Today in History, 13/2

AAP and agencies
2017 - Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, is assassinated

Highlights in history on this date:

1542 - England's Queen Catherine Howard is executed for treason on the orders of her husband Henry VIII.

1633 - Italian astronomer Galileo arrives in Rome and is detained by Roman Catholic Inquisition.

1689 - English Parliament adopts a Bill of Rights.

1820 - Duc de Berry, heir presumptive to French throne, is assassinated by an anti-royalist.

1856 - Britain annexes Oudh, increasing Indian hostility to British rule.

1861 - Francis II of Naples surrenders at Gaeta to Giuseppe Garibaldi.

1945 - US warplanes firebomb Dresden, Germany, killing more than 35,000 civilians.

1974 - Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Prize-winning author, is deported and stripped of Soviet citizenship.

1978 - A bomb explodes outside Sydney's Hilton Hotel, venue of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting, killing two garbage collectors and a policeman.

1989 - Soviet Red Army leaves Afghan capital of Kabul.

1990 - Nelson Mandela receives a hero's welcome when he returns to the black township of Soweto after his released from prison.

1991 - US planes destroy a bunker in Baghdad that allies identified as military site, but that apparently contained civilians, with the reported death toll ranging from 40 to 500.

1996 - Israeli troops seal off the West Bank and Gaza to prevent terrorist attacks. The restrictions last for years.

2000 - Serbia announces it will demand compensation at an international court from those responsible for a cyanide spill that contaminated a major river, destroying most aquatic life.

2002 - Queen Elizabeth bestows an honorary knighthood on former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, for his role in bolstering his city after the September 11 attacks.

2002 - The Scottish Parliament votes to ban fox hunting, making Scotland the first part of Britain to ban the centuries-old sport.

2004 - Chechnya's exiled former president Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, wanted by Russia for terrorism and ties to al-Qaeda, is assassinated when a bomb blows apart his car as he leaves a mosque in Doha, Qatar.

2007 - British-born author Elizabeth Jolley dies in Western Australia after a long illness, aged 83.

2008 - Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd makes a formal apology to the Aboriginal people and the stolen generation.

2008 - Australia's oldest Olympian, shooter Neville Holt dies, aged 95; Australian country music performer Smoky Dawson dies, aged 94.

2009 - The federal government's $42 billion stimulus package, aimed at boosting Australia's economy through the global financial crisis, passes the Senate.

2013 - Australia's federal parliament passes an Act of Recognition of indigenous people, on the fifth anniversary of the Stolen Generations apology.

2014 - The world's largest solar-power plant - thousands of mirrors sprawling across roughly 13 sq km of the Mojave Desert - opens in the US state of Nevada.

2015 - Death of Faith Bandler, Australian civil-rights activist, aged 96.

2017 - Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, is assassinated at an airport in Kuala Lumpur, smeared with a nerve agent by two women who claim they were paid to carry out a prank.

Today's Birthdays:

TR Malthus, English economist (1766-1834); Kim Novak, US actress (1933-); Oliver Reed, British actor (1938-1999); Andrew Peacock, Australian politician (1939-); Peter Tork, US musician-The Monkees (1942-); Stockard Channing, US actress (1944-); Tim Storrier, Australian artist (1944-); Len Pascoe, Australian cricketer (1950-); Peter Gabriel, British singer (1950-); Robbie Williams, British singer (1974-); Mena Suvari, US actress (1979-).

Thought For Today:

An explanation of cause is not a justification by reason. - CS Lewis, English author (1898-1963)