Today in History

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Posted: Apr 21, 2011 12:00 AM
Today in History

Today is Thursday, April 21, the 111th day of 2011. There are 254 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On April 21, 1910, author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, died in Redding, Conn., at age 74.

On this date:

In 1509, England's King Henry VII died; he was succeeded by his 17-year-old son, Henry VIII.

In 1649, the Maryland Toleration Act, which provided for freedom of worship for all Christians, was passed by the Maryland assembly.

In 1789, John Adams was sworn in as the first vice president of the United States.

In 1836, an army of Texans led by Sam Houston defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto, assuring Texas independence.

In 1918, Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the German ace known as the "Red Baron," was killed in action during World War I.

In 1930, a fire broke out inside the overcrowded Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus, killing 332 inmates.

In 1940, the quiz show that asked the "$64 question," "Take It or Leave It," premiered on CBS Radio.

In 1960, Brazil inaugurated its new capital, Brasilia, transferring the seat of national government from Rio de Janeiro.

In 1971, Haitian President Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier died at age 64; he was succeeded by his son, Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier.

In 1986, a rediscovered vault in Chicago's Lexington Hotel that was linked to Al Capone was opened during a live TV special hosted by Geraldo Rivera; aside from a few bottles and a sign, the vault turned out to be empty.

Ten years ago: Western Hemisphere leaders meeting in Quebec ratified a plan barring undemocratic nations from a massive free trade zone they hoped would expand prosperity across their 34 nations. For a second day, protesters clashed with nightstick-wielding police who fired water cannons and rubber bullets. The Los Angeles Xtreme beat the San Francisco Demons 38-6 in the first _ and last _ XFL championship game.

Five years ago: Nouri al-Maliki (NOO'-ree ahl-MAHL'-ih-kee) was nominated by the Shiites as Iraq's prime minister after outgoing Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari (EE'-brah-heem ahl JAH'-fah-ree) gave up his bid for another term. Chinese President Hu Jintao (hoo jin-tow) wrapped up his U.S. tour with a visit to Yale University in New Haven, Conn. Miss Kentucky Tara Elizabeth Conner was crowned Miss USA.

One year ago: Pope Benedict XVI promised "church action" to confront the clerical abuse scandal. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for six games for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. (Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down the punishment after prosecutors decided not to bring charges in a case involving a 20-year-old college student who'd accused Roethlisberger of sexually assaulting her.) Juan Antonio Samaranch, 89, who'd served as president of the International Olympic Committee for 21 years, died in Barcelona, Spain. Former Nuremberg prosecutor Whitney Harris, 97, died in Frontenac, Missouri.

Today's Birthdays: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is 85. Actress-comedian-writer Elaine May is 79. Actor Charles Grodin is 76. Singer-musician Iggy Pop is 64. Actress Patti LuPone is 62. Actor Tony Danza is 60. Actress Andie MacDowell is 53. Rock singer Robert Smith (The Cure) is 52. Rock musician Michael Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) is 52. Actor John Cameron Mitchell is 48. Rapper Michael Franti (Spearhead) is 45. Rock singer-musician Glen Hansard (The Frames) is 41. Comedian Nicole Sullivan is 41. Rock musician David Brenner (Theory of a Deadman) is 33. Actor James McAvoy is 32.

Thought for Today: "I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it." _ Stephen Leacock, Canadian economist and humorist (1869-1944).

(Above Advance for Use Thursday, April 21)

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