On this day - February 16

2012-02-16 07:43

Today is Thursday, February 16, the 47th day of 2012. There are 319 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1804 - US Marines slip into Tripoli harbour and burn US Navy frigate Philadelphia, which had been captured by pirates.

1808 - France invades Spain.

1862 - General Ulysses Grant demands the Confederate forces' unconditional surrender during America's Civil War. Some 14 000 troops surrender.

1871 - Franco-Prussian War ends in defeat for France.

- Republic is proclaimed in Spain, but only lasts two years.

1918 - England's port of Dover is bombarded by German submarines in World War I.

1923 - The burial chamber of King Tutankhamen's recently unearthed tomb is unsealed in Egypt.

1933 - Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia, fearing German threats, reorganise Little Entente with permanent council.

1936 - Left-wing Popular Front wins elections in Spain. Reaction from the military later leads to Spanish Civil War.

1942 - German submarines fire upon oil refineries in Aruba, Dutch West Indies, during World War II.

1945 - American troops land on the island of Corregidor in the Philippines during World War II and begin massive air raids on Tokyo.

1953 - South Africa institutes emergency powers under Public Safety Bill.

1959 - Fidel Castro becomes premier of Cuba after the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista.

1962 - Anti-government riots break out in Georgetown, British Guyana.

1970 - Moscow says Arab nations will get "necessary support" from Soviet Union in their conflict with Israel.

1977 - Anglican Archbishop of Uganda and two government ministers are arrested in alleged plot to overthrow Ugandan President Idi Amin.

1983 - "Ash Wednesday" bushfires in Victoria and South Australia claim more than 70 lives.

1986 - French warplanes bomb Libyan airfield in northern Chad used as support centre for rebels in their offensive against President Hissene Habre's government.

- Barrage of rockets hits two Afghan cities after last Soviet troops leave Afghanistan.

1991 - Former Contra military chief Enrique Bermudez is assassinated outside downtown Managua hotel.

1993 - Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his rival, Parliament speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov, agree to negotiate a separation of powers.

1994 - Greece declares a unilateral embargo on the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia in a conflict over the use of the name Macedonia.

1995 - Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin agrees to gradually lift the closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and permit 15 000 Palestinian workers to return to their jobs in Israel.

1996 - Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro dissolves Parliament to clear the way for national elections three years ahead of schedule.

1997 - Rebel leader Laurent Kabila, after a plea from the United Nations, agrees to delay an attack on Zaire's largest refugee camp. The camp in Tingi-Tingi is attacked two weeks later, scattering 170 000 Rwandans.

1998 - A China Airlines Airbus A-300 jetliner returning from Bali crashes short of Taipei's airport, killing all 203 passengers and crew and seven people on the ground.

1999 - Kurds occupy and take hostages at the Greek embassies in several European countries to protest Kurd leader Abdullah Ocalan's capture by Turkish authorities after he left the Greek Embassy in Kenya.

2000 - A former Bank of New York executive and her husband plead guilty to laundering billions of dollars from Russian bankers in one of the biggest such schemes in US history.

2004 - Kuwait's Parliament decides to investigate charges that a Kuwaiti supplier to a subsidiary of US conglomerate Halliburton charged too much for fuel deliveries to Iraq after the US-led war toppled Saddam Hussein.

2005 - Iran's intelligence minister accuses the United States of flying surveillance drones over Iranian airspace to spy on nuclear and military sites, and threatens to shoot them down.

2006 - Haitians celebrate as word quickly spreads that Rene Preval, a former president who is hugely popular among the poor, is declared the winner of the presidential election.

2007 - A Turkish court sentences seven suspected al-Qaeda militants to life in prison for a pair of 2003 suicide bombings in Istanbul that killed 58 people - attacks prosecutors said were ordered by Osama bin Laden.

2008 - Hundreds of Maoist militants attack six police compounds in eastern India, killing 13 police personnel, a village guard and a civilian and seizing at least 1 000 stolen pistols.

2009 - France's top judicial body formally recognises the nation's role in deporting Jews to Nazi death camps during the Holocaust - but effectively ruled out any more reparations for the deportees or their families.

Today's Birthdays:
Nicolaus Copernicus, Polish astronomer, (1473-1543); GM Travelyan, British historian (1876-1964); John Schlesinger, English film director (1926-2003); Kim Jong Il, North Korean leader (1942--); James Ingram, US singer (1956--); Ice-T, US actor/rapper (1958--); Andy Taylor, guitarist (1961--).

Thought For Today:
One does evil enough when one does nothing good - German proverb.