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This month in history.


On 27 June 1957, the Medical Research Council found the link between smoking and lung cancer was one of 'direct cause and effect'. Tobacco firms rejected the findings, saying they were merely a 'matter of opinion'. The report, carried out in six countries, stated that in i945 the mortality rate from lung cancer was 188 deaths in every million. Ten years later the figure had almost doubled to 388 in every million.


On 26 June 1963, American President John F. Kennedy made his groundbreaking speech, 'Ich bin ein Berliner', in Berlin, offering American solidarity to the citizens of West Germany. A crowd of 120,000 Berliners gathered in front of the Schoneberg Rathaus (City Hall) to hear President Kennedy. In an impassioned speech, the president told them West Berlin was a symbol of freedom in a world threatened by the Cold War.


On 25 June 197o, the United States launched a plan to bring peace to the Middle East. US Secretary of State William Rogers announced his initiative in Washington to encourage Arabs and Israelis to stop shooting and start talking. The peace effort was aimed at attempting to resolve the so-called "war of attrition" which had been raging between Israel and Egypt along the Suez Canal since the Six Day War in 1967.


On 18 June 1979, American President Jimmy Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev signed Salt II, the first arms-reduction treaty between the two superpowers. The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty committed both sides to a limit of 2,400 missile launchers. Negotiations followed Salt I signed in 1972. It froze the deployment of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and banned the construction of new submarine-based missiles.


On 30 June 1985, all 39 Americans held captive by the Shia Muslim Amal militia in Lebanon were released. Their freedom was secured by the late Syrian President Hafiz Al Assad. The White House said no deal had been done with the captors. The hostages were driven in a Red Cross convoy from Beirut to Damascus 17 days after the plane they were on was hijacked by two members of the Islamic Jihad group.


On 28 June 2004, the US handed power back to the Iraqi people at a low-key ceremony in Baghdad. US administrator Paul Bremer transferred sovereignty to an Iraqi judge. Mr Bremer flew out of the country shortly after. His departure ended 15 months of US control in Iraq. Iraq's interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, who attended the handover in the city's heavily guarded "Green Zone", said it was an "historic day".

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Title Annotation:Compass 06/2010: News and views from around the world
Publication:The Middle East
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Jun 1, 2010
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