Today is the 16th day of 2013. There are 349 days left in the year.
1816: Portugal’s South American colony, Brazil, becomes a kingdom.
1547: Ivan the Terrible is crowned Russia’s first czar.
1778: France recognises US independence.
1920: Prohibition, the legal prevention of the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcoholic drinks, begins as the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution takes effect. It is later repealed.
1925: Leon Trotsky is dismissed from chairmanship of Russia’s Revolutionary Council.
1966: Major General Aguiyi Ironsi takes over power in Nigeria after announcing that an attempted coup has been smashed.
1969: Soviet cosmonauts achieve first linkup of two manned spaceships while in orbit around earth.
1971: Swiss ambassador to Brazil, Giovanni Enrico Bucher, is freed in Rio de Janeiro after being held by kidnappers for 40 days.
1973: The US and South Vietnam declare a ceasefire in the Vietnam War in hopes of full peace pact.
1979: In the face of growing unrest, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi flees Iran, never to return.
1987: Hu Yaobang resigns as head of China’s Communist Party, accepting blame for policy mistakes stemming from student turmoil.
1990: Bulgarian government grants opposition right to publish newspapers, but continues to deny their access to radio and television.
1992: A special high court in Greece acquits former Socialist Premier Andreas Papandreou of involvement in a $210-million bank embezzlement scheme; officials of the government of El Salvador and rebel leaders sign a pact in Mexico City ending 12 years of civil war that left at least 75,000 people dead.
1996: Sierra Leone’s military ruler, Captain Valentine Strasser, is ousted in a coup.
1997: In West Bank city of Hebron, Palestinians dance and sing outside Israeli army headquarters as troops begin departing after 30 years of military rule.
1998: Turkey’s high court outlaws the Islamic-oriented Welfare Party.
2000: Ricardo Lagos is elected Chile’s first socialist president since Salvador Allende, whose government was toppled in a bloody 1973 military coup led by Gen Augusto Pinochet.
2001: Laurent Kabila, president of Congo, is killed in a shooting at his home.
2004: Spain’s Constitutional Court, acting on a suit filed by the government under a law outlawing parties that incite terrorism, upholds the banning of Batasuna, a party long considered to be the political wing of the armed Basque independence group ETA.
2005: Massive protests against social benefit cuts paralyse traffic in cities across Russia in the most serious outburst of public discontent since President Vladimir Putin took office. 2008: Sri Lanka’s ceasefire deal ends in a spasm of violence, as suspected Tamil Tiger rebels bomb a bus, shoot the fleeing passengers and attack farmers as they retreat into the bush, killing 27 people.
2010: Egypt’s largest opposition movement, the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, announces it has chosen a new leader, Mohammed Badie, a conservative academic who looks unlikely to challenge the government’s relentless crackdown on the group.
2011: An Egyptian court convicts and sentences to death a Muslim man for killing six Christians and a Muslim guard last year — the latest in a series of moves by authorities seeking to calm religious tensions after a massive suicide bombing outside a church two weeks ago.
Richard Savage, English author (1697-1743); Niccolo Piccinni, Italian musician (1728-1800); John Carpenter, US film director (1948-); Debbie Allen, US actress/dancer/choreographer (1950--); Sade, US singer (1959-); Maxine Jones, US R & B singer (1966-); Kate Moss, English model (1974-).