Today’s Highlight in History:
On June 5, 1968, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was shot and mortally wounded after claiming victory in California’s Democratic presidential primary at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles; assassin Sirhan Bishara Sirhan was arrested at the scene.
On this date:
In 1794, Congress passed the Neutrality Act, which prohibited Americans from taking part in any military action against a country that was at peace with the United States.
In 1912, U.S. Marines landed in Cuba at the order of President William Howard Taft to ensure order and protect U.S. interests.
In 1933, the United States went off the gold standard.
In 1950, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Henderson v. United States, struck down racially segregated railroad dining cars.
In 1967, war erupted in the Middle East as Israel, anticipating a possible attack by its Arab neighbors, launched a series of pre-emptive airfield strikes that destroyed nearly the entire Egyptian air force; Syria, Jordan and Iraq immediately entered the conflict.
In 1981, the Centers for Disease Control reported that five homosexuals in Los Angeles had come down with a rare kind of pneumonia; they were the first recognized cases of what later became known as AIDS.
In 1999, jazz and pop singer Mel Torme died in Los Angeles at age 73.
In 2002, 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her Salt Lake City home. (Smart was found alive by police in a Salt Lake suburb in March 2003. One kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, is serving a prison sentence; the other, Wanda Barzee, was released in September, 2018.)
In 2004, Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, died in Los Angeles at age 93 after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.
In 2006, more than 50 National Guardsmen from Utah became the first unit to work along the U.S.-Mexico border as part of President George W. Bush’s crackdown on illegal immigration.
In 2013, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians, many of them sleeping women and children, pleaded guilty to murder at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, to avoid the death penalty; he was sentenced to life in prison.
In 2018, fashion designer Kate Spade, known for her sleek handbags, was found dead in her Park Avenue apartment in New York in what the medical examiner determined was a suicide by hanging; she was 55.
Ten years ago: Israeli forces seized a Gaza-bound aid vessel, the Rachel Corrie, without meeting resistance days after a similar effort turned bloody. Finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s leading economies meeting in Busan, South Korea, agreed on the need to cooperate in fending off financial market turmoil and keeping the world economic recovery on track. Francesca Schiavone beat Samantha Stosur of Australia, 6-4, 7-6 (2), to win the French Open, giving Italy its first female champion at a Grand Slam tournament.
Five years ago: The Social Security Administration’s inspector general found that disability beneficiaries had been overpaid by nearly $17 billion over the previous decade, raising alarms about the massive program. Former Iraqi Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, 79, died in Nasiriyah of a heart attack while in captivity. A broken bat flew into the stands at Fenway Park during an Oakland Athletics-Boston Red Sox game, seriously injuring fan Tonya Carpenter.
One year ago: An Ohio doctor, William Husel, was charged with murder in the deaths of 25 hospital patients who authorities said had been killed with deliberate overdoses of painkillers, many of them administered by other medical workers on his orders. (Husel has pleaded not guilty.) A court in Germany found Niels Hoegel, a 42-year-old nurse, guilty of murdering 85 patients and sentenced him to life in prison; he admitted causing cardiac arrests in patients by injecting them with overdoses of drugs because he enjoyed the feeling of being able to resuscitate them, but sometimes his efforts failed. (Hoegel had earlier been convicted of two other killings.) The Trump administration said it was ending medical research by government scientists that used human fetal tissue. Officials in Nepal said a government expedition to Mount Everest had removed more than 24,000 pounds of garbage and four dead bodies. Carrie Underwood extended her run as the most decorated act in the history of the CMT awards with her 20th win.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor-singer Bill Hayes is 95. Broadcast journalist Bill Moyers is 86. Former Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark is 81. Author Dame Margaret Drabble is 81. Country singer Don Reid (The Statler Brothers) is 75. Rock musician Freddie Stone (AKA Freddie Stewart) (Sly and the Family Stone) is 73. Rock singer Laurie Anderson is 73. Country singer Gail Davies is 72. Author Ken Follett is 71. Financial guru Suze Orman is 69. Rock musician Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden) is 68. Jazz musician Peter Erskine is 66. Jazz musician Kenny G is 64. Rock singer Richard Butler (Psychedelic Furs) is 64. Actress Beth Hall is 62. Actor Jeff Garlin is 58. Actress Karen Sillas is 57. Actor Ron Livingston is 53. Wausau Pilot and Review Co- founder Darren “Harv” Siewert is 52. Singer Brian McKnight is 51. Rock musician Claus Norreen (Aqua) is 50. Actor Mark Wahlberg is 49. Actor Chad Allen is 46. Rock musician P-Nut (311) is 46. Actress Navi Rawat (ROH’-waht) is 43. Actress Liza Weil is 43. Rock musician Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy) is 41. Rock musician Seb Lefebvre (Simple Plan) is 39. Actress Chelsey Crisp is 37. Actress Amanda Crew is 34. Electronic musician Harrison Mills (Odesza) is 31. Musician/songwriter/producer DJ Mustard is 30. Actress Sophie Lowe is 30. Actor Hank Greenspan is ten.
Thought for Today: “What is objectionable, what is dangerous, about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.” — Robert F. Kennedy, U.S. senator (1925-1968).