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Today in history: May 20

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

Today is Saturday, May 20, the 140th day of 2006. There are 225 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
Five hundred years ago, on May 20, 1506, explorer Christopher Columbus died in poverty in Spain.

On this date:
In 1806, English political philosopher and economist John Stuart Mill was born in London.

In 1861, the capital of the Confederacy was moved from Montgomery, Ala., to Richmond, Va.

In 1861, North Carolina voted to secede from the Union.

In 1902, the United States ended a three-year military presence in Cuba as the Republic of Cuba was established under its first elected president, Tomas Estrada Palma.

In 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, N.Y., aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on his historic solo flight to France.

In 1932, Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland for Ireland to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

In 1939, regular trans-Atlantic air service began as a Pan American Airways plane, the Yankee Clipper, took off from Port Washington, N.Y., bound for Europe.

In 1961, a white mob attacked a busload of Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Ala., prompting the federal government to send in U.S. marshals to restore order.

In 1969, U.S. and South Vietnamese forces captured Apbia Mountain, referred to as Hamburger Hill by the Americans, following one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War.

In 1989, comedian Gilda Radner died in Los Angeles at age 42.

Ten years ago: The Supreme Court struck down, by a 6-3 vote, a Colorado measure banning laws that protect homosexuals from discrimination. In another decision, the court curtailed, by a 5-4 vote, huge jury awards aimed at punishing or deterring misconduct.

Five years ago: President Bush, in an address to graduating Notre Dame students, urged a new generation of American voters to “revive the spirit of citizenship” and carry on the work of two Democratic presidents: Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty and welfare reforms under Bill Clinton. The Italian film “The Son’s Room” won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

One year ago: The U.S. military condemned the publication of photographs showing an imprisoned Saddam Hussein naked except for his white underwear, and ordered an investigation of how the pictures were leaked to a British tabloid. President Bush said he would veto legislation intended to loosen restrictions on embryonic stem cell studies, and he expressed deep concern about human cloning research in South Korea, research that was later discredited.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor James McEachin is 76. Actor Anthony Zerbe is 70. Actor David Proval is 64. Singer Joe Cocker is 62. Singer-actress Cher is 60. Actor-comedian Dave Thomas is 57. Musician Warren Cann is 54. Actor Dean Butler is 50. Ron Reagan is 48. Rock musician Jane Wiedlin (The Go-Go’s) is 48. Actor Bronson Pinchot is 47. Singer Susan Cowsill is 47. Actor John Billingsley is 46. Actor Tony Goldwyn is 46. Singer Nick Heyward is 45. TV personality Ted Allen is 41. Actress Mindy Cohn is 40. Rock musician Tom Gorman (Belly) is 40. Actor Timothy Olyphant is 38. Rapper Busta Rhymes is 34. Actor Matt Czuchry is 29. Actress Angela Goethals is 29. Rhythm-and-blues singer Naturi Naughton is 22.

Thought for Today: “One person with a belief is equal to a force of 99 who have only interests.” — John Stuart Mill, English philosopher (1806-1873).