Today in History, June 15

By AAP and agencies
2017 - Rebel Wilson wins a month-long defamation battle against Bauer Media


1167 - The city of Copenhagen's official birthday, marking a dated document mentioning the city for the first time.

1215 - King John signs the Magna Carta, granting his barons more liberty, at Runnymede, England.

1381 - The three-day-old Peasants' Revolt ends in Britain with its leader Wat Tyler being killed.

1672 - Sluices are opened in Holland to save Amsterdam from the French.

1752 - Benjamin Franklin demonstrates the relationship between lightning and electricity when he launches a kite during a storm at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1862 - Bushranger Frank Gardiner leads a gold escort robbery at Eugowra, near Forbes, NSW.

1904 - More than 1000 people die in a fire aboard steamboat General Slocum off New York City.

1919 - Englishmen John Alcock and Arthur Brown complete the first non-stop transatlantic flight.

1920 - The first radio broadcast of live music takes place from Chelmsford, England, featuring Australian soprano Dame Nellie Melba.

1940 - Germans outflank the Maginot Line in France during World War II.

1944 - US forces begin invasion of Japanese-held Saipan Island in the Marianas in Pacific. It becomes a base for bombing raids against Japan.

1985 - Experts in Brazil reassemble skull and skeleton of body believed to be that of Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele.

1988 - President Zia-ul-Haq decrees that Sharia, the Islamic legal code, will be the supreme law in Pakistan.

1988 - Exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama recognises China's right to run Tibet's foreign affairs and to maintain troops there.

1991 - Sikh militants take over two trains and kill 76 passengers in an attempt to frighten voters into staying at home on election day in Punjab state.

1991 - Kuwait's martial law court sentences six newspaper workers to death for working on an Iraqi publication during the occupation of Kuwait.

1992 - Australian artist Brett Whiteley is found dead of a heroin overdose in a motel at Thirroul, north of Wollongong, aged 53.

1994 - Israel and the Vatican establish full diplomatic relations after centuries of bitterness between Roman Catholics and Jews.

1996 - Death of Ella Fitzgerald, America's "first lady of song", aged 79.

1997 - Israel's Supreme Court rejects an appeal to charge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with fraud in an influence-peddling scandal that threatened to topple his government.

1999 - After a final spree of burning, shooting and alleged rapes, Yugoslav forces withdraw from Kosovo's border region with Albania, whooping and giving parting mock salutes to a citizenry devastated by war.

2000 - Roman Catholic bishop Augustin Misago, accused of helping orchestrate the 1994 slaughter of more than half a million Rwandans, is cleared of genocide charges and set free.

2004 - Iraq's neighbours endorse the US-backed administration and the transfer of power, giving a boost to Iraq's quest for international legitimacy.

2006 - Clean-up crews in northern China scramble to absorb 60 tons of toxic coal tar accidentally dumped into the Dasha river before it reaches a reservoir serving 10 million people.

2007 - Ethiopia accepts a UN commission's ruling to turn over a disputed town to Eritrea after years of conflict and a tense border dispute.

2009 - Des "Tuppence" Moran, the brother of slain gangland figure Lewis Moran, is shot dead outside a shop in suburban Melbourne.

2013 - Wild celebrations break out on Tehran streets that were battlefields four years ago as reformist-backed Hassan Rouhani caps a stunning surge to claim Iran's presidency.

2014 - Israel's prime minister accuses Hamas of kidnapping three Israeli teenagers who later are found dead.

2015 - A Customs review says it took one of Australia's most-wanted terrorists just two minutes to fake his way through airport checks. The Vatican orders its first paedophilia trial of former Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski.

2016 - Murder accused Oscar Pistorius has shuffled without his prosthetic legs through a Pretoria court to demonstrate how vulnerable he is without his artificial limbs.

2017 - Australian actress Rebel Wilson wins a month-long defamation battle against Bauer Media over a series of articles she says damaged her career by painting her as a serial liar.

2018 - Pakistani Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah is killed in a US drone strike.

2019 - Italian director Franco Zeffirelli, best known for his box-office sensation Romeo and Juliet, dies at home in Rome, age 96.

Today's Birthdays:

Thomas Randolph, English poet-dramatist (1605-1635); Issa, Japanese poet (1763-1828); Thomas Mitchell, British explorer of Australia, (1792-1855); Edvard Grieg, Norwegian composer (1843-1907); Yuri Andropov, Soviet president (1914-1982); Peter Norman, former Australian Olympic athlete (1942-2006); Johnny Hallyday, French singer and actor (1943-2017); Demis Roussos, Greek singer (1947- 2015); Russell Hitchcock, Australian singer of Air Supply fame (1949-); Beverley Whitfield, Australian swimmer (1954-1996); James Belushi, US actor (1954-); Helen Hunt, US actor (1963-); Courteney Cox Arquette, US actor (1964-); Ice Cube, US rapper-actor (1969-); North West, child of US rapper Kanye West and Kim Kardashian (2013-).

Thought For Today:

War is a contagion - Franklin D Roosevelt, US president (1882-1945).