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Today in History

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Today is Tuesday, May 1, the 122nd day of 2012. There are 244 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On May 1, 1982, the World's Fair in Knoxville, Tenn., was opened by President Ronald Reagan. The fair's theme: "Energy Turns the World." (The six-month exposition's last day was October 31.)

On this date:

In 1707, the Kingdom of Great Britain was created as a treaty merging England and Scotland took effect.

In 1786, Mozart's opera "The Marriage of Figaro" premiered in Vienna.

In 1898, Commodore George Dewey gave the command, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley," as an American naval force destroyed a Spanish squadron in Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.

In 1911, the song "I Want a Girl (Just Like the Girl That Married Dear Old Dad)," by Harry Von Tilzer and Will Dillon, was first published.

In 1931, New York's 102-story Empire State Building was dedicated. Singer Kate Smith made her debut on CBS Radio on her 24th birthday.

In 1941, the Orson Welles motion picture "Citizen Kane" premiered in New York.

In 1960, the Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance plane over Sverdlovsk and captured its pilot, Francis Gary Powers.

In 1961, the first U.S. airline hijacking took place as Antulio Ramirez Ortiz, a Miami electrician, commandeered a National Airlines plane that was en route to Key West, Fla., and forced the pilot to fly to Cuba.

In 1962, the first Target discount store opened in Roseville, Minn.

In 1971, the intercity passenger rail service Amtrak went into operation.

In 1987, during a visit to West Germany, Pope John Paul II beatified Edith Stein, a Jewish-born Carmelite nun who was gassed in the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

In 1992, on the third day of the Los Angeles riots, a visibly shaken Rodney King appeared in public to appeal for calm, pleading, "Can we all get along?"

Ten years ago: Israeli armored vehicles began leaving Yasser Arafat's battered West Bank compound, ending his five months of confinement. Well over a million people across France marched against far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, four days before Le Pen was soundly defeated by President Jacques Chirac in a presidential runoff.

Five years ago: In only his second veto, President George W. Bush rejected legislation to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq in a showdown with Congress over whether the war should end or escalate. Thousands of people protested across the country to demand a path to citizenship for an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants.

One year ago: Pope Benedict XVI beatified Pope John Paul II, moving his predecessor a step closer to sainthood in a Vatican Mass attended by some 1.5 million pilgrims. Marchers around the world demanded more jobs, better working conditions and higher wages on International Workers' Day.

Today's Birthdays: Former astronaut Scott Carpenter is 87. Country singer Sonny James is 83. Singer Judy Collins is 73. Actor Stephen Macht is 70. Singer Rita Coolidge is 67. Pop singer Nick Fortuna (The Buckinghams) is 66. Actor-director Douglas Barr is 63. Actor Dann Florek is 61. Singer-songwriter Ray Parker Jr. is 58. Hall of Fame jockey Steve Cauthen is 52. Actress Maia Morgenstern is 50. Country singer Wayne Hancock is 47. Actor Charlie Schlatter is 46. Country singer Tim McGraw is 45. Rock musician Johnny Colt is 44. Rock musician D'Arcy is 44. Movie director Wes Anderson is 43. Actress Julie Benz is 40. Country singer Cory Morrow is 40. Gospel/rhythm-and-blues singer Tina Campbell (Mary Mary) is 38. Actor Darius McCrary is 36.

Thought for Today: "Anyone who is satisfied to stand still should not complain when others pass him." -- Italian proverb.

Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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