Today is Saturday, June 11, the 162nd day of 2011. There are 203 days left in the year.
Today's Highlights in History:
On June 11, 1776, the Continental Congress formed a committee to draft a Declaration of Independence calling for freedom from Britain.
On this date:
In 1509, England's King Henry VIII married his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.
In 1770, Captain James Cook, commander of the British ship Endeavour, discovered the Great Barrier Reef off Australia by running onto it.
In 1919, Sir Barton won the Belmont Stakes, becoming horse racing's first Triple Crown winner.
In 1936, Kansas Gov. Alfred "Alf" Landon was nominated for president at the Republican national convention in Cleveland.
In 1947, the government announced the end of household and institutional sugar rationing, to take effect the next day.
In 1963, a Buddhist monk (Thich Quang Duc) set himself afire on a Saigon street to protest the government of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem.
In 1970, the United States presence in Libya came to an end as the last detachment left Wheelus Air Base. (The anniversary of this event is celebrated as a holiday in Libya.)
In 1971, the year-and-a-half-long occupation of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay by American Indian activists ended as federal officers evicted the remaining protesters.
In 1977, Seattle Slew won the Belmont Stakes, capturing the Triple Crown.
In 1985, Karen Ann Quinlan, the comatose patient whose case prompted a historic right-to-die court decision, died in Morris Plains, N.J., at age 31.
Ten years ago: Timothy McVeigh, 33, was executed by injection at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people.
Five years ago: Al-Qaida in Iraq vowed "major attacks" after the death of leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (AH'-boo MOO'-sahb ahl-zahr-KOW'-ee) in a U.S. airstrike. Rafael Nadal won his second consecutive French Open title, beating Roger Federer 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (4). Se Ri Pak beat Karrie Webb to win the LPGA Championship. "The History Boys" won six Tony Awards, including best play; "Jersey Boys" was named best musical and won four awards. Civil rights activist James Cameron, who'd survived an attempted lynching and went on to found America's Black Holocaust Museum, died in Milwaukee at age 92.
One year ago: Twenty campers in a southwestern Arkansas gorge died in a pre-dawn flash flood of the Little Missouri River. Joran van der Sloot (YOHR'-uhn VAN'-dur-sloht) was ordered jailed in Peru on first-degree murder and robbery charges in the beating and strangling death of Stephany Flores. The FIFA World Cup opened in South Africa to the joyous sound of vuvuzelas. (It was the first World Cup to be played in Africa.)
Today's Birthdays: Opera singer Rise (REE'-suh) Stevens is 98. Actor Gene Wilder is 78. Actor Chad Everett is 74. Comedian Johnny Brown is 74. International Motorsports Hall of Famer Jackie Stewart is 72. Singer Joey Dee is 71. Actress Adrienne Barbeau is 66. Rock musician Frank Beard (ZZ Top) is 62. Animal rights activist Ingrid Newkirk is 62. Rock singer Donnie Van Zant is 59. Actor Peter Bergman is 58. Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana is 55. Actor Hugh Laurie is 52. Singer Gioia (JOY'-ah) Bruno (Expose) is 48. Rock musician Dan Lavery (Tonic) is 45. Country singer-songwriter Bruce Robison is 45. Actor Peter Dinklage is 42. Country musician Smilin' Jay McDowell is 42. Rock musician Tai Anderson (Third Day) is 35. Actor Joshua Jackson is 33. Christian rock musician Ryan Shrout is 31. Actor Shia LaBeouf (SHY'-uh luh-BUF') is 25.
Thought for Today: "People do not believe lies because they have to, but because they want to." _ Malcolm Muggeridge, British author and commentator (1903-1990).
(Above Advance for Use Saturday, June 11)
Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.