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Today in History

Monday, April 16, 2012

Today is Monday, April 16, the 107th day of 2012. There are 259 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On April 16, 1912, American aviator Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel, traveling from Dover, England, to France in 59 minutes, an accomplishment that was overshadowed by the Titanic disaster the day before.

On this date:

In 1789, President-elect George Washington left Mount Vernon, Va., for his inauguration in New York.

In 1862, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia. The Confederacy conscripted all white men between the ages of 18 to 35.

In 1879, St. Bernadette, who'd described seeing visions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes, died in Nevers, France.

In 1889, comedian and movie director Charles Chaplin was born in London.

In 1910, Boston Arena (now Matthews Arena) first opened.

In 1917, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin returned to Russia after years of exile.

In 1935, the radio comedy program "Fibber McGee and Molly" premiered on NBC's Blue Network.

In 1945, U.S. troops reached Nuremberg, Germany, during the Second World War.

In 1947, the French ship Grandcamp blew up at the harbor in Texas City, Texas; another ship, the High Flyer, exploded the following day (the blasts and fires killed nearly 600 people). Financier Bernard M. Baruch said in a speech at the South Carolina statehouse, "Let us not be deceived -- we are today in the midst of a cold war."

In 1962, Bob Dylan debuted his song "Blowin' in the Wind" at Gerde's Folk City in New York; New Orleans Archbishop Joseph Rummel excommunicated three local Roman Catholics for fighting racial integration of parochial schools; Walter Cronkite succeeded Douglas Edwards as anchorman of "The CBS Evening News."

In 1972, Apollo 16 blasted off on a voyage to the moon with astronauts John W. Young, Charles M. Duke Jr. and Ken Mattingly on board.

In 1996, Britain's Prince Andrew and his wife, Sarah, the Duchess of York, announced they were in the process of divorcing.

Ten years ago: The U.S. Supreme Court overturned two major provisions of the Child Pornography Prevention Act, saying the government had gone too far in trying to ban "virtual" child pornography. Actor Robert Urich died in Thousand Oaks, Calif., at age 55.

Five years ago: In the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history, student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech before taking his own life. Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya won the Boston Marathon for the third time in 2 hours, 14 minutes, 13 seconds; Russia's Lidiya Grigoryeva captured the women's race in 2:29:18. Carrie Underwood's dark hit "Before He Cheats" won video of the year, female video and best video director at the fan-voted CMT Music Awards.

One year ago: A Taliban sleeper agent walked into a meeting of NATO trainers and Afghan troops at Forward Operating Base Gamberi in the eastern Afghan province of Laghman and detonated a vest of explosives hidden underneath his uniform; six American troops, four Afghan soldiers and an interpreter were killed. President Raul Castro drew a line in the Caribbean sand across which Cuba's economic reforms must never go, telling a Communist party summit that he had rejected dozens of suggested changes that would have allowed the concentration of property in private hands.

Today's Birthdays: Pope Benedict XVI is 85. Actor Peter Mark Richman is 85. Singer Bobby Vinton is 77. Denmark's Queen Margrethe II is 72. Basketball Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 65. NFL coach Bill Belichick is 60. Rock singer-turned-politician Peter Garrett is 59. Actress Ellen Barkin is 58. Rock musician Jason Scheff (Chicago) is 50. Singer Jimmy Osmond is 49. Rock singer David Pirner (Soul Asylum) is 48. Actor-comedian Martin Lawrence is 47. Actor Jon Cryer is 47. Rock musician Dan Rieser is 46. Actor Peter Billingsley is 41. Actor Lukas Haas is 36.

Thought for Today: "We think too much and feel too little." -- Charles Chaplin (1889-1977).

Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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