Today is Good Friday, April 6, the 97th day of 2012. There are 269 days left in the year. The Jewish holiday Passover begins at sunset.
Today's Highlight in History:
On April 6, 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.
On this date:
In 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was organized by Joseph Smith in Fayette, N.Y.
In 1886, the Canadian city of Vancouver, British Columbia, was incorporated.
In 1896, the first modern Olympic games formally opened in Athens, Greece.
In 1909, American explorers Robert E. Peary and Matthew A. Henson and four Inuits became the first men to reach the North Pole.
In 1917, Congress approved a declaration of war against Germany.
In 1945, during World War II, the Japanese warship Yamato and nine other vessels sailed on a suicide mission to attack the U.S. fleet off Okinawa; the fleet was intercepted the next day.
In 1954, a month after being criticized by newsman Edward R. Murrow on CBS' "See It Now," Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., given the chance to respond on the program, charged that Murrow had, in the past, "engaged in propaganda for Communist causes."
In 1965, the United States launched the Intelsat I, also known as the "Early Bird" communications satellite, into orbit.
In 1971, Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky, 88, died in New York City.
In 1985, William J. Schroeder became the first artificial heart recipient to be discharged from the hospital as he moved into an apartment in Louisville, Ky.
In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled a Nebraska farmer had been entrapped by postal agents into buying mail-order child pornography. The European Community recognized the former Yugoslav republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina as an independent state. Science-fiction author Isaac Asimov died in New York at age 72.
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: President George W. Bush repeated his call for Israel to "withdraw without delay" from West Bank towns it had occupied since launching an offensive after a string of suicide attacks; Bush also demanded the Palestinians call "an immediate and effective cease-fire."
Five years ago: British sailors and marines newly freed by Iran said they were blindfolded, isolated in cold stone cells and tricked into fearing execution while being coerced into falsely saying they had entered Iranian waters. A suicide bomber smashed a truck loaded with TNT and toxic chlorine gas into a police checkpoint in Ramadi, Iraq, killing 27 people.
One year ago: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi appealed directly to President Barack Obama in a letter to end what Gadhafi called "an unjust war"; he also wished Obama good luck in his bid for re-election. Portugal became the third debt-stressed European country to need a bailout as the prime minister announced his country would request international assistance.
Today's Birthdays: Nobel Prize-winning scientist James D. Watson is 84. Composer-conductor Andre Previn is 83. Country singer Merle Haggard is 75. Actor Billy Dee Williams is 75. Actor Roy Thinnes is 74. Writer-comedian Phil Austin (Firesign Theatre) is 71. Movie director Barry Levinson is 70. Actor John Ratzenberger is 65. Actress Marilu Henner is 60. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Janet Lynn is 59. Actor Michael Rooker is 57. Rock musician Warren Haynes is 52. Rock singer-musician Frank Black is 47. Author Vince Flynn is 46. Actress Ari Meyers is 43. Actor Paul Rudd is 43. Actor-producer Jason Hervey is 40. Rock musician Markku Lappalainen is 39. Actor Zach Braff is 37. Actress Candace Cameron Bure is 36. Actress Eliza Coupe is 31. Actor Bret Harrison is 30. Actor Charlie McDermott is 22.
Thought for Today: "Never think that you're not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you at your own reckoning." -- Isaac Asimov (1920-1992).
Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.