Today is Friday, April 17, the 107th day of 2009. There are 258 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 17, 1961, some 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in a failed attempt to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro.
On this date:
In 1521, Martin Luther went before the Diet of Worms to face charges stemming from his religious writings. (He was later declared an outlaw by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.)
In 1524, Giovanni da Verrazano reached present-day New York Harbor.
In 1790, American statesman Benjamin Franklin died in Philadelphia at age 84.
In 1861, the Virginia State Convention voted to secede from the Union.
In 1895, the Treaty of Shimonoseki ended the first Sino-Japanese War.
In 1941, Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany in World War II.
In 1964, Ford Motor Co. unveiled its new Mustang model at the New York World’s Fair. Jerrie Mock of Columbus, Ohio, became the first woman to complete a solo airplane flight around the world.
In 1969, a jury in Los Angeles convicted Sirhan Sirhan of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. The First Secretary of Czechoslovakia’s Communist Party, Alexander Dubcek, was deposed.
In 1970, the astronauts of Apollo 13 splashed down safely in the Pacific, four days after a ruptured oxygen tank crippled their spacecraft.
In 1990, the Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy, the civil rights activist and top aide to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., died in Atlanta at age 64.
Ten years ago: Gen. Wesley Clark, NATO’s commander, bluntly told Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to change his policies in Kosovo or see his military machine destroyed. The first of three bombs to explode in London within a two-week period went off in Brixton, a racially mixed neighborhood, injuring 39 people. (David Copeland, a white supremacist, was convicted of three murders caused by the bombings, and was sentenced to six life sentences, one for each fatality and for each bomb.)
Five years ago: Searchers found the body of missing North Dakota college student Dru Sjodin. (Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. is under sentence of death for kidnapping and killing Sjodin.) Israel assassinated Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi with a missile strike on his car.
One year ago: Pope Benedict XVI, during his visit to Washington, talked and prayed privately with survivors of the clergy sex abuse scandal in what’s believed to be a first-ever meeting between a pontiff and abuse victims. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown met at Camp David with President George W. Bush; the two leaders sought to dispel doubts about their relationship, showing common ground on a range of issues. Danny Federici, the keyboard player for Bruce Springsteen, died in New York City at age 58.
Today’s Birthdays: Rock promoter Don Kirshner is 75. Composer-musician Jan Hammer is 61. Actress Olivia Hussey is 58. Actor Clarke Peters is 57. Rock singer-musician Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks) is 54. Actor Sean Bean is 50. Rock singer Maynard James Keenan is 45. Actress Lela Rochon is 45. Actor William Mapother is 44. Actress Leslie Bega is 42. Actress Kimberly Elise is 42. Singer Liz Phair is 42. Rapper-actor Redman is 39. Actress Jennifer Garner is 37. Country musician Craig Anderson (Heartland) is 36. Singer Victoria Adams Beckham (Spice Girls) is 35. Actress-singer Lindsay Korman is 31. Actor Paulie Litt is 14. Actress Dee Dee Davis is 13.
Thought for Today: “A happiness that is sought for ourselves alone can never be found; for a happiness that is diminished by being shared is not big enough to make us happy.” _ Thomas Merton, American poet and author (1915-1968).