Today in History

Today is Wednesday, May 8, the 128th day of 2019. There are 237 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History

On May 8, 1996, South Africa took another step from apartheid to democracy by adopting a constitution that guaranteed equal rights for blacks and whites.

On this date

In 1429, the Siege of Orleans during the Hundred Years' War ended as English troops withdrew after being defeated by French forces under Joan of Arc.

In 1541, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto reached the Mississippi River.

In 1794, Antoine Lavoisier, the father of modern chemistry, was executed on the guillotine during France's Reign of Terror.

In 1921, Sweden's Parliament voted to abolish the death penalty.

In 1945, President Harry S. Truman announced on radio that Nazi Germany's forces had surrendered, and that "the flags of freedom fly all over Europe."

In 1958, Vice President Richard Nixon was shoved, stoned, booed and spat upon by anti-American protesters in Lima, Peru.

In 1970, anti-war protests took place across the United States and around the world; in New York, construction workers broke up a demonstration on Wall Street.

In 1973, militant American Indians who had held the South Dakota hamlet of Wounded Knee for 10 weeks surrendered.

In 1978, David R. Berkowitz pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn courtroom to murder, attempted murder and assault in connection with the "Son of Sam" shootings that claimed six lives and terrified New Yorkers. (Berkowitz was sentenced to six consecutive life prison terms.)

In 1984, the Soviet Union announced it would boycott the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

In 1987, Gary Hart, dogged by questions about his personal life, including his relationship with Miami model Donna Rice, withdrew from the race for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

In 2003, the Senate unanimously endorsed adding to NATO seven former communist nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Ten years ago: White House aide Louis Caldera resigned for his role in a $328,835 photo-op flyover by an Air Force One jet above New York City that sparked panic and flashbacks to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Dominic DiMaggio, the Boston Red Sox center fielder and brother of Joe, died in Marion, Massachusetts, at age 92.

Five years ago: Syrian rebels leveled a historic hotel being used as an army base in the northern city of Aleppo by detonating bomb-packed tunnels beneath it, killing a still-undetermined number of soldiers. House Republicans jumped into a new election-season investigation of the deadly Benghazi assault, naming majority members of a special House committee.

One year ago: President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear accord with Iran and restored harsh sanctions; Trump had been a severe critic of the deal negotiated by the Obama administration in which Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program. Gina Haspel, nominated to be CIA director, said that if confirmed, she would not undertake a detention and harsh interrogation program like the controversial one used after 9/11. (Haspel would be confirmed by a Senate vote of 54-45.) James Paxton of the Seattle Mariners pitched a no-hitter against the Blue Jays in Toronto, becoming the first Canadian to achieve that feat in his home country. Former coal executive Don Blankenship, who had served a year in prison for his role in a mine explosion that killed 29 men, lost a Republican U.S. Senate primary in West Virginia, finishing a distant third to state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

Today's Birthdays

Naturalist Sir David Attenborough is 93. Singer Toni Tennille is 79. Actor James Mitchum is 78. Country singer Jack Blanchard is 77. Jazz musician Keith Jarrett is 74. Actor Mark Blankfield is 71. Singer Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 68. Rock musician Chris Frantz (Talking Heads) is 68. Rockabilly singer Billy Burnette is 66. Rock musician Alex Van Halen is 66. Actor David Keith is 65. Actor Raoul Max Trujillo is 64. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is 58. Actress Melissa Gilbert is 55. Rock musician Dave Rowntree (Blur) is 55. Country musician Del Gray is 51. Rock singer Darren Hayes is 47. Singer Enrique Iglesias is 44. Blues singer-musician Joe Bonamassa is 42. Actor Matt Davis is 41. Singer Ana Maria Lombo (Eden's Crush) is 41. Actor Elyes Gabel is 36. Actor Domhnall Gleeson is 36. Neo-soul drummer Patrick Meese (Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats) is 36. Actress Julia Whelan is 35. Actress Nora Anezeder is 30.

Thought for Today

"A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist." — Louis Nizer, American lawyer (1902-1994).

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