Today is the 259th day of 2020. There are 107 days left in the year.
1935: The Nuremberg laws are passed, making discrimination against Jews part of Germany’s national policy and making the swastika the official symbol of Nazi Germany.
1590: Giovanni Battista signs a treaty with French Huguenots to bring an army of 156,000 German and Swiss mercenaries into France.
1776: British forces occupy New York City during the American Revolution.
1810: Mexico rejects Spanish rule.
1821: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador declare independence.
1882: British forces occupy Cairo; Arab Pasha surrenders and is banished to Ceylon — now Sri Lanka.
1916: Tanks are used for the first time in war — in a British attack on German lines near the Somme in France.
1917: Russia is proclaimed a republic by Alexander Kerensky, the head of a provisional Government. The first issue of Forbes magazine is published.
1938: British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain visits Germany’s Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgaden, where Hitler states his determination to annex the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia.
1940: The Royal Air Force inflicts heavy losses on the Luftwaffe as the tide turns in the Battle of Britain during World War II.
1942: German armies attack Russian city of Stalingrad in World War II. The aircraft carrier USS Wasp is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine; the US Navy ends up sinking the badly damaged vessel.
1946: People’s Republic is formed in Bulgaria after referendum rejects monarchy.
1953: The United Nations General Assembly rejects communist demands that China be admitted into the organisation in order to help plan a Korean peace conference.
1959: Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev is welcomed by United States President Dwight Eisenhower as he arrives for an unprecedented two-week visit to the US.
1963: Four black girls are killed when a bomb goes off during Sunday services at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. (Three Ku Klux Klansmen are eventually convicted for their roles in the blast.)
1971: Laotian forces recapture the strategic Boloven Plateau town of Paksong following a fierce battle with North Vietnamese troops that claims 481 lives.
1972: A federal grand jury in Washington indicted seven men in connection with the Watergate break-in.
1995: Tanks, howitzers and other heavy weaponry roll away from Sarajevo as Bosnian Serbs begin complying with a US-brokered agreement to ease the shattered city’s siege.
1997: An Egyptian military court convicts 72 Islamic militants of subversion and sentences four of them to death. Two of the nation’s most popular diet drugs — dexfenfluramine and fenfluramine — are pulled off the market because of new evidence they could seriously damage patients’ hearts.
2000: Mexicans are free to publicly toast their independence from Spain for the first time in 70 years. The sale of alcoholic beverages during patriotic Mexican events had been banned since President Pascual Ortiz Rubio was wounded in an assassination attempt in 1930. The 2000 Summer Olympics opens in Sydney, Australia, with a seemingly endless parade of athletes and coaches and a spectacular display; Aborigine runner Cathy Freeman ignites an Olympic ring of fire.
2001: Tropical Storm Gabrielle heads out to sea after leaving half a million Florida homes without electricity.
2003: A fire at Saudi Arabia’s largest prison, al-Hair, in Riyadh, kills 67 inmates and wounds 23 others. The blaze is the deadliest prison fire in Saudi history.
2005: North Korea says it will not give up its nuclear weapons without receiving a reactor for generating power, stalling six-nation talks on Pyongyang’s atomic programmes.
2007: The leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq offers money for the murder of Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks and his editor who recently produced images deemed insulting to Islam. In his Saturday radio address, US President George W Bush says while “formidable challenges” remained in Iraq, the United States would start shifting more troops into support roles in addition to troop withdrawals announced earlier. Several thousand protesters march from the White House to the Capitol to demand an end to the Iraq war.
2008: Zimbabwe’s Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai signs a power-sharing agreement with his nemesis President Robert Mugabe.
2009: Helicopter-borne US commandos attack a convoy in rural southern Somalia, killing top al-Qaeda fugitive Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, wanted for the 2002 car bombing of a beach resort in Kenya and an attempt to shoot down an Israeli airliner.
2010: A mortar attack by Palestinian militants and airstrikes by Israel form the grim backdrop as Mideast leaders end their latest round of peace talks, still divided on major issues.
2011: Denmark elects its first female prime minister, ousting the right-wing Government from power after 10 years of pro-market reforms and ever-stricter controls on immigration.
2012: Al-Qaeda’s most active branch in the Middle East calls for more attacks on US embassies, seeking to co-opt anger over an anti-Muslim film even as the wave of protests that swept 20 countries eases. The National Hockey League locks out its players at 11:59 pm EDT; it is the league’s fourth shutdown in a decade and one that would cost the league nearly half its season.
2013: A wave of car bombings and other attacks in Iraq kill at least 58 people in mostly Shiite-majority cities, another reminder of the Government’s failure to stem the surge of violence that is feeding sectarian tensions.
2014: US Secretary of State John Kerry says he will not shut the door on the possibility of working with Iran against a common enemy in the Islamic State militant group but rules out coordinating on military action.
2016: A report issued by the Republican-led House intelligence committee condemns Edward Snowden, saying the National Security Agency leaker is not a whistle-blower and that the vast majority of the documents he stole were defence secrets that had nothing to do with privacy; Snowden’s attorney blasts the report, saying it was an attempt to discredit a “genuine American hero”.
James Fenimore Cooper, US writer (1789-1851); Robert Benchley, US drama critic (1849-1945); Agatha Christie, British mystery writer (1890-1976); Jean Renoir, French film director (1894-1979); Jessye Norman, US soprano (1945-2019); Tommy Lee Jones, US actor (1946- ); Oliver Stone, US film director (1946- ); Britain’s Prince Harry (1984- )
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