April 17, 2014
By the Associated Press
Today is Thursday, April 17, the 107th day of 2014. There are 258 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlights in History:
On April 17, 1964, Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock became the first woman to complete a solo airplane trip around the world, returning to Columbus, Ohio, after 29 1/2 days and 21 stopovers in her Cessna 180. Ford Motor Co. unveiled its new Mustang model at the New York World’s Fair, five days before the fair’s official opening. The first game was played at New York’s Shea Stadium; the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Mets, 4-3.
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 1924, the motion picture studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was founded, the result of a merger of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and the Louis B. Mayer Co.
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 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.
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 1984, an 11-day police siege began at Libya’s embassy in London when an unidentified shooter inside the building fired on a crowd of protesters, killing police officer Yvonne Fletcher. (The Libyans in the embassy were eventually allowed to leave the country as Britain and Libya severed relations.)
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.
Ten years ago: Searchers found the body of missing North Dakota college student Dru Sjodin (droo shoh-DEEN’). (Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. is under federal sentence of death for kidnapping and killing Sjodin.) Israel assassinated Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi (AHB’-duhl ah-ZEEZ’ rahn-TEE’-see) with a missile strike on his car.
Five years ago: A day after U.N. inspectors left North Korea, U.S. experts monitoring the communist country’s nuclear program also departed after Pyongyang expelled them and threatened to restart its reactor in anger over U.N. criticism of its recent rocket launch. Richard Phillips, the cargo ship captain rescued by Navy snipers from the clutches of Somali pirates, made a triumphant return to his home state of Vermont, insisting, “I’m not a hero, the military is.”
One year ago: Fifteen people were killed by a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas. Sports returned to Boston two days after the deadly Marathon bombing as the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Bruins in a 3-2 shootout (players on both teams wore “Boston Strong” decals on their helmets). Senate Republicans backed by a small band of rural-state Democrats scuttled the most far-reaching gun control legislation in two decades. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., who’d helped write President Barack Obama’s health care law, stunned administration officials during a budget hearing by saying he thought it was headed for a “train wreck” because of bumbling implementation. A Mississippi man was arrested, accused of sending letters to President Barack Obama and a senator that tested positive for poisonous ricin (however, charges against Paul Kevin Curtis were later dropped and leveled against James Everett Dutschke (DUHS’-kee) instead; prosecutors said Dutschke, who ended up pleading guilty to sending the letters, had tried to frame Curtis).
Today’s Birthdays: Actor David Bradley is 72. Composer-musician Jan Hammer (yahn HAH’-mur) is 66. Actress Olivia Hussey is 63. Actor Clarke Peters is 62. Rock singer-musician Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks) is 59. Actor Sean Bean is 55. Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason is 53. Actor Joel Murray is 52. Rock singer Maynard James Keenan is 50. Actress Lela Rochon (LEE’-lah rohn-SHAHN’) is 50. Actor William Mapother is 49. Actress Leslie Bega is 47. Actor Henry Ian Cusick is 47. Actress Kimberly Elise is 47. Singer Liz Phair is 47. Rapper-actor Redman is 44. Actress Jennifer Garner is 42. Country musician Craig Anderson (Heartland) is 41. Singer Victoria Adams Beckham is 40. Actress-singer Lindsay Korman is 36. Actress Rooney Mara is 29. Actress Jacqueline MacInnes Wood is 27. Actor Paulie Litt is 19. Actress Dee Dee Davis is 18.
Thought for Today: “Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.” — Benjamin Franklin (born 1706, died this date in 1790).