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Today in history: April 17

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

Today is Monday, April 17, the 107th day of 2006. There are 258 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 17, 1961, about 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in a failed attempt to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro.

On this date:
In 1521, Martin Luther went before the Diet of Worms to face charges stemming from his religious writings.

In 1790, American statesman Benjamin Franklin died in Philadelphia at age 84.

In 1861, the Virginia State Convention voted to secede from the Union.

In 1941, Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany in World War II.

In 1964, Ford Motor Co. unveiled its new Mustang model at the New York World’s Fair.

In 1969, a jury in Los Angeles convicted Sirhan Sirhan of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

In 1969, Czechoslovak Communist Party chairman Alexander Dubcek was deposed.

In 1970, the astronauts of Apollo 13 splashed down safely in the Pacific, four days after a ruptured oxygen tank crippled their spacecraft.

In 1986, the bodies of American librarian Peter Kilburn and two Britons were found near Beirut; the three hostages had been slain in apparent retaliation for the U.S. raid on Libya.

In 1986, at London’s Heathrow Airport, a bomb was discovered in a bag carried by an Irish woman about to board an El Al jetliner; she had been tricked into carrying the bomb by her Jordanian boyfriend.

Ten years ago: Seeking to calm Pacific security jitters, President Clinton and Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto signed a joint declaration establishing new U.S.-Japan ties for a “stable and prosperous” Asia. A jury in Los Angeles opted to spare Erik and Lyle Menendez the death penalty, recommending that the brothers instead serve life in prison without parole for gunning down their wealthy parents.

Five years ago: By a nearly 2-1 margin, Mississippi residents voted to keep the Confederate emblem on their state flag. San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds became the 17th major leaguer ever to reach 500 career home runs.

One year ago: Registered sex offender David Lee Onstott was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Sarah Michelle Lunde, the 13-year-old Florida girl whose body had been found the day before. A Swiss tourist bus plunged into an Alpine ravine, killing 12 people.

Today’s Birthdays: Rock promoter Don Kirshner is 72. Composer-musician Jan Hammer is 58. Actress Olivia Hussey is 55. Rock singer-musician Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks) is 51. Actor Sean Bean is 47. Rock singer Maynard James Keenan (Tool) is 42. Actress Lela Rochon is 42. Actor William Mapother is 41. Actress Kimberly Elise is 39. Singer Liz Phair is 39. Rapper-actor Redman is 36. Actress Jennifer Garner (“Alias”) is 34. Singer Victoria Adams Beckham is 32. Actress-singer Lindsay Korman is 28. Actor Paulie Litt is 11. Actress Dee Dee Davis (“The Bernie Mac Show”) is 10.

Thought for Today: “If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.” — Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790).