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April 17, 2013

Today in History for Wednesday, April 10, 2013

-- — Today is Wednesday, April 17, the 107th day of 2013. There are 258 days left in the year.

Highlight in History

On April 17, 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.

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 1895, the Treaty of Shimonoseki ended the first Sino-Japanese War.

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 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 1973, Federal Express (later FedEx) began operations as 14 planes carrying 186 packages took off from Memphis International Airport, bound for 25 U.S. cities.

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.

In 1997, former Israeli president Chaim Herzog (KHY’-ehm HEHRT’-zahg) died in Tel Aviv at age 78.

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