Sunday, June 15, 2008


This Day in History, June 15
On June 15th, 1822, Charles Babbage proposed a difference engine -- an early version of a computer.

Other Notable Events, June 15
In 1215, under pressure from rebellious barons, England's King John signed the Magna Carta, a crucial first step toward creating Britain's constitutional monarchy.

In 1752, Benjamin Franklin, in a dangerous experiment, demonstrated the relationship between lightning and electricity by flying a kite during a storm in Philadelphia. An iron key suspended from the string attracted a lightning bolt.

In 1785, two Frenchmen attempting to cross the English Channel in a hot-air balloon were killed when their balloon caught fire and crashed. It was the first fatal aviation accident.

In 1846, the U.S.-Canadian border was established.

In 1877, Henry Ossian Flipper, born a slave in Thomasville, Ga., became the first African-American cadet to graduate from West Point.

In 1904, the excursion steamboat "General Slocum" caught fire on the East River in New York, killing 1,121 people.

In 1944, U.S. forces invaded the Japanese-occupied Mariana Islands. By days end, a beachhead had been established on the island of Saipan.

In 1963, Soviet cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky was launched on a space mission, during which he orbited the earth 81 times.

In 1987, Richard Norton of Philadelphia and Calin Rosetti of West Germany completed the first polar circumnavigation of the Earth in a single-engine propeller aircraft, landing in Paris after a 38,000-mile flight.

In 1992, more than 1,000 people were arrested and 95 police officers injured in the sporadic violence, looting and arson that erupted after the Chicago Bulls won a second straight NBA championship.

In 1994, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter arrived in North Korea to discuss the dispute over the country's nuclear development sites.

In 1996, 206 people were injured when a bomb exploded in a mall in Manchester, England.

In 1997, U.S. President Bill Clinton said he might support a formal apology to blacks for slavery.

In 1998, Nigeria's new military ruler ordered the release of some of the political prisoners jailed under the previous regime.

In 1999, South Korean ships sank a North Korean torpedo boat, killing all aboard. The incident had followed a series of confrontations in disputed territorial waters.

In 2002, Arthur Andersen, one of the nation's top accounting firms, was convicted of obstruction of justice by a federal jury in connection with the Enron investigation.

Also in 2002, as wildfires plagued several Western states, a Forest Service veteran admitted accidentally starting the biggest Colorado fire, which by then had consumed 100,000 acres, while burning a letter from her estranged husband.

In 2003, U.S. troops, tanks, planes and helicopters staged a series of raids on Falluja and other Iraqi cities to quell resistance.

In 2004, a U.S. Army general suspended after prisoner abuse was revealed at a Baghdad prison said she was ordered to treat prisoners like dogs. Brig Gen. Janis Karpinski said she was being made a scapegoat for the scandal.

In 2005, the trial of a man accused of organizing the abduction and slaying of three civil rights workers in 1964 finally got under way in Philadelphia, Miss.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Notable Birthdays for June 15
Those born on this date include:
- Prince Edward of England, son of Edward III and known as the "Black Prince," in 1330
- Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg in 1843
- Singer, composer Cliff Edwards (also the voice of Jiminy Cricket in Disney's "Pinocchio") in 1895
- Orchestra leader David Rose in 1910
- Artist Saul Steinberg in 1914
- Pianist Erroll Garner in 1921
- Rep. Morris Udall, D-Ariz., in 1922
- Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1932 (age 74)
- Country singer Waylon Jennings in 1937
- Singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson in 1941
- And actors Jim Varney in 1949, Jim Belushi in 1954 (age 52), Julie Hagerty ("Airplane!") in 1955 (age 51), Helen Hunt in 1963 (age 43), Courtney Cox Arquette ("Friends") in 1964 (age 42), and Neil Patrick Harris ("Doogie Howser, M.D.") in 1973 (age 33).

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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