Today is Tuesday, June 17, the 168th day of 2014. There are 197 days left in the year.
On June 17, 1789, during the French Revolution, the Third Estate declared itself a national assembly, and undertook to frame a constitution. (This gathering gave rise to the political terms “left wing” and “right wing,” with deputies representing commoners sitting to the left of the assembly president, and nobles sitting to the right.)
On this date:
In 1397, the Treaty of Kalmar was signed, creating a union between the kingdoms of Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
In 1775, the Revolutionary War Battle of Bunker Hill resulted in a costly victory for the British, who suffered heavy losses.
In 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor aboard the French ship Isere.
In 1928, Amelia Earhart embarked on a trans-Atlantic flight from Newfoundland to Wales with pilots Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon, becoming the first woman to make the trip as a passenger.
In 1930, President Herbert Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which boosted U.S. tariffs to historically high levels, prompting foreign retaliation.
In 1944, the Republic of Iceland was established.
In 1953, U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas stayed the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, originally set for the next day, the couple’s 14th wedding anniversary. (They were put to death June 19.)
In 1961, Soviet ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev defected to the West while his troupe was in Paris.
In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon’s eventual downfall began with the arrest of five burglars inside Democratic national headquarters in Washington, D.C.’s Watergate complex.
In 1987, Charles Glass, a journalist on leave from ABC News, was kidnapped in Lebanon. (Glass escaped his captors in August 1987.)
In 1992, President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed a breakthrough arms-reduction agreement.
In 1994, after leading police on a slow-speed chase on Southern California freeways, O.J. Simpson was arrested and charged with murder in the slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. (Simpson was later acquitted in a criminal trial, but held liable in a civil trial.)
Ten years ago: A bipartisan report found that officials, blindsided by terrorists and beset by poor communications, were so slow to react on Sept. 11, 2001, that the last of four hijacked planes had crashed by the time Vice President Dick Cheney ordered hostile aircraft shot down. President George W. Bush disputed the Sept. 11 commission’s finding that Saddam Hussein had no strong ties to al-Qaida. A sport utility vehicle packed with artillery shells slammed into a crowd waiting to volunteer for the Iraqi military, killing 35 people.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama extended some benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. Nevada Sen. John Ensign resigned from the GOP leadership a day after admitting an affair with a former campaign staffer. John Houghtaling, the inventor of the Magic Fingers Vibrating Bed for hotels, died in Fort Pierce, Florida, at age 92.
One year ago: A G-8 summit of wealthy nations opened in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, under a cloud, with Russian President Vladimir Putin defiantly rejecting calls from the U.S., Britain and France to halt his political and military support for Syrian leader Bashar Assad’s regime. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that states can’t demand proof of citizenship from people registering to vote in federal elections unless they get federal or court approval to do so.
Today’s birthdays: Actor Peter Lupus is 82. Actor William Lucking is 73. Singer Barry Manilow is 71. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is 71. Comedian Joe Piscopo is 63. Actor Mark Linn-Baker is 60. Actor Jon Gries is 57. Movie producer-director-writer Bobby Farrelly is 56. Actor Thomas Haden Church is 53. Actor Greg Kinnear is 51. Actress Kami Cotler (“The Waltons”) is 49. Olympic gold-medal speed skater Dan Jansen is 49. Actor Jason Patric is 48. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kevin Thornton is 45. Actor-comedian Will Forte is 44. Latin pop singer Paulina Rubio is 43. Tennis player Venus Williams is 34. Actor-rapper Herculeez (aka Jamal Mixon) is 31. Rapper Kendrick Lamar is 27. Actor Damani Roberts is 18.
Thought for today: “A consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually.” — Abba Eban, Israeli statesman (1915-2002).