This Day in History — July 31

This Day in History — July 31

Friday, July 31, 2020

Print this page Email A Friend!

Today is the 213rd day of 2020. There are 153 days left in the year.


2011: Syrian security forces backed by tanks and snipers launch a ferocious assault on defiant cities and towns, killing at least 70 people and possibly many more as the regime raced to crush dissent ahead of Ramadan.



1498: During his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus arrives at the island of Trinidad.

1658: Aurangzeb is proclaimed mogul emperor in India.

1812: Venezuelan Republic falls to Spanish forces, and Francisco de Miranda is arrested.

1919: Germany adopts Weimar Constitution.

1926: Afghanistan signs non-aggression pact with Soviet Union.

1944: US troops break through the German lines around the Normandy beach head, opening the way to liberating the rest of France.

1956: Britain and West Germany sign 10-year agreement on nuclear cooperation.

1962: Britain agrees to establish wider Malaysian federation.

1964: US Ranger 7 spacecraft transmits to Earth first close-up pictures of the moon.

1971: Two US Apollo 15 astronauts begin three days of moon exploration in an electric car.

1978: Gunman shoots his way into Iraqi embassy in Paris and holds hostages for several hours before surrendering to French police.

1980: Eleven people are executed in Tehran, Iran, after being convicted of participating in an attempted anti-government coup earlier in the month. Ten of them were members of the armed forces.

1986: Britain's Cabinet unanimously supports Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's resistance to stiff sanctions against South Africa.

1988: Pier jammed with thousands of festival travellers collapses at ferry terminal in north-west Malaysia, killing at least 30 people and injuring about 370.

1990: US Government panel approves use of gene therapy for first time in treatment of human disease.

1991: US President George Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev sign a long-range nuclear weapons reduction pact at Moscow summit.

1993: Truce ends week-long Israeli offensive against guerrillas in southern Lebanon that killed 140 people and sent 500,000 fleeing north.

1994: United Nations Security Council approves possible US-led invasion of Haiti.

1997: As Israelis bury the 13 dead from the worst terrorist bombing in more than a year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatens to send troops into the autonomous Palestinian areas.

1998: South Africa ends the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's public exploration of apartheid's horrors after two years of hearings that laid bare decades of massacres, beatings and torture.

1999: Two years after devastating earthquakes, 17th-century church of St Francis of Assisi reopens in central Italy.

2002: US Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds hearings on US plans to attack Iraq and oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

2003: The Vatican issues a 12-page document strongly urging Roman Catholic lawmakers worldwide to reject legislation sanctioning same-sex civil unions and adoption rights.

2004: World Trade Organization members approve a plan to end export subsidies on farm products and cut import duties across the world, a key step toward a comprehensive global accord that has been discussed since 2001, trade officials say.

2005: Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora visits Syria in an attempt to repair relations damaged after Damascus was forced to end its 29-year military presence in Lebanon.

2006: The UN Security Council passes a resolution giving Iran one month to suspend uranium enrichment or face the threat of economic and diplomatic sanctions.

2007: Deployment of British troops to support Northern Ireland police, codenamed Operation Banner, officially ends after 38 years.

2008: Haitian lawmakers ratify Michele Pierre-Louis to be the country's prime minister, ending more than three months of political bickering and deadlock in Parliament.

2009: A string of bombings targets Shiite worshippers in the Baghdad area, killing at least 29 people in an apparently coordinated attack against followers of an anti-US cleric who were blamed for some of Iraq's worst sectarian violence.

2010: The death toll in the massive flooding in Pakistan surges past 800 as floodwaters receded in the hard-hit north-west. The threat of disease looms as some evacuees arrive in camps with fever, diarrhoea and skin problems.

2012: New Delhi's metro shut down and hundreds of coal miners were trapped underground after three Indian electric grids collapse in a cascade, cutting power to 620 million people in the world's biggest blackout.



Augustus, leader of Protestant Germany (1526-1586); John Ericsson, Swedish-born inventor (1803-1889); Milton Friedman, US economist (1912-2006); Henri Brisson, French statesman (1835-1912); Primo Levi, Italian writer/chemist (1919-1987); Whitney Young, US civil rights leader (1921-1971); Wesley Snipes, US actor (1962- ); J K Rowling, British author of Harry Potter books (1965- ); Dean Cain, US actor (1966- )

— AP

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper ´┐Ż email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon