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On April 17th, 1961, about 1500 CIA-trained Cuban
exiles launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs
invasion of Cuba in a failed attempt to overthrow
the government of Fidel Castro.
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
In 1790, American
statesman Benjamin Franklin died in Philadelphia
at age 84.
In 1861, the
Virginia State Convention voted to secede from
Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany in World War
In 1964, Ford
Motor Company unveiled its new
In 1969, a jury in
Los Angeles convicted Sirhan Sirhan of
assassinating Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
Czechoslovak Communist Party chairman Alexander
Dubcek was deposed.
In 1970, the
astronauts of Apollo 13 splashed down safely in
the Pacific, four days after a ruptured oxygen
tank crippled their spacecraft.
In 1975, Phnom
Penh fell to Communist insurgents, ending
Cambodia's five-year war.
photographer Linda McCartney, wife of Paul
McCartney, died in Tucson, Arizona, at age 56.
Ten years ago:
President Bush warned the Soviet Union against
carrying out an economic blockade of Lithuania,
hinting at "appropriate responses." The
Reverend Ralph D. Abernathy, the civil rights
activist and top aide to Reverend Martin Luther
King Junior, died in Atlanta at age 64.
Five years ago: An
Air Force jet exploded and crashed in a wooded
area in eastern Alabama, killing eight people,
including an assistant Air Force secretary and a
two-star general. President Clinton signed an
executive order stripping the classified label
from most national security documents that were
at least 25 years old.
One year ago:
General Wesley Clark, NATO's commander, bluntly
told Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to
change his policies in Kosovo or see his military
machine destroyed. The first of three bombs to
explode in London within a two-week period went
off in Brixton, a racially mixed neighborhood,
injuring 39 people.
"A cynic is not
merely one who reads bitter lessons from the
past; he is one who is prematurely disappointed
in the future."
Sydney J. Harris, American journalist