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Today in History — May 10

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

Today is Thursday, May 10, the 130th day of 2007. There are 235 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 10, 1869, a golden spike was driven at Promontory, Utah, marking the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States.

On this date:
In 1774, Louis XVI ascended the throne of France.

In 1775, Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys captured the British-held fortress at Ticonderoga, N.Y.

In 1865, Union forces captured Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Irwinville, Ga.

In 1924, J. Edgar Hoover was given the job of FBI director.

In 1933, the Nazis staged massive public book burnings in Germany.

In 1940, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned, and Winston Churchill formed a new government.

In 1968, preliminary Vietnam peace talks began in Paris.

In 1977, actress Joan Crawford died in New York.

In 1994, Nelson Mandela took the oath of office to become South Africa’s first black president.

In 1994, the state of Illinois executed serial killer John Wayne Gacy for the murders of 33 young men and boys.

Ten years ago: President Clinton signed modest drug-fighting and trade agreements with Caribbean leaders in Barbados. Lebanese of all faiths welcomed Pope John Paul II on his first visit to their country. A powerful earthquake in northeastern Iran claimed at least 2,400 lives.

Five years ago: A tense 39-day-old standoff between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem ended with 13 suspected militants flown into European exile and 26 released into the Gaza Strip. Cuban activists delivered more than 11,000 signatures to the National Assembly demanding a referendum on broad changes in the socialist system, an unprecedented challenge to Fidel Castro’s 43-year rule. NBA owners approved the Hornets’ move to New Orleans, ending the team’s 14-year era in Charlotte.

One year ago: Daniel Biechele, a former rock-band manager whose pyrotechnics caused a 2003 Rhode Island nightclub fire that killed 100 people, was sentenced to four years in prison. Former New York Times executive editor A.M. Rosenthal died at age 84. British movie director Val Guest died in Palm Desert, Calif., at age 94.

Today’s Birthdays: Sportscaster Pat Summerall is 77. Author Barbara Taylor Bradford is 74. Rhythm-and-blues singer Henry Fambrough (The Spinners) is 69. TV radio personality Gary Owens is 68. Actor David Clennon is 64. Writer-producer-director Jim Abrahams is 63. Singer Donovan is 61. Singer Dave Mason is 61. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ron Banks (The Dramatics) is 56. Actress Victoria Rowell is 48. Rock singer Bono (U2) is 47. Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks is 44. Model Linda Evangelista is 42. Rock musician Krist Novoselic (Nirvana, Eyes Adrift) is 42. Rapper Young MC is 40. Actor Erik Palladino is 39. Rock musician Jesse Vest is 30. Actor Kenan Thompson is 29. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jason Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) is 27. Rock musician Joey Zehr (The Click Five) is 24. Singer Ashley Poole (Dream) is 22.

Thought for Today: “A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.” — Louis Nizer, American lawyer (1902-1994).