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Today is Friday, July 18, the 199th day of 2003. There are 166 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On July 18, 1947, President Truman signed the 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.

On this date:

In 64 A.D., the Great Fire of Rome began.

In 1792, American naval hero John Paul Jones died in Paris at age 45.

In 1927, Ty Cobb hit safely for the 4,000th time in his career.

In 1932, the United States and Canada signed a treaty to develop the St. Lawrence Seaway.

In 1936, the Spanish Civil War began.

In 1940, the Democratic national convention in Chicago nominated President 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 1969, a car driven by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., plunged off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island near Martha's Vineyard; passenger Mary Jo Kopechne died.

In 1984, a gunman opened fire at a McDonald's fast food restaurant in San Ysidro, Calif., killing 21 people before being shot dead by police.

In 1984, Walter F. Mondale won the Democratic presidential nomination in San Francisco.

Ten years ago: FBI Director William Sessions continued to resist White House suggestions he step down, saying he would resign only if President Clinton asked him to. Sessions was fired by Clinton the next day.

Five years ago: Residents along the northern coast of Papua New Guinea were left reeling the day after a 23-foot-high tidal wave hit, killing an estimated 3,000 people.

One year ago: Accused Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui 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.

Today's Birthdays: Former South African President Nelson Mandela is 85. Astronaut and Former Sen. John Glenn is 82. Skating champion and commentator Dick Button is 74. Author-journalist Hunter S. Thompson is 66. Movie director Paul Verhoeven is 65. Singer Brian Auger is 64. Singer Dion DiMucci is 64. Actor James Brolin is 63. Singer Martha Reeves is 62. Blues guitarist Lonnie Mack is 62. Actor Kurt Mann is 56. Singer Ricky Skaggs is 49. Rock musician Nigel Twist (The Alarm) is 45. Actress Audrey Landers is 44. Actress Elizabeth McGovern is 42. Rock musician John Hermann (Widespread Panic) is 41. Rock musician Jack Irons (Pearl Jam) is 41. Actor Vin Diesel is 36. Rock musician Tony Fagenson (Eve 6) is 25. Actor Jason Weaver is 24.

Thought for Today: "Much misconstruction and bitterness are spared to him who thinks naturally upon what he owes to others, rather than on what he ought to expect from them." - Elizabeth de Meulan Guizot, French author (1773-1827).

Copyright © 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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