Today is Friday, May 18, the 139th day of 2012. There are 227 days left in the year.
Today's highlight in history:
On May 18, 1926, evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson vanished while visiting a beach in Venice, Calif. (McPherson reappeared more than a month later, saying she'd escaped after being kidnapped and held for ransom, an account that was greeted with skepticism in some quarters.)
On this date:
In 1012, Theophylact, son of Gregory, Count of Tusculum, became Pope Benedict VIII, succeeding Pope Sergius IV.
In 1642, the Canadian city of Montreal was founded by French colonists.
In 1765, about one-fourth of Montreal was destroyed by a fire.
In 1896, the Supreme Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson, endorsed "separate but equal" racial segregation, a concept renounced 58 years later in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.
In 1910, Halley's Comet passed by earth, brushing it with its tail.
In 1912, singer Perry Como was born in Canonsburg, Pa.; movie writer-director Richard Brooks ("Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"; "Elmer Gantry"; "In Cold Blood") was born in Philadelphia.
In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure creating the Tennessee Valley Authority.
In 1953, Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier as she piloted a Canadair F-86 Sabre jet over Rogers Dry Lake, Calif.
In 1969, astronauts Eugene A. Cernan, Thomas P. Stafford and John W. Young blasted off aboard Apollo 10 on a mission to orbit the moon.
In 1980, the Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington state exploded, leaving 57 people dead or missing.
In 1982, a jury in New York City convicted the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder and leader of the Unification Church, of tax evasion and conspiracy. (Moon served 13 months in prison.)
In 1991, Helen Sharman became the first Briton to rocket into space as she flew aboard a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft with two cosmonauts on an eight-day mission to the Mir space station.
Ten years ago: India and Pakistan exchanged fire across their shared border, renewing fears the countries were on the brink of another war over the Himalayan region of Kashmir. War Emblem won the Preakness Stakes, setting up a shot at the Triple Crown. (However, War Emblem came up short at the Belmont Stakes, which was won by long shot Sarava.)
Five years ago: The White House and Congress failed to strike a deal after exchanging competing offers on an Iraq war spending bill that Democrats said should set a date for U.S. troops to leave. France's new president, Nicolas Sarkozy (sahr-koh-ZEE'), named a radically revamped cabinet which included seven women among its 15 members.
One year ago: Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, resigned, saying he wanted to devote all his energy to battling the sexual assault charges he faced in New York. (The charges were later dropped.) The United States slapped sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad and six others for human rights abuses over their brutal crackdown on anti-government protests, for the first time personally penalizing the Syrian leader for the actions of his security forces.
Today's birthdays: Actor Bill Macy is 90. Hall-of-Fame sportscaster Jack Whitaker is 88. Actor Robert Morse is 81. Actor Dwayne Hickman is 78. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Brooks Robinson is 75. Bluegrass singer-musician Rodney Dillard (The Dillards) is 70. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Reggie Jackson is 66. Actress Candice Azzara is 65. Country singer Joe Bonsall (The Oak Ridge Boys) is 64. Rock musician Rick Wakeman (Yes) is 63. Actor James Stephens is 61. Country singer George Strait is 60. Rhythm-and-blues singer Butch Tavares (Tavares) is 59. Actor Chow Yun-Fat is 57. Rock singer-musician Page Hamilton is 52. Contemporary Christian musician Barry Graul (MercyMe) is 51. Singer-actress Martika is 43. Comedian-writer Tina Fey is 42. Rapper Special Ed is 38. Rock singer Jack Johnson is 37. Rhythm-and-blues singer Darryl Allen (Mista) and actor Matt Long are 32. Christian-rock musician Kevin Huguley (Rush of Fools) is 30. Actor Spencer Breslin is 20.
Thought for today: "Never do anything you wouldn't want to explain to the paramedics." — Author unknown.