Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This day in history

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[April 20, 2010]  (AP)  Today is Saturday, April 3, the 93rd day of 2010. There are 272 days left in the year.

HardwareToday's highlight in history:

On April 3, 1860, the legendary Pony Express began carrying mail between St. Joseph, Mo., and Sacramento, Calif. (The delivery system lasted only 18 months, giving way to the transcontinental telegraph.)

On this date:

In 1865, Union forces occupied the Confederate capital of Richmond, Va.

In 1882, outlaw Jesse James was shot to death in St. Joseph, Mo., by Robert Ford, a member of James' gang.

In 1936, Bruno Hauptmann was electrocuted in Trenton, N.J. for the kidnap-murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr.

In 1946, Lt. Gen. Masaharu Homma, the Japanese commander responsible for the Bataan Death March, was executed by firing squad outside Manila.

In 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed into law the Marshall Plan, designed to help European allies rebuild after World War II and resist Communism.

In 1968, the day before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "mountaintop" speech to a rally of striking sanitation workers. North Vietnam agreed to meet with U.S. representatives to set up preliminary peace talks.

In 1974, deadly tornadoes struck wide parts of the South and Midwest before jumping across the border into Canada; more than 300 fatalities resulted.

In 1979, Jane M. Byrne was elected mayor of Chicago, defeating Republican Wallace D. Johnson.

In 1990, jazz singer Sarah Vaughan died in suburban Los Angeles at age 66.

In 1996, an Air Force jetliner carrying Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and American business executives crashed in Croatia, killing all 35 people aboard.

Ten years ago: U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ruled that Microsoft Corp. had violated antitrust laws by keeping "an oppressive thumb" on competitors. (Jackson later ordered the breakup of Microsoft, but the Justice Department ended up reaching a settlement with the software giant.) Michigan State won its second NCAA championship, defeating Florida, 89-76.

Five years ago: A day after the death of Pope John Paul II, the body of the pontiff lay in state. Millions prayed and wept at services across the globe, as the Vatican prepared for the ritual-filled funeral and conclave that would choose a successor.

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One year ago: An ethnic Chinese from Vietnam, Jiverly Wong, opened fire inside an immigrant community center in Binghamton, N.Y., killing 13 people before taking his own life. The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously legalized gay marriage. The Labor Department reported unemployment reached 8.5 percent in March 2009, the highest in a quarter-century. President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, arrived in Strasbourg, France, after two days in London. Tom Braden, who helped launch CNN's "Crossfire" and whose memoir "Eight is Enough" inspired a TV show, died in Denver at age 92.

Today's birthdays: Actress-singer Doris Day is 87. Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl is 80. Conservationist Dame Jane Goodall is 76. Actor William Gaunt is 73. Actor Eric Braeden is 69. Actress Marsha Mason is 68. Singer Wayne Newton is 68. Singer Billy Joe Royal is 68. Singer Tony Orlando is 66. Comedy writer Pat Proft is 63. Folk-rock singer Richard Thompson is 61. Country musician Curtis Stone (Highway 101) is 60. Blues singer-guitarist John Mooney is 55. Rock musician Mick Mars (Motley Crue) is 54. Actor Alec Baldwin is 52. Actor David Hyde Pierce is 51. Rock singer John Thomas Griffith (Cowboy Mouth) is 50. Comedian-actor Eddie Murphy is 49. Rock singer-musician Mike Ness (Social Distortion) is 48. Rock singer Sebastian Bach is 42. Rock musician James MacDonough is 40. Olympic gold medal ski racer Picabo Street is 39. Actress Jennie Garth is 38. Comedian Aries Spears is 35. Actress Cobie Smulders is 28. Rock-pop singer Leona Lewis is 25. Actress Amanda Bynes is 24.

Thought for today: "Our firmest convictions are apt to be the most suspect; they mark our limitations and our bounds. Life is a petty thing unless it is moved by the indomitable urge to extend its boundaries." -- Jose Ortega y Gasset, Spanish philosopher (1883-1955)

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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