On this day - June 24

2011-06-24 07:30
Today is Friday, June 24, the 175th day of 2011. There are 190 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

656 - Ali bin Abi-Talib is elected as Islam's fourth caliph following the murder of Caliph Uthman.

1497 - Italian explorer Giovanni Caboto, also known as John Cabot, on a mission for the English crown, discovers Canada but thinks it is Asia. The discovery forms the basis for English claims to Canada.

1535 - Holy Roman Emperor Charles V takes Tunis, lair of the pirate Barbarossa, in an attempt to conquer North Africa.

1595 - The English declare Hugh O'Neill, the earl of Tyrone, a traitor for his rebellion in Ireland.

1793 - First republican constitution in France is adopted, providing for universal male suffrage and the right to free public education. The constitution is soon suspended when the Reign of Terror starts.

1812 - Napoleon Bonaparte's forces cross Niemen River and enter Russian territory.

1839 - Ibrahim, son of Muhammad Ali of Egypt, routs Turkish forces at Nizip. The Ottoman Empire is saved by European intervention.

1894 - France's President Sadi Carnot is assassinated by an Italian anarchist at Lyon.

1917 - Russia's Black Sea fleet mutinies at Sevastopol in the Crimea.

1920 - Greeks launch offensive in Asia Minor against Turkish nationalists.

1922 - Germany's Foreign Minister Walter Rathenau, a Jew, is slain by right-wingers.

1932 - A bloodless coup ends absolute monarchy in Thailand, initiating the so-called Constitutional Era.

1944 - A pro-Nazi Danish police group sets part of the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen on fire in revenge for Danish sabotage actions.

1947 - Airplane pilot Kenneth Arnold sees a squadron of unidentified flying objects near Mount Rainier, in Washington state, and coins the phrase "flying saucers".

1948 - Soviet Union begins Berlin blockade, halting road and rail traffic between Berlin and West Germany, leading to start of Berlin airlift.

1978 - Yemen's President Ahmed Hussein Ghashami is killed in Yemen by bomb planted in an envoy's briefcase.

1989 - China's Communist Party replaces Zhao Ziyang as party chief, accusing him of serious errors by supporting democratic demands.

1992 - Israel's Labour party celebrates its election upset of hard-line Likud as Yitzhak Rabin promises to let Palestinians govern themselves.

1995 - Riot police shoot and beat stone-throwing Palestinians demonstrating for the release of 5 000 prisoners in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

1997 - Australian Prime Minister John Howard's government scraps plan for a constitutional convention to decide whether Australia should become a republic separate from Britain.

1998 - The UN Security Council agrees to maintain sanctions against Iraq after the chief weapons inspector says Iraq had placed nerve gas in missile warheads.

1999 - Some 30 gunmen, demanding jobs, seize control of a Haitian orphanage they graduated from and hold it for about 12 hours before surrendering.

2001- Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic lashes out at a decree ordering his extradition to the Hague for trial on war crimes, calling it "legal savagery".

2002 - US President George W Bush says Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat must be replaced before the United States can back the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

2003 - The World Health Organisation (WHO) removes Beijing, China's capital, from its list of areas where severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was spreading, and lifts advice that travellers postpone all but essential travel there.

2004 - Iraqi insurgents assault police stations and government buildings across Iraq in rapid-fire synchronised attacks to demonstrate their power ahead of the formal end of the US occupation.

2005 - Record-high floods rush through the industrial heart of southern China, putting factories and railway lines in the path of torrents that had already killed at least 536 people nationwide.

2006 - Thousands of protesters demand the ouster of East Timor's prime minister, blaming him for provoking violence and political chaos.

2007 - Iraqi court sentences Saddam Hussein's cousin, known as "Chemical Ali", and two other former regime officials to death by hanging for slaughtering up to 180 000 Kurds in the 1980s.

2008 - Palestinian militants fire three homemade rockets into southern Israel, the first such attack since a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza militants took effect the previous week.

2009 - Security forces using tear gas and clubs quickly overwhelm a small group of rock-throwing protesters near Iran's parliament Wednesday, and the country's supreme leader said the outcome of the disputed presidential election will stand – the latest signs of the government's growing confidence in quelling unrest on the streets.

Today's Birthdays:
Nuno Alvares Pereira, Portuguese leader (1360-1431); St John of the Cross, Spanish mystic (1542-1591); Ambrose Bierce, US writer (1842-1914); Lord Horatio Kitchener, English soldier (1850-1916); Victor Frances Hess, Austrian physicist (1883-1964); Jack Dempsey, US world heavyweight boxing champion (1895-1983); Al Molinaro, US actor (1919--).

Thought For Today:
To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the popularity of dogs - Aldous Huxley, English author (1894-1963).

- Sapa-AP

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