Today is Sunday, May 18, the 138th day of 2014. There are 227 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1781 - Peruvian revolutionary Tupac Amaru II is forced to witness the execution of his family by the Spanish in the main plaza in Cuzco and is then tortured and beheaded.

1804 - Napoleon Bonaparte is proclaimed emperor of France.

1830 - Edwin Budding of England signs an agreement for the manufacture of his invention, the lawn mower.

1860 - Abraham Lincoln nominated for U.S. president.

1896 - The U.S. Supreme Court endorses the concept of "separate but equal" racial segregation with its Plessy vs. Ferguson decision, a ruling that is overturned 58 years later in Brown vs. Board of Education.

1899 - International peace conference is convened at The Hague in the Netherlands. It adopts conventions on warfare and creates the Permanent Court of Arbitration, now the U.N. International Court of Justice.

1910 - Halley's comet is seen from Earth as it moves across the sun.

1944 - Monte Cassino monastery, a German stronghold that held up the Allied advance in Italy, is taken by Polish troops after bitter fighting.

1951 - The United Nations, previously without a permanent home, begins to move into headquarters in New York City.

1954 - European Convention of Human Rights goes into effect.

1967 - United Nations agrees to Egyptian demand to withdraw U.N. forces from Gaza Strip.

1970 - Khmer Rouge forces advance to within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh. They are repulsed, but take the capital five years later.

1972 - Four bomb-disposal experts parachute into Atlantic from Royal Air Force plane and board liner Queen Elizabeth II after bomb threat.

1974 - India explodes a nuclear bomb for the first time, in the deserts of Rajasthan.

1980 - The Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington state explodes, leaving 57 people dead or missing.

1993 - Violent riots break out in Copenhagen, Denmark, after a majority of Danes in a referendum approve the Maastricht treaty calling for a closer European Union.

1994 - Military observers returning to the Rwandan countryside report ethnic killings of at least 200,000; Israel's three decades of occupation in the Gaza Strip ends as Israeli troops complete their withdrawal from Gaza City and other urban areas and Palestinian authorities take over.

1997 - Rebels led by Laurent Kabila take control of Kinshasa, capital of Zaire — now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, after overrunning the country in seven months.

1999 - Sierra Leone's government and the country's rebels agree to a cease-fire to end seven years of savage fighting.

2000 - The U.N. Security Council unanimously approves an arms embargo against Ethiopia and Eritrea following the latest flare-up in their two-year border war.

2001 - Independent National Security Archive reveals that former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower kept secret from U.S. allies his orders to authorize military commanders to launch retaliatory nuclear attacks.

2002 - Police arrest Kim Hong Gul, the youngest son of South Korean President Kim Dae Jung, on suspicion of influence-peddling. He is accused of taking bribes worth $2 million.

2003 - Philippine military begins bombing positions of Moro Islamic Liberation Front holdouts on the southern island of Mindanao. The government held the Muslim separatist group responsible for recent violence on the island.

2004 - Stunning her supporters, Sonia Gandhi announces she would "humbly decline" to be the next prime minister of India, sidestepping Hindu nationalist outrage over the prospect of a foreign-born woman leading the nation. Gandhi, an Italian who became an Indian citizen 21 years earlier when she married former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, later nominates Manmohan Singh for the post.

2005 - Police arrest nine North Africans during raids in northern Italy in a crackdown on alleged extremist cells accused of planning terror attacks in Italy and abroad.

2006 - Islamic militants battle Afghan, U.S. and Canadian forces and explode two suicide car bombs on the second day of deadly violence that has not been seen in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban five years earlier. More than 100 people are killed in the string of attacks.

2007 - The Vatican confirms that Pope Benedict XVI will loosen restrictions on celebrating the old Latin Mass, reviving a rite that was essentially swept away by the revolutionary reforms of the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council.

2008 - Mobs rampage through poor suburbs of Johannesburg in a frenzy of anti-foreigner hatred, killing at least seven people, injuring dozens and forcing hundreds to seek refuge at police stations.

2009 - The top American military officer warns that the deaths of Afghan civilians caught up in U.S. combat operations could cripple President Barack Obama's revamped strategy for the seven-year-old war.

2010 - President Dmitry Medvedev says Russia will not scrap prospective pipeline routes bypassing Ukraine, but it is ready to discuss other energy projects with the new Ukrainian leadership.

2011 — Syrian President Bashar Assad claims the country's crisis is drawing to a close even as forces unleash tank shells on opponents and U.S. sanctions take aim at the Syrian leader and his senior aides for their brutal crackdowns.

2012 — In his first White House visit, French President Francois Hollande declares he will withdraw all French combat troops from Afghanistan by year's end, making clear to President Barack Obama the timeline for ending the U.S.-led war will not trump a campaign pledge that helped Hollande gain his new job.

2013 — Syrian President Bashar Assad says he won't step down before elections and that the United States has no right to interfere in his country's politics.

Today's Birthdays:

Omar Khayyam, Persian poet, astronomer and mathematician (1048-1131); Bertrand Russell, English philosopher (1872-1970); Walter Gropius, German architect/director of Bauhaus (1883-1969); Frank Capra, U.S. movie director (1897-1991); John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla), Polish-born pope (1918-2005); Dame Margot Fonteyn, English ballerina (1919-1991); George Strait, U.S. country singer (1952--); Tina Fey, U.S. comedian and actress (1970--); Jack Johnson, U.S. musician (1975--); Chow Yun-Fat, Hong Kong-born actor (1955--).

Thought For Today:

Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there — Will Rogers, U.S. humorist, actor, and writer (1879-1935).