Today is Monday, June 3, the 155th day of 1996. There are 211 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:On June 3, 1963, Pope John XXIII died at the age of 81, ending a papacy marked by innovative reforms within the Roman Catholic Church. He was succeeded by Pope Paul VI.

On this date:

In 1621, the Dutch West India Company received a charter for New Netherlands - now known as New York.

In 1808, Jefferson Davis - the first and only president of the Confederacy - was born in Christian County, Ky.

In 1888, the poem "Casey at the Bat," by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, was first published, in the San Francisco Daily Examiner.

In 1935, the French liner Normandie set a record on its maiden voyage, arriving in New York after crossing the Atlantic in just four days, 11 hours and 42 minutes.

In 1937, the Duke of Windsor, who had abdicated the British throne, married Wallis Warfield Simpson in Monts, France.

In 1948, the 200-inch reflecting telescope at the Palomar Mountain Observatory in California was dedicated.

In 1965, astronaut Edward White became the first American to walk in space, during the flight of Gemini IV.

In 1981, Pope John Paul II left a Rome hospital and returned to the Vatican three weeks after the attempt on his life.

In 1983, Gordon Kahl, a militant tax protester wanted in the slayings of two U.S. marshals in North Dakota, was killed in a gun battle with law enforcement officials near Smithville, Ark.

In 1989, Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, died.

Ten years ago: President Reagan sent a message to Congress appealing to lawmakers to continue financing his proposed Strategic Defense Initiative and improvements in nuclear forces.

Five years ago: Pope John Paul II, visiting the Polish city of Kielce indirectly criticized abortion, appealing to his listeners to "prevent further destruction of the Polish family." The Mount Unzen volcano in southern Japan erupted, killing about 40 people.

One year ago: Bosnian Serb officials made contradictory statements about the whereabouts of an American pilot, a day after his Air Force jet was shot down. (Bosnian Serb military sources claimed that the pilot, later identified as Capt. Scott F. O'Grady, was in Bosnian Serb hands - a claim that proved false.)

Today's Birthdays: Actor Tony Curtis is 71. Poet Allen Ginsberg is 70. Musician Boots Randolph is 69. Musician Curtis Mayfield is 54. Singer Ian Hunter is 50. Singer John Paul Jones is 50. Singer Suzi Quatro is 46. Singer Deniece Williams is 45. Singer Dan Hill is 42. Actor Scott Valentine is 38.

Thought for Today: "Today's shocks are tomorrow's conventions." - Carolyn Heilbrun, American educator and writer.