Highlights in history on this date:
1791 – Mozart’s opera Die Zauberfloete (The Magic Flute) premieres in Vienna, Austria.
1846 – American dentist William Morton uses ether as an anaesthetic for the first time on a patient in his Boston office.
1868 – Spain’s Queen Isabella flees to France and is declared deposed.
1888 – The London serial killer known as “Jack the Ripper” butchers two more women, Liz Stride and Kate Eddowes.
1929 – The first rocket powered aircraft, the Opel-Hatry Rak-1 glider, is tested by its inventor, Fritz von Opel.
1935 – Porgy and Bess, a folk opera by US composer George Gershwin, has its premiere in Boston.
1939 – Britain sends a 150,000-man force to France after the start of WWII.
1955 – Actor James Dean is killed in a two-car collision near Cholame, California.
1962 – Riots break out in Oxford, Mississippi, when black student James Meredith is enrolled into the formerly white-only University of Mississippi in line with a Federal Court order.
1965 – Six of Indonesia’s top army generals are kidnapped and killed in an abortive coup. Turmoil ensues, leading to the deaths of 300,000 communists and President Sukarno being replaced by Suharto.
1966 – German war criminals Albert Speer and Baldur von Schirach are freed at midnight from Spandau prison after serving 20 years imprisonment.
1976 – Australian radio drama Blue Hills ends after 27 years. All 5795 episodes were written by Gwen Meredith.
1980 – Israel takes a step back to biblical times with the introduction of the shekel as its currency, replacing the pound.
1982 – The Brisbane Commonwealth Games is officially opened by HRH Prince Phillip.
1982 – Cheers premieres on American television.
1985 – Death of Charles Richter, American seismologist whose name is given to the scale for measuring the size of earthquakes.
1990 – Death of Patrick White, Nobel Prize-winning Australian author.
1991 – Haiti’s President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is toppled in a bloody coup which first installs a military junta and later a military-backed civilian regime.
1993 – Queen Elizabeth II awards US General Colin Powell an honorary British knighthood in recognition of his outstanding contribution to British-US relations and for his role in the Gulf War.
1996 – In Tasmania, Martin Bryant pleads not guilty to 72 charges arising from the Port Arthur massacre.
1998 – The US General Accounting Office reports that Kenneth Starr and Robert Fiske have spent more than $US40 million ($A62 million) to investigate President Bill Clinton’s Whitewater land deals in Arkansas and later the Monica Lewinsky affair.
2001 – Democracy returns to Fiji’s Parliament with 71 of its 72 lawmakers being sworn in for the first time since armed nationalists launched a coup 16 months earlier.
2004 – Russia approves the Kyoto Protocol, clearing the way to bring the climate change treaty into force.
2005 – After 85 days in jail for refusing to name her source, New York Times reporter Judith Miller testifies about talks with Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a top aide to US Vice-President Dick Cheney, to a grand jury probing who leaked the name of a CIA operative.
2006 – West Coast Eagles beat the Sydney Swans by one point in the AFL grand final.
2008 – At least 168 people are killed in a stampede of pilgrims at a Hindu temple in Jodhpur, India.
2009 – Over 1100 people are killed after earthquakes off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
2010 – The government of Ecuador declares a state of siege after rebellious police angered by a law that cuts their benefits plunge the small South American nation into chaos in a nationwide strike.
2012 – Melbourne Storm beats the Canterbury Bulldogs in the NRL grand final.
2014 – A man who allegedly bankrolled a US citizen to join terrorist fighters in Syria is arrested in raids across Melbourne.
2016 – A group of thrillseekers is rescued from a rollercoaster at Sea World on the Gold Coast after the ride stopped, leaving them stranded at a significant height.
2017 – Richmond beat the Adelaide Crows in the AFL grand final.
Hans Wilhelm Geiger, German physicist (1882-1947); Park Chung-hee, South Korean president (1917-1979); Deborah Kerr, Scottish-born actress (1921-2007); Truman Capote, US author (1924-1984); Angie Dickinson, US actress (1931-); Cissy Houston, US singer (1933-); Marc Bolan, of T-Rex pop group (1947-1977); Barry Marshall, Australian scientist and Nobel laureate (1951-); Fran Drescher, US actress (1957-); Stan Grant, Australian journalist and indigenous activist (1963-); Marion Cotillard, French actress (1975-); Martina Hingis, Swiss tennis player (1980-); Kieran Culkin, US actor (1982-); Maddie Ziegler, US dancer (2002-).
Thought For Today:
After three days without reading, talk becomes flavourless – Chinese proverb.
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