Today in history


By the Associated Press



Today is Tuesday, April 21, the 112th day of 2020. There are 254 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 21, 1976, clinical trials of the swine flu vaccine began in Washington, D.C.

On this date:

In 1509, England’s King Henry VII died; he was succeeded by his 17-year-old son, Henry VIII.

In 1789, John Adams was sworn in as the first vice president of the United States.

In 1816, Charlotte Bronte, author of “Jane Eyre,” was born in Thornton, England.

In 1836, an army of Texans led by Sam Houston defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto, assuring Texas independence.

In 1910, author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, died in Redding, Connecticut, at age 74.

In 1918, Manfred von Richthofen, 25, the German ace known as the “Red Baron” who was believed to have downed 80 enemy aircraft during World War I, was himself shot down and killed while in action over France.

In 1926, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II was born in Mayfair, London; she was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and the Queen Mother.

In 1930, fire broke out inside the overcrowded Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus, killing 332 inmates.

In 1975, with Communist forces closing in, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu resigned after nearly 10 years in office and fled the country.

In 1989, the baseball fantasy “Field of Dreams,” starring Kevin Costner, was released by Universal Pictures.

In 2009, the sole survivor of a pirate attack on an American cargo ship off the Somali coast, on which Captain Richard Phillips was held for ransom, was charged as an adult with piracy in federal court in New York. (A prosecutor said Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse (AHB’-dih-wah-lee AHB’-dih-kah-dir moo-SAY’) had given wildly varying ages for himself before finally admitting he was 18. Muse later pleaded guilty to hijacking, kidnapping and hostage-taking and was sentenced to more than 33 years in prison.)

In 2016, Prince, one of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times, was found dead at his home in suburban Minneapolis; he was 57.

Ten years ago: Pope Benedict XVI promised “church action” to confront the clerical abuse scandal. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for six games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. (Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down the punishment after prosecutors decided not to bring charges in a case involving a 20-year-old college student who’d accused Roethlisberger of sexually assaulting her.) Juan Antonio Samaranch, 89, who’d served as president of the International Olympic Committee for 21 years, died in Barcelona, Spain.

Five years ago: An Egyptian criminal court sentenced ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to 20 years in prison over the killing of protesters in 2012. The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Michele Leonhart, announced her retirement in the wake of allegations that DEA agents had attended sex parties with prostitutes. Pope Francis accepted the resignation of U.S. Bishop Robert Finn, who’d pleaded guilty to failing to report a suspected child abuser. Mary Doyle Keefe, 92, the model for Norman Rockwell’s iconic 1943 Rosie the Riveter painting, died in Simsbury, Connecticut.

One year ago: President Donald Trump spoke with the newly-elected Ukrainian leader, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to congratulate him on his landslide election victory. (A second phone call in July, in which Trump solicited Zelenskiy’s help in gathering potentially damaging information about his principal Democratic rival, Joe Biden, would lead to Trump’s impeachment by the House.) Suicide bombings at three churches and three luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday killed more than 250 people; the attackers were homegrown militants who had pledged loyalty to the Islamic State group.

Today’s Birthdays: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is 94. Actress-comedian-writer Elaine May is 88. Actor Charles Grodin is 85. Actor Reni Santoni (REH’-nee san-TOH’-nee) is 82. Anti-death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean is 81. Singer-musician Iggy Pop is 73. Actress Patti LuPone is 71. Actor Tony Danza is 69. Actor James Morrison is 66. Actress Andie MacDowell is 62. Rock singer Robert Smith (The Cure) is 61. Rock musician Michael Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) is 61. Actor-director John Cameron Mitchell is 57. Rapper Michael Franti (Spearhead) is 54. Actress Leslie Silva is 52. Actor Toby Stephens is 51. Rock singer-musician Glen Hansard (The Frames) is 50. Actor Rob Riggle is 50. Comedian Nicole Sullivan is 50. Football player-turned-actor Brian White is 47. Olympic gold medal pairs figure skater Jamie Sale (sah-LAY’) is 43. Rock musician David Brenner (Theory of a Deadman) is 42. Actor James McAvoy is 41. Former NFL quarterback Tony Romo is 40. Actor Terrence J is 38. Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw is 37. Actor Christoph (cq) Sanders is 32. Actor Frank Dillane is 29. Rock singer Sydney Sierota (Echosmith) is 23.

Thought for Today: “I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward.” — Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855).

By the Associated Press