Today is Sunday, May 24, the 144th day of 2015.There are 221 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1612 - Denmark takes the Swedish port of Elfsborg in the Kalmar War, and keeps it for five years while waiting for tribute from Sweden.

1822 - South American rebels commanded by Antonio Jose de Sucre defeat Spanish royalists on the slopes of volcano Cerro Pichincha in Ecuador. The rebels occupy nearby Quito the following day.

1830 - The first passenger railroad in the United States begins service between Baltimore and Elliott's Mills, Maryland.

1844 - Samuel F.B. Morse transmits the message, "What hath God wrought!" from Washington to Baltimore as he formally opens America's first telegraph line.

1881 - Some 200 people die when the Canadian ferry Princess Victoria sinks near London, Ontario.

1890 - Italy reorganizes its Red Sea territories as colony of Eritrea.

1900 - Britain annexes Orange Free State in Africa.

1949 - The Federal Republic of Germany comes into being in the parts of Germany occupied by the Western allies with the proclamation of its constitution.

1958 - United Press International news wire service is formed through a merger of the United Press and the International News Service.

1964 - Riot erupts at football match in Lima, Peru, and 300 spectators are killed.

1972 - United States and Soviet Union agree to put U.S. and Soviet astronauts in orbit together by 1975.

1975 - U.S. President Gerald Ford approves two bills providing more than $400 million for resettlement of refugees from South Vietnam and Cambodia.

1976 - Britain and France open trans-Atlantic Concorde service to Washington.

1981 - Ecuador's President Jaime Roldos Aguilera is killed in plane crash in Andes Mountains near Peru border.

1984 - Israel and the United States reject a United Nations proposal for an international peace conference on the Middle East.

1989 - Ethnic Turks demanding more rights clash with security forces in Bulgaria.

1992 - U.S. President George Bush orders the Coast Guard to intercept Haitian refugees at sea and return them to Haiti.

1994 - Stampede kills 270 pilgrims at shrine in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

1998 - First multiparty vote in a region ruled by China's Communists is held in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy parties win most of the contested legislature seats.

1999 - Sonia Gandhi agrees to take back the presidency of India's main opposition Congress Party, ending a leadership crisis.

2000 - Appeals court in Chile strips Gen. Augusto Pinochet of immunity from prosecution, clearing the way for the ailing former dictator's prosecution on human rights violations

2002 - U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir V. Putin sign a nuclear arms reduction treaty that calls for both nations to slash their nuclear stockpiles by two-thirds over the next decade.

2006 - Thousands of Hindus rally in the southern Nepal town of Birgunja to protest Parliament's move to declare the predominantly Hindu nation a secular state when it scaled back the king's powers.

2010 - The doctor whose research linking autism and the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella influenced millions of parents to refuse the shot for their children is banned from practicing medicine in his native Britain.

2011 - Egypt's prosecutor general orders former President Hosni Mubarak put on trial on charges of corruption and conspiring in the deadly shootings of protesters during the uprising that ousted him.

2012 - Iran and six world powers wrap up talks still far apart over how to oversee Tehran's atomic program, but with resolve to keep dialogue going as an alternative to possible military action.

2013 - Toronto mayor Rob Ford denies that he smokes crack cocaine and said he is not an addict after reports of a video purported to show him using the drug.

2014 - Three people are killed and one seriously injured in a spree of gunfire at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.

Today's Birthdays:

Jean-Paul Marat, French revolutionary (1743-1793); England's Queen Victoria (1819-1901); Jan Smuts, South African prime minister and general (1870-1950); U Ne Win, military dictator of Burma (1911-2002); Joseph Brodsky, Russian-American poet and Nobel laureate (1940-1996); Bob Dylan, U.S. singer (1941--); Tommy Chong, U.S. comedian (1938--); Patti LaBelle, U.S. singer (1944--); Jim Broadbent, British actor (1949--); Rosanne Cash, country singer (1955--); Kristin Scott Thomas, actress (1960--).

Thought For Today:

Man is what he believes — Anton Chekhov, Russian author-dramatist (1860-1904).