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Today in history: April 28

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

Today is Friday, April 28, the 118th day of 2006. There are 247 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 28, 1945, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci, were executed by Italian partisans as they attempted to flee the country.

On this date:
In 1758, the fifth president of the United States, James Monroe, was born in Westmoreland County, Va.

In 1788, Maryland became the seventh state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1789, there was a mutiny on HMS Bounty as the crew of the British ship set Capt. William Bligh and 18 sailors adrift in a launch in the South Pacific.

In 1947, a six-man expedition sailed from Peru aboard a balsa wood raft named the Kon-Tiki on a 101-day journey to Polynesia.

In 1952, war with Japan officially ended as a treaty that had been signed by the United States and 47 other nations took effect.

In 1958, Vice President Nixon and his wife, Pat, began a goodwill tour of Latin America that was marred by hostile mobs in Lima, Peru, and Caracas, Venezuela.

In 1967, heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali refused to be inducted into the Army, the same day Gen. William C. Westmoreland told Congress the U.S. “would prevail in Vietnam.”

In 1980, President Carter accepted the resignation of Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, who had opposed the failed rescue mission aimed at freeing American hostages in Iran.

In 1986, the Soviet Union informed the world of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl.

In 1988, a flight attendant was killed and 61 persons injured when part of the roof of an Aloha Airlines Boeing 737 peeled back during a flight from Hilo to Honolulu.

Ten years ago: President Clinton gave 4½ hours of videotaped testimony as a defense witness in the criminal trial of his former Whitewater business partners. A man armed with a semiautomatic rifle opened fire on tourists on the Australian island of Tasmania, killing 35 people; he was captured by police after a 12-hour standoff at a guest cottage.

Five years ago: A Russian rocket lifted off from Central Asia bearing the first space tourist, California businessman Dennis Tito, and two cosmonauts on a journey to the international space station.

One year ago: A military jury at Fort Bragg, N.C., sentenced Sgt. Hasan Akbar to death for the 2003 murders of two officers in Kuwait. More than 100 volunteers joined police in Duluth, Ga., in searching for Jennifer Wilbanks, a bride-to-be who had vanished two days earlier. (Wilbanks turned up in Albuquerque, N.M., having run away on her own.)

Today’s Birthdays: Author Harper Lee is 80. Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III is 76. The former president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, is 69. Actress-singer Ann-Margret is 65. Actress Marcia Strassman is 58. Actor Paul Guilfoyle (“CSI”) is 57. Actor Bruno Kirby is 57. “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno is 56. Actress Mary McDonnell is 53. Rock singer-musician Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) is 53. Rapper Too Short is 40. Actress Simbi Khali is 35. Actress Bridget Moynahan is 35. Actor Chris Young is 35. Rapper Big Gipp is 33. Actor Jorge Garcia is 33. Actress Elisabeth Rohm is 33. Actress Penelope Cruz is 32. Actor Nate Richert is 28. Actress Jessica Alba is 25. Actress Aleisha Allen is 15.

Thought for Today: “If youth only had a chance or old age any brains.” — Stephen Leacock, Canadian humorist-educator (1869-1944).