Today is Friday, April 8, the 98th day of 2011. There are 267 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On April 8, 1911, an explosion at the Banner Coal Mine in Littleton, Ala., claimed the lives of 128 men, most of them convicts loaned out from prisons.
On this date:
In 1861, Elisha Otis, inventor of the first elevator safety brake, died in Yonkers, N.Y. at age 49.
In 1913, the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, providing for direct popular election of United States senators (as opposed to appointment by state legislatures), was ratified.
In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Emergency Relief Appropriations Act, which provided money for programs such as the Works Progress Administration.
In 1946, the League of Nations assembled in Geneva for its final session.
In 1952, President Harry S. Truman seized the steel industry to avert a nationwide strike. (The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled that Truman had overstepped his authority.)
In 1961, a suspected bomb exploded aboard the passenger liner MV Dara in the Persian Gulf, causing it to sink; 238 of the 819 people aboard were killed.
In 1970, the Senate rejected President Richard M. Nixon's nomination of G. Harold Carswell to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 1974, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hit his 715th career home run in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, breaking Babe Ruth's record.
In 1981, General of the Army Omar N. Bradley died in New York at age 88.
In 1994, Kurt Cobain, singer and guitarist for the grunge band Nirvana, was found dead in Seattle from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound; he was 27.
Ten years ago: U.S. officials said President George W. Bush was sending a letter to the wife of a missing (later presumed lost) Chinese fighter pilot as a humanitarian gesture. (The pilot's plane had collided with a U.S. spy plane April 1, forcing the spy plane to make an emergency landing in China.) Tiger Woods won the Masters for his fourth straight major title in a span of 294 days.
Five years ago: The Rolling Stones made their debut in mainland China with a censored _ but still raucous _ concert in Shanghai. Harley-Davidson Inc. opened its first dealership in China.
One year ago: President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the New START treaty in Prague. Authorities in Cancun, Mexico, found the body of Monica Beresford-Redman, the wife of "Pimp My Ride" and former "Survivor" producer Bruce Beresford-Redman, who has been named a suspect in her death. Malcolm McLaren, 64, former manager of the Sex Pistols, died in Switzerland. Bishop Abel Muzorewa, the first black prime minister of an interim white-dominated government before Zimbabwe's independence, died at 85.
Today's Birthdays: Former first lady Betty Ford is 93. Comedian Shecky Greene is 85. Actor-turned-diplomat John Gavin is 80. Author and investigative reporter Seymour Hersh is 74. Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is 73. Basketball Hall-of-Famer John Havlicek is 71. "Mouseketeer" Darlene Gillespie is 70. Singer J.J. Jackson is 70. Singer Peggy Lennon (The Lennon Sisters) is 70. Songwriter-producer Leon Huff is 69. Actor Hywel Bennett is 67. Actor Stuart Pankin is 65. Rock musician Steve Howe (Yes) is 64. Former House Republican Leader Tom DeLay is 64. Movie director John Madden ("Shakespeare in Love") is 62. Rock musician Mel Schacher (Grand Funk Railroad) is 60. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Gary Carter is 57. Actor John Schneider is 51. "Survivor" winner Richard Hatch is 50. Rock musician Izzy Stradlin is 49. Singer Julian Lennon is 48. Rock singer-musician Donita Sparks is 48. Rapper Biz Markie is 47. Actress Robin Wright is 45. Actress Patricia Arquette is 43. Rock singer Craig Honeycutt (Everything) is 41. Rock musician Darren Jessee is 40. Actress Emma Caulfield is 38. Actress Katee Sackhoff is 31. Actor Taylor Kitsch is 30. Rock singer-musician Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend) is 27. Actor Taran Noah Smith is 27. Actress Kirsten Storms is 27.
Thought for Today: "Computers are useless. They can only give you answers." _ Pablo Picasso, Spanish artist (born 1881, died this date in 1973).
(Above Advance for Use Friday, April 8)
Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.