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Today in History

Today in History

Today is Monday, April 3, the 93rd day of 2017. There are 272 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 3, 1942, during World War II, Japanese forces began their final assault on Bataan against American and Filipino troops who surrendered six days later; the capitulation was followed by the notorious Bataan Death March.

On this date:

In 1776, George Washington received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Harvard College.

In 1860, the legendary Pony Express began carrying mail between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. (The delivery system lasted only 18 months before giving way to the transcontinental telegraph.)

In 1869, Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16, premiered in Copenhagen.

In 1882, outlaw Jesse James was shot to death in St. Joseph, Missouri, by Robert Ford, a member of James’ gang.

In 1936, Bruno Hauptmann was electrocuted in Trenton, New Jersey, for the kidnap-murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr.

In 1946, Lt. Gen. Masaharu Homma, the Japanese commander held responsible for the Bataan Death March, was executed by firing squad outside Manila.

In 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed the Marshall Plan, designed to help European allies rebuild after World War II and resist communism.

In 1965, the United States launched the SNAP-10A nuclear power system into Earth orbit; it was the first nuclear reactor sent into space.

In 1968, the day before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “mountaintop” speech to a rally of striking sanitation workers.

In 1979, Democrat Jane M. Byrne was elected mayor of Chicago, defeating Republican Wallace D. Johnson.

In 1982, Maryland college student Stephanie Roper, whose car became disabled, was kidnapped, raped, tortured and killed by two men. (The case inspired creation of the Stephanie Roper Committee and Foundation to lobby for victims’ rights.)

In 1996, Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski (kah-ZIHN’-skee) was arrested at his remote Montana cabin. An Air Force jetliner carrying Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and American business executives crashed in Croatia, killing all 35 people aboard. Former Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes, the first black elected mayor of a major U.S. city, died at age 68.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush denounced Democrats for going on spring break without approving money for the Iraq war with no strings; he also criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for visiting Syria. An ex-con shot and killed his ex-girlfriend at the CNN headquarters complex in Atlanta before being wounded by a security guard. (Arthur Mann was later convicted of murdering Clara Riddles and sentenced to life without parole.) A high-speed French train broke the world speed record for conventional rail trains, surpassing 357.2 mph. After a nine-year title drought, Tennessee’s Lady Vols captured a seventh national title, beating Rutgers 59-46.

Five years ago: Mitt Romney tightened his grip on the Republican presidential nomination, sweeping primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C. In a speech to the annual meeting of The Associated Press, President Barack Obama accused Republican leaders of becoming so radical and rigid that even the late Ronald Reagan could not win a GOP primary if he were running today. Baylor finished off an undefeated season with an 80-61 win over Notre Dame in the NCAA women’s basketball championship game.

One year ago: An international coalition of media outlets published the “Panama Papers,” thousands of pages of leaked documents relating to offshore accounts that revealed attempts by world leaders, celebrities and businesses to dodge taxes in their home countries. A southbound Amtrak train struck a piece of heavy equipment just south of Philadelphia and derailed; two Amtrak workers were killed. Jason Aldean beat Luke Bryan and Miranda Lambert for entertainer of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas; Chris Stapleton cleaned house in other categories.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress-singer Doris Day is 95. Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl is 87. Conservationist Dame Jane Goodall is 83. Actor William Gaunt is 80. Songwriter Jeff Barry is 79. Actor Eric Braeden is 76. Actress Marsha Mason is 75. Singer Wayne Newton is 75. Singer Tony Orlando is 73. Comedy writer Pat Proft is 70. Folk-rock singer Richard Thompson is 68. Country musician Curtis Stone (Highway 101) is 67. Blues singer-guitarist John Mooney is 62. Rock musician Mick Mars (Motley Crue) is 61. Actor Alec Baldwin is 59. Actor David Hyde Pierce is 58. Rock singer John Thomas Griffith (Cowboy Mouth) is 57. Comedian-actor Eddie Murphy is 56. Rock singer-musician Mike Ness (Social Distortion) is 55. Rock singer Sebastian Bach is 49. Rock musician James MacDonough is 47. Olympic gold medal ski racer Picabo Street is 46. Actress Jennie Garth is 45. Actor Jamie Bamber is 44. Actor Adam Scott is 44. Christian rock musician Drew Shirley (Switchfoot) is 43. Comedian Aries Spears is 42. Actor Matthew Goode is 39. Actress Cobie Smulders is 35. Rock-pop singer Leona Lewis is 32. Actress Amanda Bynes is 31. Actress-comedian Rachel Bloom is 30. Actress Hayley Kiyoko is 26.

Thought for Today: “Nothing spoils a good party like a genius.” — Elsa Maxwell, American socialite (1883-1963).

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