On this day - June 8

2011-06-08 07:30
Today is Wednesday, June 8, the 159th day of 2011. There are 206 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

632 - The prophet Muhammad dies in Medina. He leaves no arrangement for his succession, creating a rift in Islam lasting to this day.

1663 - The Portuguese defeat Spaniards at Ameixal, leading to Spanish recognition of Portugal's independence.

1762 - Russo-Prussian alliance against Austria is concluded.

1867 - Prussia annexes Duchy of Holstein from Denmark.

1869 - The suction vacuum cleaner is patented by Ives McGaffey of Chicago.

1883 - France, by Convention of Marsa with Bey of Tunis, gains effective control of Tunisia.

1915 - Allied forces take Neuville in France from Germans in World War I.

1925 - Britain and France accept in principle Germany's proposals for security pact to guarantee Franco-German and Belgo-German boundaries.

1941 - British and Free French forces invade Syria, then controlled by Vichy French. The French resist for a month.

1942 - Japanese submarines shell Sydney, Australia, in World War II.

1965 - US troops in Vietnam are authorized to engage in offensive operations.

1973 - Spain's Generalissimo Francisco Franco relinquishes some of his power by naming Admiral Louis Carrero Blanco as premier.

1976 - Large force of Syrian troops moves into Lebanon, where civil war rages.

1988 - Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze tells United Nations that Moscow would observe a moratorium on nuclear testing if United States also agrees.

1990 - Vaclav Havel is elected president in Czechoslovakia's first free elections in 44 years.

1992 - Delegates at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, approve new UN body to monitor compliance with environmental treaties.

1993 - Rene Bousquet, former head of police in Vichy France, is killed in his Paris apartment by a crazed gunman on the eve of his war crimes trial.

1994 - Two months after the start of the carnage in Rwanda, the UN Security Council approves the dispatch of 5 500 peacekeepers with a timid mandate to protect humanitarian aid but not to stop the slaughter.

1996 - An American icebreaker churns through pack ice to bring tons of food and supplies to 38 Russians marooned at an Antarctic research base.

1997 - The Cobra militia of former President Denis Sassou-Nguesso takes control of the centre of Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.

1998 - Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha dies suddenly of a heart attack, opening the way for democracy in the country.

1999 - A white New York City policeman is convicted holding down a Haitian immigrant Abner Louima in a stationhouse bathroom while another officer sodomises him with a broken broomstick. The case touches off protests and strains minority relations with the police and mayor.

2000 - Britain's defence attaché is killed in a road ambush in Greece. Europe's most elusive urban guerilla group, November 17, later claims responsibility for the assassination.

2001 - Japan is shocked when a mentally unstable man stabs and kills eight children and wounds 15 teachers and students at a school in Ikeda.

2002- Philippine troops battle the Abu Sayyaf Muslim rebel group and free US citizen, Gracia Burnham. Her husband, Martin Burnham, and Ediborah Yap, a Philippine nurse, are killed in the fighting. They had been held since May 2001.

2003 - Eleven Pakistani police trainees are killed and nine others injured by unidentified gunmen on motorcycles in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan Province. The attack is believed to be linked to sectarian violence since many of the victims were Hazaras, a Shi'ite Muslim minority, which is at odds with the majority Sunnis.

2004 - France and Germany, the sharpest critics of the Iraq war, back a revised UN resolution laying out the powers of Iraq's new government - an important step toward gaining the approval of the UN Security Council.

2005 - Ethiopian police open fire on stone-throwing protesters in the centre of the capital, killing 22 people and wounding hundreds as unrest mounts over the ruling party's claim of victory in recent elections.

2006 - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq who carried out some of the bloodiest suicide attacks in Iraq and led a campaign of kidnappings and hostage beheadings, is killed in a US bombing outside Baqouba, northeast of Baghdad.

2007 - Hundreds of people flee a sprawling Nairobi shantytown after a violent weeklong raid by police searching for the shadowy Mungiki sect accused in a string of beheadings.

2008 - A man rams a truck into a crowd of shoppers, jumps out and goes on a stabbing spree in Tokyo's top electronics district, killing at least six people and wounding 12 others.

Today's Birthdays:
Giovanni Cassini, Italian astronomer (1625-1712); Robert Schumann, German composer (1810-1856); Frank Lloyd Wright, US architect (1869-1959); Suharto, second Indonesian president (1921-2008); Joan Rivers, US comedian/talk show host (1933--); James Darren, US actor (1936--); Nancy Sinatra, pop singer (1940--); Sonia Braga, Brazilian actress (1950--); Kanye West, rapper (1977--); Julianna Margulies, US actress (1967--).

Thought For Today:
Love hath no physic for a grief too deep - Robert Nathan, American author and composer (1894-1985).

Sapa-AP

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