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Today in history: April 30

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

Today is Saturday, April 30, the 120th day of 2005. There are 245 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 30, 1945, as Russian troops approached his Berlin bunker, Adolf Hitler committed suicide along with his wife of one day, Eva Braun.

On this date:
In 1789, George Washington took office in New York as the first president of the United States.

In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France for 60 million francs, the equivalent of about $15 million.

In 1812, Louisiana became the 18th state of the Union.

In 1900, engineer John Luther “Casey” Jones of the Illinois Central Railroad died in a wreck near Vaughan, Miss., after staying at the controls in an effort to save the passengers.

In 1904, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition opened in St. Louis.

In 1939, the New York World’s Fair officially opened.

In 1945, “Arthur Godfrey Time” made its debut on the CBS radio network.

In 1970, President Nixon announced the United States was sending troops into Cambodia, an action that sparked widespread protest.

In 1973, President Nixon announced the resignations of top aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, along with Attorney General Richard G. Kleindienst and White House counsel John Dean.

In 1975, the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon fell to Communist forces.

Ten years ago: More than 10,000 soldiers, students and children in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, celebrated the 20th anniversary of the end of the war. President Clinton announced he would end U.S. trade and investment with Iran, denouncing the Tehran government as “inspiration and paymaster to terrorists.”

Five years ago: Hundreds of thousands participated in a gay-rights rally in Washington.

One year ago: Arabs expressed outrage at graphic photographs of naked Iraqi prisoners being humiliated by U.S. military police; President Bush condemned the mistreatment of prisoners, saying “that’s not the way we do things in America.” On ABC’s “Nightline,” Ted Koppel read aloud the names of 721 U.S. servicemen and women killed in the Iraq war (the Sinclair Broadcast Group refused to air the program on seven ABC stations). Michael Jackson pleaded not guilty in Santa Maria, Calif., to a grand jury indictment that expanded the child molestation case against him. Former NBA star Jayson Williams was acquitted of aggravated manslaughter in the shotgun slaying of a limousine driver at his New Jersey mansion, but found guilty of trying to cover up the shooting. (Prosecutors are seeking to retry Williams on a charge of reckless manslaughter.)

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Al Lewis is 95. Actress Cloris Leachman is 79. Singer Willie Nelson is 72. Actor Gary Collins is 67. Actor Burt Young is 65. Singer Bobby Vee is 62. Actress Jill Clayburgh is 61. Movie director Allan Arkush is 57. Actor Perry King is 57. Singer Merrill Osmond is 52. Movie director Jane Campion is 51. Actor Paul Gross is 46. Basketball executive Isiah Thomas is 44. Country musician Robert Reynolds (The Mavericks) is 43. Rapper Turbo B (Snap) is 38. Rock musician Clark Vogeler is 36. R&B singer Chris “Choc” Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) is 34. Rock musician Chris Henderson (3 Doors Down) is 34. Country singer Carolyn Dawn Johnson is 34. Rock singer J.R. Richards (Dishwalla) is 33. Singer Jeff Timmons (98 Degrees) is 32. Actor Johnny Galecki is 30. Rapper Lloyd Banks is 23. Actress Kirsten Dunst is 23. Country singer Tyler Wilkinson (The Wilkinsons) is 21.

Thought for Today: “Upper classes are a nation’s past; the middle class is its future.” — Ayn Rand, Russian-born author (1905-1982).