Today is Wednesday, June 20, the 172nd day of 2012. There are 194 days left in the year. Summer arrives at 7:09 p.m. Eastern time.
Today's Highlight in History:
On June 20, 1782, Congress approved the Great Seal of the United States, featuring the emblem of the bald eagle.
On this date:
In 1791, King Louis XVI of France and his family attempted to flee the country in the so-called "Flight to Varennes," but were caught.
In 1837, Queen Victoria acceded to the British throne following the death of her uncle, King William IV.
In 1863, West Virginia became the 35th state.
In 1893, a jury in New Bedford, Mass., found Lizzie Borden not guilty of the ax murders of her father and stepmother.
In 1921, U.S. Rep. Alice Mary Robertson, R-Okla., became the first woman to preside over a session of the House of Representatives.
In 1947, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel was shot dead at the Beverly Hills, Calif., mansion of his girlfriend, Virginia Hill, apparently at the order of mob associates.
In 1948, the variety series "Toast of the Town," hosted by Ed Sullivan, debuted on CBS television.
In 1963, the United States and Soviet Union signed an agreement to set up a "hotline" between the two superpowers.
In 1967, boxer Muhammad Ali was convicted in Houston of violating Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted. (Ali's conviction was ultimately overturned by the Supreme Court).
In 1972, three days after the arrest of the Watergate burglars, President Richard Nixon met at the White House with his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman; the secretly made tape recording of this meeting ended up with the notorious 181/2-minute gap.
In 1979, ABC News correspondent Bill Stewart was shot to death in Managua, Nicaragua, by a member of President Anastasio Somoza's national guard.
In 1982, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed National Bald Eagle Day.
Ten years ago: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 6-3, in Atkins v. Virginia that executing mentally disabled murderers was unconstitutionally cruel.
Five years ago: For the second time, President George W. Bush vetoed an embryonic stem cell bill as he urged scientists toward what he termed "ethically responsible" research. Sammy Sosa, playing for the Texas Rangers after a year out of baseball, hit his 600th home run, making him the fifth player to reach the milestone. (The round-tripper came in the fifth inning of Texas' 7-3 victory over Sosa's former team, the Chicago Cubs.)
One year ago: Syrian President Bashar Assad promised a national dialogue to consider political reforms, but his vague overtures to a pro-democracy uprising fell flat as protesters took to the streets shouting "Liar!" and demanding his ouster. "Jackass" star Ryan Dunn was killed in a fiery car crash near Philadelphia; he was 34.
Today's Birthdays: Actress Olympia Dukakis is 81. Actor Martin Landau is 81. Actor James Tolkan is 81. Actor Danny Aiello is 79. Blues musician Lazy Lester is 79. Actor John Mahoney is 72. Movie director Stephen Frears is 71. Singer-songwriter Brian Wilson is 70. Actor John McCook is 68. Singer Anne Murray is 67. TV personality Bob Vila is 66. Musician Andre Watts is 66. Actress Candy Clark is 65. Producer Tina Sinatra is 64. Rhythm-and-blues singer Lionel Richie is 63. Actor John Goodman is 60. Rock musician Michael Anthony is 58. Pop musician John Taylor is 52. Rock musician Mark DeGliantoni is 50. Rock musician Murphy Karges (Sugar Ray) is 45. Actress Nicole Kidman is 45. Country/bluegrass singer-musician Dan Tyminski is 45. Movie director Robert Rodriguez is 44. Actor Peter Paige is 43. Actor Josh Lucas is 41. Rock musician Jeordie White (AKA Twiggy Ramirez) is 41. Rock singer Chino Moreno (Deftones) is 39. Country-folk singer-songwriter Amos Lee is 35. Country singer Chuck Wicks is 33. Christian rock musician Chris Dudley (Underoath) is 29. Rock singer Grace Potter (Grace Potter & the Nocturnals) is 29. Actor Mark Saul is 27. Actress Dreama Walker is 26. Actor Chris Mintz-Plasse (plahs) is 23. Actress Maria Lark is 15.
Thought for Today: "Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old." -- Franz Kafka, Austrian author and poet (1883-1924).
Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.