Today in History – Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Today is Wednesday, April 20, the 111th day of 2016. There are 255 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1534 – Elizabeth Barton, the Maid of Kent, is executed in England with five of her associates for criticizing the matrimonial practices of Henry VIII.

1792 – France declares war on Austria, marking the start of the French Revolutionary wars.

1854 – Austria and Prussia conclude defensive alliance against Russia.

1859 – The Dutch conclude a treaty granting Portugal the right to govern the northern part of Timor, Atauro Island and Oecussi.

1902 – Scientists Marie and Pierre Curie isolate the radioactive element radium.

1908 – Some 44 people die when trains collide at Sunshine, Victoria, Australia.

1919 – King Nicholas is dethroned in Montenegro, which votes for union with Serbo-Slovene-Croat State — now Yugoslavia.

1923 – Egyptian constitution is adopted.

1945 – Soviet forces penetrate Berlin defenses in World War II.

1957 – United States resumes aid to Israel; Japan protests to Soviet Union over nuclear tests.

1959 – United Federal Party wins Northern Rhodesia elections.

1968 – Pierre Elliott Trudeau is sworn in as Canada’s prime minister.

1970 – U.S. President Richard Nixon announces withdrawal of 150,000 American military personnel from South Vietnam.

1971 – U.S. Supreme Court upholds the use of busing students to achieve racial desegregation in schools.

1972 – U.S. Apollo 16 astronauts make safe landing on Moon.

1976 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules that federal courts could order low-cost housing for minorities in white urban suburbs.

1978 – Soviet fighter planes force off-course South Korean airliner down in Soviet Union near Arctic Circle.

1980 – The first Cubans sailing to the United States as part of the massive Mariel boatlift reach Florida.

1986 – Giant irrigation reservoir bursts and floods Sri Lanka town, leaving at least 100 people dead and up to 20,000 families homeless.

1987 – PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat calls for sovereign Palestinian state “with Jerusalem as its capital.”

1990 – Lech Walesa is re-elected as chairman of Poland’s Solidarity labor union by a large margin.

1993 – Heavy fighting between Croat and Muslim troops spreads from central to southwestern Bosnia on the fifth day of a battle that has killed more than 200 people.

1994 – Israeli and PLO negotiators wrap up an agreement transferring civilian government powers to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.

1995 – Egyptian aircraft begin a U.N.-approved shuttle of Muslim pilgrims from Libya to Saudi Arabia.

1997 – In Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu escapes political disaster when prosecutors decide not to indict him in an influence-peddling scandal.

1998 – An Ecuadorean jet slams into a mountainside in Colombia, killing all 53 people aboard.

1999 – Fifteen people, including the two student gunmen, are killed in a mass shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.

2001 – An American missionary and her infant daughter are killed when their single-engine plane is shot down by the Peruvian air force. The plane was operating without a flight plan in airspace frequented by drug runners.

2004 – A Panamanian court sentences five Cuban exiles who had been accused of plotting to kill Fidel Castro to between seven and eight years in prison. The men were arrested after Castro announced a plot to kill him during an Ibero-American summit to Panama in November 2000.

2005 – Ecuador’s congress removes embattled President Lucio Gutierrez from office after a week of escalating street protests against him and swears in Vice President Alfredo Palacio as the country’s new leader.

2006 – Lawmakers approve President Hamid Karzai’s choices for key ministries in a Cabinet vote that gave the U.S.-backed leader a boost as he tries to curb an intensified insurgency more than four years since the Taliban’s ouster.

2007 – South Africa’s veterinary association announces that 30 dogs in the country have died in the last two weeks because of pet food laced with melamine, an industrial chemical traced to China.

2008 – Pope Benedict XVI begins the final day of his U.S. journey by blessing the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and praying for peace.

2009 – Dozens of Western diplomats walk out of a U.N. conference in Geneva when Iran’s hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calls Israel a cruel and racist state and the U.S. denounces his remarks as hateful.

2010 – Europe’s busiest airports reopen as air traffic across the continent lurches back to life. But the gridlock created by Iceland’s volcanic ash plume is far from over: Officials say it will be weeks before all stranded travelers can be brought home.

2011 – The top U.S. military officer accuses Pakistan’s spy agency of links to a powerful militant faction fighting in Afghanistan, and says that relationship was at the “heart” of tensions between Islamabad and Washington.

2012 – European nations and Russia propose rival U.N. resolutions, both calling for expanding the number of U.N. cease-fire monitors in Syria from 30 to 300 but disagreeing on possible sanctions and on how quickly the larger observer force should get on the ground.

2013 — A powerful earthquake strikes the steep hills of China’s southwestern Sichuan province, leaving at least 160 people dead.

2014 — Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the American boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice and inspired a Bob Dylan song, dies at age 76.

2015 — Prosecutors arrest the Tunisian captain and a Syrian crew member of a boat which sank off Libya, a disaster in which as many as 900 migrants are feared to have drowned.

Today’s Birthdays:

Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon III), French statesman (1808-1873); Adolf Hitler, German Nazi dictator (1889-1945); Joan Miro, Spanish artist (1893-1983); Luther Vandross, U.S. singer (1951-2005); Betty Cuthbert, Australian Olympic champion athlete (1938–); Jessica Lange, U.S. actress (1949–); Carmen Electra, U.S. actress (1972–).

Thought For Today:

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do — Walter Bagehot (1826-1877), British journalist, businessman and essayist.

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