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Tuesday, May 27, 1997

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  • "The concept of Russian national security does not rule out first use of nuclear weapons. (Russia) remains and must continue to remain a nuclear power."

    -- Russian Press Secretary Sergei Yastrzhembsky

    Today's events

  • The 9th annual National Geography Bee is scheduled to begin in Washington.

  • The trial of Georges Rutaganda, charged with genocide and crimes against humanity in Rwanda in 1994, is scheduled to open in Arusha, Tanzania, at the International Criminal Tribunal.

  • Disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson is expected to appear before a Brampton, Ontario, court, while seeking to overturn the International Amateur Athletics Federation lifetime ban on international competition on the athlete.

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    On the horizon

  • On Wednesday, May 28, NATO foreign ministers meet in Lisbon.

  • On Thursday, May 29, Indonesia holds general elections.

  • On Friday, May 30, presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held in Liberia.

  • On Saturday, May 31, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is scheduled to visit Sarajevo for talks with political leaders.

  • On Sunday, June 1, the second round of French parliamentary elections is scheduled to begin.

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    On this day

  • In 1679, the English parliament passed the Habeas Corpus Act, protecting citizens against false arrest and imprisonment. The main principles of the act were later incorporated into the U.S. Constitution.

  • In 1703, Czar Peter the Great founded the city of St. Petersburg as Russia's new capital.

  • In 1860, Giuseppe Garibaldi took Palermo in Sicily in his struggle to unite Italy.

  • In 1883, Czar Alexander III was crowned in Moscow.

  • In 1905, in the Russo-Japanese war, Japan's fleet destroyed the Russians at the battle of Tsushima Strait. Of the Russian fleet's 45 ships, only 12 reached safety.

  • In 1936, the 80,733-ton British Cunard liner Queen Mary sailed on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, carrying more than 1,800 passengers.

  • In 1937, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge opened and 200,000 people crossed it on its first day. It took four years, four months and 22 days to complete.

  • In 1941, in World War II, the British ships Dorsetshire, King George V and Rodney, plus aircraft from the carrier Ark Royal, sank the German battleship Bismarck in the Atlantic.

  • In 1941, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt reacted to the German navy's sinking of the merchant vessel Robin Moor by declaring a state of unlimited national emergency.

  • In 1942, top German Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich was shot and mortally wounded in Prague. His death June 4 triggered savage reprisals against the populations of Moravia and Bohemia.

  • In 1951, the Chinese Communists forced the Dalai Lama, Tibet's god king, to surrender control of his region's foreign affairs and its army to Beijing.

  • In 1963, formerly jailed pro-independence leader Jomo Kenyatta was elected first prime minister of self-governing Kenya, becoming state president on independence from Britain the following year.

  • In 1964, Jawalharlal Nehru, Indian statesman and first prime minister of independent India, died at 74.

  • In 1974, French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing took office, naming Jacques Chirac as prime minister.

  • In 1980, Dr. Milton Obote, deposed as Uganda's president by Idi Amin in 1971, returned home from exile. He regained the presidency, only to be overthrown again in 1985.

  • In 1993, British Prime Minister John Major sacked Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont after he was blamed for a bitter two-year recession and a humiliating currency crisis.

  • In 1993, a suspected Mafia car bomb killed five people and badly damaged an art collection in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

  • In 1994, Alexander Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia to an emotional welcome after 20 years in exile. The first action of the former dissident writer on reaching Russian soil was to salute the millions who died in Soviet prison camps.

  • In 1995, Ukraine and a consortium of Western firms signed a memorandum to plan the closure by 2000 of the Chernobyl nuclear power station, site of the world's worst nuclear accident nine years before, and to replace it with a thermal plant.

  • In 1996, Russia signed a deal with the leader of the Chechen rebels to end fighting in the breakaway region from June 1 in what President Boris Yeltsin called an historic moment.

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    Today is the beginning of the ninth annual National Geography Bee national finals in Washington, D.C. To find out more, click here.


    Holidays and more

  • Author John Barth is 67.

  • U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd is 53.

  • Actor Louis Gossett Jr. is 61.

  • Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is 74.

  • Actor Christopher Lee is 75.

  • Actress Lee Meriwether is 62.

  • Actor Bruce Weitz is 54.

  • Writer Herman Wouk is 82.

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    Sources: Associated Press,
    Chase's Calendar of Events 1997, J.P. Morgan

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