Today is the 161st day of 2020. There are 205 days left in the year.
TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT2008: Scientists at a US government weapons laboratory announce they have built the world’s fastest computer, capable of sustaining 1,000 trillion operations per second. It will be used to help maintain the US nuclear weapons stockpile.OTHER EVENTS68AD: Roman Emperor Nero commits suicide after being ousted in a military coup.1752: French forces at Trichinopoly, now Tiruchchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India, surrender to British.
1815: Representatives from 200 states, governorships, cities and corporations from all over Europe adopt the Congress Act in Vienna, rearranging Europe after the Napoleonic Wars.1870: Author Charles Dickens dies in Gad’s Hill Place, England.1934: The first Walt Disney animated cartoon featuring Donald Duck, The Wise Little Hen, is released.1943: The US federal government begins withholding income tax from pay cheques.1946: Bhumibol Adulyadej (poo-mee-POON’ ah-dool-yah-DAYD’) becomes king of Thailand at age 18, beginning a reign that continues to this day.1946: Ananda Mahidol, the young king of Thailand who recently returned to take up his duties, is found dead in his bed with a gunshot wound.1967: Gamal Abdel Nasser resigns as president of Egypt after his country is defeated in Six-Day War with Israel.1973: Secretariat wins the Belmont Stakes, becoming horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner in 25 years.1985: American educator Thomas Sutherland is kidnapped in Lebanon by members of Islamic Jihad; he was released in November 1991 along with fellow hostage Terry Waite.1986: The Rogers Commission releases its report on the Challenger disaster, criticising NASA and rocket-builder Morton Thiokol for management problems leading to the explosion that claimed the lives of seven astronauts.1991: King Hussein and Jordanian politicians sign a document to revive multiparty democracy 34 years after political parties were banned.1994: Fire destroys the Georgia mansion of Atlanta Falcons receiver Andre Rison; his girlfriend, rap singer Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, a member of the famous girl group TLC admits causing the blaze after a fight, and was later sentenced to probation.1996: Iraqi officials and UN experts begin dismantling a major biological weapons factory outside Baghdad.2000: France and Germany agree to strengthen a common European defence that will be less dependent on the United States.2001: Iranian President Mohammed Khatami wins re-election with a landslide 75 per cent of the vote. The mandate points toward the people’s unmistakable demand that conservative clerics must loosen their grip on Iran.2003: Britain decides to delay adopting the euro — the European Union’s single currency.2009: Under heavy guard, a Guantanamo detainee walks into a civilian US courtroom for the first time, underscoring the Obama Administration’s determination to close the Cuban prison and hold trials in the United States despite Republican opposition.2011: Alabama passes a tough law against illegal immigration, requiring schools to find out if students were in the country lawfully and making it a crime to knowingly give an illegal immigrant a ride. (Federal courts have since blocked parts of the law.)2012: Europe is to offer Spain a bailout package of up to euro100 billion (US$125 billion) to help rescue the country’s banks and keep the 17-nation eurozone from breaking apart.2013: A 29-year-old intelligence analyst who claims to have worked at the National Security Agency and the CIA is revealed as the source of The Guardian’s and The Washington Post’s disclosures about the US Government’s secret surveillance programmes.2014: The Pakistani Taliban threaten more violence after a five-hour assault on the nation’s busiest airport killed 29 people — including all 10 attackers — raising a new challenge to the US ally trying to end years of fighting.2015: Former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert pleads not guilty in Chicago to charges that he had violated banking rules and lied to the FBI about promising to pay US$3.5 million in hush money to conceal misconduct from his days as a high school teacher. (Hastert later pleaded guilty to violating banking law in a case that revealed accusations of sexual abuse, and was sentenced to 15 months in prison.TODAY’S BIRTHDAYSPeter the Great, czar of Russia (1672-1725); George Stephenson, English engineer, principal inventor of the locomotive (1781-1848); Otto Nicolai, German composer (1810-1849); Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, English physician (1836-1917); Cole Porter, US songwriter (1893-1964); Joe Santos, US actor (1936-2016); Michael J Fox, US actor (1961- ); Johnny Depp, US actor (1963- ); Natalie Portman, Israeli-US actress (1981- )— APNow you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive