Wednesday, May 23, is the 144th day of 2012. There are 222 days left in the year.
Today’s birthdays: Bluegrass singer Mac Wiseman is 87. Actor Nigel Davenport is 84. Actress Barbara Barrie is 81. Actress Joan Collins is 79. Actor Charles Kimbrough is 76. Actress Lauren Chapin is 67. Country singer Misty Morgan is 67. Country singer Judy Rodman is 61. Singer Luka Bloom is 57. Actor-comedian Drew Carey is 54. Country singer Shelly West is 54. Actor Linden Ashby is 52. Actress-model Karen Duffy is 51. Actress Melissa McBride is 47. Rock musician Phil Selway (Radiohead) is 45. Actress Laurel Holloman is 44. Rock musician Matt Flynn (Maroon 5) is 42. Singer Lorenzo is 40. Country singer Brian McComas is 40. Singer Maxwell is 39. Singer Jewel is 38. Actor Lane Garrison is 32. Actor Adam Wylie is 28.
In 1430, Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians, who sold her to the English.
In 1533, the marriage of England’s King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon was declared null and void.
In 1701, William Kidd was hanged in London after he was convicted of piracy and murder.
In 1788, South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the US Constitution.
In 1873, Canada’s Parliament voted to establish the North West Mounted Police force.
In 1911, the newly completed New York Public Library was dedicated by President Taft, Governor John Alden Dix, and Mayor William Jay Gaynor.
In 1934, bank robbers Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were shot to death in a police ambush in Bienville Parish, La.
In 1945, Nazi official Heinrich Himmler committed suicide while imprisoned in Luneburg, Germany.
In 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) was established.
In 1962, the movie version of ‘‘The Miracle Worker,’’ with Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft reprising their Broadway roles as Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan, opened in New York.
In 1967, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships, an action which precipitated war between Israel and its Arab neighbors the following month.
In 1984, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop issued a report saying there was ‘‘very solid’’ evidence linking cigarette smoke to lung disease in nonsmokers.
In 2002, during visits to Germany and Russia on the same day, President George W. Bush told European leaders, ‘‘We’ve got to use all means at our disposal to deal with Saddam Hussein,’’ and denounced anyone who would appease terrorists or ignore threats to Europe. Golfing legend Sam Snead died in Hot Springs, Va., four days short of his 90th birthday.
In 2007, President George W. Bush, speaking at the US Coast Guard commencement, portrayed the Iraq war as a battle between the United States and Al Qaeda and said Osama bin Laden was setting up a terrorist cell in Iraq to strike targets in the United States. Iraqi police dragged from the Euphrates River a body identified as that of Private First Class Joseph Anzack Jr., a soldier who had disappeared during a May 12 ambush. Jordin Sparks was crowned the new ‘‘American Idol’’ on the Fox reality show.
In 2011, President Obama opened a six-day European tour in Ireland, where he paid tribute to his Irish ancestors before heading to Britain. The European Union imposed sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad over the continuing crackdown on anti-government protesters.