On this day: Nureyev defects|First woman in space

The Soviet dancer Rudolf Nureyev defected to the West on this day in 1961. Picture: Getty
The Soviet dancer Rudolf Nureyev defected to the West on this day in 1961. Picture: Getty
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EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries occuring on 16 June.

1338: Siege of Dunbar by the English was raised.

1779: Spain declared war on Britain, and siege of Gibraltar opened.

1903: The Ford Motor Company was formed in Detroit to market the “horseless” inventions of Henry Ford, farmer’s son and engineer.

1904: The novel Ulysses by James Joyce takes place on this day, now known and celebrated in Dublin – where the novel is set – as Bloomsday, after the leading character, Leopold Bloom.

1905: Automobile Association was founded.

1920: Council of League of Nations held first public meeting at St James’s Palace in London.

1931: Electric tote first used on a racecourse, at Ascot.

1940: Marshal Philippe Pétain took over French government and asked Germany for an armistice.

1948: The Cathay Pacific Airways’ Catalina flying boat Miss Macao, on a scheduled flight to Hong Kong, was the first aeroplane to be hijacked, by a gang of Chinese bandits.

1958: Yellow no-waiting lines were introduced to British streets.

1961: The Soviet dancer Rudolf Nureyev defected to the West while on tour in Paris with the Kirov Ballet.

1963: Valentina Tereshkova blasted off from Tyuratam in Vostok 6 to become the first woman in space.

1972: America’s biggest political scandal started when five burglars were caught breaking into the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate office complex in Washington.

1972: Clifford Irving was jailed for 30 months for writing a fake biography of Howard Hughes.

1976: Bloody rioting erupted in Soweto, largest black township in South Africa, setting off months of racial upheaval in which 600 blacks and three whites died.

1977: Leonid Brezhnev became president of USSR.

1981: Liberal and Social Democrat parties in Britain merged into ill-fated Social and Liberal Democratic Alliance.

1989: The 16th century Rose Theatre in London was covered with protective sand ready for a ten-storey office block to be built above it.

1992: The United States and Russia agreed to scrap two-thirds of their long-range nuclear warheads.

1993: The Tories – in particular Northern Ireland minister Michael Mates – were at the centre of a row over gifts and donations by fugitive businessman Asil Nadir.

1994: Lou Macari was dismissed as Celtic manager after eight months in the job.

2000: St James’s Palace announced that Prince William would not be adopting the formal trappings of royalty when he turned 18, and wanted to be called “William”, rather than “His Royal Highness”, until he starts to undertake royal duties in later life.

2009: It was revealed that every household in the UK would pay a new broadband tax of 50p a month to help pay for the roll-out of super-fast internet access across the country.


Dame Eileen Atkins, actress and writer, 80; James Bolam MBE, actor, 79; Ian Buchanan, Hamilton-born actor, 57; Shami Chakrabarti CBE, director of Liberty, 45; Michael Culver, actor, 76; Lady Dorrian, senator of the College of Justice in Scotland, 57; Tom Graveney OBE, English cricketer, president of the MCC 2004-5 and television commentator, 87; Tommy Horton MBE, golfer, 73; Iain Matthews, singer/songwriter, 68; Phil Mickelson, golfer, 44; Joyce Carol Oates, novelist, 76; Helen Ryan, actress, 76; Joan Van Ark, actress, 71; Simon Williams, actor, 68; John Cho, Korean American actor, 42; Joe McElderry, singer (winner of X Factor), 23; Roberto Duran, Panamanian world boxing champion, 63; Giacomo Agostini, Italian multi-world champion motor cyclist, 72; May Andersen, Danish supermodel, 32.


Births: 1605 Thomas Randolph, poet-dramatist; 1801 Julius Plucker, German physicist who discovered cathode rays; 1821 “Old” Tom Morris, four times Open champion and course designer; 1858 Gustav V, King of Sweden 1907-50; 1860 Sir George Frampton, sculptor (Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens); 1890 Stan Laurel, of Laurel and Hardy film comedy duo; 1892 Lupino Lane, music hall entertainer; 1912 Enoch Powell, academic and politician; 1937 Professor Erich Segal, academic and author (Love Story).

Deaths: 1722 Duke of Marlborough, general famous for victories in the War of Spanish Succession; 1807 Reverend John Skinner, poet, Episcopal minister of Longside, Buchan; 1869 Charles Sturt, Briton who explored interior of Australia; 1969 Earl Alexander of Tunis, leader of invasion of Italy; 1971 Lord Reith, architect of the BBC; 1977 Werner von Braun, German-born pioneer of rocketry in America’s manned Moon flights; 1990 Dame Eva Turner, Britain’s first international opera star.