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Thursday, May 1

April 24, 2014

Today is Thursday, May 1, the 121st day of 2014. There are 244 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1522 - England declares war on France and Scotland.

1648 - Scots begin second Civil War.

1703 - Chushingura Incident occurs in Japan when Kiva Yoshinaka is slain in revenge by 47 ronin, or masterless samurai, who hold him responsible for the death of their leader, the lord of Ako.

1707 - Union between England and Scotland goes into effect under name Great Britain.

1786 - Mozart’s opera “Marriage of Figaro” premieres in Vienna.

1819 - Freedom of the press is introduced in France.

1884 - Construction of the first skyscraper in the United States, the ten-story Home Insurance Building in Chicago, begins.

1896 - Naser od-Din, the unpopular shah of Persia, is murdered by a fanatic.

1898 - A U.S. naval force destroys a Spanish fleet in Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.

1919 - Mount Kelud erupts in Indonesia, killing 5,000 people.

1925 - Cyprus is declared a British crown colony.

1942 - Japanese forces take Mandalay, Burma, in World War II, while British retreat along Chindwin Valley to India.

1948 - The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, known as North Korea, is proclaimed.

1960 - The Soviet Union shoots down U.S. U-2 spy plane over Sverdlovsk.

1967 - Anastasio Somoza Debayle becomes president of Nicaragua; Elvis Presley marries Priscilla Beaulieu in Las Vegas. They divorce in 1973.

1970 - U.S. and South Vietnamese troops invade Cambodia to root out Vietnamese Communist bases.

1979 - Greenland gains home rule from Denmark.

1986 - Millions of blacks stay away from jobs and schools in what is described as largest anti-apartheid protest in South Africa’s history.

1987 - During a visit to West Germany, Pope John Paul II beatifies Edith Stein, a Jewish-born Carmelite nun gassed in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.

1988 - Police clash with demonstrators throughout Poland as thousands heed labor group Solidarity’s call for national day of protest.

1989 - Government of Kampuchea changes country’s name to Cambodia.

1990 - Soviet protesters heckle President Mikhail Gorbachev at May Day parade on Red Square.

1991 - Iraq tells international regulators that 18 of its 24 nuclear facilities were destroyed in allied bombing.

1992 - U.S. President George Bush orders 1,000 riot police to Los Angeles, torn by ethnic rioting, and puts 4,000 army troops on standby while Rodney King, whose beating by white police officers and their acquittal sparked the riots, appears in public to appeal for calm.

1993 - Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa is killed by a Tamil separatist rebel suicide bomber in Colombo.

1994 - U.N. tank fire kills nine Serbian soldiers in Bosnia, and another three are killed by British troops in some of the worst clashes between U.N. peacekeeping troops and Serbs.

1995 - The Croatian Army mounts a full-scale assault on the Serb-held enclave of Slavonia in Croatia, sending thousands of civilians fleeing.

1996 - Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat visits Washington, where he criticizes Israel for keeping its borders closed to Palestinian workers and picks up a $20 million World Bank loan.

1997 - Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness win two of Northern Ireland’s 18 seats in British Parliament.

1998 - The former prime minister of Rwanda, Jean Kambanda, becomes the first person ever to plead guilty before an international tribunal, admitting in Arusha, Tanzania, to his role in the 1994 genocide of more than 500,000 Rwandans.

2000 - One of 13 Iranian Jews being tried on espionage charges confesses on Iranian state television that he spied for Israel.

2001 - Thomas Blanton Jr. becomes the second ex-Ku Klux Klansman to be convicted in the 1963 bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama, that claimed the lives of four black girls.

2002 - Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II opens her Golden Jubilee, a national celebration of her 50 years on the throne.

2003 - U.N. international staff return to Baghdad for the first time since the U.S. invasion.

2004 - Montreal archbishop Andrew Hutchison is elected as new leader of the Anglican Church of Canada. Hutchison says he personally favors church blessings for same-sex couples but remains open regarding how he’ll vote on that issue.

2005 - Pyongyang test fires a short-range missile that plunges into the Sea of Japan. The White House, pushing hard for international action against North Korea, says it is not surprised by the launch.

2006 - Illegal immigrants and their allies gather for marches, prayers and demonstrations on a planned national day of economic protest, boycotting work, school and shopping to show their importance to the U.S.

2007 - President Hugo Chavez’s government takes over Venezuela’s last privately run oil fields, intensifying a power struggle with international companies over the world’s largest known petroleum deposit.

2008 - Al-Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Haj is released from U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay and returned home to Sudan after six years of imprisonment that drew worldwide protests.

2009 - Hundreds of Venezuelan police and National Guard troops break up a protest march with volleys of tear gas and blasts from water cannon that scatters a crowd of President Hugo Chavez’s opponents.

2010 - Pope Benedict XVI cracks down on the scandal-plagued Legionaries of Christ, announcing that a papal envoy would take over and reform the conservative order that has been discredited by revelations that its founder sexually abused seminarians and fathered at least one child.

2011 - Angry mobs attack Western embassies and U.N. offices in Tripoli after NATO bombs Moammar Gadhafi’s family compound in an attack officials said killed the leader’s second-youngest son and three grandchildren. Russia accused the Western alliance of exceeding its U.N. mandate of protecting Libyan civilians with the strike.

2012 - In a swift and secretive trip to the war zone, President Barack Obama signs an agreement vowing long-term ties with Afghanistan after America’s combat forces come home.

2013 - Workers around the world unite in anger during May Day rallies— from fury in Europe over austerity measures that have cut wages, reduced benefits and eliminated many jobs altogether, to rage in Asia over relentlessly low pay, the rising cost of living and hideous working conditions that have left hundreds dead in recent months.

Today’s Birthdays:

Joseph Addison, English poet-politician (1672-1719); Arthur Wellesley, English soldier-statesman (1769-1852); Jose Alencar, Brazilian novelist/playwright (1829-1877); Kate Smith (1909-1986); U.S. singer; Glenn Ford, U.S. actor (1916-2006); Joseph Heller, U.S. writer (1923-1999); Judy Collins, U.S. singer (1939--), Rita Coolidge, U.S. singer (1945--); Ray Parker Jr. , U.S. singer (1954--); Wes Anderson, U.S. director (1969--).

Thought For Today:

Think much, speak little, and write less — Italian proverb.

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