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Friday May 31, 2002

On May 31, 1962, World War II Gestapo official Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel for his role in the Nazi Holocaust. 

On this date: 

In 1819, poet Walt Whitman was born in West Hill, N.Y. 

In 1889, more than 2,000 people perished when a dam break sent water rushing through Johnstown, Pa. 

In 1910, the Union of SoutEvery ambitious man is a captive and every covetous one a pauper.” — Arab proverb. 

In 1913, the 17th amendment to the Constitution, providing for the popular election of U.S. senators, was declared in effect. 

In 1961, South Africa became an independent republic. 

In 1970, tens of thousands of people died in an earthquake in Peru. 

In 1977, the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, three years in the making, was completed. 

In 1989, House Speaker Jim Wright, dogged by questions about his ethics, announced he would resign. (Thomas Foley later succeeded him.) 

In 1991, leaders of Angola’s two warring factions signed a peace treaty, ending a 16-year-old civil war. 

In 1994, the United States announced it was no longer aiming long-range nuclear missiles at targets in the former Soviet Union. 

Ten years ago: 

An estimated 50,000 people demonstrated in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, against Communist-organized elections. “Crazy for You” was named Broadway’s best musical at the Tony Awards; “Dancing at Lughnasa” was named best play. 

Five years ago:  

Pope John Paul II began an 11-day tour of his native Poland, his seventh visit since assuming the papacy. 

One year ago: Veteran FBI agent Robert Hanssen pleaded innocent to charges of spying for Moscow. (He later changed his plea to guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.) Moderate PLO leader Faisal Husseini died at age 60. Actress and TV personality Arlene Francis died in San Francisco at age 93. 

Today’s Birthdays:  

Prince Rainier of Monaco is 79. Actress Elaine Stewart is 73. Actor-director Clint Eastwood is 72. Opera singer Shirley Verrett is 69. Actor Keir Dullea is 66. Singer Peter Yarrow is 64. Singer Johnny Paycheck is 64. Former Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite is 63. Singer-musician Augie Meyers is 62. Actress Sharon Gless is 59. Football Hall-of-Famer Joe Namath is 59. Actor Tom Berenger is 52. Actor Gregory Harrison is 52. Comedian Chris Elliott is 42. Actor Kyle Secor is 42. Actress Lea Thompson is 41. Singer Corey Hart is 40. Actress Tonya Pinkins is 40. Rapper DMC is 38. Rapper Kid Frost is 38. Actress Brooke Shields is 37. Rock musician Scott Klopfenstein (Reel Big Fish) is 25. Actor Curtis Williams Jr. is 15.