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Today in History: June 11, more than 80 killed at Le Mans auto race

By The Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, June 11, the 163rd day of 2024. There are 203 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On June 11, 1955, in motor racing’s worst disaster, more than 80 people were killed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France when two of the cars collided and crashed into spectators.

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 1776, the Continental Congress formed a committee to draft a Declaration of Independence calling for freedom from Britain.

In 1919, Sir Barton won the Belmont Stakes, becoming horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner.

In 1938, Johnny Vander Meer pitched the first of two consecutive no-hitters as he led the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-0 victory over the Boston Bees. (Four days later, Vander Meer refused to give up a hit to the Brooklyn Dodgers, who lost, 6-0.)

In 1962, three prisoners at Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay staged an escape, leaving the island on a makeshift raft; they were never found or heard from again.

In 1985, Karen Ann Quinlan, the comatose patient whose case prompted a historic right-to-die court decision, died in Morris Plains, New Jersey, at age 31.

In 1987, Margaret Thatcher became the first British prime minister in 160 years to win a third consecutive term of office as her Conservative Party held onto a reduced majority in Parliament.

In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that people who commit hate crimes motivated by bigotry may be sentenced to extra punishment.

In 2001, Timothy McVeigh, 33, was executed by injection at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people.

In 2009, with swine flu reported in more than 70 nations, the World Health Organization declared the first global flu pandemic in 41 years.

In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that states can target people who haven’t cast ballots in a while in efforts to purge their voting rolls.

In 2020, Louisville, Kentucky, banned the use of “no-knock” warrants and named the new ordinance for Breonna Taylor, who’d been fatally shot by officers who burst into her home.

Today’s Birthdays: Former U.S. Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., is 94. International Motorsports Hall of Famer Jackie Stewart is 85. Singer Joey Dee is 84. Actor Roscoe Orman is 80. Actor Adrienne Barbeau is 79. Rock musician Frank Beard (ZZ Top) is 75. Animal rights activist Ingrid Newkirk is 75. Singer Graham Russell (Air Supply) is 74. Rock singer Donnie Van Zant is 72. Actor Peter Bergman is 71. Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana is 68. Actor Hugh Laurie is 65. TV personality and former U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz, M.D., is 64.

Singer Gioia (JOY’-ah) Bruno (Expose) is 61. Rock musician Dan Lavery (Tonic) is 58. Country singer-songwriter Bruce Robison is 58. Actor Clare Carey is 57. Actor Peter Dinklage is 55. Actor Lenny Jacobson is 50. Actor Joshua Jackson is 46. Americana musician Gabe Witcher (Punch Brothers) is 46. U.S. Olympic and WNBA basketball star Diana Taurasi is 42. Actor Shia LaBeouf (SHY’-uh luh-BUF’) is 38.

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