ON THIS DAY
Today is August 29, the 241st day of 2015. Highlights in history on this date: 1526 - Turks defeat Hungarians at the Battle of Mohacs, ending the Hungarian monarchy and giving way to 150 years of Turkish occupation. 1533 - Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro gives Atahuallpa, last Incan king, a choice of being burned at the stake or converting to Christianity. He converts and is strangled the same day. 1756 - Frederick II of Prussia invades Saxony, marking the start of the Seven Years War. 1782 - About 1100 people drown when English Man-of-War sinks while being repaired at Portsmouth, England. 1817 - Explorers John Oxley and George Evans return to Bathurst after unsuccessfully following the Lachlan River. Despite his disappointment, Oxley reports on his discovery of fertile country around an area he calls Wellington Valley, and to which he returns for further exploration the following year. 1842 - Anglo-Chinese war ends with Treaty of Nanking, whereby Britain gains an indemnity and the right to trade at Canton, Shanghai and other Chinese ports. 1866 - The first cog railway in the world is demonstrated at Mount Washington in northeast US. 1907 - The Quebec Bridge in Canada, collapses, killing 75 people. 1941 - Arthur Fadden (pictured), the second of five men who served as Australian prime minister during World War II, is sworn into office. However, in the federal election five weeks later, the coalition government lost majority support in the House of Representatives and John Curtin became prime minister. 1943 - Danish warships are scuttled at Copenhagen in a World War II uprising against the Nazis. 1944 - Slovaks rise against the Nazis. The rebellion is put down after two months. 1945 - US General Douglas MacArthur leaves Manila for Japan to accept Japanese surrender. 1952 - Pyongyang, capital of North Korea, undergoes the heaviest air raid of the Korean War as US, South African, Australian and South Korean air forces strike the city. 1965 - US astronauts L. Gordon Cooper and Charles Conrad make a safe landing after a record eight days of orbiting around Earth in Gemini 5. 1991 - Soviet politicians suspend Communist Party activities nationwide and freeze its bank accounts because of the party’s role in a failed coup attempt. 1992 - The last Russian diplomats pull out of Kabul, ending a decade of involvement in Afghanistan. 1994 - Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation sign an early empowerment accord giving the Palestinian Authority administrative powers throughout the West Bank. 2003 - A large car bomb explodes outside the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, Iraq. The explosion kills at least 80 people, including Ayatollah Mohammed Bakir al-Hakim, a top Shi’ite Muslim cleric. 2005 - Hurricane Katrina hits the belowsea-level US city of New Orleans with 233km/h winds and rain that submerges neighbourhoods up to the rooflines. 2008 - Georgia says it will sever diplomatic ties with Moscow to protest against the presence of Russian troops on its territory. 2013 - The Washington-Moscow Hot Line, used by US and Russian leaders for frank discussions about crises including the 1967 Middle East war, marks its 50th birthday with the nations still grappling with competing interests in conflicts. 2014 - Russian-backed separatists hold control over the town of Novozovsk on the new front in the Ukraine conflict and announce their intention to keep pushing west towards a major port city.