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UPI Almanac for Monday, May 17, 2021

On May 17, 1970, Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl set sail from Morocco in a papyrus boat called the Ra II, modeled on drawings of ancient Egyptian vessels.

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United Press International
On May 17, 1970, Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl set sail from Morocco in a papyrus boat called the Ra II, modeled on drawings of ancient Egyptian vessels. File Photo by Pedro Ximenez/Wikimedia Commons
On May 17, 1970, Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl set sail from Morocco in a papyrus boat called the Ra II, modeled on drawings of ancient Egyptian vessels. File Photo by Pedro Ximenez/Wikimedia Commons

Today is Monday, May 17, the 137th day of 2021 with 228 to follow.

The moon is waxing. Morning stars are Jupiter, Neptune, Saturn and Uranus. Evening stars are Mars, Mercury and Venus.

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Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include English physician Edward Jenner, developer of the smallpox vaccine, in 1749; Schuyler Wheeler, inventor of the electric fan, in 1860; baseball Hall of Fame member James "Cool Papa" Bell in 1903; actor Maureen O'Sullivan in 1911; actor Dennis Hopper in 1936; musician Taj Mahal, born Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, in 1942 (age 79); actor/director Bill Paxton in 1955; actor/comedian Bob Saget in 1956 (age 65); boxer Sugar Ray Leonard in 1956 (age 65); sports broadcaster Jim Nantz in 1959 (age 62); Irish New Age singer Enya, born Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin, in 1961 (age 60); Scottish comedian Craig Ferguson in 1962 (age 59); singer/songwriter Trent Reznor in 1965 (age 56); actor Hill Harper in 1966 (age 55); singer Jordan Knight in 1970 (age 51); actor Sasha Alexander in 1973 (age 48); singer/TV personality Kandi Burruss in 1976 (age 45); dancer Derek Hough in 1985 (age 36); actor Nikki Reed in 1988 (age 33); actor/model Karrueche Tran in 1988 (age 33); Canadian Olympic gold medal ice dancer Tessa Virtue in 1989 (age 32); actor Ross Butler in 1990 (age 31).

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On this date in history:

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In 1792, 24 brokers met in New York City and formed the New York Stock Exchange.

In 1875, Aristides was the winner of the first Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

In 1943, the Memphis Belle became one of the first B-17 to complete 25 missions in World War II, securing the plane and crew's reputations as rockstars. The plane was the subject of a documentary at the time and a film about the crew was made in 1990 starring Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz and Harry Connick Jr. Ten days after the 25th mission, the pilot, Capt. Robert K. Morgan and co-pilot, Capt. James Verinis, met the king and queen of England, to whom Morgan explained the origin of the plane's name.

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In 1954, in a major civil rights victory, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kan., ruled unanimously that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.

In 1970, Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl set sail from Morocco in a papyrus boat called the Ra II, modeled on drawings of ancient Egyptian sailing vessels. His mission was to prove his theory that ancient civilizations could have sailed to the Americas. He arrived in Barbados 57 days later.

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In 1973, the U.S. Senate Watergate Committee opened hearings into a break-in at Democratic National headquarters in Washington.

In 1987, two Iraqi Exocet missiles hit the frigate USS Stark in the Persian Gulf, killing 37 seamen. Iraq apologized for mistaking the ship's identity and the Stark's top officers were reprimanded and retired.

In 1989, 1 million people demonstrated for democratic reforms in Beijing. The number of students fasting to support the drive reached 3,000.

In 1999, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lost his bid for re-election when voters chose Ehud Barak, head of the center-left Israel One coalition, to succeed him.

In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In 2005, Los Angeles voters elected Antonio Villaraigosa as the city's first Hispanic mayor since 1872.

In 2007, the United States' "minority" citizenship topped the 100 million mark, about one-third of the total U.S. population, the U.S. Census Bureau said. Hispanics made up the largest group, ahead of African-Americans, 44.3 million to 40.2 million.

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court banned the sentencing of a juvenile to life in prison for a non-homicide case, calling the practice unconstitutional, and cruel and unusual punishment.

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In 2018, the Senate confirmed Gina Haspel to be the first female director of the CIA, ending weeks of speculation over whether her past role in using torture as an interrogation technique would derail her nomination.

In 2019, Taiwan became the first Asian nation to legalize same-sex marriage.


A thought for the day: "If there is anything more annoying in the world than having people talk about you, it is certainly having no one talk about you." -- Irish author Oscar Wilde

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