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    This day in history

    Wednesday, May 8, is the 128th day of 2013. There are 237 days left in the year.

    Today’s birthdays: Comedian Don Rickles is 87. Naturalist Sir David Attenborough is 87. Singer Toni Tennille is 73. Jazz musician Keith Jarrett is 68. Singer Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 62. Rock musician Chris Frantz (Talking Heads) is 62. Rockabilly singer Billy Burnette is 60. Rock musician Alex Van Halen is 60. Actor David Keith is 59. Actor Stephen Furst is 59. Actress Melissa Gilbert is 49. Singer Enrique Iglesias is 38.

    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.

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    In 1884, the 33d president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, was born in Lamar, Mo.

    In 1886, Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton invented the flavor syrup for Coca-Cola.

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

    In 1945, President 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.

    In 1962, the musical comedy ‘‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’’ opened on Broadway.

    In 1972, President Nixon announced that he had ordered the mining of Haiphong Harbor.

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

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


    In 1988, science-fiction author Robert A. Heinlein died in Carmel, Calif., at age 80.

    In 1993, the Muslim-led government of
    Bosnia-Herzegovina and rebel Bosnian Serbs signed an agreement for a nationwide cease-

    In 2003, the Senate unanimously endorsed adding to NATO seven former communist nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. A federal grand jury indicted Chinese-born California socialite Katrina Leung on charges that she’d illegally taken, copied, and kept secret documents obtained from an FBI agent. (A federal judge later dismissed the case against Leung, rebuking prosecutors for misconduct.) The rear door of a Russian-built cargo plane burst open over Congo, hurling more than 100 Congolese soldiers and their families to their deaths.

    In 2008, Senator Barack Obama got a front-runner’s welcome back at the US Capitol, where he was surrounded on the House floor by well-wishers calling him ‘‘Mr. President’’ and reaching out to pat him on the back or shake his hand. Silvio Berlusconi was sworn in as Italy’s premier. Country music star Eddy Arnold died near Nashville at age 89.

    In 2012, children’s book author Maurice Sendak died in Danbury, Conn. Former US Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, 90, died in Skillman, N.J. Josh Hamilton became the 16th player to hit four home runs in a game, carrying the Texas Rangers to a 10-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.