Today in History

Associated Press

Today is Monday, May 23, the 143rd day of 2011. There are 222 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On May 23, 1911, the newly completed New York Public Library was dedicated by President William Howard Taft, Gov. John Alden Dix and Mayor William Jay Gaynor (the library was opened to the public the next day).

On this date:

In 1430, Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians, who sold her to the English.

In 1533, the marriage of England's King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon was declared null and void.

In 1701, William Kidd was hanged in London after he was convicted of piracy and murder.

In 1788, South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the United States Constitution.

In 1873, Canada's Parliament voted to establish the North West Mounted Police force.

In 1934, bank robbers Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were shot to death in a police ambush in Bienville Parish, La.

In 1945, Nazi official Heinrich Himmler committed suicide while imprisoned in Luneburg, Germany.

In 1967, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships, an action which precipitated war between Israel and its Arab neighbors the following month.

In 1984, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop issued a report saying there was "very solid" evidence linking cigarette smoke to lung disease in non-smokers.

In 1991, talk show host Johnny Carson stunned an NBC affiliates' meeting in New York by announcing his retirement from "The Tonight Show," effective in one year.

Ten years ago: The Senate passed an 11-year, $1.35 trillion-dollar tax cut bill.

Five years ago: In a recording posted on the Internet, a voice purported to be that of Osama bin Laden said Zacarias Moussaoui (zak-uh-REE'-uhs moo-SOW'-ee) — the only person convicted in the U.S for the 9/11 attacks — had nothing to do with the al-Qaida operation. ABC appointed Charles Gibson to replace Elizabeth Vargas as anchor of "World News Tonight." (Gibson stepped down as anchor in Dec. 2009; he was succeeded by Diane Sawyer.) Former U.S. senator, vice-presidential candidate and Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen died in Houston at age 85.

One year ago: In a new al-Qaida video, U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki advocated the killing of American civilians, accusing the U.S. of intentionally killing a million Muslim civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Space shuttle Atlantis undocked from the international space station. The Czech Republic captured the ice hockey world championship, ending Russia's 27-game tournament winning streak with a 2-1 victory in Cologne, Germany. The final episode of the supernatural castaway drama "Lost" aired on ABC after six seasons.

Today's Birthdays: Bluegrass singer Mac Wiseman is 86. Actor Nigel Davenport is 83. Actress Barbara Barrie is 80. Actress Joan Collins is 78. Actor Charles Kimbrough is 75. Actress Lauren Chapin is 66. Country singer Misty Morgan is 66. Country singer Judy Rodman is 60. Singer Luka Bloom is 56. Actor-comedian Drew Carey is 53. Country singer Shelly West is 53. Actor Linden Ashby is 51. Actress-model Karen Duffy is 50. Rock musician Phil Selway (Radiohead) is 44. Actress Laurel Holloman is 43. Rock musician Matt Flynn (Maroon 5) is 41. Singer Lorenzo is 39. Country singer Brian McComas is 39. Singer Maxwell is 38. Singer Jewel is 37. Actor Lane Garrison is 31. Actor Adam Wylie is 27.

Thought for Today: "You can construct the character of a man and his age not only from what he does and says, but from what he fails to say and do." — Norman Douglas, British author (1868-1952).

(Above Advance for Use Monday, May 23)

Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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