On this day - November 15

2011-11-15 09:16
Today is Tuesday, November 15, the 319th day of 2011. There are 46 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1492 - Christopher Columbus notes in his journal the use of tobacco among Indians - the first recorded reference to tobacco by a European.

1577 - Sir Francis Drake of England leaves on a voyage around the world.

1889 - Brazil's King Pedro II abdicates, and Brazil is proclaimed a republic.

1920 - League of Nations Assembly holds first meeting in Geneva.

1928 - Fascist Grand Council becomes part of Italian constitution.

1939 - US President Franklin Roosevelt lays the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.

1940 - The first 75 000 American men are called to Armed Forces duty under peacetime conscription.

1963 - Cuban President Fidel Castro warns the United Nations that his country will shoot down any US military plane entering its airspace on a reconnaissance mission, saying that the United States already verified the withdrawal of Soviet strategic missiles from Cuba by high-seas inspection.

1969 - A Vietnam War protest gathers 250 000 people in Washington, DC.

1976 - Syrian army takes control of Beirut, ending an 18-month civil war in Lebanon.

1977 - Israel sends formal invitation to Egypt's President Anwar Sadat to visit Jerusalem and address the Israeli parliament.

1982 - Funeral services are held in Moscow's Red Square for the late Soviet President Leonid I Brezhnev.

1985 - Britain and Ireland sign an accord giving Dublin an official consultative role in governing Northern Ireland.

1986 - A government tribunal in Nicaragua convicts American Eugene Hasenfus on charges of delivering arms to Contra rebels, and sentences him to 30 years in prison. He is pardoned a month later.

1988 - The Palestine National Council, the legislative body of the PLO, proclaims the establishment of an independent Palestinian state at the close of a four-day conference in Algiers.

1991 - The UN Environment Program reports worldwide production and use of chemicals believed to cause erosion of the ozone layer has declined 40% over the last five years.

1992 - Shining Path rebels detonate two bombs in Lima, Peru, wounding 10 people.

1993 - Gunmen in Lebanon kill a senior aide of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

1995 - European Union ambassadors approve a total arms embargo to punish Nigeria's military regime for the execution of nine political activists.

1996 - Voters in Sao Paulo, Brazil, elect Celso Pitta as their first black mayor.

1997 - Russian President Boris Yeltsin fires two cabinet ministers after it is revealed that Anatoly Chubais, Russia's leading economic reformer, took money for a book from a financial institution.

1998 - US President Bill Clinton announces that Iraq has "backed down" and has promised to co-operate unconditionally with UN weapons inspectors.

1999 - Chinese and US negotiators sign a breakthrough agreement in Beijing that removes trade barriers and clears the biggest hurdle to China's entry into the World Trade Organisation.

2001 - A judge rules that Britain has no laws governing human cloning, despite Parliament's attempt to make it the first nation to permit and regulate research using cloned embryos.

2002 - Colombian army troops rescue Bishop Jorge Enrique Jimenez, one of Latin American's leading Roman Catholic bishops, and another priest after a gun battle with their rebel captors in the Andean mountains.

2003 - Car bombings within minutes of each other at two Jewish synagogues in Istanbul, Turkey, kill at least 25 people and wound more than 300.

2004 - Sending home a final jumbo jet full of anxious foreigners, France ends its leading role in one of Africa's largest evacuations - five-day exodus of 5 000 Westerners and others amid fighting between Ivory Coast and its former colonial ruler.

2005 - UN peacekeepers and gang members trade gunfire in the Cite Soleil slum of the Haitian capital, leaving at least two people dead.

2006 - Pakistan's parliament approves amendments to an Islamic-based law on rape, dropping the death penalty and flogging for people convicted of having consensual sex outside marriage.

2007 - Cyclone Sidr roars across the southwestern coast of Bangladesh with 150 mph (240 kph) winds killing at least 3 100 people in the deadliest such storm in more than a decade.

2008 - Somali pirates hijack a Saudi-owned supertanker loaded with two million barrels of crude oil in the Indian Ocean. It is the largest ship pirates have seized.

2009 - Hundreds of French and Afghan troops push into a hostile valley in eastern Afghanistan where militants launch quick attacks, then disappear into hillside villages. The mission: secure the area for a planned bypass road around the Afghan capital to move supplies from neighbouring Pakistan.

2010 - Rolls-Royce to temporarily replace any oil-leaking engines like the one that caught fire and blew apart on a Qantas superjumbo jet earlier this month, forcing the A380 to make an emergency landing in Singapore with 459 people aboard.

Today's Birthdays:
William Pitt, British prime minister (1708-1779); William Herschel, German-born astronomer and discoverer of Uranus (1738-1822); Erwin Rommel, German general (1891-1944); Petula Clark, English popular singer (1932--); Sam Waterston, US actor (1940--); Rachel True, US actress (1966--).

Thought For Today:
In a time of war ... the task of news-writers is easy; they have nothing to do but to tell that the battle is expected, and afterward that a battle has been fought, in which we and our friends, whether conquering or conquered, did all, and our enemies did nothing - Samuel Johnson, English critic (1709-1784).

- Sapa-AP

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