On this day - June 15

2011-06-15 07:36
Today is Wednesday, June 15, the 166th day of 2011. There are 199 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1167 - The city of Copenhagen's official birthday. A document from this day mentions the city for the first time.

1215 - King John of England grants some civil liberties when he signs the Magna Carta under pressure from nobles.

1520 - Pope Leo excommunicates Martin Luther by the Bull Exsurge.

1567 - The troops of Mary, Queen of Scots, refuse to fight rebels at Carberry Hill, and she surrenders on the condition that her husband is allowed to escape.

1672 - Dutch flood parts of Holland to save Amsterdam from the French.

1752 - Benjamin Franklin demonstrates that lightning is an electrical discharge when he launches a kite during a storm at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1862 - Turkish forces bombard Belgrade after Serb uprising there.

1904 - More than 1 000 people die in fire aboard steamboat General Slocum off New York City.

1919 - British pilots John William Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown complete the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic, flying from Newfoundland, to Ireland.

1940 - Germans outflank Maginot Line in France during World War II.

1944 - US forces begin invasion of Japanese-held Saipan Island in the Marianas in Pacific. It becomes a base for bombing raids against Japan.

1970 - Martial law is declared in Turkey when serious rioting breaks out.

1991 - Kuwait's martial law court sentences six newspaper workers to death for working on an Iraqi publication during the occupation of Kuwait.

1992 - Japan's Parliament approves the use of troops overseas for the first time since World War II, enabling Japan to join international peacekeeping operations.

1993 - Bosnian city of Gorazde is hit with heavy Serb shelling for the 19th day in a row and the UN aid airlift is suspended.

1995 - The UN Security Council votes to enlarge its force in Bosnia to include up to 12 500 heavily armed troops.

1996 - A bomb explodes in a van near a shopping centre in Manchester, England, injuring more than 200 people. Local police and British and Irish leaders believe it was the IRA.

1997 - In Cartagena, Colombian rebels release 70 soldiers captive for nearly a year. In return, the government evacuates its military from a swath of land.

1998 - Nigeria's new military leadership releases nine of the country's most prominent political prisoners, including General Olusegun Obasanjo, who becomes president less than a year later.

1999 - After a final spree of burning, shooting and alleged rapes, Yugoslav forces withdraw from Kosovo's border region with Albania.

2000 - Roman Catholic bishop Augustin Misago, accused of helping orchestrate the 1994 slaughter of more than a half-million Rwandans, is cleared of genocide charges and set free.

2001 - Germany's fund to compensate Nazi-era slave labourers announces plans to compensate elderly survivors. Up to 1.5 million surviving slave and forced labourers - most in central and eastern Europe - are expected to be eligible for payments.

2003 - Five suspected al-Qaeda militants and two policemen are killed during overnight gun battles in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The militants shot their way through a checkpoint killing two policemen and then fled to a nearby apartment building, which was booby trapped. The ensuing gun battles killed the five men and injured at least 5 bystanders.

2004 - Iraq's neighbours endorse the US-backed administration and the transfer of power, giving a boost to Iraq's quest for international legitimacy.

2005 - Spanish police arrest 16 Islamic terror suspects in raids in several cities, including 11 suspected members of a group thought to have ties to Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi's al-Qaeda in Iraq.

2006 - Cleanup crews in northern China scramble to absorb 60 tons of toxic coal tar accidentally dumped into the Dasha river before it reaches a reservoir serving 10 million people.

2007 - Ethiopia accepts a UN commission's ruling to turn over a disputed town to Eritrea after years of conflict and a tense border dispute.

2008 - Soldiers fighting through a torrent of mud and rocks dig out three more bodies at a hot spring, bringing the death toll from a magnitude 7.2-earthquake that hit the mountains of northern Japan to at least nine, with more than 200 injured.

2009 - In a massive outpouring reminiscent of the Iranian Revolution three decades ago, hundreds of thousands of Iranians stream through the capital, and the fist-waving protesters denounce President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's claim to victory in a disputed election.

2010 - The UN finds evidence of bloody intent behind the chaos in Kyrgyzstan that killed hundreds, left the nation's second-biggest city a smouldering ruin and sent more than 100 000 ethnic Uzbeks fleeing.

Today's Birthdays:
Issa, Japanese poet (1763-1828); Thomas Mitchell, British explorer of Australia, (1792-1855); Edvard Grieg, Norwegian composer (1843-1907); Jim Belushi, US actor (1954--); Julie Hagerty, US actress (1955--); Helen Hunt, US actress (1963--); Courtney Cox, US actress (1964--); Ice Cube, US rapper/actor (1969--); Johnny Hallyday, French rock singer/actor (1943--); Neil Patrick Harris, US actor (1973--).

Thought For Today:
War is a contagion - Franklin D Roosevelt, US president (1882-1945).

- Sapa-AP

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