Today in History, June 14

By AAP and agencies
2017 - 72 people are killed in the Grenfell Tower fire in London

HIGHLIGHTS IN HISTORY ON THIS DATE

1777 - US Congress adopts the Stars and Stripes as the nation's official flag.

1789 - Captain William Bligh and 18 others, who were cast adrift from HMS Bounty, reach Timor in the East Indies after a voyage of nearly 6500km in an open boat.

1800 - France's Napoleon Bonaparte defeats Austrians at Battle of Marengo and reconquers Italy.

1825 - Tasmania becomes a separate colony.

1883 - Train service between Sydney and Melbourne begins.

1928 - Death of Emmeline Pankhurst, English champion of women's rights.

1940 - The Swastika is hoisted on the Eiffel Tower as the German army occupies Paris.

1940 - Nazis open concentration camp at Auschwitz, Poland.

1946 - Death of John Logie Baird, Scottish inventor who pioneered the development of television.

1949 - Bao Dai is installed as emperor of the new state of Vietnam.

1951 - The first electronic computer for commercial use is demonstrated at the Bureau of the Census in Philadelphia.

1967 - US Mariner spacecraft is launched toward Venus, trying to discover if that planet can support life.

1972 - A Japan Airlines DC-8 crashes at Delhi airport, killing 87 people.

1982 - Argentine forces surrender to British troops on the disputed Falkland Islands.

1985 - A TWA jet is seized by Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim extremists shortly after takeoff from Athens at the start of a 17-day hijack ordeal.

1986 - Death of Alan Jay Lerner, US playwright and lyricist who, along with Frederick Lowe, composed musicals such as My Fair Lady and Camelot.

1987 - Pope John Paul II ends week-long pilgrimage to his native Poland with stern lecture about human rights to nation's Communist leadership.

1994 - Death of Henry Mancini, US composer of such famous pieces as the Pink Panther theme and Moon River.

1995 - Australia severs defence links with France after President Jacques Chirac's decision to renew nuclear tests in the Pacific.

1997 - Pol Pot, whose reign in Cambodia led to the death of an estimated quarter of the population, is reported to be fleeing from Khmer Rouge guerillas he once commanded.

1997 - A 1939 comic book featuring the first appearance by Batman is auctioned for $US68,500 ($A116,000) at Sotheby's in New York.

1999 - NATO peacekeepers in Kosovo discover the first mass grave, believed to contain 81 bodies, as Serb troops withdraw leaving the houses of ethnic Albanians in flames.

2000 - In the biggest step toward peace since the end of the Korean War, the leaders of North and South Korea sign an agreement pledging to work for reconciliation and eventual reunification.

2001 - An official inquiry into the June 1 massacre of almost the entire Nepalese royal family blames Crown Prince Dipendra, saying he acted in a drug and drink-fuelled rage.

2003 - East Timor approves a $1.5 billion natural gas development plan for a pipeline to be built. It will be the largest source of income for impoverished East Timor.

2004 - British entrepreneur Richard Branson sets a new world record by driving across the English Channel in a James Bond style amphibious sports car in under two hours.

2009 - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu endorses a Palestinian state beside Israel, reversing himself in the face of US pressure but attaching conditions such as demilitarisation that Palestinians swiftly reject.

2011 - US says Pakistan's intelligence service has arrested the owner of a safe house rented to the CIA to observe Osama bin Laden's compound before the US raid that killed the al-Qaida leader.

2012 - A plan to set up the world's largest network of marine parks around Australia is announced. The country's marine reserves will cover 3.1 million square kilometres or a third of Australian waters.

2013 - Hezbollah's leader vows that his militants will keep fighting in Syria "wherever needed" after the US agreed to arm the rebels in the civil war.

2014 - Sydney couple Raymond and Margaret Sutton are found dead after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of their severely disabled son Matthew, who was found dead four years earlier.

2015 - The European Space Agency says space probe Philae, thought lost, has woken up after a seven-month sleep and is on the back of a comet heading towards the sun.

2016 - Reeva Steenkamp's father breaks down in court as he tells a sentencing hearing that it has been "very difficult" to forgive former athlete Oscar Pistorius for murdering his daughter three years ago.

2017 - At least 72 people are killed in the Grenfell Tower fire after the 24-storey block of London flats went up in flames.

Today's Birthdays:

Harriet Beecher Stowe, US writer (1811-1896); John Bartlett, English writer/editor of "Familiar Quotations" (1820-1905); Burl Ives, US actor-singer (1909-1995); Gene Barry, US actor (1921-2009); Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Argentinian revolutionary (1928-1967); Alan Davidson, Australian cricketer (1929-); Brian Bury, Australian radio-TV personality (1937-); Donald Trump, US President (1946-); Boy George, English pop singer (1961-); Grant Kenny, Australian iron man (1963-); Yasmine Bleeth, US actor (1968-); Steffi Graf, German tennis star (1969-); Lang Lang, Chinese pianist (1982-).

Thought For Today:

Initiative is doing the right thing without being told - Victor Hugo, French writer (1802-1885).