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TODAY IN HISTORY

Today is the 157th day of 2020. There are 209 days left in the year.

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, launched 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 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.)

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 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.

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.

Five years ago: The Social Security Administration’s inspector general found that disability beneficiaries had been overpaid by nearly $17 billion during 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. 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. The Trump administration said it was ending medical research by government scientists that used human fetal tissue.

Today’s Birthdays: Broadcast journalist Bill Moyers is 86. 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. Rock musician Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden) is 68. Jazz musician Peter Erskine is 66. Jazz musician Kenny G is 64. Actress Beth Hall is 62. Actor Jeff Garlin is 58. Actress Karen Sillas is 57. Actor Ron Livingston is 53. Actor Mark Wahlberg is 49. Actor Chad Allen is 46.

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).

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