This Day in History - July 31
Today is the 212th day of 2013. There are 153 days left in the year.
1498: During his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus arrives at the island of Trinidad.
1919: Germany adopts Weimar Constitution.
1956: Britain and West Germany sign 10-year agreement on nuclear cooperation.
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.
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 northwest 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.
1992: A Thai Airways jetliner crashes into a Himalayan mountain minutes after the pilot reports a technical problem, killing all 113 people on board.
1993: Truce ends weeklong Israeli offensive against guerrillas in southern Lebanon that killed 140 people and sent 500,000 fleeing north.
1994: UN Security Council approves possible US-led invasion of Haiti.
1995: Hundreds of Israeli police and soldiers drag Jewish settlers away from an encampment on a West Bank hilltop where they protested the emerging Israel-Palestine Liberation Organisation accord.
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.
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 Organisation 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.
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.
2010: The death toll in the massive flooding in Pakistan surges past 800 as floodwaters receded in the hard-hit northwest. The threat of disease looms as some evacuees arrive in camps with fever, diarrhea 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-).