updated 5/5/2007 12:06:14 AM ET 2007-05-05T04:06:14

BC-History-May 5,0621

Today in History

By The Associated Press

Today is Saturday, May 5, the 125th day of 2007. There are 240 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 5, 1961, astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. became America’s first space traveler as he made a 15-minute sub-orbital flight in a capsule launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

On this date:

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

In 1862, Mexican forces loyal to Benito Juarez defeated French troops sent by Napoleon III in the Battle of Puebla.

In 1891, Carnegie Hall (then named “Music Hall”) had its opening night in New York City.

In 1925, John T. Scopes was arrested in Tennessee for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution.

In 1942, during World War II, Japanese forces landed on the Philippine island of Corregidor.

In 1955, West Germany became a fully sovereign state.

In 1980, a siege at the Iranian embassy in London by armed men demanding the release of political prisoners in Iran ended as British commandos and police stormed the building. Nineteen hostages were rescued; two others had already been killed by their captors; four of the five hostage-takers were also killed.

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.

In 1987, the federal government began a yearlong amnesty program, offering citizenship to illegal aliens who met certain conditions.

Ten years ago: President Clinton arrived in Mexico for his first Latin American trip. A jury in Jacksonville, Fla., found R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. was not responsible for the death of Jean Connor, a lifelong smoker. American Airlines’ pilots ratified a contract, ending nearly three years of negotiations.

Five years ago: French President Jacques Chirac was re-elected in a landslide victory over extreme-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen. Movie director George Sidney, who had directed dozens of musicals when the genre was at its peak, died in Las Vegas at age 85. Movie producer Michael Todd Jr., who produced the only feature in “Smell-o-Vision,” titled “Scent of Mystery,” died in Ireland at age 72. Former Bolivian President Hugo Banzer died in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, at age 75.

One year ago: A military transport helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan, killing all 10 U.S. soldiers on board. CIA Director Porter Goss resigned in a second-term shake-up of President Bush’s team. British Prime Minister Tony Blair shuffled his Cabinet, replacing Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Pat Carroll is 80. AFL-CIO president John J. Sweeney is 73. Saxophonist Ace Cannon is 73. Country singer-musician Roni Stoneman is 69. Actor Michael Murphy is 69. Actor Lance Henriksen is 67. Comedian-actor Michael Palin is 64. Actor John Rhys-Davies is 63. Actor Roger Rees is 63. Rock correspondent Kurt Loder is 62. Rock musician Bill Ward (Black Sabbath) is 59. Actor Richard E. Grant is 50. Broadcast journalist John Miller is 49. Rock singer Ian McCulloch (Echo and the Bunnymen) is 48. NBC News anchor Brian Williams is 48. TV personality Kyan Douglas is 37. Actress Tina Yothers is 34. Singer Craig David is 26. Actress Danielle Fishel is 26. Rock singer Skye Sweetnam is 19. Rhythm-and-blues singer Chris Brown is 18.

Thought for Today: “What we call reality is an agreement that people have arrived at to make life more livable.” — Louise Nevelson, Russo-American artist (1900-1988).

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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