Today is the 162nd day of 2021. There are 203 days left in the year.


2009: The World Health Organization says swine flu is now formally a pandemic, a declaration that speeds vaccine production and spurs government spending to combat the first global flu epidemic in 41 years.



1509: Troops of Florence take Pisa in Italy.

1675: France and Poland form an alliance.

1685: Duke of Monmouth’s rebellion breaks out in England.

1719: Scottish rebels, aided by Spanish troops, surrender after being defeated at Glenshiels.

1741: Austria cedes most of Silesia to Prussia by Treaty of Breslau.

1891: Portugal assigns Barotseland, now in Zambia, to Britain and Nyasaland becomes a British protectorate.

1898: Emperor Kuang-Hsu of China begins 100 days of reform in effort to modernise China, but conservative forces soon squelch the attempt.

1903: The unpopular King Alexander of Serbia and his wife are murdered in a palace coup. Peter Karageorgevic is later elected to replace him.

1940: Princess Juliana of the Netherlands arrives in Canada as an exile during World War II.

1963: Greek Premier Constantine Caramanlis resigns in protest of King Paul’s State visit to Britain.

1967: The United Nations brokers a ceasefire between Israel and the defeated Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, ending the Six-Day War with Israel occupying the Sinai, West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights.

1969: Soviet and Chinese troops clash on Sinkiang border.

1981: Earthquake in south-east Iran kills at least 1,500 people.

1992: United States President George H W Bush is forced to flee from gunfire and tear gas disrupting his visit to Panama.

1993: North Korea pulls Asia back from the brink of a possible nuclear arms race by reversing its decision to withdraw from a treaty preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

1995: A bomb explodes at an outdoor music festival in Medellin, Colombia, spraying shrapnel that kills at least 28 people and wounds more than 200 others.

1997: The leaders of the militias ravaging Brazzaville, Congo, call for a ceasefire, but fighting continues unabated.

1998: Between 1,500 and 2,000 foreigners, mostly Portuguese, are evacuated by ship from the capital of Guinea-Bissau, where civil war rages.

1999: Cheering residents of Prokuplje, Kosovo, throw flowers onto several dozen Yugoslav army vehicles heading out of the province, as North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops mass across the border in Macedonia.

2000: A former hardliner who had recently favoured democratic reforms is elected as the speaker of Iran’s first reformist-dominated parliament in more than 20 years.

2001: In northern Colombia, thousands turn out to protest a US-backed programme to eradicate coca crops by plane. They want the Government to manually eradicate the plant used to make cocaine instead of spraying the countryside.

2002: The loya jirga elects Hamid Karzai, the head of Afghanistan’s interim Government since December 2001, as leader of the transitional Government to serve until elections are held in 2004.

2003: The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam reject a peace offer by Sri Lanka for rebel participation in a provisional administrative body for the Tamil-majority northern and eastern portions of the island nation. They demand to be put in charge of an interim administration with legal and political powers that would give them authority in the region.

2004: Congo government troops put down a coup attempt, overcoming the second crisis in the same month for the country’s patched-together, post-war government.

2005: The world’s richest countries agree to write off more than US$40 billion of debt owed by the poorest nations.

2008: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper makes a public apology in Parliament for a decades-long government policy requiring Canadian Indians to attend State-funded schools aimed at stripping them of their culture.

2011: Somali officials say the al-Qaeda mastermind behind the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania was killed this week at a security checkpoint in Mogadishu by Somali forces who did not immediately realise he was the most wanted man in East Africa.

2012: The Vatican says it truly regrets the publication of a letter from a psychotherapist detailing the mental health of the Vatican’s recently ousted bank chief, as yet another Holy See document leak exposes the unseemly side of the Roman Catholic church’s governance.

2014: Militants push deeper into Iraq’s Sunni heartland, swiftly conquering Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikri as soldiers and security forces abandon their posts.



Ben Jonson, English poet and playwright (1572-1637); John Constable, British artist (1776-1837); Julia Margaret Cameron, British photographer (1815-1879); Millicent G Fawcett, British suffragette (1847-1929); Richard Strauss, German composer (1864-1949); Kawabata Yasunari, Japanese novelist and Nobel laureate (1899-1972); Jacques-Yves Cousteau, French underwater explorer (1910-1997); Gene Wilder, US actor (1933-2016); Bruce Robison, US country singer/songwriter (1966- ); Shia LaBeouf, US actor (1986- ); Hugh Laurie, British actor (1959- )

– AP

Jamaica Observer