Valdosta Daily Times

May 17, 2013

Today in History for Friday, May 17, 2013


The Associated Press

VALDOSTA — Today is Friday, May 17, the 137th day of 2013. There are 228 days left in the year.



Highlight in History

On May 17, 1973, a special committee convened by the U.S. Senate began its televised hearings into the Watergate scandal.



On this date

In 1510, Early Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli died in Florence, Italy; he was probably in his mid 60s.

In 1792, the New York Stock Exchange had its origins as a group of brokers met under a tree on Wall Street.

In 1849, fire erupted in St. Louis, Mo., resulting in the loss of three lives, more than 400 buildings and some two dozen steamships.

In 1912, the Socialist Party of America nominated Eugene V. Debs for president at its convention in Indianapolis.

In 1933, U.S. News & World Report had its beginnings as David Lawrence began publishing a weekly newspaper called United States News.

In 1938, Congress passed the Second Vinson Act, providing for a strengthened U.S. Navy. The radio quiz show “Information, Please!” made its debut on the NBC Blue Network.

In 1946, President Harry S. Truman seized control of the nation’s railroads, delaying — but not preventing — a threatened strike by engineers and trainmen.

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, unanimously struck down racially segregated public schools.

In 1961, Cuban leader Fidel Castro offered to release prisoners captured in the Bay of Pigs invasion in exchange for 500 bulldozers. (The prisoners were eventually freed in exchange for medical supplies.)

In 1971, “Godspell,” a contemporary musical inspired by the Gospel According to St. Matthew, opened off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre.

In 1980, rioting that claimed 18 lives erupted in Miami’s Liberty City after an all-white jury in Tampa acquitted four former Miami police officers of fatally beating black insurance executive Arthur McDuffie.

In 1987, 37 American sailors were killed when an Iraqi warplane attacked the U.S. Navy frigate Stark in the Persian Gulf. (Iraq apologized for the attack, calling it a mistake, and paid more than $27 million in compensation.)



Ten years ago

A top Vatican official, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, acknowledged what many observers had long suspected — that Pope John Paul II was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. A German tour bus overturned on a highway in France, killing 28 people. A Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up in the West Bank city of Hebron, killing an Israeli man and his pregnant wife. More than 260 people died in Sri Lanka’s worst flooding in five decades. Funny Cide ran away from the field in the Preakness, two weeks after winning the Kentucky Derby. (However, Funny Cide came up short at the Belmont Stakes, finishing third.)



Five years ago

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., was flown to a Boston hospital after suffering a seizure at his Cape Cod home (he was later diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor). Nearing the end of his five-day Mideast trip, President George W. Bush held a rapid-fire series of diplomatic meetings at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheik in Egypt. Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown ran away with the Preakness (however, the horse’s Triple Crown quest ended three weeks later when it finished last in the Belmont Stakes).



One year ago

Washington’s envoy to Israel, Dan Shapiro, told the Israel Bar Association the U.S. had plans in place to attack Iran if necessary to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. Donna Summer, 63, the “Queen of Disco,” died in Naples, Fla. Frank Edward “Ed” Ray, the California school bus driver hailed as a hero for helping 26 students escape after three kidnappers buried them underground in 1976, died at age 91.