Five years ago: BBC reporter Alan Johnston, seized by the Army of Islam in the Gaza Strip the previous March, was released. The head of the radical-held Red Mosque (Maulana Abdul Aziz) in Islamabad, Pakistan, was caught by security forces. (He was released on bail in April 2009.) The Black Sea resort of Sochi (SAH'-chee) was elected the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics, taking the Winter Games to Russia for the first time. Bill Pinkney, the last survivor of the original members of the musical group The Drifters, died in Daytona Beach, Fla., at age 81.
One year ago: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made a surprise return to his country after undergoing cancer treatment in Cuba. Otto von Hapsburg, 98, the oldest son of Austria's last emperor and longtime head of one of Europe's most influential families, died in Poecking, Germany.
Today's Birthdays: Advice columnist Pauline Phillips (the original "Dear Abby") is 94. Actress Eva Marie Saint is 88. Actress Gina Lollobrigida is 85. Playwright Neil Simon is 85. Country singer Ray Pillow is 75. Singer Bill Withers is 74. Actor Ed Bernard is 73. Actress Karolyn Grimes is 72. Broadcast journalist Geraldo Rivera is 69. Rhythm-and-blues musician Ralph Johnson (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 61. Rock musician Domingo Ortiz (Widespread Panic) is 60. Singer John Waite is 57. Rock musician Kirk Pengilly (INXS) is 54. Country musician Teddy Carr is 52. Rock DJ Zonka is 50. Tennis Hall of Famer Pam Shriver is 50. Rock musician Matt Malley is 49. Christian rock singer Michael Sweet is 49. Actor Al Madrigal is 41. Actress Jenica Bergere is 38. Actor-singer John Lloyd Young is 37. Singer Stephen "Ste" McNally (BBMak) is 34. Actress Becki Newton (TV: "Ugly Betty") is 34. TV personality Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino (TV: "Jersey Shore") is 30. Presidential daughter Malia Obama is 14.
Thought for Today: "Where liberty dwells, there is my country." — Attributed to Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790).
(Above Advance for Use Wednesday, July 4)
Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.