evacuation of the Rhineland, which they had occupied since the end of the First World War.

In 1934, Adolf Hitler carried out his "blood purge" of political and military rivals in Germany in what came to be known as "The Night of the Long Knives." In 1936, "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell was first published.

In 1948, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King made his last speech in the House of Commons before retiring later in the year as Canada's longest-serving leader.

In 1948, three scientists from Bell Telephone Laboratories demonstrated their new invention to replace the vacuum tube -- the transistor. John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain and William Shockley were awarded a Nobel Prize for their work.

In 1952, "The Guiding Light," a popular NBC radio program since 1937, made its debut as a TV soap opera on CBS. The final episode aired Sept. 18, 2009. The Guinness Book of World Records cited it as the longest-running television drama.

In 1958, Alaska became the 49th American state.

In 1963, Pope Paul VI was crowned the 262nd head of the Roman Catholic Church in an outdoor ceremony in Rome's St. Peter's Square. He served until his death in 1978.

In 1971, three Soviet cosmonauts, returning from a 24-day mission in the orbiting space station "Salyut," were killed by a sudden loss of cabin pressure.

In 1973, Conservative MP -- and future prime minister -- Joe Clark married PC Party researcher Maureen McTeer in Ottawa.

In 1974, Mrs. Martin Luther King Sr. and a church deacon were slain by a crazed gunman in Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, where her son, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the assassinated civil rights leader, once preached.

In 1977, Czechoslovakia announced a blanket amnesty for more than 75,000 people who fled the country after Soviet-led forces put down a revolt in 1968.

In 1981, Canadian postal workers began a 42-day strike.

In 1984, Liberal John Turner was sworn in as Canada's 17th prime minister, succeeding Pierre Trudeau. Turner held office until his party's overwhelming defeat by Brian Mulroney's Tories in a federal election six weeks later.

In 1987, the Bank of Canada stopped issuing $1 bills. They were replaced with $1 coins that came to be known as loonies. The $2 coin, the toonie, was introduced a few years later.

In 1992, planes loaded with food and medicine arrived at the airport in Sarajevo as part of an international relief effort to aid Bosnia.

In 1998, it was the end of the line for conductors on Canadian passenger trains. Their positions were eliminated as a cost-saving measure. At one time, conductors were in charge of all train staff and oversaw the engineers and service staff.

In 1998, Nova Scotia prosecutors withdrew criminal charges against two Westray mine managers stemming from the fatal 1992 explosion at the mine.

In 2000, Canada launched a DNA data bank to help police solve crimes.

In 2001, Quebec's "Duplessis orphans" accepted in principle a multi-million-dollar compensation offer from the provincial government. The orphans said they were physically and psychologically abused in church-run institutions in the 1940s and '50s.

In 2002, Brazil defeated Germany to win soccer's World Cup.

In 2003, after a 32-year hiatus, a Canadian-built scientific satellite was launched into orbit. Canada's first space telescope, the $10 million MOST (Microvariability and Oscillations of STars) micro-satellite, is about the size of a suitcase. It will probe the internal stucture of the stars and study their basic elements such as composition and density, verify the age of the universe and also detect light reflected by little known planets beyond our solar system.

In 2004, after nearly seven years of travel, the international "Cassini" spacecraft entered Saturn's orbit.

In 2007, Canada's largest telecom company, BCE Inc. was sold to an investment group led by the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board in the biggest corporate takeover in Canadian history, a cash and debt deal worth nearly $52 billion. The deal was challenged by bondholders, who fought it all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. The top court approved it on June 20, 2008, removing one substantial barrier.

In 2009, U.S. combat forces formally pulled back from Iraqi cities.

In 2009, a Yemeni airliner with 153 people on board, including one Canadian, crashed into the Ocean en route to Comoros. One 14-year-old girl survived.

In 2010, the Conservative government announced it was replacing the mandatory long census in 2011 with a voluntary survey, which would be sent to more homes, but observers feared that the data collected wouldn't be as reliable. Industry Minister Tony Clement said the change was made in response to complaints about the coercive nature of the long-form census. There was no change to the mandatory short census form. (The Head of Statsicis Canada, Munir Sheikh, resigned on July 21st over the controversy.) In 2010, Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Canada's highest-ranking Catholic priest, was promoted to chief of the Vatican's powerful Congregations for Bishops, which vets bishop appointments around the world. He succeeded 76-year-old Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, who retired after nearly a decade in the post.

In 2011, Prince William and his wife Kate arrived in Ottawa as the newlyweds began their first official overseas tour since marrying in April. Their nine-day Canadian tour also saw them stop in the Quebec, P.E.I., the Northwest Territories and Alberta. Nearly 1,400 journalists were accredited to cover the visit.

In 2011, Labrador's Innu Nation voted in favour of a land and hydro deal crucial to a multi-billion-dollar Lower Churchill hydroelectric project.

In 2012, the National Historic Site of Grand Pre situated in Nova Scotia's picturesque Annapolis Valley was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

In 2012, former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who clung throughout his life to the belief that Israel should hang on to territory and never trust an Arab regime, died at age 96. He served as prime minister for seven years, from 1983-84 and 1986-92.

In 2013, 19 elite Arizona wildland firefighters were killed as they were working to build a fire line between a wildfire and a town when erratic winds suddenly shifted the fire's direction, cutting off their escape route.

---- (The Canadian Press) © 2014 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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