Way back when: Today in history
BY GENE CURTIS
Saturday, May 12, 2012
5/12/12 at 3:04 AM
1982 - Priest attacks pope
A rebel Spanish priest yelling "down with the pope" and "down with Vatican two" tried to bayonet Pope John Paul II during the pontiff's visit to the Our Lady of Fatima shrine in Portugal - one day before the first anniversary of John Paul being shot in Rome. The priest, Juan Fernandez Krohn, 32, told investigators he had planned the attack for six months. The pope was not injured. Krohn was sentenced to six years in prison for attempted homicide but was expelled from Portugal after serving three years and became a lawyer in Belgium.
2000 - Young Petty dies in crash
Adam Petty, a member of NASCAR's most famous stock car racing family, died after crashing into a wall at the New Hampshire International Speedway during practice for a Grand National race at Loudon. The 19-year-old driver appeared to brush the wall in Turn 3 before spinning out and smashing sideways into the concrete. Petty was the son of Winston Cup driver Kyle Petty and grandson of NASCAR icon Richard Petty.
2003 - Bombers attack in Riyadh
Suicide bombers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, killed 26 people, including nine Americans, in a series of bombings hours before Secretary of State Colin Powell was to arrive for meetings with Saudi officials. Powell went ahead with planned meetings including, ironically, one on cooperating in the fight on terrorism. Powell said the bombings in three residential compounds and outside a U.S.-Saudi company bore the "earmarks of al-Qaida." After the bombings, the U.S. ordered most of its nonessential diplomats and family members to leave Saudi Arabia, dispatched FBI investigators to help with the investigation and closed the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh.
2008 - China quake kills 70,000
A 7.9-magnitude earthquake killed an estimated 70,000 people in a hilly region of small cities and towns in central China, its epicenter about 60 miles northwest of Chengdu. A chemical plant collapsed in Shifang city, to the northeast of the quake's epicenter, burying hundreds of people and sending more than 80 tons of toxic liquid ammonia leaking from the site. The government issued an appeal to the Chinese public for donations of rescue equipment including hammers, shovels, demolition tools and rubber boats. After days of refusing foreign relief workers, China said it would accept foreign medical teams.
Secretary of State Colin Powell (left) talks with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Associated Press file