- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Today is Wednesday, April 15, the 105th day of 2009. There are 260 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

In the early hours of April 15, 1912, the British luxury liner RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic off Newfoundland, less than three hours after striking an iceberg. Some 1,500 people died.

On this date:

In 1817, the first American school for the deaf opened in Hartford, Conn.

In 1850, the city of San Francisco was incorporated.

In 1861, three days after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in South Carolina, President Abraham Lincoln declared a state of insurrection and called out Union troops.

In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln died, several hours after being shot at Ford’s Theater in Washington by John Wilkes Booth. Andrew Johnson became the nation’s 17th president.

In 1945, during World War II, British and Canadian troops liberated the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen.

In 1947, Jackie Robinson, baseball’s first black major league player, made his official debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on opening day. (The Dodgers defeated the Boston Braves, 5-3.)

In 1959, Cuban leader Fidel Castro arrived in Washington to begin a goodwill tour of the United States. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles resigned for health reasons. (He was succeeded by Christian A. Herter).

In 1986, the United States launched an air raid against Libya in response to the bombing of a discotheque in Berlin on April 5th; Libya said 37 people, mostly civilians, were killed.

In 1989, 96 people died in a crush of soccer fans at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. Students in Beijing launched a series of pro-democracy protests; the demonstrations culminated in a government crackdown at Tiananmen Square.

In 1998, Pol Pot, the notorious leader of the Khmer Rouge, died at age 73, evading prosecution for the deaths of 2 million Cambodians.

Ten years ago: A gunman opened fire at the Mormon Family History Library in Salt Lake City, killing two people and wounding four others before being shot to death by police.

Five years ago: In a videotape, a man identifying himself as Osama bin Laden offered a “truce” to European countries that did not attack Muslims, saying it would begin when their soldiers left Islamic nations. Iraqi militants freed three Japanese hostages after holding them about a week. In the finale to the first edition of the NBC reality show “The Apprentice,” Donald Trump “hired” Bill Rancic over Kwame Jackson during a segment that was telecast live.

One year ago: Pope Benedict XVI stepped onto U.S. soil for the first time as pontiff as he was greeted at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington by President George W. Bush, first lady Laura Bush and their daughter Jenna. Bombings blamed on al-Qaida in Iraq tore through market areas in Baghdad and outside the capital, killing nearly 60 people. Actress Hazel Court, who’d costarred with Boris Karloff and Vincent Price in horror movies of the 1950s and ‘60s, died near Lake Tahoe, Calif., at age 82.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Michael Ansara is 87. Country singer Roy Clark is 76. Rock singer-guitarist Dave Edmunds is 65. Actress Lois Chiles is 62. Writer-producer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason is 62. Actress Amy Wright is 59. Columnist Heloise is 58. Actress-screenwriter Emma Thompson is 50. Bluegrass musician Jeff Parker is 48. Singer Samantha Fox is 43. Rock musician Ed O’Brien (Radiohead) is 41. Actor Flex Alexander is 39. Actor Danny Pino is 35. Actor-writer Seth Rogen is 27. Actress Alice Braga is 26. Rock musician De’Mar Hamilton (Plain White T’s) is 25. Football player Antonio Cromartie is 25. Actress Emma Watson is 19.

Thought for Today: “History would be an excellent thing if only it were true.” _ Leo Tolstoy, Russian author (1828-1910).

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