On this day: Kosovo declared independence

On this day in 2008 the Kosovo Assembly said it was separate from Serbia. Picture: AFP
On this day in 2008 the Kosovo Assembly said it was separate from Serbia. Picture: AFP
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EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries on February 17.

1540: Scotland’s gypsies were given recognition by King James V.

1813: Prussia’s Frederick William III declared war on France.

1863: The International Red Cross was founded in Geneva by Swiss philanthropist Jean Henri Dunant. Its original title was The Committee for Aid to Wounded Soldiers.

1867: The first ship passed through the Suez Canal.

1868: Scottish Reform Bill introduced.

1897: Britain rejected Austro-Russian proposal for blockade of Piraeus in Greece.

1904: Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly was first produced, in Milan.

1916: British and French forces captured Germany’s African colony of Cameroon.

1923: The inner chamber of the tomb of Tutankhamun was opened at Luxor in the presence of officials of the Egyptian government and archaeologists led by Lord Carnarvon.

1936: British-Irish trade pact ended tariff war.

1944: White Paper was issued outlining National Health Service for Britain.

1959: Queen Elizabeth gave Marlborough House to the nation for use as a Commonwealth Centre.

1965: United States spacecraft Ranger 8 was launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida, and made crash-landing on Moon three days later after sending back more than 7,000 pictures.

1972: House of Commons voted by a majority of eight in favour of Britain joining the European Common Market.

1972: Volkswagen cars broke the record held by the Model T Ford by selling the 15,007,034th production model of the Beetle.

1989: Frozen carcasses of apes, antelopes, monkeys, squirrels and aardvarks were seized by Dutch customs from a cargo vessel en route from Africa to supply restaurants in Belgium and Germany.

1989: Scientists stated that levels of ozone-depleting gases over the Arctic were 50 times higher than had been predicted by computer.

1990: East Germany announced it would take down a 600ft section of the Berlin Wall near the Brandenburg Gate, which would be the first section with no official controls.

1996: In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, world champion Garry Kasparov beat the Deep Blue supercomputer in a chess match.

1996: Nasa’s Discovery Program began as the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft lifted off on the first mission ever to orbit and land on an asteroid, 433 Eros.

2003: The London Congestion Charge scheme began.

2006: A mudslide occurred in Southern Leyte, Philippines; the official death toll was set at 1,126.

2008: Kosovo declared independence.

2009: Texan billionaire and cricket promoter Sir Allen Stanford was charged over a $8 billion (£5.6 bn) investment fraud. English cricket bosses promptly pulled out of sponsorship talks with Sir Allen.

Birthdays

Rebecca Adlington, double Olympic swimming gold medallist 2008, 26; Michael Bay, film director, 50; Lord Drummond Young, QC, Senator of the College of Justice in Scotland, 65; Andrew Bruce, 11th Earl of Elgin and 15th Earl of Kincardine, Lord Lieutenant of Fife 1987-99, 91; Brenda Fricker, actress, 67; Prunella Gee, actress, 65; Paris Hilton, hotel heiress and actress, 34; Barry Humphries, entertainer (Dame Edna Everage) and author, 81; Michael Jordan, basketball player, 52; Julia McKenzie, actress and singer, 74; Norman Pace, comedian and actor, 62; Lou Diamond Phillips, actor, 53; Ruth Rendell, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, crime novelist, 85; Denise Richards, actress, 44; Patricia Routledge, actress, 86; Renee Russo, actress, 61; Benjamin Whitrow, actor, 78.

Anniversaries

Births: 1653 Arcangelo Corelli, composer; 1766 Thomas Robert Malthus, economist; 1781 René Laennec, physician who invented the stethoscope; 1842 William Fritze, composer; 1849 Selwyn Image, artist; 1864 Andrew B (Banjo) Paterson, poet, journalist and author (Waltzing Matilda); 1872 Sir Ernest Davis, philanthropist; 1877 Andre Maginot, architect of Maginot Line in France; 1902 Marian Anderson, opera singer; 1934 Sir Alan Bates, actor; 1941 Gene Pitney, country and western singer.

Deaths: 1673 Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin), French playwright; 1796 James MacPherson, author of the Ossianic poems: Fragments of Ancient Poetry, Collected in the Highlands of Scotland; 1890 Christopher Sholes, inventor of the typewriter; 1909 Geronimo, last Apache chief to surrender; 1934 Albert I, King of the Belgians; 1980 Graham Sutherland, artist; 2010 Kathryn Grayson, film actress; 2013 Richard Briers, actor.