updated 4/6/2006 12:03:39 AM ET 2006-04-06T04:03:39

Today is Thursday, April 6, the 96th day of 2006. There are 269 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 6, 1909, explorers Robert E. Peary and Matthew A. Henson became the first men to reach the North Pole. (The claim, disputed by skeptics, was upheld in 1989 by the Navigation Foundation.)

On this date:
In 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was organized by Joseph Smith in Fayette, New York.

In 1862, the Civil War Battle of Shiloh began in Tennessee.

In 1896, the first modern Olympic games formally opened in Athens, Greece.

In 1917, Congress approved a declaration of war against Germany.

In 1954, four weeks after being criticized on the air by Edward R. Murrow, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy (Republican, Wisconsin) delivered a filmed response on CBS’ “See It Now” in which he charged that Murrow had, in the past, “engaged in propaganda for Communist causes.”

In 1965, the United States launched the Early Bird communications satellite.

In 1971, Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky died in New York City.

In 1985, William J. Schroeder became the first artificial heart recipient to be discharged from the hospital as he moved into an apartment in Louisville, Kentucky.

In 1992, science-fiction author Isaac Asimov died in New York at age 72.

In 1998, country singer Tammy Wynette died at her Nashville, Tennessee, home at age 55.

Ten years ago: A sorrowful President Clinton was on hand at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to greet the arrival of 33 flag-draped caskets carrying the remains of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and other victims of a plane crash in Croatia. A stolen truck carrying illegal immigrants overturned in Temecula, California, killing eight people. Actress Greer Garson died in Dallas at age 92.

Five years ago: Algerian national Ahmed Ressam, accused of bringing explosives into the United States just days before the millennium celebrations, was convicted twice in the same day — first in France for belonging to a group supporting Islamic militants, then in Los Angeles on terror charges. Pacific Gas and Electric filed for bankruptcy in an offshoot of California energy crisis.

One year ago: Iraq’s new government finally began to take shape as lawmakers elected as president Jalal Talabani, a Kurdish leader who promised to represent all ethnic and religious groups. Fifteen U.S. service members and three American civilians were killed when their Chinook helicopter crashed in Afghanistan. Prince Rainier the Third of Monaco died at age 81, leaving the throne to Prince Albert the Second.

Today’s Birthdays: Composer-conductor Andre Previn is 77. Actor Ivan Dixon is 75. Country singer Merle Haggard is 69. Actor Billy Dee Williams is 69. Actor Roy Thinnes is 68. Movie director Barry Levinson is 64. Actor John Ratzenberger is 59. Actress Marilu Henner is 54. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Janet Lynn is 53. Actor Michael Rooker is 51. Rock singer-musician Frank Black is 41. Author Vince Flynn is 40. Actress Ari Meyers is 37. Actor Paul Rudd is 37. Actor Jason Hervey is 34. Rock musician Markku Lappalainen (Hoobastank) is 33. Actor Zach Braff is 31. Actress Candace Cameron is 30. Actor Bret Harrison is 24.

Thought for Today: “Men are not against you; they are merely for themselves.” — Gene Fowler, American journalist and author (1890-1960).

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