This Day in History — November 15
Today is the 320th day of 2016. There are 46 days left in the year.
1963: Cuban President Fidel Castro warns the United Nations that his country will shoot down any US military plane entering its airspace on a reconnaissance mission, saying that the United States already verified the withdrawal of Soviet strategic missiles from Cuba by high seas inspection.
1492: Christopher Columbus notes in his journal the use of tobacco among Indians — the first recorded reference to tobacco by a European.
1577: Sir Francis Drake of England leaves on a voyage around the world.
1889: Brazil’s King Pedro II abdicates, and Brazil is proclaimed a republic.
1920: League of Nations Assembly holds first meeting in Geneva.
1928: Fascist Grand Council becomes part of Italian Constitution.
1939: US President Franklin Roosevelt lays the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.
1940: The first 75,000 American men are called to Armed Forces duty under peacetime conscription.
1969: A Vietnam War protest gathers 250,000 people in Washington, DC.
1976: Syrian army takes control of Beirut, ending an 18-month civil war in Lebanon.
1977: Israel sends formal invitation to Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat to visit Jerusalem and address the Israeli Parliament.
1982: Funeral services are held in Moscow’s Red Square for the late Soviet President Leonid I Brezhnev.
1985: Britain and Ireland sign an accord giving Dublin an official consultative role in governing Northern Ireland.
1986: A government tribunal in Nicaragua convicts American Eugene Hasenfus on charges of delivering arms to Contra rebels, and sentences him to 30 years in prison. He is pardoned a month later.
1988: The Palestine National Council, the legislative body of the PLO, proclaims the establishment of an independent Palestinian State at the close of a four-day conference in Algiers.
1991: The UN Environment Programme reports that worldwide production and use of chemicals believed to cause erosion of the ozone layer has declined 40 per cent over the last five years.
1992: Shining Path rebels detonate two bombs in Lima, Peru, wounding 10 people.
1993: Gunmen in Lebanon kill a senior aide of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
1995: European Union ambassadors approve a total arms embargo to punish Nigeria’s military regime for the execution of nine political activists.
1996: Voters in Sao Paulo, Brazil, elect Celso Pitta as their first black mayor.
1997: Russian President Boris Yeltsin fires two Cabinet ministers after it is revealed that Anatoly Chubais, Russia’s leading economic reformer, took money for a book from a financial institution.
1998: US President Bill Clinton announces that Iraq has “backed down” and has promised to cooperate unconditionally with UN weapons inspectors.
1999: Chinese and US negotiators sign a breakthrough agreement in Beijing that removes trade barriers and clears the biggest hurdle to China’s entry into the World Trade Organization.
2001: A judge rules that Britain has no laws governing human cloning, despite parliament’s attempt to make it the first nation to permit and regulate research using cloned embryos.
2002: Colombian army troops rescue Bishop Jorge Enrique Jimenez, one of Latin America’s leading Roman Catholic bishops, and another priest after a gunbattle with their rebel captors in the Andean mountains.
2003: Car bombings within minutes of each other at two Jewish synagogues in Istanbul, Turkey, kill at least 25 people and wound more than 300.
2004: Sending home a final jumbo jet full of anxious foreigners, France ends its leading role in one of Africa’s largest evacuations — a five-day exodus of 5,000 Westerners and others amid fighting between Ivory Coast and its former colonial ruler.
2005: UN peacekeepers and gang members trade gunfire in the Cite Soleil slum of the Haitian capital, leaving at least two people dead.
2006: Pakistan’s Parliament approves amendments to an Islamic-based law on rape, dropping the death penalty and flogging for people convicted of having consensual sex outside marriage.
2007: Cyclone Sidr roars across the south-western coast of Bangladesh with 150 mph (240 kph) winds killing at least 3,100 people in the deadliest such storm in more than a decade.
2008: Somali pirates hijack a Saudi-owned supertanker loaded with 2 million barrels of crude oil in the Indian Ocean. It is the largest ship pirates have seized.
2009: Hundreds of French and Afghan troops push into a hostile valley in eastern Afghanistan, where militants launch quick attacks then disappear into hillside villages. The mission: secure the area for a planned, bypass road around the Afghan capital to move supplies from neighbouring Pakistan.
2010: Rolls-Royce to temporarily replace any oil-leaking engines like the one that caught fire and blew apart on a Qantas super-jumbo jet earlier this month, forcing the A380 to make an emergency landing in Singapore with 459 people aboard.
2011: Prime Minister-designate Mario Monti of Italy says he is ready to present his new government to the president after winning wide backing — and important pledges of sacrifices — from political, business and union leaders during two days of intense consultations.
2012: Oil giant BP agrees to plead guilty to a raft of criminal charges and pay a record $4.5 billion in a settlement with the US Government over the deadly 2010 disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.