On this day: William Kennedy Smith was acquitted

On this day in 1991, William Kennedy Smith, right, nephew of senator Edward Kennedy, was acquitted of raping a woman. Picture: Getty
On this day in 1991, William Kennedy Smith, right, nephew of senator Edward Kennedy, was acquitted of raping a woman. Picture: Getty
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 11 December

1816: Britain restored Java, Indonesia, to the Netherlands.

1845: Sikhs crossed the Sutlej River in India and surprised the British, causing outbreak of war.

1878: French-British dual control in Egypt was suspended.

1903: The first wildlife preservation society in Britain was founded under the name Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire.

1914: Royal Flying Corps adopted the red, white and blue roundel for aircraft identification.

1931: Statute of Westminster, recognising independence of the Commonwealth, became law.

1936: Edward VIII abdicated as king, after a reign of 325 days, in favour of his brother, the Duke of York, who became King George VI.

1941: United States declared war against Germany and Italy.

1961: Two US helicopter companies arrived in Saigon on an aircraft carrier in the first direct American military support for South Vietnam’s battle against Communist guerrillas.

1967: Prototype of the world’s first supersonic airliner, Concorde, revealed.

1972: Two Apollo 17 astronauts, Captain Eugene Cernan and Doctor Harrison Schmitt, landed on the Moon in lunar module Challenger. They took three Moon walks in the Taurus-Littrow area.

1987: Charlie Chaplin’s famous cane and bowler hat were sold at Christie’s for £82,500, and his boots for £38,500.

1990: It was decided to place concrete puffins on the cliffs at Cardigan Island, west Wales, to try to lure real birds back.

1991: William Kennedy Smith, nephew of senator Edward Kennedy, was acquitted of raping a woman on his family’s Florida estate.

1994: President Boris Yeltsin sent Russian tanks and troops into the renegade region of Chechnya.

1996: The Conservative government’s paymaster-general, David Willetts, resigned after a damning report about his involvement in the Commons cash-for-questions affair.

2008: Bernard Madoff was arrested and charged with securities fraud in a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

2009: American golfer Tiger Woods announced that he was to take an indefinite leave from professional golf to try to work on “healing” his family after revelations surrounding infidelity.

2010: Two explosions occurred in a busy shopping district of Stockholm, Sweden, killing one and injuring two others.

BIRTHDAYS

Marco Pierre White, chef, 53; Anna Carteret, actress, 72; Teri Garr, actress, 67; Jermaine Jackson, singer, 60; Brenda Lee, singer, 70; Neil Mackie CBE, Scottish tenor, 68; Cliff Michelmore CBE, broadcaster, 95; Patrick Reyntiens OBE, designer and stained glass painter, 89; Raymond Robertson, MP 1992-97, chairman, Scottish Conservative Party 1997-2001, 55; Michaela Tabb, snooker and pool championship referee, 47; Leighton Baines, footballer, 30; John Kerry, US secretary of state, 70; Rita Moreno, actress and singer, 83; Donna Mills, actress and producer, 74; Martin Stone, guitarist and rare book dealer, 68; Pranab Mukherjee, 13th president of India, 79; Ben Shephard, TV presenter and journalist, 40; Justin Currie, Scottish singer-songwriter, founding member of Del Amitri, 50; Jean-Louis Trintignant, actor, 84; Anne Heywood, beauty queen (Miss Great Britain) and actress, 83; David Gates, singer-songwriter, 74.

ANNIVERSARIES

Births: 1475 Giovanni de’ Medici, pope who excommunicated Martin Luther; 1707 Charles Wesley, Methodist and prolific hymn writer; 1781 Sir David Brewster, Scottish physicist and inventor of kaleidoscope; 1803 Hector Berlioz, composer; 1843 Robert Koch, Nobel Prize-winning bacteriologist; 1904 Joe Coral, bookmaker; 1912 Carlo Ponti, film producer; 1918 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, novelist and historian.

Deaths: 1282 Llewelyn Ab Gruffydd, Prince of Wales; 1892 William Milligan, Scottish theologian; 1941 Charles Émile Picard, French mathematician; 1964 Sam Cooke, singer; 1965 Ed Murrow, journalist and broadcaster; 1971 Maurice “Mac” McDonald, fast-food pioneer who established McDonald’s restaurants; 1992 Michael Robbins, actor; 1995 Arthur Mullard, comedy actor; 1996 William Rushton, actor, author, cartoonist and broadcaster; 2008 Bettie Page, model and pin-up; 2012 Pandit Ravi Shankar, sitar player.