updated 6/17/2006 12:01:12 AM ET 2006-06-17T04:01:12

Today is Saturday, June 17, the 168th day of 2006. There are 197 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On June 17, 1775, the Revolutionary War Battle of Bunker Hill took place near Boston. The battle, which actually occurred on Breed’s Hill, was a costly victory for the British, who suffered heavy losses while dislodging the rebels.

On this date:
In 1856, in Philadelphia, the Republican Party opened its first convention.

In 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York City aboard the French ship Isere.

In 1928, Amelia Earhart embarked on a trans-Atlantic flight from Newfoundland to Wales — the first by a woman.

In 1940, France asked Germany for terms of surrender in World War II.

In 1944, the republic of Iceland was established.

In 1948, a United Air Lines DC6 crashed near Mount Carmel, Pa., killing all 43 people on board.

In 1963, the Supreme Court struck down rules requiring the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer or reading of Biblical verses in public schools.

In 1972, President Nixon’s eventual downfall began with the arrest of five burglars inside Democratic national headquarters in Washington’s Watergate complex.

In 1986, President Reagan announced the retirement of U.S. Chief Justice Warren Earl Burger.

In 1986, singer Kate Smith died in Raleigh, N.C., at age 79.

Ten years ago: ValuJet Airlines suspended its flight schedule indefinitely after a federal inspection found “several serious deficiencies” in the discount carrier’s operations. (ValuJet resumed limited operations 15 weeks later.)

Five years ago: Texas Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a bill to ban the execution of mentally retarded death row inmates, saying the state already had numerous safeguards in place to protect them.

One year ago: The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops agreed to a five-year extension on their unprecedented policy of permanently barring sexually abusive clergy from church work. Marcus Wesson, the domineering patriarch of a large clan he’d bred through incest, was convicted in Fresno, Calif., of murdering nine of his children. (Wesson was later sentenced to death.) Former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski and a second executive, Mark H. Swartz, were convicted of looting their company of more than $600 million. Iran’s presidential election was thrown into a run-off after no candidate won over 50 percent of the vote. (Tehran’s conservative mayor, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, emerged the winner.)

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Peter Lupus is 74. Singer Barry Manilow is 60. Comedian Joe Piscopo is 55. Actor Mark Linn-Baker is 52. Actor Jon Gries is 49. Movie producer-director-writer Bobby Farrelly is 48. Actor Thomas Haden Church is 45. Actor Greg Kinnear is 43. Olympic gold-medal speed skater Dan Jansen is 41. Actor Jason Patric is 40. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kevin Thornton is 37. Tennis player Venus Williams is 26. Actor-rapper Herculeez (Herculeez and Big Tyme) is 21. Actor Damani Roberts is 10.

Thought for Today: “History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.” — Abba Eban, Israeli diplomat (1915-2002).

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