Today is Thursday, May 31, the 152nd day of 2012. There are 214 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On May 31, 1962, former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel a few minutes before midnight for his role in the Holocaust. (Eichmann's remains were cremated, the ashes scattered in the Mediterranean Sea.)
On this date:
In 1790, President George Washington signed into law the first U.S. copyright act.
In 1859, the Big Ben clock tower in London went into operation, chiming for the first time.
In 1889, more than 2,000 people perished when a dam break sent water rushing through Johnstown, Pa.
In 1910, the Union of South Africa was founded.
In 1911, the hull of the British liner RMS Titanic was launched from its building berth at the Port of Belfast, less than a year before the ship's fateful maiden voyage.
In 1912, U.S. Sen. Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson was born in Everett, Wash.
In 1941, "Tobacco Road," a play about an impoverished Southern family based on the novel by Erskine Caldwell, closed on Broadway after a run of 3,182 performances.
In 1961, South Africa became an independent republic as it withdrew from the British Commonwealth.
In 1970, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake in Peru claimed an estimated 67,000 lives.
In 1977, the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, three years in the making, was completed.
In 1985, at least 88 people were killed, more than 1,000 injured, as over 40 tornadoes swept through parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and Ontario, Canada, during an 8-hour period.
In 1994, the United States announced it was no longer aiming long-range nuclear missiles at targets in the former Soviet Union.
Ten years ago: A three-judge federal panel in Philadelphia ruled that public libraries could not be forced to install software that blocked sexually explicit websites. (However, the U.S. Supreme Court later upheld the use of the filters in public libraries.) European Union countries formally signed on to the Kyoto Protocol, a pact aimed at stemming pollution and global warming that has been opposed by the United States. The World Cup soccer tournament opened in Asia for the first time with a match between Senegal and defending champion France in South Korea, which was co-hosting the event with Japan. (Senegal upset France, 1-0.)
Five years ago: President George W. Bush, under international pressure to take tough action against global warming, called for a world summit to set a long-term global strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In a breach of security, detailed plans for the new U.S. Embassy under construction in Baghdad appeared on the website of the architectural firm that was contracted to design the massive facility. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush attended the dedication of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C.
One year ago: Angered by civilian casualties, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he would no longer allow NATO airstrikes on houses. Former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic was placed in a U.N. detention unit in the Netherlands to await trial on genocide charges. Atlanta became the first city in the NHL's modern era to lose two hockey teams as the Thrashers' owners agreed to sell the struggling franchise to a group that moved it to Winnipeg.
Today's Birthdays: Actor-director Clint Eastwood is 82. Singer Peter Yarrow is 74. Former Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite is 73. Singer-musician Augie Meyers is 72. Actress Sharon Gless is 69. Football Hall-of-Famer Joe Namath is 69. Actor Tom Berenger is 62. Actor Gregory Harrison is 62. Actor Kyle Secor is 55. Actress Roma Maffia is 54. Comedian Chris Elliott is 52. Actress Lea Thompson is 51. Singer Corey Hart is 50. Actor Hugh Dillon is 49. Rapper DMC is 48. Actress Brooke Shields is 47. Country musician Ed Adkins (The Derailers) is 45. Jazz musician Christian McBride is 40. Actress Archie Panjabi is 40. Actor Colin Farrell is 36. Rock musician Scott Klopfenstein (Reel Big Fish) is 35. Actor Eric Christian Olsen is 35. Rock musician Andy Hurley (Fall Out Boy) is 32. Country singer Casey James (TV: "American Idol") is 30. Actor Jonathan Tucker is 30. Rapper Waka Flocka Flame is 26. Actor Curtis Williams Jr. is 25.
Thought for Today: "The future is no more uncertain than the present." -- Walt Whitman, American poet (born this date in 1819, died 1892).