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Today in History for May 5, 2013

Today is Sunday, May 5, the 125th day of 2013. There are 240 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 5, 1813, Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, considered the father of existentialism, was born in Copenhagen.

On this date:

In 1821, Napoleon Bonaparte, 51, died in exile on the island of St. Helena.

In 1862, Mexican troops defeated French occupying forces in the Battle of Puebla. (The Cinco de Mayo holiday commemorates Mexico’s victory.)

In 1891, New York’s Carnegie Hall (then named “Music Hall”) had its official opening night.

In 1925, schoolteacher John T. Scopes was charged in Tennessee with violating a state law that prohibited teaching the theory of evolution. (Scopes was found guilty, but his conviction was later set aside.)

In 1936, the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, fell to Italian invaders.

In 1941, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie returned to Addis Ababa after the Italians were driven out with the help of Allied forces.

In 1942, wartime sugar rationing began in the United States.

In 1955, West Germany became a fully sovereign state. The baseball musical “Damn Yankees” opened on Broadway.

In 1961, astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. became America’s first space traveler as he made a 15-minute suborbital flight aboard Freedom 7, a Mercury capsule launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

In 1973, Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby, the first of its Triple Crown victories.

In 1981, Irish Republican Army hunger-striker Bobby Sands died at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland in his 66th day without food.

In 1987, the congressional Iran-Contra hearings opened with former Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard V. Secord the lead-off witness.

Ten years ago: Searchers using dogs and heavy equipment went from one crumbled home to another after tornado-packed storms flattened communities in four Midwestern states. In Colombia, a botched rescue attempt resulted in the deaths of a state governor, former defense minister and eight other hostages being held by rebels; three hostages survived. Walter Sisulu, the quiet giant of South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle for five decades, died in Johannesburg at age 90.

Five years ago: Three men were arrested and beaten by Philadelphia police officers after a vehicle chase in a scene videotaped by a TV news helicopter. (The three men were later acquitted of attempted murder and all other charges stemming from a shooting that led to their arrests; four of the 18 police officers at the scene were fired and a number of others were disciplined.) Irvine Robbins, co-founder of the Baskin-Robbins ice cream chain, died in Rancho Mirage at age 90.

One year ago: Five Guantanamo Bay prisoners charged in the Sept. 11 attacks were arraigned in a proceeding that dragged on for 13 hours due to stalling tactics by the defendants. In what his aides described as his first full-fledged political rally of the election year, President Barack Obama, in Columbus, Ohio, tore into Mitt Romney as a willing and eager “rubber stamp” for failed policies. Thousands of Japanese marched to celebrate the switching off of the last of their nation’s 50 nuclear reactors. I’ll Have Another caught Bodemeister down the stretch and pulled away in the final furlong to win the Kentucky Derby.

Today’s birthdays: Actress Pat Carroll is 86. Former AFL-CIO president John J. Sweeney is 79. Saxophonist Ace Cannon is 79. Country singer-musician Roni Stoneman is 75. Actor Michael Murphy is 75. Actor Lance Henriksen is 73. Comedian-actor Michael Palin is 70. Actor John Rhys-Davies is 69. Actor Roger Rees is 69. Rock correspondent Kurt Loder is 68. Rock musician Bill Ward (Black Sabbath) is 65. Actor Richard E. Grant is 56. CBS News correspondent John Miller is 55. Rock singer Ian McCulloch (Echo and the Bunnymen) is 54. NBC News anchor Brian Williams is 54. Rock musician Shawn Drover (Megadeth) is 47. TV personality Kyan Douglas is 43. Actress Tina Yothers is 40. Rhythm and blues singer Raheem DeVaughn is 38. Actor Vincent Kartheiser is 34. Singer Craig David is 32. Actress Danielle Fishel is 32. Actor Henry Cavill is 30. Soul singer Adele is 25. Rock singer Skye Sweetnam is 25. Rhythm-and-blues singer Chris Brown is 24.

Thought for today: “It is quite true what philosophers say: that Life must be understood backwards. But that makes one forget the other proposition: that it must be lived forwards.” — Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855).

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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