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Event
Anniversary
17 Aug
1996
Ruth Perry was chosen by a meeting of West African heads of state to chair Liberia's ruling council, thus becoming Africa's first woman head of stateRuth Perry was chosen by a meeting of West African heads of state to chair Liberia's ruling council, thus becoming Africa's first woman head of state
21 years ago
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17 Aug
1996
An international paedophile ring was uncovered in Belgium when the bodies of two young girls were found buried at the house of 39-year old Marc Dutroux. He was later found to have…An international paedophile ring was uncovered in Belgium when the bodies of two young girls were found buried at the house of 39-year old Marc Dutroux. He was later found to have kidnapped, tortured and abused six girls, murdering four of them. The police handling of the investigation was heavily criticised in the press
21 years ago
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17 Aug
1995
It was confirmed that Scottish climber Alison Hargreaves, the first woman to climb Everest without oxygen, had died in an avalanche on K2, the world’s second highest mountain,…It was confirmed that Scottish climber Alison Hargreaves, the first woman to climb Everest without oxygen, had died in an avalanche on K2, the world’s second highest mountain, four days earlier
22 years ago
17 Aug
1994
Riots spread through Lesotho after King Letsie III dissolved the country's first democratically-elected government for 20 yearsRiots spread through Lesotho after King Letsie III dissolved the country's first democratically-elected government for 20 years
23 years ago
17 Aug
1990
Former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere bowed out of mainstream politics when he quit as chairman of the ruling CCM partyFormer Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere bowed out of mainstream politics when he quit as chairman of the ruling CCM party
27 years ago
17 Aug
1990
American singer Pearl Bailey, who entertained two generations with her stage and record performances, diedAmerican singer Pearl Bailey, who entertained two generations with her stage and record performances, died
27 years ago
17 Aug
1990
Iraq raised the stakes in the Gulf crisis, announcing it would hold Western civilians at its military bases and other key installations until the danger of war had passedIraq raised the stakes in the Gulf crisis, announcing it would hold Western civilians at its military bases and other key installations until the danger of war had passed
27 years ago
17 Aug
1988
President Zia ul-Haq of Pakistan and the U.S. ambassador to the country, Arnold Raphel, were killed when Zia’s plane exploded after take-offPresident Zia ul-Haq of Pakistan and the U.S. ambassador to the country, Arnold Raphel, were killed when Zia’s plane exploded after take-off
29 years ago
17 Aug
1987
Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler's deputy and the sole inmate at Spandau Prison, was found dead in his cell having hanged himself with an electric cordRudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler's deputy and the sole inmate at Spandau Prison, was found dead in his cell having hanged himself with an electric cord
30 years ago
17 Aug
1985
60 people died and 100 were injured in car-bomb explosion in Christian East Beirut60 people died and 100 were injured in car-bomb explosion in Christian East Beirut
32 years ago
17 Aug
1983
Ira Gershwin, U.S. lyricist and elder brother of composer George Gershwin, died in Beverly Hills aged 86Ira Gershwin, U.S. lyricist and elder brother of composer George Gershwin, died in Beverly Hills aged 86
34 years ago
17 Aug
1982
The first Compact Discs (CDs) were released in Germany. They were originally developed to record sound but were later adapted for dataThe first Compact Discs (CDs) were released in Germany. They were originally developed to record sound but were later adapted for data
35 years ago
17 Aug
1978
Three American balloonists, Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson and Larry Newman, completed the first crossing of the North Atlantic in their balloon, Double Eagle IIThree American balloonists, Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson and Larry Newman, completed the first crossing of the North Atlantic in their balloon, Double Eagle II
39 years ago
17 Aug
1976
A severe earthquake shook the Philippine island of Mindanao, killing around 8,000 peopleA severe earthquake shook the Philippine island of Mindanao, killing around 8,000 people
41 years ago
17 Aug
1970
Venera 7, the first spacecraft to land successfully on the surface of another planet, was launched. It landed on Venus on December 15, 1970Venera 7, the first spacecraft to land successfully on the surface of another planet, was launched. It landed on Venus on December 15, 1970
47 years ago
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17 Aug
1969
Hurricane Camille slammed into America’s Gulf Coast with winds of over 170 mph and gusts above 200 mph. More than 250 people died, mostly in the Mississippi Delta, after…Hurricane Camille slammed into America’s Gulf Coast with winds of over 170 mph and gusts above 200 mph. More than 250 people died, mostly in the Mississippi Delta, after warnings about the approaching storm went largely unheeded
48 years ago
17 Aug
1969
Dr Philip Blaiberg died in South Africa, 19 months and 15 days after receiving a heart transplant, the longest survival record at that timeDr Philip Blaiberg died in South Africa, 19 months and 15 days after receiving a heart transplant, the longest survival record at that time
48 years ago
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17 Aug
1962
Peter Fechter, 18, was shot by East German guards as he attempted to flee across the Berlin Wall. He was left to bleed to death, the most notorious case in the history of the wall.…Peter Fechter, 18, was shot by East German guards as he attempted to flee across the Berlin Wall. He was left to bleed to death, the most notorious case in the history of the wall. In July 1996 two former guards were charged with his manslaughter
55 years ago
17 Aug
1960
Gabon gained independence from FranceGabon gained independence from France
57 years ago
17 Aug
1952
Brazilian grand prix motor racing champion Nelson Piquet was bornBrazilian grand prix motor racing champion Nelson Piquet was born
65 years ago
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17 Aug
1945
Dr Sukarno proclaimed independence for Indonesia from the Netherlands. He was appointed the country’s first president and pursued diplomatic and military efforts to resist Dutch…Dr Sukarno proclaimed independence for Indonesia from the Netherlands. He was appointed the country’s first president and pursued diplomatic and military efforts to resist Dutch re-colonization after World War II. The Netherlands finally acknowledged Indonesian independence in 1949
72 years ago
17 Aug
1943
U.S. forces under Patton relieved Messina, arriving just hours ahead of Montgomery's British Eighth Army, signalling the end of the Sicilian campaignU.S. forces under Patton relieved Messina, arriving just hours ahead of Montgomery's British Eighth Army, signalling the end of the Sicilian campaign
74 years ago
17 Aug
1943
American actor Robert De Niro, double Oscar winner for his roles in The Godfather Part II and Raging Bull, was born in New YorkAmerican actor Robert De Niro, double Oscar winner for his roles in The Godfather Part II and Raging Bull, was born in New York
74 years ago
17 Aug
1929
Francis Gary Powers, U.S. pilot, born. He was shot down in a spy plane over Soviet territory in 1960, setting off a major diplomatic crisisFrancis Gary Powers, U.S. pilot, born. He was shot down in a spy plane over Soviet territory in 1960, setting off a major diplomatic crisis
88 years ago
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