Today is Wednesday, April 17, the 107th day of 2013. There are 258 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On April 17, 1961, some 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in an attempt to topple Fidel Castro, whose forces crushed the incursion by the third day.
On this date:
- In 1492, a contract was signed by Christopher Columbus and a representative of Spain's King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, giving Columbus a commission to seek a westward ocean passage to Asia.
- In 1521, Martin Luther went before the Diet of Worms (vohrms) to face charges stemming from his religious writings. (He was later declared an outlaw by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.)
- In 1861, the Virginia State Convention voted to secede from the Union.
- In 1895, the Treaty of Shimonoseki ended the first Sino-Japanese War.
- In 1937, the animated cartoon character Daffy Duck made his debut in the Warner Bros. cartoon "Porky's Duck Hunt," directed by Tex Avery.
- In 1941, Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany during World War II.
- In 1969, a jury in Los Angeles convicted Sirhan Sirhan of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. The First Secretary of Czechoslovakia's Communist Party, Alexander Dubcek (DOOB'-chek), was deposed.
- In 1970, Apollo 13 astronauts James A. Lovell, Fred W. Haise and Jack Swigert splashed down safely in the Pacific, four days after a ruptured oxygen tank crippled their spacecraft while en route to the moon.
- In 1973, Federal Express (later FedEx) began operations as 14 planes carrying 186 packages took off from Memphis International Airport, bound for 25 U.S. cities.
- In 1986, at London's Heathrow Airport, a bomb was discovered in the bag of a pregnant Irishwoman about to board an El Al jetliner to Israel; she'd been tricked into carrying the bomb by her Jordanian fiance.
- In 1993, a federal jury in Los Angeles convicted two former police officers of violating the civil rights of beaten motorist Rodney King; two other officers were acquitted. Turkish President Turgut Ozal died at age 66.
- In 1997, former Israeli president Chaim Herzog (KHY'-ehm HEHRT'-zahg) died in Tel Aviv at age 78.
Ten years ago: U.S. special forces in Baghdad captured Barzan Ibrahim Hasan, a half-brother of and adviser to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The U.S. government awarded Bechtel Corp. a major contract for helping rebuild Iraq's power, water and sewage systems. Diet doctor Robert C. Atkins died in New York at age 72. Songwriter Earl King died in New Orleans at age 69. Sir J. Paul Getty Jr., the reclusive third son of American oilman J. Paul Getty, died in London at age 70.
Five years ago: Pope Benedict XVI, during his visit to Washington, talked and prayed privately with survivors of the clergy sex abuse scandal in what's believed to be a first-ever meeting between a pontiff and abuse victims. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown met at Camp David with President George W. Bush; the two leaders sought to dispel doubts about their relationship, showing common ground on a range of issues. Danny Federici, the keyboard player for Bruce Springsteen, died in New York City at age 58.
One year ago: Riding on the back of a 747 jet, retired space shuttle Discovery traveled from Cape Canaveral, Fla., to Chantilly, Va., to be installed in its new home — the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum annex near Washington Dulles Airport in Northern Virginia. Jamie Moyer, at age 49, became the oldest pitcher to ever win a major league contest as the Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 5-3.
Today's Birthdays: Composer-musician Jan Hammer (yahn HAH'-mur) is 65. Actress Olivia Hussey is 62. Actor Clarke Peters is 61. Rock singer-musician Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks) is 58. Actor Sean Bean is 54. Actor Joel Murray is 51. Rock singer Maynard James Keenan is 49. Actress Lela Rochon (LEE'-lah rohn-SHAHN') is 49. Actor William Mapother is 48. Actress Leslie Bega is 46. Actress Kimberly Elise is 46. Singer Liz Phair is 46. Rapper-actor Redman is 43. Actress Jennifer Garner is 41. Country musician Craig Anderson (Heartland) is 40. Singer Victoria Adams Beckham is 39. Actress-singer Lindsay Korman is 35. Actress Rooney Mara is 28. Actress Jacqueline MacInnes Wood is 26. Figure skater Mirai Nagasu is 20. Actor Paulie Litt is 18. Actress Dee Dee Davis is 17.
Thought for Today: "A happiness that is sought for ourselves alone can never be found; for a happiness that is diminished by being shared is not big enough to make us happy." — Thomas Merton, American poet and author (1915-1968).