Today in History

Published 12:01 am Friday, June 15, 2018

Today is Friday, June 15, the 166th day of 2018. There are 199 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On June 15, 1215, England’s King John put his seal to Magna Carta (“the Great Charter”) at Runnymede.

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On this date:

In 1520, Pope Leo X issued a papal bull in which he threatened to excommunicate Martin Luther if he did not recant his religious beliefs, a threat that was carried out the following January.

In 1775, the Second Continental Congress voted unanimously to appoint George Washington head of the Continental Army.

In 1836, Arkansas became the 25th state.

In 1849, James Polk, the 11th president of the United States, died in Nashville, Tennessee.

In 1904, more than 1,000 people died when fire erupted aboard the steamboat General Slocum in New York’s East River.

In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an act making the National Guard part of the U.S. Army in the event of war or national emergency.

In 1944, American forces began their successful invasion of Saipan (sy-PAN’) during World War II. B-29 Superfortresses carried out their first raids on Japan.

In 1955, the United States and Britain signed a cooperation agreement concerning atomic information for “mutual defence purposes.”

In 1969, the variety show “Hee Haw,” a fast-paced mixture of country music and comedy skits, debuted on CBS-TV.

In 1978, King Hussein (hoo-SAYN’) of Jordan married 26-year-old American Lisa Halaby, who became Queen Noor.

In 1988, the baseball romantic comedy “Bull Durham,” starring Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon, was released by Orion Pictures.

In 1993, former Texas Gov. John Connally, who was wounded in the gunfire that killed President John F. Kennedy, died in Houston at age 76.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush went for a bike ride and attended church in Paris, then he and his wife, Laura, traveled to London for meetings with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, as well as Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife, Sarah. The NBC News program “Meet the Press” paid tribute to its host, Tim Russert, who had died two days earlier. “In the Heights” was named best musical, “August: Osage County,” best play, at the Tony Awards.

Five years ago: Wild celebrations broke out in Tehran and other cities as reformist-backed Hassan Rowhani capped a stunning surge to claim Iran’s presidency. Paul Soros, 87, a successful innovator in shipping, philanthropist and older brother of billionaire financier George Soros, died in New York.

One year ago: A day after a man with a rifle and a handgun wounded House Whip Steve Scalise (skuh-LEES’) and others at a baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, some far-right Republicans suggested that vitriolic rhetoric on the left could be to blame for the attack, prompting House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to retort, “How dare they say such a thing?” Two escaped inmates sought in the killings of two guards on a Georgia prison bus were captured after being held at gunpoint by a rural Tennessee homeowner whose vehicle they were trying to steal.

Today’s Birthdays: Rhythm and blues singer Ruby Nash Garnett (Ruby and the Romantics) is 84. Funk musician Leo Nocentelli (The Meters) is 72. Actor Simon Callow is 69. Singer Russell Hitchcock (Air Supply) is 69. Rock singer Steve Walsh is 67. Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) is 65. Actor-comedian Jim Belushi is 64. Country singer Terri Gibbs is 64. Actress Julie Hagerty is 63. Actress Polly Draper is 63. Rock musician Brad Gillis (Night Ranger) is 61. Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs is 60. Actress Eileen Davidson is 59. Bluegrass musician Terry Smith is 58. Actress Helen Hunt is 55. Rock musician Scott Rockenfield (Queensryche) is 55. Actress Courteney Cox is 54. Country musician Tony Ardoin is 54. Country musician Michael Britt (Lonestar) is 52. Contemporary Christian musician Rob Mitchell is 52. Rock musician Jimmy McD is 50. Actor-rapper Ice Cube is 49. Actress Leah Remini is 48. Actor Jake Busey is 47. Bluegrass singer-musician Jamie Johnson is 46. Rock musician T-Bone Willy (Save Ferris) is 46. Actor Neil Patrick Harris is 45. Actor Greg Vaughan is 45. Actress Elizabeth Reaser is 43. Rock singer Dryden Mitchell (Alien Ant Farm) is 42. Former child actor Christopher Castile is 38. Rock musician Billy Martin (Good Charlotte) is 37. Rock musician Wayne Sermon (Imagine Dragons) is 34. Actor Denzel Whitaker is 28. Olympic gold medal gymnast Madison Kocian is 21. Actress Sterling Jerins is 14.