Today in History, 5/9

Highlights in history on this date:

1590 – The Duke of Parma, advancing from the Netherlands, forces France’s King Henry IV to lift the siege of Paris in Catholic League War.

1698 – New East India Company is granted charter by King William III of England; Peter the Great executes the Streltzy rebels in Russia and imposes a tax on beards.

1793 – The revolutionary government in France starts the 10-month Reign of Terror, during which 17,000 people are executed.

1800 – Malta is surrendered to the British under Admiral Nelson after they blockade French troops occupying the island.

1883 – Prospector Charles Rasp pegs the first block on the “Broken Hill” in far western NSW, expecting to find tin. Silver is later discovered there.

1908 – First publication in Australia of Dorothy McKellar’s poem My Country.

1939 – President Franklin Roosevelt declares US neutrality at the start of World War II in Europe; Australia calls for volunteers to create a World War II fighting force.

1957 – On the Road, by beat author Jack Kerouac, is published.

1972 – During the Olympic games, Arab terrorists of the Black September movement attack an Israeli dormitory in the Olympic village at Munich, killing two members of the Israeli Olympic team. Nine Israelis, five terrorists and a West German policeman later die in a shootout at Munich Airport.

1975 – In Sacramento, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a follower of the cult leader Charles Manson, attempts to assassinate US President Gerald Ford.

1977 – West German urban guerrillas kidnap businessman Hanns Martin Schleyer, the president of the Federation of West German Industries. His body was found on October 19 in France.

1980 – The opening of the 16km St Gotthard road tunnel in Switzerland, the longest in the world.

1982 – Death of British pilot Sir Douglas Bader, who despite losing both legs in a flying accident, led his squadron to victory in the Battle of Britain.

1986 – Twenty-two people die when Pakistani security forces storm a Pan Am Boeing 747 carrying 400 passengers and crew to end a 16-hour siege by four Palestinian hijackers.

1987 – Israeli jets blast Palestinian guerrilla bases near Sidon, Lebanon, killing 41 people and wounding 60.

1994 – Anti-crime crusading NSW MP John Newman is shot dead outside his home in Cabramatta, Sydney.

1995 – France conducts an underground nuclear test on Mururoa Atoll, causing worldwide condemnation.

1996 – Ramzi Yousef, a Muslim extremist who allegedly masterminded the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing, is convicted with two other men of planning to blow up a dozen US commercial airliners.

1997 – Death of Mother Teresa, who worked with India’s poorest people.

1998 – North Korea’s parliament elects Kim Jong Il to the presidency, completing the communist world’s first hereditary succession.

2001 – Peru’s attorney-general files homicide charges against ex-President Alberto Fujimori, linking him to two massacres by paramilitary death squads in the early 1990s.

2008 – NSW Premier Morris Iemma is forced to resign when his caucus refused to accept his choice of new state ministers, with Nathan Rees appointed his successor.

2012 – A major international effort yields the first comprehensive look at how DNA works, an encyclopedia of information that will rewrite textbooks and offer new insights into the biology of disease.

2013 – US President Barack Obama declares Syria a national security threat that must be answered with a military strike.

2014 – Respected Australian boardmaker Geoff Moase, 48, dies while surfing off Sorga Beach in Lombok, Indonesia.

2016 – Melbourne teenager Sevdet Besim is sentenced to 10 years in prison after he admitted plotting to behead a police officer during the 2015 Anzac Day parade.

2017 – Amid international uproar over North Korea’s biggest nuclear weapons test to date, one of Pyongyang’s top diplomats says they are ready to send “more gift packages” to the United States if it continues to exert pressure, while US President Donald Trump says he’ll send weapons to Japan and South Korea.

Today’s Birthdays:

Louis XIV, the “Sun King” of France (1638-1715); Giacomo Meyerbeer, German composer (1791-1864); Jesse James, US outlaw (1847-1882); Paul Bourget, French author (1852-1935); John Cage, US composer (1912-1992); George Lazenby, Australian actor (1939-); Raquel Welch, US actress (1940-); Werner Herzog, German director (1942-); Freddie Mercury, British singer, Queen (1946-1991); Frank Farina, Australian footballer (1964-); Matt Geyer, Australian rugby league footballer (1975-); Carice van Houten, Dutch actress, singer and author (1976-); Alicia Banit, Australian actress (1990-).

Thought for Today:

It is only the poor who are forbidden to beg – Anatole France, French author and critic (1844-1924).

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