Today is Friday, May 1, the 121st day of 1998. There are 244 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:One hundred years ago, on May 1, 1898, Commodore George Dewey gave the command, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley," as an American naval force destroyed a Spanish fleet in Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.

On this date:

In 1786, Mozart's opera "The Marriage of Figaro" premiered in Vienna.

In 1893, the World's Columbian Exposition was officially opened in Chicago by President Cleveland.

In 1931, New York's 102-story Empire State Building was dedicated.

In 1931, singer Kate Smith began her long-running radio program on CBS.

In 1941, the Orson Welles motion picture "Citizen Kane" premiered in New York.

In 1948, the People's Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) was proclaimed.

In 1960, the Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance plane near Sverdlovsk and captured its pilot, Francis Gary Powers.

In 1967, Anastasio Somoza Debayle became president of Nicaragua.

In 1971, Amtrak, which combined and streamlined operations of 18 intercity passenger railroads, went into service.

In 1978, Ernest Morial was inaugurated as the first black mayor of New Orleans.

Ten years ago: Newsweek magazine reported that, according to a memoir by former White House chief of staff Donald Regan, astrology had influenced the planning of President Reagan's schedule.

Five years ago: President Clinton held a strategy session with top military and foreign policy advisers on Bosnia. Violence erupted during a May Day protest in Moscow. The president of Sri Lanka (Ranasinghe Premadasa) was assassinated by a suicide bomber. The horse Sea Hero won the Kentucky Derby.

One year ago: Britons went to the polls in a national election that gave the Labor Party a resounding victory over ruling Conservatives. John and Patsy Ramsey, the parents of slain child beauty queen JonBenet, declared their innocence, and asked for the public's help in finding her killer.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Glenn Ford is 82. TV personality Jack Paar is 80. Actor Dan O'Herlihy is 79. Author Joseph Heller is 75. Former astronaut Scott Carpenter is 73. Country singer Sonny James is 69. Singer Judy Collins is 59. Actor Stephen Macht ("Knots Landing;" "Cagney and Lacey") is 56. Singer Rita Coolidge is 53. Actor-director Douglas Barr ("Designing Women") is 49. Singer-songwriter Ray Parker Junior is 44. Former jockey Steve Cauthen is 38. Rock musician Johnny Colt (The Black Crowes) is 32. Actor Charlie Schlatter ("Diagnosis Murder") is 32. Country singer Tim McGraw is 31. Rock musician D'Arcy (Smashing Pumpkins) is 30. Actor Darius McCrary ("Family Matters;" "Don King: Only in America") is 22.

Thought for Today: "If a man will begin in certainties he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin in doubts he shall end in certainties." - Francis Bacon, English philosopher (1561-1626)