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This day in history

Today is Tuesday, May 12, the 133rd day of 2020. There are 233 days left in the year.

Birthdays: Composer Burt Bacharach is 92. Actress Millie Perkins is 84. Actress Linda Dano is 77. Actress Lindsay Crouse is 72. Singer-keyboardist Steve Winwood is 72. Actor Gabriel Byrne is 70. Actor Bruce Boxleitner is 70. Singer Billy Squier is 70. Blues singer-musician Guy Davis is 68. Actress Kim Greist is 62. Actor Ving Rhames is 61. Rock musician Billy Duffy is 59. Actor Emilio Estevez is 58. Actress April Grace is 58. Actress Vanessa A. Williams is 57. Actor Stephen Baldwin is 54. Actor Scott Schwartz is 52. Actress Kim Fields is 51. Actress Samantha Mathis is 50. Actress Rhea Seehorn is 48. Actress Rebecca Herbst is 43. Actor Jason Biggs is 42. Actor Rami Malek is 39.


In 1780, during the Revolutionary War, the besieged city of Charleston, S.C., surrendered to British forces.

In 1922, a 20-ton meteor crashed near Blackstone, Va.

In 1937, Britain’s King George VI was crowned at Westminster Abbey; his wife, Elizabeth, was crowned as queen consort.

In 1943, during World War II, Axis forces in North Africa surrendered. The two-week Trident Conference, headed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, opened in Washington.

In 1949, the Soviet Union lifted the Berlin Blockade, which the Western powers had succeeded in circumventing with their Berlin Airlift.

In 1955, Manhattan’s last elevated rail line, the Third Avenue El, ceased operation.

In 1958, the United States and Canada signed an agreement to create the North American Air Defense Command (later the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD).

In 1970, the Senate voted unanimously to confirm Harry A. Blackmun as a Supreme Court justice.

In 1982, in Fatima, Portugal, security guards overpowered a Spanish priest armed with a bayonet who attacked Pope John Paul II. (In 2008, the pope’s longtime private secretary revealed that the pontiff was slightly wounded in the assault.)


In 2002, Jimmy Carter arrived in Cuba, becoming the first US president in or out of office to visit since the 1959 revolution that put Fidel Castro in power. More than 200,000 people celebrated Mother’s Day by walking across the Leonard P. Zakim-Bunker Hill Bridge, months before it was open to cars.

In 2008, a devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake in China’s Sichuan province left more than 87,000 people dead or missing.

In 2009, five Miami men were convicted in a plot to blow up FBI buildings and Chicago’s Sears Tower; one man was acquitted. Suspected Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk was deported from the United States to Germany.

In 2010, an Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330 jetliner plunged into the Libyan desert less than a mile from the runway in Tripoli after a flight from Johannesburg; a 9-year-old Dutch boy was the sole survivor of the crash that killed 103 people.

In 2015, an Amtrak train traveling from Washington, D.C., to New York derailed and crashed in Philadelphia, killing eight people.

Last year, the White House’s top economic adviser acknowledged on “Fox News Sunday” that US consumers and businesses pay the tariffs that the administration had imposed on billions of dollars of Chinese goods; Larry Kudlow added that China would suffer losses from reduced exports to the United States.