ON THIS DAY
Today is Saturday, September 5, the 248th day of 2015. Highlights in history: 1590 - The Duke of Parma, advancing from the Netherlands, forces France’s King Henry IV to lift the siege of Paris in Catholic League War. 1698 - New East India Company is granted charter by King William III of England; Peter the Great executes the Streltzy rebels in Russia and imposes a tax on beards. 1699 - Sea explorer William Dampier departs New Holland after sailing along the western coastline for five days. 1793 - The government in France starts the 10-month Reign of Terror, during which 17,000 people are executed. 1864 - Combined British, French and Dutch fleets attack Japan in Shimonoseko Straits in reprisal for closing ports and expelling foreigners. 1880 - The first Salvation Army meeting in Australia is held in Adelaide. 1905 - Treaty of Portsmouth, mediated by US president Theodore Roosevelt in New Hampshire, ends Russo-Japanese War. 1958 - The novel Doctor Zhivago by Russian author Boris Pasternak is published in the US for the first time. 1966 - Chinese news agency claims US planes sunk a Communist Chinese merchant ship and damaged another in the Gulf of Tonkin, killing nine Chinese seamen and wounding seven others. 1972 - Eleven Israeli Olympic athletes, four Palestinian guerrillas and a West German policeman are killed in a gun battle at Munich airport. 1986 - Four gunmen holding a hijacked Pan Am jet in Pakistan open fire on passengers, killing 20 and wounding more than 100 others. 1989 - Hundreds of thousands of blacks begin a two-day strike in South Africa on the eve of segregated elections. 1994 - Australia’s first political assassination occurs. John Newman (pictured) represented Fairfield in 1977 as deputy mayor. After a by-election in the seat of Cabramatta, he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of NSW in 1986. In an electorate populated by southeast Asians, and in which there were underlying racial tensions, Newman undertook a protracted campaign to fight Asian organised crime and corruption: a fight for which he would pay the ultimate price. Local club owner, Phuong Ngo, who had a history of conflict with Newman, was convicted of the assassination. 1996 - Ramzi Yousef, a Muslim extremist who allegedly masterminded the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing, is convicted with two other men of planning to blow up a dozen US commercial airliners. 1998 - North Korea’s parliament elects Kim Jong Il to the presidency – the communist world’s first hereditary succession. 2000 - Fierce fighting devastates areas of Jaffna Peninsula, Sri Lanka for a second day, leaving at least 344 people dead, as the government orders a major military offensive ahead of key elections. 2001 - Peru’s attorney general files homicide charges against ex-president Alberto Fujimori, linking him to two massacres in the early 1990s. 2005 - Seconds after takeoff, an Indonesian airliner shakes violently and slams into a bustling neighbourhood, bursting into flames and killing more than 140 people – many on the ground. 2006 - Felipe Calderon becomes president-elect of Mexico when the nation’s top electoral court votes unanimously to reject allegations of fraud and certify his narrow victory. 2008 - Europe’s Rosetta space probe makes a successful fly-by of the Steins asteroid 402 million/km from Earth. 2012 - A major international effort yields the first comprehensive look at how DNA works, an encyclopedia of information that will rewrite textbooks and offer new insights into the biology of disease.