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Today in History

Today is Wednesday, May 24, the 144th day of 2017. There are 221 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 24, 1775, John Hancock was unanimously elected President of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, succeeding Peyton Randolph.

On this date:

In 1844, Samuel F.B. Morse transmitted the message “What hath God wrought” from Washington to Baltimore as he formally opened America’s first telegraph line.

In 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge, linking Brooklyn and Manhattan, was dedicated by President Chester Alan Arthur and New York Gov. Grover Cleveland.

In 1935, the first major league baseball game to be played at night took place at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field as the Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 2-1.

In 1937, in a set of rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Social Security Act of 1935.

In 1941, the German battleship Bismarck sank the British battle cruiser HMS Hood in the North Atlantic, killing all but three of the 1,418 men on board.

In 1957, anti-American rioting broke out in Taipei, Taiwan, over the acquittal of a U.S. Army sergeant who had shot and killed a Chinese man.

In 1962, astronaut Scott Carpenter became the second American to orbit the Earth as he flew aboard Aurora 7.

In 1976, Britain and France opened trans-Atlantic Concorde supersonic transport service to Washington.

In 1977, in a surprise move, the Kremlin ousted Soviet President Nikolai Podgorny from the Communist Party’s ruling Politburo.

In 1980, Iran rejected a call by the World Court in The Hague to release the American hostages.

In 1994, four Islamic fundamentalists convicted of bombing New York’s World Trade Center in 1993 were each sentenced to 240 years in prison.

In 2001, 23 people were killed when the floor of a Jerusalem wedding hall collapsed beneath dancing guests, sending them plunging several stories into the basement.

Ten years ago: Bowing to President George W. Bush, Congress passed an emergency war spending bill that did not include a provision ordering troops home from Iraq beginning in the fall of 2007. Ohio death row inmate Christopher Newton was executed by injection; it took him 16 minutes to die, more than twice the usual amount of time, once chemicals began flowing into his veins, which the execution team had trouble locating.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama doubled down on criticism of rival Mitt Romney’s background as a venture capitalist, telling a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds there might be value in such experience but “not in the White House.” Brian Banks, a former high school football star whose dreams of a pro career were shattered by what turned out to be a false rape accusation, burst into tears as a judge in Long Beach, California, threw out the charge that had sent Banks to prison for more than five years.

One year ago: Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump each won primaries in Washington state. Protests outside a Donald Trump rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico, turned violent as demonstrators threw burning T-shirts, plastic bottles and other items at police officers, overturned trash cans and knocked down barricades.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor-comedian-impressionist Stanley Baxter is 91. Jazz musician Archie Shepp is 80. Comedian Tommy Chong is 79. Singer Bob Dylan is 76. Actor Gary Burghoff is 74. Singer Patti LaBelle is 73. Actress Priscilla Presley is 72. Country singer Mike Reid is 70. Actor Jim Broadbent is 68. Actor Alfred Molina is 64. Singer Rosanne Cash is 62. Actor Cliff Parisi is 57. Actress Kristin Scott Thomas is 57. Rock musician Jimmy Ashhurst (Buckcherry) is 54. Rock musician Vivian Trimble is 54. Actor John C. Reilly is 52. Actor Dana Ashbrook is 50. Actor Eric Close is 50. Actor Carl Payne is 48. Rock musician Rich Robinson is 48. Actor Dash Mihok is 43. Actor Bryan Greenburg is 39. Actor Owen Benjamin is 37. Actor Billy L. Sullivan is 37. Actor-rapper Jerod Mixon (aka Big Tyme) is 36. Rock musician Cody Hanson (Hinder) is 35. Dancer-choreographer-singer Mark Ballas is 31. Country singer Billy Gilman is 29. Rapper/producer G-Eazy is 28. Actress Brianne Howey (TV: “The Exorcist”) is 28. Actor Cayden Boyd is 23.

Thought for Today: “It is the weakness and danger of republics, that the vices as well as virtues of the people are represented in their legislation.” — Helen Maria Hunt Jackson, American author (1830-1885).