The world this week: Salem’s first witch is hanged and firefighters try desperately to save Grenfell Tower

Sam Hancock trawls the archives for the key events and notable deaths from this week in history

Sam Hancock
Sunday 09 June 2019 16:34
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Salem's witch trails were conducted between 1692 and 1693
Salem's witch trails were conducted between 1692 and 1693

10 June

The first Salem witch hanging took place in 1692, when Bridget Bishop was found guilty of practising witchcraft.

In 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in Ohio by Bill Wilson and Dr Bob Smith. Today, the organisation is active in countries all over the world.

Nelson Mandela wrote a message from prison in 1980, which was smuggled out and broadcast by the African National Congress. In it he told his followers to unite, mobilise and fight on.

London’s Millennium Bridge closed for safety checks in 2000 after it began swinging in the wind while people were crossing it. Following the checks, the bridge was closed for eight months and had 91 dampers installed on it to repair the issue, costing £5m.

Deaths: Alexander the Great, 323BC, Macedonian king; Spencer Tracy, 1967, star of Father of the Bride; Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1982, German actor, director and screenwriter; Ray Charles, 2004, American pianist, singer and songwriter.

Sergio Ramos of Spain lifts the Fifa World Cup 2010 trophy

11 June

Seventy-seven people were killed in the 1955 Le Mans disaster, when a racing car spun off the track and ploughed into the crowd.

Steven Spielberg’s E.T., starring Drew Barrymore and Henry Thomas, was released in 1982.

In 1987 Margaret Thatcher became the first British prime minister in 160 years to win a third consecutive term of office.

The 2010 Fifa World Cup kicked off in Johannesburg, South Africa, the first time the competition was held in Africa.

Deaths: Klemens von Metternich, 1859, the first state chancellor of the Austrian empire; Robert E Howard, 1936, American author; Julius Evola, 1974, Italian philosopher; John Wayne, 1979, actor.

Mourners in Florida pay their respects at a memorial for the Pulse nightclub shooting, in which Omar Mateen killed 49 people

12 June

Indian prime minister Indira Ghandi was found guilty of electoral corruption in 1975. Ghandi was barred from office for six years as a result.

President Reagan challenged the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, to “tear down” the Berlin Wall in 1987. The speech went down as one of Reagan’s most infamous Cold War monologues.

In 1997 the home secretary, Jack Straw, began proceedings to release Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, the killers of two-year-old James Bulger, from prison. The move came after his predecessor Michael Howard had previously increased their sentences from 10 to 15 years. The pair were eventually released after eight.

Omar Mateen opened fire at Pulse nightclub, Florida, in 2016, killing 49 people. The attack was one of the deadliest incidents of violence against the LGBT+ community in history.

Deaths: Medgar Evers, 1963, American civil rights activist; Billy Butlin, 1980, the founder of seaside holiday resort chain Butlin’s; Gregory Peck, 2003, actor.

Fans of Michael Jackson sat outside his trial every day to show support for the disgraced pop star

13 June

The New York Times published the Pentagon Papers in 1971. The secret study revealed the US government’s lies concerning the scale of their activities in Vietnam and neighbouring countries during the Vietnam War.

Grease, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, was released in 1978.

In 1981, Marcus Serjeant was jailed for five years under the 1842 Treason Act after shooting a replica gun at Queen Elizabeth as she rode on horseback. The law had not been used since 1966.

Michael Jackson was cleared of child abuse charges in 2005 after a four-month-long trial. A documentary called Leaving Neverland was released in 2019 that contained testimonies from Wade Robson and James Safechuck who, now in their thirties, claim they were sexually abused by Jackson. Their claims remain unverified.

Deaths: Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia, 1918; Geraldine Page, 1987, actor; Charles Haughey, 2006, Ireland’s seventh prime minister.

Police begin cordoning off areas of north Kensington as Grenfell Tower is engulfed by flames in the early hours on the morning

14 June

Pilots from around the world conducted a 24-hour strike in 1972. They accused multiple governments of failing to properly protect them from threats of hijacking.

The Falklands War ended in 1982 after a ceasefire was agreed between British and Argentinian forces, ending 74 days of fighting.

In 2002, a 73m-wide asteroid came close to hitting Earth, passing at a distance three times smaller than that between the Earth and the moon. It was only discovered after it was no longer a threat.

Grenfell Tower went up in flames shortly before 1am in 2017. Seventy-two people were killed in the blaze that tore through the 24-storey residential block. An independent inquiry is being carried out into the building’s lack of safety precautions and cladding.

Deaths: Max Weber, 1920, German economist and sociologist; Emmeline Pankhurst, 1928, activist and suffragette; Salvatore Quasimodo, 1968, Italian poet and winner of a Nobel Prize for literature.

Manchester’s city centre after the IRA car bomb detonated

15 June

The world’s first moving pictures were caught on camera in 1878. Twelve cameras were used, each taking one image, to see if all four of a horse’s hooves left the ground when it galloped.

The Philippines’ Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991, killing roughly 800 people and causing a global temperature drop of 0.5C.

Some 200 people were injured when an IRA-planted bomb exploded in Manchester’s city centre in 1996. There were no fatalities, but wounded civilians included a pregnant woman who was thrown 15ft into the air and needed surgery for glass wounds she had sustained.

King John signs the Magna Carta at Runnymede, near Windsor, England, in 1215. The charter helped establish the rights of the individual.

Deaths: James Polk, 1849, 11th president of the US; Evelyn Underhill, 1941, English poet; James Hunt, 1993, the 1976 World Drivers’ Champion; Ella Fitzgerald, 1996, American singer.

Alfred Hitchcock and Janet Leigh pictured on the set of ‘Psycho’

16 June

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho, starring Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins and Vera Miles, opened in New York City.

Andrew Morton’s controversial book Diana: Her True Story was published in 1992. The book confirmed that the former Princess of Wales had battled with bulimia and depression when she was married to Prince Charles.

In 2000, Israel finally complied with UN Security Council Resolution 425 after 22 years. It demanded Israel’s immediate withdrawal from all of Lebanon, except the disputed Sheba Farms.

Bhutan banned the cultivation, harvesting, production and sale of tobacco and tobacco products in 2010. It is now legal to smoke in a private setting in the south Asian country, but obtaining tobacco products legally is close to impossible.

Deaths: George Reeves, 1959, star of Superman and Gone with the Wind; Lindsay Hassett, 1993, Australian cricketer; Tony Gwynn, 2014, American baseball player and coach.

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