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Wednesday, May 20, 1998

  • Today's Events
  • On Horizon
  • On This Day
  • Newslink
  • Notable
  • Almanac archive
  • "If you don't want us to try to find a way to deal with children smoking and drug abuse by children ... go right ahead."

    -- Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott

    Today's events

  • Singer Frank Sinatra will be buried in California.

  • U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan are scheduled to unveil a redesigned $20 bill.

  • The drawing of the U.S. multistate Powerball lottery will have an estimated jackpot of $175 million dollars, a world record.

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    On the horizon

  • On Thursday, May 21, the Sons of Italy Foundation will honor the late Frank Sinatra at its 10th annual gala.

  • On Friday, May 22, voter referendums on the Northern Ireland peace agreement are to be held in Belfast and Dublin.

  • On Saturday, May 23, Pope John Paul II visits Turin.

  • On Sunday, May 24, the Indianapolis 500 will be held.

  • Monday, May 25, is Memorial Day in the United States.

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    On this day

  • In 1303, the Treaty of Paris restored Gascony to the British in the Hundred Years War.

  • In 1347, in Rome, Cola di Rienza took the title of Tribune and assumed dictatorial powers in his drive to revive the city as the capital of Italy.

  • In 1364, Sir Henry Percy, the English rebel who led an uprising against King Henry IV, was born. Percy, nicknamed "Harry Hotspur," figured as a major character in Shakespeare's "Henry IV."

  • In 1498, Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama arrived at Calicut, India, after sailing from Europe.

  • In 1506, Christopher Columbus, Italian navigator and explorer, died. His four voyages to the New World led to European colonization.

  • In 1537, Hieronymous Fabricius, Italian anatomist who helped found modern embryology, born.

  • In 1759, William Thornton, U.S. architect responsible for the original design of Washington's Capitol building, was born.

  • In 1799, Honore de Balzac, French author of a long series of novels entitled "The Human Comedy," was born.

  • In 1818, William George Fargo, who along with Henry Wells founded the Wells-Fargo stage coach company, was born.

  • In 1834, the Marquis de Lafayette, the French soldier and statesman born as Marie Joseph Gilbert de Motier, died. He fought alongside the American colonists against the British in the American Revolution.

  • In 1861, North Carolina became the last of the Confederate states to secede from the Union.

  • In 1867, in London, Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone of the Royal Albert Hall.

  • In 1881, Wladyslaw Sikorski, Polish general and statesman who led the Free Polish forces during World War II, was born.

  • In 1902, Cuba was handed over to a republican government and the last U.S. troops left.

  • In 1904, Margery Allingham, English novelist who created the amateur detective Albert Campion, was born.

  • In 1908, James Stewart, American actor, was born. He won an Oscar for "The Philadelphia Story" in 1940 and received a special award in 1985.

  • In 1915, Moshe Dayan, Israeli military commander and statesman, was born. He led Israeli forces during the invasion of Sinai in 1956 and the Six-Day War of 1967 and held defense and foreign affairs Cabinet posts.

  • In 1922, the P&O liner Egypt sank off Ushant with the loss of 90 lives after colliding in fog with the French steamship Seine. The ship was also carrying one million sterling worth of gold and silver.

  • In 1923, British Prime Minister Bonar Law resigned because of ill health and was replaced by Stanley Baldwin.

  • In 1927, Great Britain signed the Treaty of Jeddah with King Ibn Saud, recognizing the independence of Saudi Arabia.

  • In 1939, Pan American Airways began the first regular trans-Atlantic airmail service across the North Atlantic.

  • In 1941, German troops invaded the Mediterranean island of Crete.

  • In 1956, the first hydrogen bomb to be dropped from the air was exploded by the Americans over the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.

  • In 1972, a referendum in Cameroon approved the country's change from a federation into a unitary state.

  • In 1978, Chiang Ching-kuo, who had been premier, became president of Taiwan with Shieh Tung-min as his vice president.

  • In 1980, the Canadian province of Quebec voted against a proposal to negotiate independence from Canada.

  • In 1983, in one of the worst incidents of political violence in South Africa, a car bomb exploded outside air force headquarters in Pretoria, killing some 20 people.

  • In 1989, Chinese communist authorities slapped martial law on the capital of Beijing after student-led protests brought millions of people onto the streets.

  • In 1991, the Soviet parliament approved in principle a law which would allow citizens to travel abroad freely.

  • In 1993, the British parliament finally passed a bill aimed at ratifying the Maastricht treaty, after six months of feuding.

  • In 1995, Vietnamese refugees rioted at the Whitehead detention camp in Hong Kong in protest at an order that they be forcibly repatriated.

  • In 1996, Iraq, its economy devastated by nearly six years of sanctions, accepted a tough U.N. plan to sell limited quantities of oil in order to buy food and medicine.

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    A new $20 U.S. bill will be unveiled today. Want to know more about your money? Visit the Treasury Department's Bureau of Engraving and Printing.



  • It is a National Day in Cameroon.

  • Actor Danny Aiello ("Moonstruck") is 65.

  • Singer and actress Cher ("Moonstruck") is 52.

  • Singer Joe Cocker ("You Are So Beautiful") is 54.

  • Actor Bronson Pinchot ("Perfect Strangers") is 39.

  • Dancer and journalist Ron Reagan is 40.

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    Sources: Associated Press,
    Chase's Calendar of Events 1998, J.P. Morgan

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