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Today in history: April 1

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Saturday, April 1, the 91st day of 2006. There are 274 days left in the year. This is April Fool’s Day. A reminder: Daylight-saving Time begins Sunday at 2 a.m. local time; clocks go forward one hour.

Today’s Highlight in History: On April 1, 1945, American forces invaded Okinawa during World War II.

On this date:
In 1853, Cincinnati became the first U.S. city to pay its firefighters a regular salary.

In 1918, the Royal Air Force was established in Britain.

In 1933, Nazi Germany began persecuting Jews with a boycott of Jewish-owned businesses.

In 1946, tidal waves struck the Hawaiian islands, resulting in more than 170 deaths.

In 1960, the first weather satellite, TIROS-1, was launched from Cape Canaveral.

In 1963, most of New York City’s daily newspapers resumed publishing after settlement was reached in a 114-day strike.

In 1970, President Nixon signed a measure banning cigarette advertising on radio and television, to take effect after Jan. 1, 1971.

In 1983, tens of thousands of anti-nuclear demonstrators linked arms in a 14-mile human chain spanning three defense installations in rural England.

In 1987, in his first major speech on the AIDS epidemic, President Reagan told doctors in Philadelphia, “We’ve declared AIDS public health enemy No. 1.”

In 2003, American troops entered a hospital in Nasiriyah, Iraq, and rescued Army Pvt. 1st Class Jessica Lynch, who’d been held prisoner since her unit was ambushed March 23.

Ten years ago: Two Riverside County, Calif., sheriff’s deputies were videotaped repeatedly clubbing a Mexican man and woman after a 70-mile highway chase involving a pickup truck suspected of sneaking across the border. (Charges were never brought in connection with the beating.) Baseball umpire John McSherry died after collapsing during a season opener between the Cincinnati Reds and Montreal Expos.

Five years ago: A U.S. Navy surveillance plane collided with a Chinese fighter over the South China Sea, then made an emergency landing on China’s Hainan island. (None of the 24 crew members was hurt, but they were held prisoner by the Chinese for a tense 11 days.) Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was arrested on corruption charges after a 26-hour armed standoff with the police at his Belgrade villa. Notre Dame won its first national championship in women’s basketball, defeating Purdue 66-64.

One year ago: The Vatican reported that Pope John Paul II was near death, his breathing shallow and his heart and kidneys failing. President Clinton’s former national security adviser, Sandy Berger, pleaded guilty to sneaking classified documents out of the National Archives; he was later sentenced to two years’ probation.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor George Grizzard is 78. Actress Jane Powell is 78. Actress Grace Lee Whitney is 76. Actress Debbie Reynolds is 74. Country singer Jim Ed Brown is 72. Actor Don Hastings is 72. Blues singer Eddie King is 68. Actress Ali MacGraw is 68. Rhythm-and-blues singer Rudolph Isley is 67. Reggae singer Jimmy Cliff is 58. Jazz musician Gil Scott-Heron is 57. Rock musician Billy Currie (Ultravox) is 54. Movie director Barry Sonnenfeld is 53. Country singer Woody Lee is 38. Movie directors Allen and Albert Hughes are 34. Tennis player Magdalena Maleeva is 31. Singer Bijou Phillips is 26. Actor Sam Huntington is 24. Actor Josh Zuckerman is 21.

Thought for Today: “Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.” — Mark Twain (1835-1910).