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Today in History - Monday Edition

Today is Monday, April 20, the 110th day of 2015. There are 255 days left in the year.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Fire boat response crews spray water on the blazing remnants of BP's Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig.

    Today's Highlight in History:

    On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, leased by BP, killed 11 workers and caused a blow-out that began spewing an estimated 200 million gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico. (The well was finally capped nearly three months later, on July 15.)

    On this date:

    In 1314, Pope Clement V, the first of the Avignonese popes, died at Roquemaure, France.

    In 1792, France declared war on Austria, marking the start of the French Revolutionary Wars.

    In 1861, Col. Robert E. Lee resigned his commission in the United States Army. (Lee went on to command the Army of Northern Virginia, and eventually became general-in-chief of the Confederate forces.)

    In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation admitting West Virginia to the Union, effective in 60 days (on June 20, 1863).

    In 1889, Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria.

    In 1912, Boston's Fenway Park hosted its first professional baseball game while Navin Field (Tiger Stadium) opened in Detroit. (The Red Sox defeated the New York Highlanders 7-6 in 11 innings; the Tigers beat the Cleveland Naps 6-5 in 11 innings.)

    In 1914, the Ludlow Massacre took place when the Colorado National Guard opened fire on a tent colony of striking miners; about 20 (accounts vary) strikers, women and children died.

    In 1945, during World War II, allied forces took control of the German cities of Nuremberg and Stuttgart.

    In 1968, Pierre Elliott Trudeau was sworn in as prime minister of Canada.

    In 1972, Apollo 16's lunar module, carrying astronauts John W. Young and Charles M. Duke Jr., landed on the moon.

    In 1988, gunmen who'd hijacked a Kuwait Airways jumbo jet were allowed safe passage out of Algeria under an agreement that freed the remaining 31 hostages and ended a 15-day siege in which two passengers were slain.

    In 1999, the Columbine High School massacre took place in Colorado as two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, shot and killed 12 classmates and one teacher before taking their own lives.

    Ten years ago: President George W. Bush signed a bill making it harder for debt-ridden people to wipe clean their financial slates by declaring bankruptcy. In his first Mass as pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI pledged to work for unity among Christians and to seek "an open and sincere dialogue" with other faiths. Ecuador's Congress voted to remove embattled President Lucio Gutierrez from office and swear in Vice President Alfredo Palacio to replace him.

    Five years ago: Airliners began taking to the skies of Europe again after five days of being grounded by a drifting volcanic ash. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on videos that showed graphic violence against animals. Civil rights activist Dorothy Height died in Washington D.C. at age 98. Keli McGregor, 48, president of baseball's Colorado Rockies, was found dead in a hotel room of natural causes.

    One year ago: Pope Francis made an Easter Sunday plea for peace and dialogue in Ukraine and Syria, for an end to attacks against Christians in Nigeria and for more attention to the hungry and neediest close to home. Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction in New Jersey became an international symbol of racial injustice, died in Toronto at age 76.

    Today's Birthdays: Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is 95. Actor Leslie Phillips is 91. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is 79. Actor George Takei is 78. Singer Johnny Tillotson is 77. Actor Ryan O'Neal is 74. Bluegrass singer-musician Doyle Lawson (Quicksilver) is 71. Rock musician Craig Frost (Grand Funk; Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band) is 67. Actor Gregory Itzin (iht-zihn) is 67. Actress Jessica Lange is 66. Actress Veronica Cartwright is 66. Actor Clint Howard is 56. Actor Crispin Glover is 51. Actor Andy Serkis is 51. Olympic silver medal figure skater Rosalynn Sumners is 51. Country singer Wade Hayes is 46. Actor Shemar Moore is 45. Actress Carmen Electra is 43. Reggae singer Stephen Marley is 43. Rock musician Marty Crandall is 40. Actor Joey Lawrence is 39. Country musician Clay Cook (Zac Brown Band) is 37. Actor Tim Jo is 31.

    Thought for Today: "Life is made up of desires that seem big and vital one minute, and little and absurd the next. I guess we get what's best for us in the end." — Alice Caldwell Rice, American humorist (1870-1942).