Wednesday, May 1, the 121st day of 2013. There are 244 days left in the year.
Today’s birthdays: Former astronaut Scott Carpenter is 88. Country singer Sonny James is 84. Singer Judy Collins is 74. Singer Rita Coolidge is 68. Singer-songwriter Ray Parker Jr. is 59. Hall of Fame jockey Steve Cauthen is 53. Country singer Tim McGraw is 46. Movie director Wes Anderson is 44. Actress Kerry Bishe (‘‘Argo”) is 29.
In 1707, the Kingdom of Great Britain was created as a treaty merging England and Scotland took effect.
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 1931, New York’s 102-story Empire State Building was dedicated.
In 1960, the Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance plane over Sverdlovsk and captured its pilot, Francis Gary Powers.
In 1961, the first US airline hijacking took place as Antulio Ramirez Ortiz, a Miami electrician, commandeered a National Airlines plane that was en route to Key West, Fla., and forced the pilot to fly to Cuba.
In 1963, James W. Whittaker became the first American to conquer Mount Everest as he and Sherpa guide Nawang Gombu reached the summit.
In 1971, the intercity passenger rail service Amtrak went into operation.
In 1992, on the third day of the Los Angeles riots, a visibly shaken Rodney King appeared in public to appeal for calm, pleading, ‘‘Can we all get along?’’
In 2003, President George W. Bush, copiloting an S-3B Viking, landed on the deck of the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the Southern California coast; standing below a banner strung across the ship’s bridge proclaiming ‘‘Mission Accomplished,’’ Bush declared that major combat in Iraq was over, but also said ‘‘difficult work’’ remained ahead.
In 2008, three dozen people were killed in a double suicide bombing during a wedding procession in Balad Ruz, Iraq. A military jury at Fort Hood, Texas, acquitted Army Sgt. Leonard Trevino of premeditated murder in the death of an unarmed Iraqi insurgent. A US missile strike in central Somalia killed the reputed leader of Al Qaeda in Somalia. President George W. Bush imposed new sanctions against property owned or controlled by the military junta in Myanmar. Deborah Jeane Palfrey, 52, the so-called ‘‘D.C. Madam’’ convicted of running a prostitution ring, hanged herself in Tarpon Springs, Fla. Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager, believed to be the last surviving member of the inner circle of plotters who attempted to kill Adolf Hitler, died in Altenahr, Germany, at age 90.
In 2012, in a swift and secretive trip to the
Afghan war zone, President Obama signed an agreement vowing long-term ties with Afghanistan after America’s combat forces returned home. Hundreds of activists across the US joined worldwide May Day protests, with Occupy Wall Street members in several cities leading demonstrations and in some cases clashing with police.