Today’s Highlight in History
On May 12, 1949: The Soviet Union lifted the Berlin Blockade, which the Western powers had succeeded in circumventing with their Berlin Airlift.
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In 1780: During the Revolutionary War, the besieged city of Charleston, South Carolina, surrendered to British forces.
In 1932: The body of Charles Lindbergh Jr., the 20-month-old kidnapped son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh, was found in a wooded area near Hopewell, New Jersey.
In 1933: The Federal Emergency Relief Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration were established to provide help for the needy and farmers.
In 1943: During World War II, Axis forces in North Africa surrendered. The two-week Trident Conference, headed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, opened in Washington.
In 1958: The United States and Canada signed an agreement to create the North American Air Defense Command (later the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD).
In 1970: The Senate voted unanimously to confirm Harry A. Blackmun as a Supreme Court justice.
In 1975: The White House announced the new Cambodian government had seized an American merchant ship, the Mayaguez, in international waters. (U.S. Marines gained control of the ship three days after its seizure, not knowing the 39 civilian members of the crew had already been released by Cambodia.)
In 1982: In Fatima, Portugal, security guards overpowered a Spanish priest armed with a bayonet who attacked Pope John Paul II. (In 2008, the pope’s longtime private secretary revealed that the pontiff was slightly wounded in the assault.)
In 1986: The military action-drama film “Top Gun,” starring Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis and released by Paramount Pictures, had its world premiere in New York.
In 2008: A devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake in China’s Sichuan province left more than 87,000 people dead or missing.
In 2009: Five Miami men were convicted in a plot to blow up FBI buildings and Chicago’s Sears Tower; one man was acquitted. Suspected Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk was deported from the United States to Germany. (On this date in 2011, Demjanjuk, who maintained his innocence, would be convicted by a German court of being an accessory to the murder of tens of thousands of Jews; he died in March 2012 at age 91.)
In 2011: CEOs of the five largest oil companies went before the Senate Finance Committee, where Democrats challenged the executives to justify tax breaks at a time when people were paying $4 a gallon for gas.
Ten years ago: Miami’s LeBron James became the eighth player in NBA history to receive the MVP award three times.
Five years ago: Dozens of countries were hit with a huge cyberextortion attack that locked up computers and held users’ files for ransom at a multitude of hospitals, companies and government agencies. Pope Francis urged Catholics to “tear down all walls” and spread peace during a visit to Fatima, Portugal, as he marked the 100th anniversary of one of the most unique events of the 20th-century Catholic Church: the visions of the Virgin Mary reported by three illiterate shepherd children.
One year ago: Israel pressed ahead with a fierce military offensive in the Gaza Strip, killing as many as 10 senior Hamas military figures and toppling two high-rise towers housing Hamas facilities; the Islamic militant group showed no signs of backing down, and fired hundreds of rockets at Israeli cities. Republicans dumped Rep. Liz Cheney from her House leadership post for her persistent repudiation of Donald Trump’s election falsehoods, underscoring the hold that Trump retained on his party. The nation’s largest fuel pipeline restarted operations, days after it was forced to shut down by a gang of hackers. Jay-Z, Foo Fighters and the Go-Go’s were elected to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame their first time on the ballot, leading a class that also included Tina Turner, Carole King and Todd Rundgren.