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Today in history: May 4

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Thursday, May 4, the 124th day of 2006. There are 241 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 4, 1945, during World War II, German forces in the Netherlands, Denmark and northwest Germany agreed to surrender.

On this date:
In 1626, Dutch explorer Peter Minuit landed on present-day Manhattan Island.

In 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago, a labor demonstration for an eight-hour work day turned into a riot when a bomb exploded.

In 1904, the United States began building the Panama Canal.

In 1916, responding to a demand from President Wilson, Germany agreed to limit its submarine warfare, thereby averting a diplomatic break with Washington.

In 1927, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded.

In 1932, mobster Al Capone, convicted of income-tax evasion, entered the federal penitentiary in Atlanta.

In 1946, a two-day riot at Alcatraz prison in San Francisco Bay ended, the violence having claimed five lives.

In 1961, a group of “Freedom Riders” left Washington for New Orleans to challenge racial segregation in interstate buses and bus terminals.

In 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on anti-war protesters at Kent State University, killing four students and wounding nine others.

In 1976, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser announced that “Waltzing Matilda” would serve as his country’s national anthem at the upcoming Olympic Games.

Ten years ago: Grindstone won the Kentucky Derby, giving trainer D. Wayne Lukas an incredible sixth straight victory in a Triple Crown race.

Five years ago: Pope John Paul II began a visit to Greece, where he issued a sweeping apology for the “sins of action and omission” by Roman Catholics against Orthodox Christians. Bonny Lee Bakley, wife of actor Robert Blake, was shot to death as she sat in a car near a restaurant in Los Angeles. (Robert Blake, accused of the killing, was acquitted in a criminal trial but was found liable by a civil jury and ordered to pay damages.)

One year ago: A military judge at Fort Hood, Texas, threw out Pvt. 1st Class Lynndie England’s guilty plea to abusing Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison, saying he was not convinced the Army reservist knew her actions were wrong at the time. (England was later convicted in a court-martial and sentenced to three years in prison.) A suicide bombing at a police recruitment center in Irbil, Iraq, killed 60 people. Prosecutors rested their case in the Michael Jackson molestation trial. ABC aired a segment of “Primetime Live” in which former “American Idol” contestant Corey Clark claimed an affair with judge Paula Abdul, who denied the allegation.

Today’s Birthdays: The president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, is 78. Jazz musician Maynard Ferguson is 78. Opera singer Roberta Peters is 76. Jazz musician Ron Carter is 69. Rock musician Dick Dale is 69. Singer-songwriter Nick Ashford is 64. Actor Paul Gleason is 62. Pop singer Peggy Santiglia (The Angels) is 62. Country singer Stella Parton is 57. Actor-turned-clergyman Hilly Hicks is 56. Singer Jackie Jackson (The Jacksons) is 55. Rhythm-and-blues singer Oleta Adams is 53. Country singer Randy Travis is 47. Actress Mary McDonough is 45. Comedian Ana Gasteyer is 39. Rock musician Mike Dirnt (Green Day) is 34. Contemporary Christian singer Chris Tomlin is 34. Rock musician Jose Castellanos is 29. Singer Lance Bass (’N Sync) is 27.

Thought for Today: “The greater the number of laws and enactments, the more thieves and robbers there will be.” — Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher (c.604-531 B.C.)