By the Associated Press
Today is Thursday, May 1, the 121st day of 2014. There are 244 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 1, 1898, Commodore George Dewey gave the command, “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley,” as an American naval force destroyed a Spanish squadron in Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.
On this date:
In 1707, the Kingdom of Great Britain was created as a treaty merging England and Scotland took effect.
In 1786, Mozart’s opera “The Marriage of Figaro” premiered in Vienna.
In 1911, the song “I Want a Girl (Just Like the Girl That Married Dear Old Dad),” by Harry Von Tilzer and Will Dillon, was first published.
In 1931, New York’s 102-story Empire State Building was dedicated. Singer Kate Smith made her debut on CBS Radio on her 24th birthday.
In 1941, the Orson Welles motion picture “Citizen Kane” premiered in New York.
In 1960, the Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance plane over Sverdlovsk and captured its pilot, Francis Gary Powers.
In 1961, the first U.S. airline hijacking took place as Antulio Ramirez Ortiz, a Miami electrician, commandeered a National Airlines plane that was en route to Key West, Fla., and forced the pilot to fly to Cuba.
In 1963, James W. Whittaker became the first American to conquer Mount Everest as he and Sherpa guide Nawang Gombu reached the summit.
In 1964, the computer programming language BASIC (Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) was created by Dartmouth College professors John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz.
In 1971, the intercity passenger rail service Amtrak went into operation.
In 1982, the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tenn., was opened by President Ronald Reagan.
In 1992, on the third day of the Los Angeles riots, a visibly shaken Rodney King appeared in public to appeal for calm, pleading, “Can we all get along?”
Ten years ago: Attackers stormed the offices of Houston-based ABB Lummus Global Inc. in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, killing six Westerners and a Saudi; all four attackers were killed after an hour-long police chase in which they dragged the body of an American from the bumper of their car. The European Union swelled from 15 nations to 25 by taking in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, along with the Mediterranean nations of Cyprus and Malta. Smarty Jones won the Kentucky Derby.
Five years ago: Supreme Court Justice David Souter announced his retirement effective at the end of the court’s term in late June. (President Barack Obama chose federal judge Sonia Sotomayor to succeed him.) Singer-actor-impressionist Danny Gans, one of Las Vegas’ most popular entertainers, died at age 52.
One year ago: Workers around the world united in anger during May Day rallies — from fury in Europe over austerity measures that cut wages, reduced benefits and eliminated many jobs altogether, to rage in Asia over relentlessly low pay, the rising cost of living and hideous working conditions. Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard was a unanimous choice as the NBA’s Rookie of the Year. Chris Kelly, 34, half of the 1990s kid rap duo Kris Kross, died in Atlanta.
Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Sonny James is 85. Singer Judy Collins is 75. Actor Stephen Macht is 72. Singer Rita Coolidge is 69. Pop singer Nick Fortuna (The Buckinghams) is 68. Actor-director Douglas Barr is 65. Actor Dann Florek is 63. Singer-songwriter Ray Parker Jr. is 60. Hall of Fame jockey Steve Cauthen is 54. Actress Maia Morgenstern is 52. Country singer Wayne Hancock is 49. Actor Charlie Schlatter is 48. Country singer Tim McGraw is 47. Rock musician Johnny Colt is 46. Rock musician D’Arcy is 46. Movie director Wes Anderson is 45. Actress Julie Benz is 42. Actor Bailey Chase is 42. Country singer Cory Morrow is 42. Gospel/rhythm-and-blues singer Tina Campbell (Mary Mary) is 40. Actor Darius McCrary is 38. Actor Jamie Dornan (Film: “Fifty Shades of Grey”) is 32. Actress Kerry Bishe is 30.
Thought for Today: “By indignities men come to dignities.” — Francis Bacon, English philosopher (1561-1626).