ON THIS DAY
Today is August 27, the 239th day of 2015. There are 126 days left in the year. Highlights in history on this date: 1660 - Published books of poet John Milton are burnt in London because of his attacks on King Charles II. 1813 - French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte wins his last great battle at Dresden, Germany, against a larger Austrian, Prussian and Russian force. 1859 - Colonel Edwin L Drake creates the first productive oil well in Pennsylvania in the US. 1861 - Francis Gregory, lesser-known explorer in Western Australia, discovers the De Grey River. 1883 - The most powerful volcanic eruption ever recorded continues to blow apart Mt Krakatoa in the Sunda Straits, Indonesia. Shock waves travel around the Earth and tidal waves kill an estimated 36,000 people. 1890 - Perth GPO is officially opened. 1891 - The first Brisbane wool sales are held. 1902 - Women are granted the vote in New South Wales. 1908 - Australian cricketing legend, Sir Donald Bradman, is born in Cootamundra, NSW. 1941 - In WWII, the Iranian government resigns two days after British and Russian troops enter the country. 1945 - US troops begin landing in Japan at the end of WWII. 1946 - France and Laos conclude an agreement establishing a kingdom under French domination. 1954 - The first men cross the Arctic Circle’s Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific. 1970 - The Southern hairy-nosed wombat is adopted as the official faunal emblem of South Australia. 1972 - US jets bomb Haiphong, North Vietnam’s major port. 1979 - British war hero Lord Louis Mountbatten is killed off the coast of Ireland in a boat explosion. The Irish Republican Army claims responsibility. 1992 - US and British warplanes impose Allied flight ban over southern Iraq. 2002 - A judge in Tokyo District Court issues a ruling acknowledging Japan engaged in biological warfare in China in World War II and conducted experiments on Chinese prisoners of war. 2003 - Mars passes just 55.76 million kilometres from Earth in the closest such encounter since the Stone Age. 2010 - Cuba issues a pair of surprising free-market decrees, allowing foreign investors to lease government land for up to 99 years and loosening controls on commerce to let islanders grow and sell their own fruit and vegetables.