Today in History, 8/12

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2015 - Former Treasurer Joe Hockey is appointed Australia's Ambassador to the US

Highlights in history on this date:

1776 - George Washington's retreating army crosses the Delaware River from New Jersey to Pennsylvania during the American Revolution.

1794 - Girondists who survived guillotine in French Revolution are admitted to French National Convention.

1888 - JT Williams makes the first parachute descent in Australia, jumping from a balloon over Sydney.

1914 - British destroy German naval squadron off Falkland Islands.

1925 - Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf is published.

1941 - The United States, Britain and Australia all declare war on Japan; Japan invades Thailand and Malaya.

1949 - Jule Styne's musical comedy Gentlemen Prefer Blondes premieres in New York.

1956 - Call for general strike in Hungary leads to martial law and mass arrests.

1962 - Brunei rebellion collapses after British intervention.

1966 - Greek ferry sinks near Island of Melos, killing 234.

1974 - Greece votes decisively to become a republic and eliminate the monarchy, which dated back to 1832.

1978 - Death of Golda Meir, Israel's first woman prime minister (1969-74).

1980 - John Lennon, former member of The Beatles, is shot dead in New York by Mark David Chapman.

1981 - The ACTU ends a two-year-old ban on export of uranium from Australia.

1988 - US Air Force jet plane hits downtown residential area in Remscheid, West Germany, killing at least six people and injuring many others.

1992 - An avalanche of mud buries a gold mining camp in the remote foothills of the Andes in Bolivia, killing at least 50 miners.

1995 - The future of the Goss ALP government in Queensland is thrown into doubt when the state supreme court overturns the result in Mundingburra and orders a by-election.

1998 - Japanese scientists report that they have cloned eight calves from the same dead cow.

1999 - A jury hearing a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Rev Martin Luther King Jr's family finds that the civil rights leader was the victim of a vast murder conspiracy, not a lone assassin.

2001 - Death of Frances Elizabeth "Betty" Snyder Holberton, 84, pioneering computer programmer who helped create the computer languages COBOL and FORTRAN.

2008 - Dual Commonwealth Games marathon gold medallist and mother of three Kerryn McCann dies, aged 41, of breast cancer.

2011 - Former NSW Crime Commission assistant director Mark Standen is jailed for at least 16 years for conspiring to import $120 million worth of drugs into Australia.

2015 - Former Treasurer Joe Hockey is appointed Australia's Ambassador to the US.

2016 - The Victorian government announces it will introduce a bill to legalise assisted dying in the second half of 2017.

Today's Birthdays:

Horace, Latin poet (65BC-8BC); Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1587); Sammy Davis Junior, US singer-actor (1925-1990); David Carradine, US actor (1936-2009); Jim Morrison, lead singer of US group The Doors (1943-1971); John Waters, Australian actor (1948-); Gregg Allman, US rock musician (1947-2017); Bill Bryson, American author (1951-); Mikey Robins, Australian comedian (1961-); Steve Elkington, Australian golfer (1962-); James Blundell, Australian country musician (1964); Sinead O'Connor, Irish singer (1966-); Dominic Monaghan, British actor (1976-); Nicki Minaj, US rapper and singer-songwriter (1982-).

Thought For Today:

The unknown is what it is. And to be frightened of it is what sends everybody scurrying around chasing dreams, illusions, wars, peace, love, hate, all that. Unknown is what it is. Accept that it's unknown and it's plain sailing. - John Lennon (1940-1980).