Thursday, May 29

Today is Thursday, May 29, the 149th day of 2014. There are 216 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1453 - Turks capture Constantinople, capital of Byzantine Empire. Some historians list date as end of Middle Ages.

1692 - British fleet defeats French Navy at La Hogue, ending attempted invasion of England.

1765 - Peter II, grandson of Peter I and son of Alexis, becomes czar of Russia.

1903 - King Aleksander Obrenovic of Serbia and his wife Draga Masin are assassinated by his officers and guards. Karadjordjevic dynasty takes over the throne.

1932 - World War I veterans begin arriving in Washington to demand cash bonuses they weren't scheduled to receive for another 13 years.

1942 - Bing Crosby, the Ken Darby Singers and the John Scott Trotter Orchestra record Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" in Los Angeles for Decca Records.

1943 - Americans defeat Japanese in Battle of Attu in Aleutian Islands in World War II.

1947 - Constituent Assembly in India outlaws "untouchability," a system of social ostracism practiced against people of lower classes.

1953 - Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tensing Norgay of Nepal become first to reach top of Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain.

1966 - Buddhist nun burns herself to death outside a pagoda in the South Vietnamese city of Hue to protest country's military government.

1972 - U.S. President Richard Nixon and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sign declaration pledging era of peaceful coexistence between the United States and Soviet Union.

1973 - Tom Bradley is elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles, defeating incumbent Sam Yorty.

1985 - Thirty-eight people are killed and 375 others injured at a Brussels stadium in riots before a European Cup soccer match.

1988 - U.S. President Ronald Reagan begins his first visit to the Soviet Union as he arrived in Moscow for a superpower summit with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev.

1990 - Boris Yeltsin is elected president of Russia, largest of Soviet Union's 15 republics.

1991 - The Yugoslav republic of Croatia declares itself "an independent state" and formally secedes from Yugoslavia a month later.

1994 - The former Communist party wins a majority in the second free Hungarian elections since the Communist government fell in 1989.

1995 - Bosnian Serbs upgrade their arsenal with armored vehicles from the U.N. troops they took hostage after the first major NATO airstrike against them.

1996 - Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the right-wing Likud Party, is elected Israeli prime minister by a slim margin.

1997 - Angolan authorities announce that government troops have overrun large parts of northern Angola, previously controlled by the rebel movement Unita.

1998 - President Boris Yeltsin's announces a crackdown on Russia's millions of tax cheaters as part of a strategy to fill the government's empty coffers.

1999 - Olusegun Obasanjo becomes Nigeria's first civilian president in 15 years, ending a string of disastrous military regimes.

2000 - Ethiopia's warplanes bomb a military airstrip on the outskirts of Asmara, taking its 2-week-old offensive to the Eritrean capital on what was to be the opening day of peace talks.

2001 - The Japanese Red Army, responsible for terrorist massacres in Israel and Italy, announces that it will disband after nearly four decades and regroup as a "legal" organization.

2002 - Pakistani intelligence officials say hundreds of members of the Al Qaeda terrorist network have moved into Pakistani cities from deposed Taliban militia and formed links with Pakistani Islamic militant groups.

2004 - Suspected Islamic militants wearing military-style uniforms spray gunfire inside two office compounds in the heart of the Saudi oil production region, killing at least 10 people -- including an American -- before taking dozens of hostages at a luxury expatriate resort. Statements posted on Islamic Web sites claim the attack in the name of the Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Brigade.

2005 - French voters reject the European Union's proposed constitution, dealing a staggering blow to efforts to further unify the 25-nation bloc by giving it a common charter and more power on the global stage.

2006 - Violent anti-foreigner protests rage across Kabul, Afghanistan after a U.S. military truck crashed into traffic, touching off the worst rioting since the Taliban's ouster. At least eight people died and 107 are injured.

2007 - President George W. Bush chooses Robert Zoellick, a one-time U.S. trade representative and former No. 2 official at the State Department, to lead the World Bank.

2008 - The Vatican firmly rejects attempts by women to become priests in the Roman Catholic Church, reiterating in a decree that anyone involved in ordination ceremonies is automatically excommunicated.

2009 - FBI says Abu Ibrahim, a master bomb maker who once targeted commercial airliners and was suspected of aiding the Iraq insurgency, has fled to Lebanon.

2010 - The Vatican prosecutor of clerical sex abuse warns perpetrators that they would suffer damnation in hell that would be worse than the death penalty.

2011 - Thousands of government supporters jam into a plaza to protest U.S. sanctions against Venezuela's state oil company, the latest in a series of demonstrations encouraged by President Hugo Chavez to invoke nationalist sentiments.

2012 - The biggest scandal to rock the Vatican in decades widens with the Pope's butler, arrested for allegedly having confidential documents in his home, agreeing to cooperate with investigators, raising specter that higher-ranking ecclesial heads may roll.

2013 -- Syria's foreign minister lays out a hard line, saying Bashar Assad will remain president at least until elections in 2014 and might seek another term.

Today's Birthdays:

G.K. Chesterton, English author (1874-1936); John F. Kennedy, U.S. president (1917-1963); Bob Hope, U.S. comedian-actor (1903-2003); Andre Brink, South African writer (1935--); Tung Chee-hwa, Hong Kong chief executive (1937--); Anthony Geary, U.S. actor (1947--); LaToya Jackson, U.S. singer (1956--); Rupert Everett, actor (1959--); Annette Bening, U.S. actress (1958--); Melissa Etheridge, U.S. rock singer (1961--).

Thought For Today:

The first and great commandment is: Don't let them scare you -- Elmer Davis, American news commentator (1890-1958).