Today's Highlight in History:
On May 31, 1669, English diarist Samuel Pepys wrote the final entry of his journal, blaming his failing eyesight for his inability to continue.
On this date:
In 1790, President George Washington signed into law the first U.S. copyright act.
In 1859, the Big Ben clock tower in London went into operation, chiming for the first time.
In 1889, more than 2,000 people perished when a dam break sent water rushing through Johnstown, Pa.
In 1910, the Union of South Africa was founded.
In 1913, U.S. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan proclaimed the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, providing for popular election of U.S. senators, to be in effect.
In 1941, "Tobacco Road," a play about an impoverished Southern family based on the novel by Erskine Caldwell, closed on Broadway after a run of 3,182 performances.
In 1961, South Africa became an independent republic as it withdrew from the British Commonwealth.
In 1962, former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel a few minutes before midnight for his role in the Holocaust.
In 1970, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake in Peru claimed an estimated 67,000 lives.
In 1977, the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, three years in the making, was completed.
In 1985, at least 88 people were killed, more than 1,000 injured, as over 40 tornadoes swept through parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and Ontario, Canada, during an 8-hour period.
In 1994, the United States announced it was no longer aiming long-range nuclear missiles at targets in the former Soviet Union.
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush visited the site of the Nazi death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau in Poland as he challenged allies to overcome their bitterness and mistrust over the Iraq war and unite in the struggle against terrorism. Anti-government extremist and bomber Eric Rudolph was arrested outside a grocery store in Murphy, N.C. Air France's Concorde returned to Paris in a final commercial flight.
Five years ago: Space shuttle Discovery and a crew of seven blasted into orbit, carrying a giant Japanese lab addition to the international space station.
One year ago: Democrat John Edwards' campaign finance fraud case ended in a mistrial when jurors in Greensboro, N.C., acquitted him on one of six charges but were unable to decide whether he'd misused money from two wealthy donors to hide his pregnant mistress while he ran for president. President Barack Obama welcomed his predecessor back to the White House for the unveiling of the official portraits of former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush. Fourteen-year-old Snigdha Nandipati of San Diego won the 85th Scripps National Spelling Bee by correctly spelling "guetapens," a French-derived word meaning ambush, snare or trap.
Today's Birthdays: Actor-director Clint Eastwood is 83. Singer Peter Yarrow is 75. Former Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite is 74. Singer-musician Augie Meyers is 73. Actress Sharon Gless is 70. Football Hall-of-Famer Joe Namath is 70. Actor Tom Berenger is 63. Actor Gregory Harrison is 63. Actor Kyle Secor is 56. Actress Roma Maffia is 55. Comedian Chris Elliott is 53. Actress Lea Thompson is 52. Singer Corey Hart is 51. Actor Hugh Dillon is 50. Rapper DMC is 49. Actress Brooke Shields is 48. Country musician Ed Adkins (The Derailers) is 46. TV host Phil Keoghan (TV: "The Amazing Race") is 46. Jazz musician Christian McBride is 41. Actress Archie Panjabi is 41. Actor Colin Farrell is 37. Rock musician Scott Klopfenstein (Reel Big Fish) is 36. Actor Eric Christian Olsen is 36. Rock musician Andy Hurley (Fall Out Boy) is 33. Country singer Casey James (TV: "American Idol") is 31. Actor Jonathan Tucker is 31. Rapper Waka Flocka Flame is 27. Actor Curtis Williams Jr. is 26.
Thought for Today: "Don't call me a saint. I don't want to be dismissed so easily." — Dorothy Day, American reformer (1897-1980).
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