This Day in History – April 9
Today is the 99th day of 2021. There are 266 days left in the year.
837: Halley’s Comet makes its closest known passage to Earth: 5 million kilometres (3 million miles).
641: An army commanded by Amr Ibn al-As conquers Egypt by seizing the Babylon fort in the Nile Delta. Alexandria capitulates the following November.
1833: First US tax-supported public library is founded in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
1865: Confederate General Robert E Lee surrenders his army to Union General Ulysses S Grant, ending the American Civil War.
1949: UN International Court of Justice delivers its first decision, holding Albania responsible for incidents in Corfu Channel and awarding Britain damages.
1963: Britain’s former Prime Minister Winston Churchill is made an honorary US citizen.
1974: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh sign agreement to repatriate 195 Pakistani prisoners of war.
1986: West Berlin expels two Libyan diplomats, saying it suspects Libya of being behind bombing of Berlin discotheque.
1988: China’s National People’s Congress names Li Peng as premier.
1990: A three-decade ban on political activity is lifted in Nepal and hundreds of thousands celebrate.
1992: Sali Berisha is elected as Albania’s first non-communist president since World War II; former Panamanian ruler Manuel Noriega is convicted in Miami of eight drug and racketeering charges.
1995: President Alberto Fujimori wins a second five-year term in Peru’s first peaceful election since 1980.
1998: Some 150 Muslims are trampled to death in a stampede in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on the last day of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
1999: Niger President Ibrahim Bare Mainassara is assassinated by his personal guard unit. The guard commander declares himself the new president two days later.
2001: Rioting breaks out in Cincinnati, Ohio, erupting out of what had begun as a peaceful demonstration against the shooting two days earlier of an unarmed black youth by the police.
2002: The funeral of Queen Elizabeth, the queen mother, is held in London’s Westminster Abbey.
2003: US-led forces take control of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, after US marines entered the city from the east to link up with US soldiers controlling the western and southern approaches to the city.
2005: Haitian police shoot and kill Remissainthe Ravix, a prominent rebel leader who helped force former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide into exile the previous year.
2006: Australia’s foreign minister denies UN accusations that his department was involved in alleged kickbacks paid by the country’s monopoly wheat exporter to Saddam Hussein’s regime.
2007: Iran announces a dramatic expansion of uranium enrichment, saying it has begun operating 3,000 centrifuges in defiance of UN demands it halt the programme or face increased sanctions.
2008: The Olympic torch touches down in San Francisco, its only stop in North America, where the relay is cut short and the closing ceremony is relocated because of demonstrators against China’s human rights record in Tibet.
2010: Russia threatens to suspend all child adoptions by US families after a seven-year-old boy adopted by an American woman was sent alone on a one-way flight back to Moscow with a note saying he was violent and had severe psychological problems.
2011: Thousands of demonstrators barricade themselves in Cairo’s central square with burnt-out troop carriers and barbed wire and demand the removal of the military council ruling Egypt, infuriated after soldiers stormed their protest camp overnight, killing at least one person and injuring 71 others.
2012: Syrian forces open fire across two tense borders, killing a TV journalist in Lebanon and wounding at least six people in a refugee camp in Turkey on the eve of a deadline for a ceasefire plan that seems all but certain to fail.
2013: Al-Qaeda’s branch in Iraq and the most powerful rebel group in Syria have officially joined ranks against President Bashar Assad to forge a potent militant force in the Middle East.
Charles Pierre Baudelaire, French author (1821-1867); Leon Blum, French socialist statesman (1870-1950); Paul Robeson, US singer (1898-1976); Sir Robert Helpmann, Australian ballet star-actor (1909-1986); Joern Utzon, Danish architect (1918-2008); Jean-Paul Belmondo, French actor (1933- ); Paulina Porizkova, Czech model-actress (1965- ); Hugh Hefner, Playboy creator (1926-2017); Cynthia Nixon, US actress (1966- )