updated 4/6/2005 12:01:02 AM ET 2005-04-06T04:01:02

Today is Wednesday, April 6, the 96th day of 2005. 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, N.Y.

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 1945, during World War II, the Japanese warship “Yamato” and nine other vessels sailed on a suicide mission to attack the U.S. fleet off Okinawa; the fleet was intercepted the next day.

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, Ky.

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

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

Ten years ago: The Senate unanimously approved a $16 billion package of cuts in social programs. Earlier in the day, Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, R-N.Y., apologized on the Senate floor for lampooning O.J. Simpson trial judge Lance Ito on a nationally syndicated radio program by employing a mock Japanese accent.

Five years ago: The father of Elian Gonzalez, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, arrived in the United States to press for the return of his 6-year-old son to Cuba. A private company mapping the human genetic blueprint announced it had decoded all of the DNA pieces that make up the genetic pattern of a single human being.

One year ago: Jordan’s military court convicted eight Muslim militants and sentenced them to death for the 2002 killing of U.S. aid official Laurence Foley in a terror conspiracy linked to al-Qaida. Lawmakers ousted Lithuania’s scandal-ridden president Rolandas Paksas for abuse of office. The University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team beat Tennessee 70-61 to win a third consecutive NCAA title, a day after UConn also won the men’s championship.

Today’s Birthdays: Composer-conductor Andre Previn is 76. Actor Ivan Dixon is 74. Country singer Merle Haggard is 68. Actor Billy Dee Williams is 68. Actor Roy Thinnes is 67. Movie director Barry Levinson is 63. Actor John Ratzenberger is 58. Actress Marilu Henner is 53. Figure skater Janet Lynn is 52. Actor Michael Rooker is 50. Actress Ari Meyers is 36. Actor Paul Rudd is 36. Actor Jason Hervey is 33. Rock musician Markku Lappalainen (Hoobastank) is 32. Actor Zach Braff is 30. Actress Candace Cameron is 29. Actor Bret Harrison is 23.

Thought for Today: “To be really cosmopolitan, a man must be at home even in his own country.” — Thomas Wentworth Higginson, American clergyman-author (1823-1911).

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