Today is Wednesday, June 11, the 162nd day of 2014. There are 203 days left in the year.
On June 11, 1864, German composer Richard Strauss, known for such operas as “Der Rosenkavalier,” ”Salome” and “Elektra” and tone poems like “Also sprach Zarathustra,” was born in Munich.
On this date:
In 1509, England’s King Henry VIII married his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.
In 1770, Captain James Cook, commander of the British ship Endeavour, discovered the Great Barrier Reef off Australia by running onto it.
In 1919, Sir Barton won the Belmont Stakes, becoming horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner.
In 1938, Johnny Vander Meer pitched the first of two consecutive no-hitters as he led the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-0 victory over the Boston Bees. (Four days later, Vander Meer refused to give up a hit to the Brooklyn Dodgers, who lost, 6-0.)
In 1942, the United States and the Soviet Union signed a lend-lease agreement to aid the Soviet war effort in World War II.
In 1959, the Saunders-Roe Nautical 1, the first operational hovercraft, was publicly demonstrated off the southern coast of England.
In 1962, three prisoners at Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay staged an escape, leaving the island on a makeshift raft; they were never found or heard from again.
In 1963, a Buddhist monk, Thich Quang Duc, set himself afire on a Saigon street to protest the government of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem.
In 1977, Seattle Slew won the Belmont Stakes, capturing the Triple Crown.
In 1987, Margaret Thatcher became the first British prime minister in 160 years to win a third consecutive term of office as her Conservatives held onto a reduced majority in Parliament.
In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people who commit “hate crimes” motivated by bigotry may be sentenced to extra punishment; the court also ruled religious groups had a constitutional right to sacrifice animals in worship services.
In 2001, Timothy McVeigh, 33, was executed by injection at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people.
Ten years ago: The nation bade a lingering goodbye to former President Ronald Reagan at a stately funeral service in Washington, D.C. followed hours later by a hilltop burial ceremony in his beloved California. Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols was again spared the death penalty when jurors who’d convicted him of 161 murder counts in a state trial deadlocked over his sentence. “Prince of high fashion” Egon von Furstenberg died in Rome at age 57.
Five years ago: With swine flu reported in more than 70 nations, the World Health Organization declared the first global flu pandemic in 41 years. The NCAA placed Alabama’s football program and 15 other of the school’s athletic teams on three years’ probation for major violations due to misuse of free textbooks, stripping the Crimson Tide of 21 football wins over a three-year period.
One year ago: A parade of FBI and intelligence officials briefed the entire House on the government’s years-long collection of phone records and Internet usage, saying it was necessary for protecting Americans – and did not trample on their privacy rights. The American Civil Liberties Union and its New York chapter sued the federal government, asking a court to demand that the Obama administration end the program and purge the records it had collected. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks got into a bench-clearing brawl in the seventh inning that resulted in six ejections before the Dodgers won the game at home, 5-3.
Today’s birthdays: U.S. Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., is 84. Actor Gene Wilder is 81. Comedian Johnny Brown is 77. International Motorsports Hall of Famer Jackie Stewart is 75. Singer Joey Dee is 74. Actress Adrienne Barbeau is 69. Rock musician Frank Beard (ZZ Top) is 65. Animal rights activist Ingrid Newkirk is 65. Rock singer Donnie Van Zant is 62. Actor Peter Bergman is 61. Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana is 58. Actor Hugh Laurie is 55. TV personality Mehmet Oz, M.D. (“Dr. Oz”) is 54. Singer Gioia Bruno (Expose) is 51. Rock musician Dan Lavery (Tonic) is 48. Country singer-songwriter Bruce Robison is 48. Actor Peter Dinklage is 45. Country musician Smilin’ Jay McDowell is 45. Actor Lenny Jacobson is 40. Rock musician Tai Anderson (Third Day) is 38. Actor Joshua Jackson is 36. Christian rock musician Ryan Shrout is 34. Actor Shia LaBeouf is 28.
Thought for today: “Neither in the life of the individual nor in that of mankind is it desirable to know the future.” — Jakob Burckhardt, Swiss historian (1818-1897).