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Today in History — April 3

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

Today is Tuesday, April 3, the 93rd day of 2007. There are 272 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 3, 1860, the legendary Pony Express began service between St. Joseph, Mo., and Sacramento, Calif.

On this date:

In 1865, Union forces occupied the Confederate capital of Richmond, Va.

In 1882, outlaw Jesse James was shot to death in St. Joseph, Mo., by Robert Ford, a member of James’ gang.

In 1936, Bruno Hauptmann was electrocuted in Trenton, N.J., for the kidnap-murder of the Lindbergh child.

In 1946, Lt. Gen. Masaharu Homma, the Japanese commander responsible for the Bataan Death March, was executed outside Manila, Philippines.

In 1948, President Truman signed the Marshall Plan, designed to help European allies rebuild after World War II and resist Communism.

In 1968, the day before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “mountaintop” speech to a rally of striking sanitation workers.

In 1968, North Vietnam agreed to meet with U.S. representatives to set up preliminary peace talks.

In 1974, deadly tornadoes struck wide parts of the South and Midwest before jumping across the border into Canada; more than 300 fatalities resulted.

In 1982, Britain dispatched a naval task force to the south Atlantic to reclaim the disputed Falkland Islands from Argentina.

In 1996, an Air Force jetliner carrying Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and American business executives crashed in Croatia, killing all 35 people aboard.

Ten years ago: About 2,000 youngsters in California and Georgia lined up for shots to protect them against hepatitis from a contaminated shipment of frozen strawberries.

Five years ago: Israeli tanks rolled into the West Bank’s largest city, Nablus, and other troops laid siege to a refugee camp in Jenin, battling Palestinians who barricaded entrances and fought back with bombs and guns. Soldiers also encircled hundreds of Palestinian gunmen holed up in the Bethlehem church marking Jesus’ birthplace.

One year ago: Former Liberian President Charles Taylor pleaded not guilty before an international war crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone, denying he’d helped destabilize West Africa through killings, sexual slavery and sending children into combat. Florida beat UCLA, 73-57, to win its first NCAA title in men’s basketball. Charles Barkley, Dominique Wilkins and Joe Dumars were among six people elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress-singer Doris Day is 83. Actress Miyoshi Umeki is 78. Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl is 77. Jazz musician Jimmy McGriff is 71. Actor William Gaunt is 70. Actor Eric Braeden is 66. Actress Marsha Mason is 65. Singer Wayne Newton is 65. Singer Billy Joe Royal is 65. Singer Tony Orlando is 63. Comedy writer Pat Proft is 60. Singer Richard Thompson is 58. Country musician Curtis Stone (Highway 101) is 57. Rock musician Mick Mars (Motley Crue) is 51. Actor Alec Baldwin is 49. Actor David Hyde Pierce is 48. Comedian-actor Eddie Murphy is 46. Rock singer-musician Mike Ness (Social Distortion) is 45. Rock singer Sebastian Bach is 39. Rock musician James MacDonough is 37. Actress Jennie Garth is 35. Comedian Aries Spears is 32. Actress Cobie Smulders is 25. Actress Amanda Bynes is 21.

Thought for Today: “The difference between gossip and news depends on whether you hear it or tell it.” — Anonymous.