Today in History
Today is Friday, May 31, the 151st day of 2019. There are 214 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History
On May 31, 1962, former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel a few minutes before midnight for his role in the Holocaust.
On this date
In 1669, English diarist Samuel Pepys wrote the final entry of his journal, blaming his failing eyesight for his inability to continue.
In 1859, the Big Ben clock tower in London went into operation, chiming for the first time.
In 1889, some 2,200 people in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, perished when the South Fork Dam collapsed, sending 20 million tons of water rushing through the town.
In 1916, during World War I, British and German fleets fought the naval Battle of Jutland off Denmark; there was no clear-cut victor, although the British suffered heavier losses.
In 1921, a race riot erupted in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as white mobs began looting and leveling the affluent black district of Greenwood over reports a black man had assaulted a white woman in an elevator; hundreds are believed to have died.
In 1949, former State Department official and accused spy Alger Hiss went on trial in New York, charged with perjury (the jury deadlocked, but Hiss was convicted in a second trial).
In 1970, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake in Peru claimed an estimated 67,000 lives.
In 1977, the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline, three years in the making despite objections from environmentalists and Alaska Natives, was completed. (The first oil began flowing through the pipeline 20 days later.)
In 1985, 88 people were killed, more than 1,000 injured, when 41 tornadoes swept through parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and Ontario, Canada, during an 8-hour period.
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush welcomed Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev to Washington for a summit meeting. The situation comedy "Seinfeld" began airing as a regular series on NBC.
In 1994, the United States announced it was no longer aiming long-range nuclear missiles at targets in the former Soviet Union.
In 2005, breaking a silence of 30 years, former FBI official W. Mark Felt stepped forward as "Deep Throat," the secret Washington Post source during the Watergate scandal.
Ten years ago: Dr. George Tiller, a rare provider of late-term abortions, was shot and killed in a Wichita, Kansas, church. (Gunman Scott Roeder was later convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 50 years.) Millvina Dean, the last survivor of the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic, died in Southampton, England at 97.
Five years ago: Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only American soldier held prisoner in Afghanistan, was freed by the Taliban in exchange for five Afghan detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Bergdahl, who'd gone missing in June 2009, later pleaded guilty to endangering his comrades by walking away from his post in Afghanistan; his sentence included a dishonorable discharge, a reduction in rank and a fine, but no prison time.) A private Gulfstream IV jet went off a runway and crashed while trying to take off from Hanscom Field in Bedford, Massachusetts, killing Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz and six other people.
One year ago: The Trump administration imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from Europe, Mexico and Canada in a move that drew immediate vows of retaliation. Western Europe got its first populist government as Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the right-wing League formed a governing coalition. Comedian Samantha Bee apologized to Ivanka Trump and to her viewers for using an expletive to describe the president's daughter on Bee's TBS show "Full Frontal." President Donald Trump pardoned conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza, who had pleaded guilty to campaign finance fraud; Trump said D'Souza had been "treated very unfairly by our government." The Golden State Warriors won Game 1 of the NBA finals over the Cleveland Cavaliers in overtime; Cleveland's J.R. Smith inexplicably failed to take a go-ahead shot after a missed free-throw as time ran out in regulation.
Actor-director Clint Eastwood is 89. Singer Peter Yarrow is 81. Humanitarian Terry Waite is 80. Singer-musician Augie Meyers is 79. Actress Sharon Gless is 76. Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath is 76. Broadcast journalist/commentator Bernard Goldberg is 74. Actor Tom Berenger is 69. Actor Gregory Harrison is 69. Actor Kyle Secor is 62. Actress Roma Maffia is 61. Comedian Chris Elliott is 59. Actress Lea Thompson is 58. Singer Corey Hart is 57. Actor Hugh Dillon is 56. Rapper DMC is 55. Actress Brooke Shields is 54. Country musician Ed Adkins (The Derailers) is 52. TV host Phil Keoghan is 52. Jazz musician Christian McBride is 47. Actress Archie Panjabi is 47. Actress Merle Dandridge (TV: "Greenleaf") is 44. Actor Colin Farrell is 43. Rock musician Scott Klopfenstein (Reel Big Fish) is 42. Actor Eric Christian Olsen is 42. Rock musician Andy Hurley (Fall Out Boy) is 39. Country singer Casey James (TV: "American Idol") is 37. Actor Jonathan Tucker is 37. Rapper Waka Flocka Flame is 33. Actor Curtis Williams Jr. is 32. Pop singer Normani Hamilton (Fifth Harmony) is 23.
Thought for Today
"They that approve a private opinion, call it opinion; but they that dislike it, heresy; and yet heresy signifies no more than private opinion." — Thomas Hobbes, English political philosopher (1588-1679).