updated 5/8/2006 12:03:44 AM ET 2006-05-08T04:03:44

Today is Monday, May 8, the 128th day of 2006. There are 237 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 8, 1945, President Truman announced in a radio address that World War II had ended in Europe.

On this date:
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.

In 1846, the first major battle of the Mexican War was fought at Palo Alto, Texas, resulting in victory for Gen. Zachary Taylor’s forces.

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

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

In 1958, Vice President Nixon was shoved, stoned, booed and spat upon by anti-American protesters in Lima, Peru.

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

In 1970, construction workers broke up an anti-war protest on New York’s Wall Street.

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

In 1978, David R. Berkowitz pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn courtroom to the “Son of Sam” killings that had terrified New Yorkers.

Ten years ago: Postal inspectors wrapped up a two-year sting operation in 36 states against a child pornography ring. South Africa took another step from apartheid to democracy by adopting a constitution that guaranteed equal rights for blacks and whites. Julie Andrews declined her Tony Award nomination after her show, “Victor/Victoria,” was snubbed for best musical.

Five years ago: China protested the resumption of U.S. surveillance flights off its coast and said it would refuse to let the United States fly out a crippled Navy spy plane. Pope John Paul II began the final leg of a historic pilgrimage as he arrived in the Mediterranean island nation of Malta.

One year ago: President Bush and Vladimir Putin, meeting in Moscow, went out of their way to take a unified stand on Middle East peace and terrorism after sharp words in recent days about democratic backsliding and postwar Soviet domination. Steve Nash edged Shaquille O’Neal by 34 points to win the NBA’s most valuable player award. Lloyd Cutler, White House counsel to Presidents Carter and Clinton and adviser to presidents of both parties, died at his Washington home at age 87.

Today’s Birthdays: Comedian Don Rickles is 80. Environmentalist Sir David Attenborough is 80. Actor James Mitchum is 65. Country singer Jack Blanchard is 64. Singer Toni Tennille is 63. Jazz musician Keith Jarrett is 61. Singer Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 55. Rock musician Chris Frantz (Talking Heads) is 55. Rockabilly singer Billy Burnette is 53. Rock musician Alex Van Halen is 53. Actor David Keith is 52. Actor Stephen Furst is 52. Actress Melissa Gilbert is 42. Rock musician Dave Rowntree (Blur) is 42. Country musician Del Gray is 38. Rock singer Darren Hayes is 34. Singer Enrique Iglesias is 31. Singer Ana Maria Lombo (Eden’s Crush) is 28. Actress Julia Whelan is 21.

Thought for Today: “The biggest big business in America is not steel, automobiles, or television. It is the manufacture, refinement and distribution of anxiety.” — Eric Sevareid, American news commentator (1912-1992).

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