Today in History, August 16

By AAP and agencies
2018 - A probe finds Qld govt safety inspectors carried out few checks on a fatal ride at Dreamworld

HIGHLIGHTS IN HISTORY ON THIS DATE:

1829 - Original Siamese twins, Chang and Eng Bunker, arrive in Boston aboard the ship Sachem to be exhibited to the Western world.

1868 - Tidal wave swamps Port Jackson, Sydney.

1948 - Death of legendary US baseball player George Herman (Babe) Ruth, aged 53.

1949 - Death of Margaret Mitchell, US journalist and author of Gone with the Wind.

1960 - Britain grants independence to Crown Colony of Cyprus, with Archbishop Makarios as President.

1969 - Britain completes troop movement into Northern Ireland to help quell fighting between Roman Catholics and Protestants.

1977 - Death of US rock singer Elvis Presley at Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, aged 42.

1991 - United Nations and South African government agree on terms of amnesty for political exiles, clearing the way for estimated 40,000 refugees to return to South Africa.

1994 - Joaquin Balaguer assumes the presidency of the Dominican Republic for the seventh time.

1998 - Floods rage in north-eastern China and the Ulyji Muren River bursts its banks in the north, stranding 146,000 people and washing away rail lines.

1999 - Russia's State Duma approves Vladimir Putin as the country's new prime minister.

1999 - The United States opens a new consulate in the former Saigon, nearly 25 years after a dramatic airlift from its old embassy marked the end of the Vietnam War.

2000 - The hardline Taliban shuts down bakeries run by widows - among the poorest of the poor in Afghanistan - saying Islam completely forbids women from working.

2001 - Paul Burrell, butler of Princess Diana for many years, is charged with the theft of hundreds of royal family items.

2003 - Ugandan military ruler Idi Amin, 78, dies of multiple organ failure. He presided over an eight-year reign of terror from 1971-1979, where an estimated 300,000 people were killed and tortured to death.

2004 - Venezuelans vote to keep President Hugo Chavez in office in a popular referendum, following a long and bitter campaign by his opposition to oust him.

2005 - A chartered jet filled with tourists returning home to the French Caribbean island of Martinique crashes in western Venezuela, killing all 160 people on board.

2006 - Death of Australian playwright Alex Buzo, aged 62.

2007 - A powerful 7.9-magnitude earthquake shakes Peru's coast near the capital, toppling buildings, setting off landslides, killing at least 500 and injuring at least 827.

2010 - All but one of 131 holiday-makers miraculously survive after their jetliner breaks apart upon landing on a Caribbean island near Colombia.

2012 - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange wins asylum in Ecuador. The UN Security Council orders an end to its observer mission in Syria, which began on April 14.

2013 - UFO buffs celebrate the CIA's clearest acknowledgement yet of the existence of Area 51, a top-secret Cold War test site that has been the subject of elaborate conspiracy theories for decades.

2014 - Islamic terrorists shoot scores of Yazidi men to death in Iraq before abducting their wives and children.

2015 - Chris Lane, an Australian baseball player studying at Oklahoma's East Central University, is shot dead while out jogging.

2016 - Saudi Arabia commits a UN war crime by bombing a Medicins Sans Frontiers hospital in Yemen, killing at least 11, in a bloody conflict that has claimed thousands of lives since Houthi-led rebels deposed Yemeni leader Mansour Hadi.

2017 - The Australian government punishes a Melbourne council by removing its power to hold citizenship ceremonies after a controversial vote to stop referring to January 26 as Australia Day.

2018 - An investigation for ABC's 7.30 program finds Queensland government safety inspectors carried out no reviews, audits or checks on a ride at Dreamworld that killed four people in 2016 for almost seven years prior to the tragedy.

Today's Birthdays:

Jean de la Bruyere, French essayist-novelist (1645-1696); Menachem Begin, Israeli prime minister (1913-1992); Ann Blyth, US actor (1928-); Robert Culp, US actor (1930-2010); Bruce Beresford, Australian film director (1940-); Suzanne Farrell, US ballerina (1945-); Lesley Ann Warren, British actor (1946-); Jeff Thomson, Australian cricketer (1950-); Kathie Lee Gifford, US TV personality (1953-); James Cameron, Canadian movie director (1954-); Tim Farriss, Australian rock musician - INXS (1957-); Madonna, US actor-singer (1958-); Angela Bassett, US actor (1958-); Steve Carell, American actor and comedian (1962-); Emily Robison, US singer (Dixie Chicks) (1972-); Stan Lazaridis, Australian soccer player (1972-).

Thought For Today:

If you're strong enough, there are no precedents - F Scott Fitzgerald, American author (1896-1940).