Today is Thursday, May 7, the 127th day of 2015. There are 238 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 7, 1915, in an incident that sparked international outrage, a German U-boat torpedoed and sank the British liner RMS Lusitania off the southern coast of Ireland, killing 1,198 people, including 128 Americans, out of the nearly 2,000 on board.
On this date:
In 1789, America’s first inaugural ball was held in New York in honor of President George Washington, who’d taken the oath of office a week earlier.
In 1824, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, had its premiere in Vienna.
In 1928, the minimum voting age for British women was lowered from 30 to 21 — the same age as men.
In 1939, Germany and Italy announced a military and political alliance known as the Rome-Berlin Axis.
In 1942, U.S. Army Gen. Jonathan Wainwright went on a Manila radio station to announce the Allied surrender of the Philippines to Japanese forces during World War II.
In 1945, Germany signed an unconditional surrender at Allied headquarters in Rheims, France, ending its role in World War II. The 1944 Pulitzer Prizes were awarded; winners included John Hersey for his novel “A Bell for Adano,” Mary Chase for her play “Harvey,” and Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal for his picture of the Iwo Jima flag-raising.
In 1954, the 55-day Battle of Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam ended with Vietnamese insurgents overrunning French forces.
In 1963, the United States launched the Telstar 2 communications satellite.
In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford formally declared an end to the “Vietnam era.” In Ho Chi Minh City — formerly Saigon — the Viet Cong celebrated its takeover.
In 1984, a $180 million out-of-court settlement was announced in the Agent Orange class-action suit brought by Vietnam veterans who charged they’d suffered injury from exposure to the defoliant.
In 1992, the latest addition to America’s space shuttle fleet, Endeavour, went on its first flight. A 203-year-old proposed constitutional amendment barring Congress from giving itself a midterm pay raise received enough votes for ratification as Michigan became the 38th state to approve it.
In 1995, Jacques Chirac, the conservative mayor of Paris, won France’s presidency in his third attempt, defeating Lionel Jospin in a runoff to end 14 years of Socialist rule.
Ten years ago: During a visit to Riga, Latvia, President George W. Bush said the United States had played a role in Europe’s painful division after World War II — a decision that Bush said helped cause “one of the greatest wrongs of history” when the Soviet Union imposed its harsh rule across Central and Eastern Europe. Giacomo, a 50-1 long shot, won the Kentucky Derby. Former congressman Peter W. Rodino Jr., who’d led the House impeachment investigation of President Richard Nixon, died in West Orange, New Jersey, at age 95.
Five years ago: A BP-chartered vessel lowered a 100-ton concrete-and-steel vault onto the ruptured Deepwater Horizon well in an unprecedented, and ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to stop most of the gushing crude fouling the sea. Before a record hockey crowd of 77,803, the United States lost to host Germany 2-1 in the opening game of the world ice hockey championships. Dave Fisher, lead singer of the 1960s folk group the Highwaymen, died in Rye, New York, at age 69.
One year ago: Russian President Vladimir Putin softened his tone in a confrontation with the West, declaring that he had pulled his troops away from the Ukrainian border. The Nation’s Report Card said America’s high school seniors lacked critical math and reading skills for an increasingly competitive global economy. The International Olympic Committee awarded the exclusive U.S. broadcast rights to NBC for an additional six games in a record $7.75 billion deal.
Today’s Birthdays: Former Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., is 83. Rhythm-and-blues singer Thelma Houston is 72. Actress Robin Strasser is 70. Singer-songwriter Bill Danoff is 69. Rock musician Bill Kreutzmann (Grateful Dead) is 69. Rock musician Prairie Prince is 65. Movie writer-director Amy Heckerling is 63. Actor Michael E. Knight is 56. Rock musician Phil Campbell (Motorhead) is 54. Country musician Rick Schell is 52. Rock singer-musician Chris O’Connor (Primitive Radio Gods) is 50. Actress Traci Lords is 47. Singer Eagle-Eye Cherry is 44. Actor Breckin Meyer is 41. Rock musician Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys) is 29. Actress-comedian Aidy Bryant is 28. Actor Taylor Abrahamse is 24. Actor Alexander Ludwig is 23. Actress Dylan Gelula is 21.
Thought for Today: “Be a philosopher but, amid all your philosophy be still a man.” — David Hume, Scottish philosopher (1711-1776).