Rescuers dig at the site of the Aberfan slagheap disaster, which killed 144 people on this day in 1966.
Rescuers dig at the site of the Aberfan slagheap disaster, which killed 144 people on this day in 1966.

Today in History: October 21

Highlights in history on this date:

1872: Adelaide becomes the first city in Australia to be connected to Europe by telegraph with the completion of the Overland Telegraph Line to Darwin.

1879: Thomas Edison invents the electric lamp.

1938: Japanese troops take Canton in China.

1944: US troops capture Aachen, the first big German city to fall to the Allies in World War II.

1945: Women vote for first time in France.

1947: UN General Assembly asks Greece and Balkan powers to settle differences peacefully.

1950: Chinese forces begin occupation of Tibet.

1957: Start of Australia's first automatic telephone weather service, in Melbourne.

1959: The Guggenheim Museum opens to the public in New York.

1963: Cuba's Premier Fidel Castro asks for immediate end of United States' economic blockade of Cuba.

1964: Movie musical My Fair Lady, starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison, has world premiere in New York.

Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, which premiered on this day in 1964.
Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, which premiered on this day in 1964.

1966: A slag heap collapses on the village of Aberfan in Wales, killing 144 people, mostly schoolchildren.

1971: North Vietnam's Premier Phan Van Dong says his government is ready to accept ceasefire as first step towards settlement of Vietnam War.

1973: Four Gulf states cut off oil supplies to United States to protest US arms shipments to Israel in Middle East conflict.

1989: At least 120 people are killed when a Honduran jet breaks apart in flight and crashes outside Tegucigalpa.

1991: American hostage Jesse Turner is released in Beirut, Lebanon.

1993: NATO ministers endorse a plan to form limited partnerships with Russia and other former East bloc foes but stops short of offering full membership.

1994: The United States and North Korea sign a pact to end the war of nerves over Pyongyang's nuclear program.

1995: Presidents and premiers from around the world gather in New York City for the 50th anniversary of the United Nations.

Floors on the UN Secretariat building are lit to advertise the 50th anniversary on this day in 1994.
Floors on the UN Secretariat building are lit to advertise the 50th anniversary on this day in 1994.

1996: A UN envoy arrives in Kabul, Afghanistan, to try to avert an all-out war for the shattered city.

1997: Aid begins pouring into Brazzaville, the war-torn capital of the Republic of Congo.

2000: About 23,000 Afghans flee to Pakistan as fighting rages in the northeastern provinces between the ruling Taliban militia and opposition forces.

2001: In a joint statement, Russia and United States pledge to co-operate to prevent nuclear, biological or chemical weapons being used in terrorism.

2002: About 14 Israelis are killed when a vehicle packed with explosives slams into a bus in the country's north.

2003: At least 22 people are killed during a series of massive wildfires in southern California.

2004: Japan starts the clean-up a day after a deadly typhoon slams into the country, killing 55 and leaving 24 missing.

2005: The body of a defence lawyer in Saddam Hussein's mass murder trial is found dumped in the street with two bullet wounds in the head.

2006: Donations of clothing set off stampedes in impoverished Bangladesh leaving at least eight people dead.

2008: The first flight of an Airbus A380 by Qantas touches down in Los Angeles.

A Qantas Airbus A30.
A Qantas Airbus A30.

2009: US Vice President Joe Biden seeks reconciliation with America's staunch allies in eastern Europe, starting with Poland, which eagerly signs on to a revamped US missile shield.

2011: NATO says it plans to end its seven-month bombing campaign in Libya at the end of the month, leaving the battle-scarred country's new authorities on their own to ensure security 2012: The funeral for Lebanon's slain intelligence chief descends into chaos as soldiers fire tear gas at protesters who tried to storm the government palace.

2013: France joins a growing list of angry allies who are demanding answers from the United States over aggressive surveillance tactics by the National Security Agency.

2014: Former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam dies aged 98.

2015: Remains of a two-year-old girl dumped in a suitcase on an SA roadside are identified as Khandalyce Pearce, five years after the body of her mother Karlie Pearce-Stevenson was found in Belango State Forest, NSW. Daniel James Holdom, 41, is later charged with their murders.

2016: An Australian ban on the Adler gun - which can shoot eight bullets in as many seconds - is upheld after the states fail to agree on how to reclassify it.

2017: Three racing greyhounds in Darwin die from a rare flesh-eating disease, temporarily shutting down the local greyhound racing industry.

2018: American actor Selma Blair reveals she is suffering from multiple sclerosis in an emotional Instagram post.


Judith Sheindlin, American lawyer and judge, better known as Judge Judy (1942); Benjamin Netanyahu, former Israeli prime minister (1949); Carrie Fisher, US actor-writer (1956-2016); Kim Kardashian, American socialite and reality TV star (1980); Bernard Tomic, Australian tennis player (1992).


"You will never 'find' time for anything. If you want time you must make it." - Charles Buxton, English author (1823-1871).

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