Today is Wednesday, July 18, the 200th day of 2012. There are 166 days left in the year.
On July 18, 1982, Guatemalan soldiers aided by members of civilian patrols stormed the highland village of Plan de Sanchez in search of leftist guerrillas, killing some 200 people. (In July 2005, the government of Guatemala accepted responsibility for the massacre, and apologized.)
On this date:
In A.D. 64, the Great Fire of Rome began.
In 1536, the English Parliament passed an act declaring the authority of the pope void in England.
In 1610, highly influential Italian baroque artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio died in Porto Ercole at age 38.
In 1792, American naval hero John Paul Jones died in Paris at age 45.
In 1872, Britain enacted voting by secret ballot.
In 1932, the United States and Canada signed a treaty to develop the St. Lawrence Seaway.
In 1940, the Democratic national convention at Chicago Stadium nominated President Franklin D. Roosevelt for an unprecedented third term in office.
In 1944, Hideki Tojo was removed as Japanese premier and war minister because of setbacks suffered by his country in World War II.
In 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed a Presidential Succession Act which placed the speaker of the House and the Senate president pro tempore next in the line of succession after the vice president.
In 1969, a car driven by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., plunged off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island near Martha’s Vineyard; his passenger, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne (koh-PEHK’-nee), drowned.
In 1976, at the Montreal Olympics, Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci received the first-ever perfect score of 10 with her routine on uneven parallel bars. (Comaneci would go on to receive six more 10s at Montreal.)
In 1984, gunman James Huberty opened fire at a McDonald’s fast food restaurant in San Ysidro (ee-SEE’-droh), Calif., killing 21 people before being shot dead by police. Walter F. Mondale won the Democratic presidential nomination in San Francisco.
Ten years ago: Accused 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui (zak-uh-REE’-uhs moo-SOW’-ee) tried to plead guilty to charges that could have brought the death penalty, but a federal judge in Alexandria, Va., insisted he take time to think about it. Bob Pittman stepped down as chief operating officer of AOL Time Warner in a shake-up at the world’s largest media company.
Five years ago: Senate Republicans torpedoed legislation to force the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq. An underground steam pipe exploded on a New York City street, swallowing a tow truck and claiming the life of a woman who suffered a heart attack. Armed men kidnapped two Germans and five Afghans working on a dam project in central Afghanistan. (One of the Germans, Ruediger Diedrich, was found shot dead three days later; the others were later released.) Opera tenor Jerry Hadley, 55, died at a hospital in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., a week after shooting himself with an air rifle.
One year ago: Gen. David Petraeus handed over command of American and coalition forces in Afghanistan to Gen. John Allen. Reeling from months of tragedy, Japan united in joyous celebration after its women’s soccer team won the World Cup by beating the United States.