Today is Friday, May 1, the 121st day of 2015. There are 244 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 1, 1915, during World War I, a German submarine torpoedoed and severely damaged the SS Gulflight, an American tanker near Britain’s Scilly Isles, even though the United States was still neutral in the conflict; the incident occurred the same day that the RMS Lusitania set sail from New York, headed for Liverpool, England (it was torpedoed and sunk by Germany off the coast of Ireland six days later).

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 1945, a day after Adolf Hitler took his own life, Admiral Karl Doenitz effectively became sole leader of the Third Reich with the suicide of Hitler’s propaganda minister, Josef Goebbels.

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

In 1963, James W. Whittaker became the first American to conquer Mount Everest as he and Sherpa guide Nawang Gombu reached the summit.

In 1965, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, in a speech in Williamsburg, Virginia, said: “There are not enough jails, not enough policemen, not enough courts to enforce a law not supported by the people.” Bandleader Spike Jones, 53, known for his raucous renditions of popular songs, died in Beverly Hills, California.

In 1975, Hank Aaron of the Milwaukee Brewers broke baseball’s all-time RBI record previously held by Babe Ruth during a game against the Detroit Tigers (Milwaukee won, 17-3).

In 1982, the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee, was opened by President Ronald Reagan.

In 1990, in a case that drew much notoriety, Gregory Smart was shot to death in his Derry, New Hampshire, home by Billy Flynn, the teenage lover of Smart’s wife, Pamela. (Flynn was paroled this year; Pamela Smart is serving a life sentence for being an accomplice to first-degree murder.)

Ten years ago: A car bombing at a Kurdish official’s funeral in Tal Afar, Iraq, killed some two dozen people and wounded more than 50. Chinese computer maker Lenovo completed its purchase of IBM’s personal computer division.

Five years ago: Pakistan-born U.S. citizen Faisal Shahzad failed in an attempt to set off a homemade bomb in an SUV parked in New York’s Times Square. (Shahzad is serving a life prison sentence.) President Barack Obama named Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen point man for the federal government’s response to the BP oil spill. Jockey Calvin Borel steered Super Saver through the mud to win his third Kentucky Derby in four years, beating Lookin At Lucky by 2 1/2 lengths. Floyd Mayweather Jr. won a unanimous decision over Sugar Shane Mosley in Las Vegas. Actress Helen Wagner, who’d played Nancy Hughes on the CBS soap opera “As the World Turns” for 54 years, died in Mount Kisco, New York, at age 91.

One year ago: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called a 50-percent jump in reports by members of the military of sexual assaults the previous year a “clear threat” to both male and female service members’ lives and well-being, and said he’d ordered Pentagon officials to increase efforts to get male victims to report abuse.

Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Sonny James is 86. Singer Judy Collins is 76. Actor Stephen Macht is 73. Singer Rita Coolidge is 70. Pop singer Nick Fortuna (The Buckinghams) is 69. Actor-director Douglas Barr is 66. Actor Dann Florek is 64. Singer-songwriter Ray Parker Jr. is 61. Actor Byron Stewart is 59. Hall of Fame jockey Steve Cauthen is 55. Actress Maia Morgenstern is 53. Actor Scott Coffey is 51. Country singer Wayne Hancock is 50. Actor Charlie Schlatter is 49. Country singer Tim McGraw is 48. Rock musician Johnny Colt is 47. Rock musician D’Arcy is 47. Movie director Wes Anderson (Film: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”) is 46. Actress Julie Benz is 43. Actor Bailey Chase is 43. Country singer Cory Morrow is 43. Gospel/rhythm-and-blues singer Tina Campbell (Mary Mary) is 41. Actor Darius McCrary is 39. Actor Jamie Dornan (Film: “Fifty Shades of Grey”) is 33. Actress Kerry Bishe is 31.

Thought for Today: “Any man who has the brains to think and the nerve to act for the benefit of the people of the country is considered a radical by those who are content with stagnation and willing to endure disaster.” — William Randolph Hearst, American newspaper publisher (1863-1951).

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