On this day - June 17

2011-06-17 08:14
Today is Friday, June 17, the 168th day of 2011. There are 197 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1397 - Erik of Pomerania is crowned king of Norway, Denmark and Sweden in Kalmar, Sweden, marking the beginning of the Kalmar Union that unites the three countries until 1523.

1567 - Mary Queen of Scots is imprisoned by Scottish rebels in Lochleven Castle in Scotland.

1579 - Sir Francis Drake proclaims England's sovereignty over New Albion (California).

1665 - Spanish are defeated by Portuguese and British at Montes Claros, and further victory at Villa Viciosa secures Portuguese independence.

1698 - Peter the Great's foreign mercenaries scatter rebel Streltsy troops in Moscow.

1701 - Sweden's King Charles XII relieves Riga from Russian occupation and subsequently invades Courland and Poland.

1843
- Maoris revolt against British in New Zealand.

1848 - Austrian troops under Prince Windischgratz suppress Czech revolt in Prague.

1953 - Workers begin a strike against increased production quotas in East Germany. It later spreads through the country and is put down by Soviet troops.

1967 - China explodes its first hydrogen bomb.

1971 - United States and Japan sign agreement to restore island of Okinawa to Japan.

1972 - Five men hired by the Republican Party are arrested while breaking in at the Democratic party headquarters in the Watergate building in Washington, DC. The scandal ultimately leads to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

1991 - South Africa's parliament abolishes the last major apartheid law.

1992 - Thomas Kemtner and Heinrich Struebig, the last two Western hostages held in Lebanon, return to Germany after three years in chains.

1993 - One Pakistani and four Moroccan peacekeepers are killed and 46 wounded in a UN effort to capture Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid in Mogadishu.

1994
- Tutsi rebels break through Rwandan government lines, rescue about 600 refugees in central Kigali and shoot their way back out.

1995 - Bosnian government forces battle to secure ground gained against Serbs near Sarajevo and crack the 38-month siege of the city.

1996 - After pushing their dispute to the brink of a trade war, the United States and China reach a deal to stamp out rampant Chinese copyright piracy.

1997 - Fighting erupts in Phnom Penh between police and bodyguards loyal to Cambodia's feuding prime ministers Norodom Ranariddh and Hun Sen. At least one is killed.

1999 - Nelson Mandela bids farewell to the country he led into democracy and hands over power of South Africa to its second freely elected president, Thabo Mbeki.

2001 - The 15-member European Union announces it will open its doors to new members from the formerly communist east by 2004.

2002 - A judge rejects a request to move the trial of John Walker Lindh, a US citizen who had joined Afghanistan's Taliban militia, from Virginia to his native California.

2003
- The British House of Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs holds its first public hearing on the government's use of intelligence leading up to a US-led invasion of Iraq in March.

2004 - Car bombers target Iraq's security services, killing at least 41 people and wounding at least 142, as Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz says Iraqi security forces are not yet ready to operate without US military support.

2005
- Troops with truncheons and tear gas beat back protesters in Bishkek who stormed government headquarters, because their candidate was denied registration for upcoming elections, in the biggest unrest in Kyrgyzstan since its longtime president was ousted in March.

2006 - Russian special operations police kill top Chechen rebel leader Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev after receiving a tip about a terror attack in Chechnya planned to coincide with the upcoming Group of Eight summit in St Petersburg.

2007
- Insurgents bomb a police academy bus in central Kabul, Afghanistan, killing more than 35 and wounding 52.

2008
- Mexico adopts US-style public trials and a presumption of innocence under reforms signed by President Felipe Calderon. They replace closed-door proceedings in which judges rely on written evidence. The new law is meant to make courts more accountable and efficient.

Today's Birthdays:
Charles XII, soldier-king of Sweden (1682-1718); John Wesley, English founder of Methodism (1703-1791); Jon Sigurdsson, Icelandic statesman (1811-1879); Charles Gounod, French composer (1818-1893); Igor Stravinsky, Russian composer (1882-1971); MC Escher, Dutch artist (1898-1972); Barry Manilow, US singer (1946--); Greg Kinnear, actor (1963--).

Thought For Today:
You may prove anything by figures - Thomas Carlyle, Scottish writer (1795-1881).

Sapa-AP

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