Highlights: In 1807, Robert Fulton’s North River Steamboat began heading up the Hudson River on its successful round trip between New York and Albany. In 1943, the Allied conquest of Sicily was completed as U.S. and British forces entered Messina. In 1960, the newly renamed Beatles (formerly the Silver Beetles) began their first gig in Hamburg, West Germany, at the Indra Club. The West African country of Gabon became independent of France. In 1982, the first commercially produced compact discs, a recording of ABBA’s “The Visitors," were pressed at a Philips factory near Hanover, West Germany. In 1987, Rudolf Hess, the last member of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle, died at Spandau Prison at age 93, an apparent suicide.
Ten years ago: In Krakow, Poland, tens of thousands of adoring Poles gave Pope John Paul II a joyous welcome home as the ailing pontiff began the ninth — and last — visit to his native country during his papacy.
Five years ago: Hurricane Dean roared into the eastern Caribbean, tearing away roofs, flooding streets and causing at least three deaths on small islands as the powerful storm headed on a collision course with Jamaica and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. A dike on a river in eastern China broke, flooding three coal mines and killing 181 miners.
One year ago: Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Beijing to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.
Actor Robert DeNiro is 69. Author Jonathan Franzen is 53. Actor Sean Penn is 52. Singer Donnie Wahlberg is 43. Former NBA player Christian Laettner is 43.
— From wire reports