This Day in History — September 24Thursday, September 24, 2020
Today is the 268th day of 2020. There are 98 days left in the year.
2007: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad questions the official version of the September 11 attacks and defends the right to cast doubt on the Holocaust, in a tense appearance at Columbia University in New York.
1568: Spanish capture English ships at San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Sir John Hawkins' fleet.
1688: France's King Louis XIV declares war against Holy Roman Empire, called the War of the League of Augsburg.
1789: US Congress passes the First Judiciary Act, which provides for an attorney general and a supreme court.
1852: French inventor Henri Giffard makes the first flight in a powered airship, cruising with steam power over Paris.
1877: The last of the samurai rebellions against the reinstated Japanese emperor is defeated by the new conscript armies.
1932: The Poona Pact between Hindu religious leaders, forced by Mahatma Gandhi's hunger strike, gives new electoral rights to low-caste “untouchables” in India.
1943: Soviet army crosses Dnieper River, north of Kiev, as Germans retreat in World War II.
1948: First conference in London of representatives from Britain's African colonies; Mildred Gillars, accused of being Nazi wartime radio propagandist “Axis Sally”, pleads innocent in Washington to charges of treason. She ends up serving 12 years in prison.
1957: Racial desegregation takes centre stage when federal troops are dispatched to Little Rock, Arkansas, to maintain order and enforce the right of black students to attend the local public high school.
1966: Mob ransacks and burns Portuguese Embassy in Leopoldville in the Congo.
1968: The prime-time American television news show 60 Minutes debuts; created by Don S Hewitt and featuring such reporters as Mike Wallace, it became one of the most successful programmes in broadcast history.
1969: The “Chicago Seven” trial begins. Five of the defendants are convicted of crossing state lines to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The convictions are later overturned.
1971: Britain expels 90 Soviets for espionage activities.
1976: Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst is sentenced to seven years in prison for her part in a 1974 bank robbery with members of a militant group who had earlier kidnapped her. She is granted clemency by US President Jimmy Carter and released after 22 months.
1982: The US Government lifts the military sanctions that it had imposed on Argentina during the war with Great Britain over the Falkland Islands.
1993: Nelson Mandela asks the world community to lift economic and diplomatic sanctions against South Africa.
1995: After all-night talks, Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation agree to sign a pact at the White House ending nearly three decades of Israeli occupation of West Bank cities.
1996: The United States and the world's major nuclear powers sign a treaty to end all testing and development of nuclear weapons.
2002: Two gunmen attack a Hindu temple complex in Gandhinagar, the capital of western Gujarat state, killing at least 30 people and wounding 74 before being killed by commandos.
2005: Crowds opposed to the war in Iraq surge past the White House shouting “Peace now”, in the largest anti-war protest in the nation's capital since the US invasion. Police estimate around 100,000 protesters.
2009: For the first time, an experimental vaccine prevents infection with the AIDS virus, a watershed event in the deadly epidemic and a surprising result for many scientists who thought previous failures meant such a vaccine might never be possible.
2010: Nigerian authorities open the gates at two swollen dams in the country's rain-soaked north, sending a flood into a neighbouring state that displaces two million people.
2011: In one of the bloodiest days of Yemen's uprising, Government troops backed by snipers and shelling attack a square full of Yemeni protesters and battle with pro-Opposition forces in the capital, killing at least 40 people.
2013: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says his nation is prepared to immediately engage in stalled negotiations over its disputed nuclear programme — but only under certain conditions.
2014: US President Barack Obama implores world leaders at the UN to rally behind his expanding military campaign to stamp out the violent Islamic State group.
2015: According to Saudi officials, 769 people die in a stampede during the hajj to Mecca; however, other estimates claim that more than 2,400 are killed, making it one of the deadliest accidents in the pilgrimage's history.
Albrecht von Wallenstein, Bohemian soldier (1583-1634); Horace Walpole, British writer (1717-1797); F Scott Fitzgerald, US writer (1896-1940); Sir William Dobell, Australian artist (1899-1970); Jim Henson, US puppeteer (1936-1990); Jim McKay, US sportscaster (1921-2008); Anthony Newley, British actor-singer (1931-1999); Nia Vardalos, American-Canadian actress-writer (1962- )