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Wednesday, May 20

May 12, 2015

Today is Wednesday, May 20, the 140th day of 2015. There are 225 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1506 - Christopher Columbus dies in poverty in Spain.

1521 - Ignatius of Loyola is hit by a cannonball while defending Pamplona against the French. During his convalescence he turns to religion, finally becoming a leader of the Counter-Reformation and the founder of the Jesuits.

1799 - France’s Napoleon Bonaparte abandons siege of Acre — now Akko, Israel, defended by the Turks.

1873 - Levi Strauss and tailor Jacob Davis receive the U.S. patent for the invention of men’s work pants made with copper rivets.

1882 - Italy joins Austro-German Alliance, which becomes Triple Alliance.

1902 - The United States ends its occupation of Cuba.

1908 - The Boedi Oetomo, meaning “noble conduct,” is founded by Indonesian intellectuals to launch the first organized struggle against Dutch colonialism.

1920 - The first president of post-revolutionary Mexico, Venustiano Carranza, is murdered by political opponents after fleeing the capital.

1927 - U.S. aviator Charles Lindbergh takes off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, New York, aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on his historic solo flight to France.

1932 - Amelia Earhart takes off from Newfoundland for Ireland to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

1940 - Ten days after the start of an offensive, German troops reach the coast of France, cutting the Allied approach in two.

1941 - The first airborne invasion takes place as Nazi Germany captures the island of Crete.

1943 - United States and Britain by treaty lose right to judge their own nationals in China, bringing an end to European extra-territorial rights.

1960 - A massive earthquake, followed by tidal wave, kills hundreds in southern Chile.

1961 - A white mob attacks a busload of black “Freedom Riders” in Montgomery, Alabama, prompting the federal government to send in U.S. marshals to restore order.

1969 - U.S. and South Vietnamese forces capture Apbia Mountain, referred to as Hamburger Hill by the Americans, following one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War.

1980 - Quebec holds its first referendum on independence from Canada, with 60 percent voting against separation.

1985 - Three Israeli soldiers are exchanged for 1,150 Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners in a simultaneous swap.

1990 - Romania holds free, democratic elections for the first time in 45 years.

1991 - Soviet legislature approves a law on foreign travel and emigration, opening doors for millions of citizens.

1999 - A NATO air attack on Belgrade leaves a hospital in ruins and kills three patients.

2000 - Taiwan inaugurates President Chen Shui-bian, marking the first time in China’s 5,000 years of history that a democratically elected opposition leader is sworn in as the leader of a Chinese state.

2006 - A bomb explodes at Palestinian intelligence headquarters in Gaza City, seriously wounding the intelligence chief, a Fatah loyalist, in what security officials call an assassination attempt.

2008 - Ma Ying-jeou takes office as president of Taiwan, urging rival China to open a new page of peace and prosperity in their long-strained relationship while rejecting unification with the mainland.

2009 — U.S. officials say missile test-fired by Iran is the longest range, solid propellant missile it has launched yet, raising concern about the sophistication of Tehran’s missile program.

2011 — The U.S. says Osama bin Laden’s personal files reveal a brazen idea to hijack oil tankers and blow them up at sea last summer, creating explosions he hoped would rattle the world’s economy and send oil prices skyrocketing.

2012 — President Barack Obama and NATO allies declare that the end of the long and unpopular Afghanistan war is in sight even as they struggle to hold their fighting force together.

2014 — Thailand’s military chief intervenes in the country’s latest political crises, declaring martial law.

Today’s Birthdays:

Honore de Balzac, French writer (1799-1850); John Stuart Mill, English philosopher (1806-1873); Sigrid Undset, Norwegian novelist (1882-1949); Moshe Dayan, Israeli general-statesman (1915-1981); James Stewart, U.S. actor (1908-1997); Joe Cocker, English rock singer (1944--); Cher, U.S. actress-singer (1946--); Busta Rhymes, U.S. rapper (1972--).

Thought For Today:

Life is like a landscape. You live in the midst of it, but can describe it only from the vantage point of distance — Charles A. Lindbergh (1902-1974).

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