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Tuesday, April 6

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Today is Tuesday, April 6, the 96th day of 2010. There are 269 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1327 – Italian poet Petrarch first sees and loves “Laura” in the Church of St. Clare at Avignon, and will write poems about her until his death.

1593 – Henry Barrow, a Puritan, is executed for slandering England’s Queen Elizabeth I.

1648 – Naples is restored to Spanish rule after a revolt the year before.

1652 – Jan van Riebeeck, representing the Dutch East India Company, arrives in Table Bay to build the first colonial settlement in what became South Africa.

1793 – Committee of Public Safety is established in France with dictatorial powers, dominated by G. J. Danton.

1823 – French forces cross Bidossoa River to crush liberalism in Spain.

1830 – The first Church of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) is organized by Joseph Smith in Seneca, New York.

1897 – Sultan of Zanzibar abolishes slavery.

1909 – U.S. explorer Robert E. Peary and Matthew Henson reach the North Pole with a team of Inuit guides; making them the first modern team to ever to reach the world’s northernmost point. Henson was the first African-American to reach the North Pole.

1917 – United States declares war on Germany; entering World War I.

1928 – Palmas Island near Philippines is awarded to Holland in arbitration of dispute with United States.

1941 – Germany invades Greece and bombs Belgrade, killing some 2,500 people and burning down hundreds of buildings.

1945 – Sarajevo liberated from Nazi occupation by Tito’s partisans; U.S. naval forces score major victory over Japanese at Kyushu in World War II.

1972 – Egypt breaks ties with Jordan because of Jordanian King Hussein’s proposal for new Palestine state.

1978 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs legislation extending the mandatory retirement age from 65 to 70.

1990 – Police open fire on pro-democracy demonstrators in Nepal, killing at least 35 people.

1991 – Iraq reluctantly accepts U.N. conditions for ending the Gulf War.

1992 – The European Community recognizes Bosnia as an independent country while Serb artillery pounds Sarajevo, the capital.

1993 – A tank of radioactive waste explodes and burns at a weapons plant in the secret Siberian city of Tomsk.

1994 – The presidents of Rwanda and Burundi are killed in a plane crash in Rwanda, setting off the slaughter of 500,000 Rwandans, mostly minority Tutsis, over the next three months.

1995 – The first genocide trials begin in Kigali, Rwanda, against some of the 30,000 majority Hutus accused of killing Tutsis.

1996 – Thousands of Liberians flee their homes amid fierce fighting between government troops and members of an ethnic faction.

1998 – After months of negotiations, a peace proposal for Northern Ireland is laid forth by American negotiator George Mitchell. It is later accepted by the parties of the 20-year conflict; Pakistan successfully tests a medium-range missile capable of striking neighboring India.

1999 – Anti-independence fighters, allegedly backed by Indonesian troops, attack villagers outside a church in East Timor.

2001 – Algerian Ahmed Ressam is convicted of terrorism for bringing a car loaded with explosives into the United States as part of an alleged plan to bomb buildings during millennium celebrations.

2004 – Lawmakers remove Lithuanian President Rolandas Paksas from office in a vote because of his ties to a businessman who police said was linked to the Russian mob, ending the worst political crisis in the Baltic state’s recent history.

2005 – Two gunmen attack a government tourism complex in India on the eve of the first bus service across divided Kashmir in nearly six decades, but the waiting passengers escape unharmed and both India and Pakistan vow the buses would run as planned.

2006 – An opposition congressman in Guatemala City is shot to death as he steps out of his party’s headquarters, the second lawmaker assassinated in the past two years in violence-plagued Guatemala.

2007 – Pasteur Bizimungu, Rwanda’s first post-genocide leader, is freed from prison after serving two years of a 15-year term as an act of clemency by President Paul Kagame to build national unity.

2008 – Incumbent Filip Vujanovic claims victory in Montenegro’s first presidential elections since the tiny Balkan nation split from Serbia.

2009 – Rescue workers using bare hands and buckets search frantically for students believed buried after Italy’s deadliest earthquake in nearly three decades strikes the central city of L’Aquila, killing more than 150 people, injuring 1,500 and leaving thousands homeless.

Today’s Birthdays:

Gustave Moreau, French artist (1826-1898); Anthony Fokker, Dutch aircraft designer (1890-1939); Oscar Strauss, Austrian composer (1870-1954); Harry Houdini, Hungarian-born professional magician (1874-1936); Gregory Peck, U.S. actor (1916-2003); Andre Previn, German-born composer-conductor-pianist (1929—); Michael Moriarty, U.S. actor (1941—); Zach Braff, U.S. actor (1975—); Paul Rudd, U.S. actor (1969—).

Thought for Today:

The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy _ Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, French philosopher (1689-1755)

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