Today's Highlight in History:
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 Asia.
In 1790, American statesman Benjamin Franklin died in Philadelphia at age 84.
In 1861, the Virginia State Convention voted to secede from the Union.
In 1941, Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany in World War Two.
In 1964, Ford Motor Company unveiled its new "Mustang" model.
In 1969, a jury in Los Angeles convicted Sirhan Sirhan of assassinating Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
In 1969, 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.
In 1998, 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 (1917-1986).