updated 6/17/2005 12:03:32 AM ET 2005-06-17T04:03:32

Today is Friday, June 17, the 168th day of 2005. 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 DC-6 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 1969, the raunchy musical review “Oh! Calcutta!” opened in New York.

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

In 1992, President Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed a breakthrough arms-reduction agreement.

Ten years ago: Russian commandos stormed a hospital where Chechen rebels were holding more than 1,000 hostages, but the Chechens beat the Russians back.

Five years ago: In Cuba, more than 300,000 people turned out to protest the continued stay of Elian Gonzalez in the United States; it was the largest such demonstration since the previous December, when Cuba launched a national campaign of mass gatherings demanding the boy’s return.

One year ago: A bipartisan report found that officials, blindsided by terrorists and beset by poor communications, were so slow to react on Sept. 11, 2001, that the last of four hijacked planes had crashed by the time Vice President Dick Cheney ordered hostile aircraft shot down. President Bush disputed the Sept. 11 commission’s finding that Saddam Hussein had no strong ties to al-Qaida, saying the former Iraqi leader had had “numerous contacts” with the terrorist network. A sport utility vehicle packed with artillery shells slammed into a crowd waiting to volunteer for the Iraqi military, killing 35 people and wounding 138.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Peter Lupus is 73. Singer Barry Manilow is 59. Comedian Joe Piscopo is 54. Actor Mark Linn-Baker is 51. Actor Jon Gries is 48. Movie producer-director-writer Bobby Farrelly is 47. Actor Thomas Haden Church is 44. Actor Greg Kinnear is 41. Olympic gold-medal speed skater Dan Jansen is 40. Actor Jason Patric is 39. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kevin Thornton is 36. Tennis player Venus Williams is 25. Actor-rapper Herculeez (Herculeez and Big Tyme) is 20. Actor Damani Roberts is nine.

Thought for Today: “Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.” — Arthur Conan Doyle, British writer (1856-1930).

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