Today in History: May 31

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Today is Tuesday, May 31, the 152nd day of 2016. There are 214 days left in the year.Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 31, 1916, during World War I, British and German fleets fought the naval Battle of Jutland off Denmark; there was no clear-cut victor, although the British suffered heavier losses.On this date:

In 1790, President George Washington signed into law the first U.S. copyright act.

In 1889, some 2,200 people in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, perished when the South Fork Dam collapsed, sending 20 million tons of water rushing through the town.

In 1910, the Union of South Africa was founded.

In 1935, movie studio 20th Century Fox was created through a merger of the Fox Film Corp. and Twentieth Century Pictures.

In 1941, “Tobacco Road,” a play about an impoverished Southern family based on the novel by Erskine Caldwell, closed on Broadway after a run of 3,182 performances.

In 1961, South Africa became an independent republic as it withdrew from the British Commonwealth.

In 1962, former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel a few minutes before midnight for his role in the Holocaust.

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

In 1985, 88 people were killed, more than 1,000 injured, when 41 tornadoes swept through parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and Ontario, Canada, during an 8-hour period.

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush welcomed Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev to Washington for a summit meeting. The situation comedy “Seinfeld” began airing as a regular series on NBC.

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

In 2005, breaking a silence of 30 years, former FBI official W. Mark Felt stepped forward as “Deep Throat,” the secret Washington Post source during the Watergate scandal.

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