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Today in History

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Today is Sunday, April 15, the 106th day of 2012. There are 260 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On April 15, 1912, the British luxury liner RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic off Newfoundland at 2:20 a.m. ship's time, more than 21/2 hours after striking an iceberg; 1,514 people died, while less than half as many survived.

On this date:

In 1817, the first permanent American school for the deaf opened in Hartford, Conn.

In 1850, the city of San Francisco was incorporated.

In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln died, nine hours after being shot the night before by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater in Washington. Andrew Johnson became the nation's 17th president.

In 1874, an exhibition of paintings by 30 artists, including Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Cezanne, opened in Paris. (A critic derisively referred to the painters as "Impressionists," a name which stuck.)

In 1912, Kim Il Sung, North Korea's longtime Communist ruler, was born Kim Sung-ju in Mangyondae, near Pyongyang.

In 1942, Britain's King George VI awarded the George Cross to Malta for its heroism in the early days of World War II.

In 1945, during World War II, British and Canadian troops liberated the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen.

In 1947, Jackie Robinson, baseball's first black major league player, made his official debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on opening day. (The Dodgers defeated the Boston Braves, 5-3.)

In 1959, Cuban leader Fidel Castro arrived in Washington to begin a goodwill tour of the United States. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles resigned for health reasons (he was succeeded by Christian A. Herter).

In 1960, a three-day conference to form the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) began at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C. (The group's first chairman was Marion Barry.)

In 1986, the United States launched an air raid against Libya in response to the bombing of a discotheque in Berlin on April 5; Libya said 37 people, mostly civilians, were killed.

In 1992, hotel magnate Leona Helmsley began serving a prison sentence for tax evasion (she was released from prison after 18 months).

Ten years ago: Four U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan when rockets they were trying to destroy blew up. The Vatican announced that Pope John Paul II was summoning American cardinals to Rome for talks about sex abuse scandals in the U.S. church. A Chinese jetliner crashed in South Korea, killing 129 of the 166 people on board. Retired Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White died at age 84. Rodgers Rop led a Kenyan sweep of the Boston Marathon, winning in 2:09:02; Margaret Okayo, also of Kenya, won the women's race in 2:20:43.

Five years ago: Riot police beat and detained dozens of anti-Kremlin demonstrators in St. Petersburg, Russia, on a second day of protests against the government of President Vladimir Putin. Brant Parker, illustrator of "The Wizard of Id" comic strip, died in Lynchburg, Va., at age 86, just days after the passing of the strip's writer, Johnny Hart.

One year ago: The first of three days of tornadoes to strike the central and southern U.S. began; according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there were an estimated 177 twisters and at least 38 fatalities. NASA released a trove of data from its skymapping mission, allowing anyone with Internet access to peruse millions of galaxies, stars, asteroids.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Michael Ansara is 90. Country singer Roy Clark is 79. Author and politician Jeffrey Archer is 72. Rock singer-guitarist Dave Edmunds is 68. Actor Michael Tucci is 66. Actress Lois Chiles is 65. Writer-producer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason is 65. Actress Amy Wright is 62. Columnist Heloise is 61. Actress-screenwriter Emma Thompson is 53. Bluegrass musician Jeff Parker is 51. Singer Samantha Fox is 46. Rock musician Ed O'Brien (Radiohead) is 44. Actor Flex Alexander is 42. Actor Danny Pino is 38. Rock musician Patrick Carney (The Black Keys) is 32. Actor-writer Seth Rogen is 30. Actress Alice Braga is 29. Rock musician De'Mar Hamilton (Plain White T's) is 28. Actress Emma Watson is 22.

Thought for Today: "True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost." -- Arthur Ashe, American tennis champion (1943-1993).

Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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