Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, June 17, the 168th day of 2015. There are 197 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On June 17, 1775, the Revolutionary War Battle of Bunker Hill resulted in a costly victory for the British, who suffered heavy losses.

On this date:

In 1789, during the French Revolution, the Third Estate declared itself a national assembly, and undertook to frame a constitution. (This gathering gave rise to the political terms “left wing” and “right wing,” with deputies representing commoners sitting to the left of the assembly president, and nobles sitting to the right.)

In 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor aboard the French ship Isere (ee-SEHR’).

In 1928, Amelia Earhart embarked on a trans-Atlantic flight from Newfoundland to Wales with pilots Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon, becoming the first woman to make the trip as a passenger.

In 1930, President Herbert Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which boosted U.S. tariffs to historically high levels, prompting foreign retaliation.

In 1940, France asked Germany for terms of surrender in World War II.

In 1944, the Republic of Iceland was established.

In 1953, U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas stayed the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, originally set for the next day, the couple’s 14th wedding anniversary. (They were put to death June 19.)

In 1961, Soviet ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev defected to the West while his troupe was in Paris.

In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon’s eventual downfall began with the arrest of five burglars inside Democratic national headquarters in Washington D.C.’s Watergate complex.

In 1985, Discovery Channel made its cable TV debut.

In 1992, President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed a breakthrough arms-reduction agreement.

In 1994, after leading police on a slow-speed chase on Southern California freeways, O.J. Simpson was arrested and charged with murder in the slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. (Simpson was later acquitted in a criminal trial, but held liable in a civil trial.)

Ten years ago: The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops agreed to a five-year extension on their unprecedented policy of permanently barring sexually abusive clergy from church work. Marcus Wesson, the domineering patriarch of a large clan he’d bred through incest, was convicted in Fresno, California, of murdering nine of his children. (Wesson was later sentenced to death.) Former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski and a second executive, Mark H. Swartz, were convicted of looting their company of more than $600 million. (Kozlowsky was paroled in January 2014; Swartz was released in October 2013.) Iran’s presidential election was thrown into a run-off after no candidate won over 50 percent of the vote. (Tehran’s conservative mayor, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad (mahk-MOOD’ ah-muh-DEE’-neh-zhadh), emerged the winner.)

Five years ago: BP chief executive Tony Hayward told a congressional hearing he was “deeply sorry” for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but infuriated lawmakers as he disclaimed knowledge of any of the myriad problems leading up to the disaster. Israel agreed to ease its three-year-old land blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. The Los Angeles Lakers rallied in Game 7, defeating the Boston Celtics 83-79 to repeat as NBA champions.

One year ago: The Obama administration announced that U.S. special forces had seized Ahmed Abu Khattala, described as a “key leader” in the deadly Benghazi, Libya, attack, and that he was on his way to face trial in the U.S. for the fiery assault that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. (Abu Khattala has since pleaded not guilty in federal court.) Johann “Hans” Breyer, an 89-year-old retired toolmaker, was arrested in Philadelphia on a German arrest warrant charging him with aiding and abetting the killing of 216,000 Jewish men, women and children while a guard at the Auschwitz death camp. (Breyer died just over a month later before he could be extradited.)

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Peter Lupus is 83. Actor William Lucking is 74. Singer Barry Manilow is 72. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is 72. Comedian Joe Piscopo is 64. Actor Mark Linn-Baker is 61. Actor Jon Gries (gryz) is 58. Rock singer Jello Biafra is 57. Movie producer-director-writer Bobby Farrelly is 57. Actor Thomas Haden Church is 54. Actor Greg Kinnear is 52. Actress Kami Cotler is 50. Olympic gold-medal speed skater Dan Jansen is 50. Actor Jason Patric is 49. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kevin Thornton is 46. Actor-comedian Will Forte is 45. Latin pop singer Paulina Rubio is 44. Tennis player Venus Williams is 35. Actor-rapper Herculeez (AKA Jamal Mixon) is 32. Rapper Kendrick Lamar is 28. Actor Damani Roberts is 19.

comments powered by Disqus