Today in History

AP News
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Posted: Apr 20, 2011 12:00 AM
Today in History

Today is Wednesday, April 20, the 110th day of 2011. There are 255 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, leased by BP, killed 11 workers and began spewing (by government estimates) about 200 million gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico for nearly three months.

On this date:

In 1812, the fourth vice president of the United States, George Clinton, died in Washington at age 72, becoming the first vice president to die while in office.

In 1836, Congress voted to establish the Wisconsin Territory.

In 1861, Col. Robert E. Lee resigned his commission in the United States Army. (Lee went on to command the Army of Northern Virginia, and eventually became general-in-chief of the Confederate forces.)

In 1889, Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria.

In 1945, during World War II, allied forces took control of the German cities of Nuremberg and Stuttgart.

In 1968, Pierre Elliott Trudeau was sworn in as prime minister of Canada.

In 1971, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the use of busing to achieve racial desegregation in schools. National Public Radio made its on-air debut with live coverage of a U.S. Senate hearing on the Vietnam War.

In 1972, the manned lunar module from Apollo 16 landed on the moon.

In 1978, a Korean Air Lines Boeing 707 crash-landed in northwestern Russia after being fired on by a Soviet interceptor after entering Soviet airspace. Two passengers were killed.

In 1999, the Columbine High School massacre took place in Colorado as two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, shot and killed 12 classmates and one teacher before taking their own lives.

Ten years ago: A Peruvian air force jet shot down a small plane carrying American missionaries in Peru's Amazon jungle region, killing Veronica Bowers and her infant daughter, Charity. President George W. Bush attended his first international summit as leaders of the Western Hemisphere's 34 democracies met in Quebec to advance plans to create the world's largest free-trade zone; police in riot gear clashed with protesters. Two therapists were convicted in Golden, Colo., of reckless child abuse in a young girl's suffocation death during a "rebirthing" therapy session. (Connell Watkins and Julie Ponder were later sentenced to 16 years in prison. Watkins was moved to a halfway house in Aug. 2008.)

Five years ago: President George W. Bush welcomed Chinese President Hu Jintao to the White House; the ceremony was interrupted by a protester who shouted to Bush to stop the Chinese leader from "persecuting the Falun Gong." Bowing to intense pressure, Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari (EE'-brah-heem ahl JAH'-fah-ree) agreed to abandon his claim to another term.

One year ago: Airplanes began taking to the skies of Europe again after five days of being grounded by a drifting volcanic ash. The Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on videos that show graphic violence against animals. Civil rights activist Dorothy Height died in Washington, D.C., at age 98. Keli McGregor, 48, president of baseball's Colorado Rockies, was found dead in a hotel room of natural causes.

Today's Birthdays: Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is 91. Actor Leslie Phillips is 87. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is 75. Actor George Takei is 74. Singer Johnny Tillotson is 72. Actor Ryan O'Neal is 70. Bluegrass singer-musician Doyle Lawson (Quicksilver) is 67. Rock musician Craig Frost (Grand Funk; Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band) is 63. Actor Gregory Itzin (iht-zihn) is 63. Actress Jessica Lange is 62. Actress Veronica Cartwright is 62. Actor Clint Howard is 52. Actor Crispin Glover is 47. Actor Andy Serkis is 47. Country singer Wade Hayes is 42. Actor Shemar Moore is 41. Rock musician Mikey Welsh is 40. Actress Carmen Electra is 39. Reggae singer Stephen Marley is 39. Rock musician Marty Crandall (The Shins) is 36. Actor Joey Lawrence is 35. Country musician Clay Cook (Zac Brown Band) is 33.

Thought for Today: "Life is made up of desires that seem big and vital one minute, and little and absurd the next. I guess we get what's best for us in the end." _ Alice Caldwell Rice, American humorist (1870-1942).

(Above Advance for Use Wednesday, April 20)

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