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Today is Thursday, July 24, the 206th day of 2008. There are 160 days left in the year.

Highlight in History: In 1858, Republican senatorial candidate Abraham Lincoln formally challenged Democrat Stephen A. Douglas to a series of political debates; the result was seven face-to-face encounters.

The Valley Then: In 1925, Wilkes-Barre had its first visit by a dirigible – the Navy’s Shenandoah, then the largest airship afloat. Area residents sounded gongs and whistles as the aircraft passed overhead on its way to Scranton for an old-home-week celebration.

On this date: In 1783, Latin American revolutionary Simon Bolivar was born in Caracas, Venezuela.

In 1847, Mormon leader Brigham Young and his followers arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley in present-day Utah.

In 1866, Tennessee became the first state to be readmitted to the Union after the Civil War.

In 1929, President Hoover proclaimed the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which renounced war as an instrument of foreign policy.

In 1937, the state of Alabama dropped charges against four of the nine young black men accused of raping two white women in the “Scottsboro Case.”

In 1959, during a visit to Moscow, Vice President Richard M. Nixon engaged in his famous “Kitchen Debate” with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.

In 1967, French President Charles de Gaulle stirred controversy during a visit to Montreal, Canada, when he declared, “Vive le Quebec libre!” (Long live free Quebec!)

In 1974, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Nixon had to turn over subpoenaed White House tape recordings to the Watergate special prosecutor.

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