This Day in History - June 20
On this day, US athlete O J Simpson pleads innocent to murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown-Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT

1756: Scores of British prisoners (146, by British accounts) are shut in a cell known as the Black Hole of Calcutta by the nawab of Bengal, and only 21 escape suffocation during the night.

OTHER EVENTS

1782: Congress approves the Great Seal of the United States, featuring the emblem of the bald eagle.

1791: King Louis XVI of France and his family attempt to flee in the so-called Flight to Varennes, but are caught.

1837: Queen Victoria succeeds to the British throne upon the death of her uncle, King William IV; Natal Republic is founded by Dutch settlers in southern Africa and a constitution is proclaimed.

1893: A jury in New Bedford, Massachusetts, finds Lizzie Borden not guilty of the ax murders of her father and stepmother.

1921: US Rep Alice Mary Robertson, an Oklahoma Republican, becomes the first woman to preside over a session of the House of Representatives.

1966: The Beatles album Yesterday and Today is released by Capitol Records, initially with its notorious cover photo featuring the Fab Four dressed in butcher smocks while posing with chunks of meat and parts of dismembered dolls; the resulting outcry prompts Capitol to recall the albums and replace the covers with a more conventional group portrait, making the “butcher cover” a collector’s item.

1967: Boxer Muhammad Ali is convicted in Houston of violating Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted. (Ali’s conviction was ultimately overturned by the Supreme Court).

1973: Juan Peron returns to Argentina after 18-year exile.

1988: Lieutenant General Henry Namphy declares himself president of Haiti after troops storm national palace and depose civilian President Leslie Manigat. US Supreme Court unanimously upholds a New York City law making it illegal for private clubs with more than 400 members to exclude women and minorities.

1990: South African black nationalist Nelson Mandela and his wife, Winnie, arrive in New York City for a ticker-tape parade in their honour as they begin an eight-city US tour.

1991: German lawmakers narrowly vote to return Germany’s seat of power to Berlin. P V Narasimha Rao becomes India’s ninth prime minister since it became independent in 1947. He commences reforms that begin to open India’s closed and socialist economy.

1992: Czech leader Vaclav Klaus and Slovak leader Vladimir Meciar agree to split Czechoslovakia in two.

1994: US athlete O J Simpson pleads innocent to murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown-Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

1996: Russian President Boris Yeltsin fires three of the most powerful members of his Administration amid charges they want to cancel presidential elections and use force to retain their positions and power.

1999: While in Germany for a summit, Russian President Boris Yeltsin presents US President Bill Clinton with the recently declassified Russian reports relating to the assassination of President John F Kennedy.

2000: A French court dismisses criminal charges against former German doctor Hans Muench who worked at the Auschwitz death camp, ruling that at age 89 he is too old for a trial on inciting racial hatred.

2001: Houston resident Andrea Yates drowns her five children in the family bathtub, then calls police. (Yates was later convicted of murder but had her conviction overturned; she was acquitted by reason of insanity in a retrial.)

2002: The US shuts down its embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, after a terrorist threat. The new embassy building opened March 3, four and a half years after a bomb destroyed the original structure, killing 219 people and injuring more than 5,000 others in August 1998.

2003: Experts from the UN atomic agency say they have accounted for tons of natural and low-enriched uranium that were feared looted from Iraq’s largest nuclear research facility, diplomats reveal on condition of anonymity.

2004: Iraq’s interim prime minister announces a restructuring of the country’s security forces, grouping all Iraqi troops under a central command which has the chief duty of tackling insurgents plaguing the country.

2006: Former Liberian President Charles Taylor’s UN-chartered plane arrives in the Netherlands for a war crimes trial on charges accusing him in the death, rape or mutilation of hundreds of thousands of people in West Africa. The US military recovers the booby-trapped bodies of two missing soldiers in Iraq. Anchorman Dan Rather reaches an agreement with CBS News to leave the network after 44 years. The Miami Heat wins its first NBA title, beating the Dallas Mavericks 95-92 in game six.

2008: Model Naomi Campbell is sentenced in London to 200 hours of community service and fined 2,300 pounds (US$4,600) after she pleads guilty to kicking, spitting, and swearing at two police officers during an argument over lost luggage while aboard a plane at Heathrow Airport.

2009: Thousands of protesters defy Iran’s highest authority and march on waiting security forces that fight back with batons and tear gas in a deepening crisis over a disputed presidential election.

2010: Israel pledges it will immediately allow all goods into Gaza, except weapons and items deemed to have a military use, under its decision to ease its three-year-old blockade of the Palestinian territory.

2011: Syrian President Bashar Assad promises national dialogue to consider political reforms, but his vague overtures to a pro-democracy uprising fall flat as protesters take to the streets shouting “Liar!” and demanding his ouster. The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, by E L James, is published by Vintage Books.

2012: Greece moves to end its protracted impasse, swearing in a new prime minister to lead a largely pro-bailout coalition tasked with saving the country’s place in the Eurozone and easing a European financial crisis with global repercussions.

2013: In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, the Taliban proposes a deal in which they will free US Army Seargeant Bowe Bergdahl, held since 2009, in exchange for five of their most senior operatives at Guantanamo Bay. The exchange takes place with Bergdahl being handed over on May 31, 2014. *The Food and Drug Administration approves unrestricted sales of the morning-after pill, lifting all age limits on the emergency contraceptive.

2017: A run-off election between Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff is held in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District; Handel is declared the winner with 52 per cent of the vote to Ossoff’s 48. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigns under pressure from investors and Uber’s board. Rapper Prodigy, a member of hardcore, New York hip hop duo Mobb Deep, dies in Las Vegas at age 42.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

Jacques Offenbach, German-born composer (1819-1880); Errol Flynn, Australian actor (1909-1959); Chet Atkins, country guitarist (1924-2001); Martin Landau, actor (1928-2017); Olympia Dukakis, actress (1931-2021 ); James Tolkan, actor (1931- ); John Mahoney, actor (1940-2018); Anne Murray, singer (1945- ); Bob Vila (1946- ); Tina Sinatra, producer (1948- ); Lionel Richie, R&B singer (1949- ); John Goodman, US actor (1952- ); Nicole Kidman, actress (1967- ); Murphy Karges, rock musician (1967-); Josh Lucas, US actor (1971- ); Brian Wilson, US singer-songwriter (1942- ); Alisan Porter, singer and actress (1981- ); Maria Lark, actress (1997- ).

— AP

Lifting all age limits on the emergency contraceptive, the Food and Drug Administration approves unrestricted sales of the morning-after pill on this day in history, 2013.
For the ax murders of her father and stepmother, a jury in New Bedford, Massachusetts, finds Lizzie Borden not guilty on this day in history, 1893.

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