- The Washington Times - Monday, April 6, 2009

Today is Monday, April 6, the 96th day of 2009. There are 269 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

One hundred years ago, on April 6, 1909, American explorers Robert E. Peary and Matthew A. Henson and four Inuits became the first men to reach the North Pole.

On this date:

In 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was organized by Joseph Smith in Fayette, N.Y.

In 1862, the Civil War Battle of Shiloh began in Tennessee as Confederate forces launched a surprise attack against Union troops, who beat back the Confederates the next day.

In 1896, the first modern Olympic games formally opened in Athens, Greece.

In 1917, Congress approved a declaration of war against Germany.

In 1954, after being criticized by newsman Edward R. Murrow on CBS’ “See It Now,” Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., was given the opportunity to reply with a filmed response in which he charged that Murrow had in the past “engaged in propaganda for Communist causes.”

In 1959, “Gigi” won the Academy Award for best picture of 1958; Susan Hayward was named best actress for “I Want to Live!” and David Niven was named best actor for “Separate Tables.” (To the embarrassment of the show’s producers, the scheduled two-hour ceremony fell about 20 minutes short.)

In 1963, the United States signed an agreement to sell the Polaris missile system to Britain.

In 1965, the United States launched the Intelsat I, also known as the “Early Bird” communications satellite, into orbit.

In 1983, rock-and-roll fans reacted with outrage and dismay to a published report in The Washington Post that Interior Secretary James Watt had decided to exclude groups like the Beach Boys from Washington’s 4th of July celebration _ a stand he later reversed.

In 1994, the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were killed in a mysterious plane crash near Rwanda’s capital; widespread violence and killings erupted in Rwanda over claims the plane had been shot down.

Ten years ago: Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic declared a unilateral cease-fire in his campaign to crush rebels in Kosovo; Western leaders called the move a sham and pledged to press ahead with airstrikes.

Five years ago: Jordan’s military court convicted eight Muslim militants and sentenced them to death for the 2002 killing of U.S. aid official Laurence Foley in a terror conspiracy linked to al-Qaida. Lawmakers ousted Lithuania’s scandal-ridden president Rolandas Paksas for abuse of office. The University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team beat Tennessee 70-61 to win a third consecutive NCAA title, a day after UConn also won the men’s championship.

One year ago: President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin, meeting at the Black Sea resort of Sochi, failed to overcome sharp differences over a U.S. missile defense system as they closed their seven-year relationship. Anti-China demonstrators caused chaos as the Olympic torch was relayed through London ahead of the Beijing games.

Today’s Birthdays: Nobel Prize-winning scientist James D. Watson is 81. Composer-conductor Andre Previn is 80. Country singer Merle Haggard is 72. Actor Billy Dee Williams is 72. Actor Roy Thinnes is 71. Movie director Barry Levinson is 67. Actor John Ratzenberger is 62. Actress Marilu Henner is 57. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Janet Lynn is 56. Actor Michael Rooker is 54. Rock musician Warren Haynes is 49. Rock singer-musician Frank Black is 44. Author Vince Flynn is 43. Actress Ari Meyers is 40. Actor Paul Rudd is 40. Actor-producer Jason Hervey is 37. Rock musician Markku Lappalainen is 36. Actor Zach Braff is 34. Actress Candace Cameron Bure is 33. Actor Bret Harrison is 27.

Thought for Today: “To be really cosmopolitan, a man must be at home even in his own country.” _ Thomas Wentworth Higginson, American clergyman-author (1823-1911).

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