Today in history

By The Associated Press

Today is Sunday, April 17, the 108th day of 2016. There are 258 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 17, 1961, some 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in an attempt to topple Fidel Castro, whose forces crushed the incursion by the third day.

On this date:

In 1492, a contract was signed by Christopher Columbus and a representative of Spain’s King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, giving Columbus a commission to seek a westward ocean passage to Asia.

In 1861, the Virginia State Convention voted to secede from the Union.

In 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Lochner v. New York, struck down, 5-4, a New York State law limiting the number of hours that bakers could be made to work. (This ruling was effectively overturned in 1937 by the high court’s West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish decision.)

In 1924, the motion picture studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was founded, the result of a merger of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and the Louis B. Mayer Co.

In 1937, Daffy Duck made his debut in the Warner Bros. animated cartoon “Porky’s Duck Hunt,” directed by Tex Avery.

In 1941, Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany during World War II.

In 1964, Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock became the first woman to complete a solo airplane trip around the world as she returned to Columbus, Ohio, after 29 1/2 days in her Cessna 180. Ford Motor Co. unveiled the Mustang at the New York World’s Fair. The first game was played at New York’s Shea Stadium; the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Mets, 4-3.

In 1970, Apollo 13 astronauts James A. Lovell, Fred W. Haise and Jack Swigert splashed down safely in the Pacific, four days after a ruptured oxygen tank crippled their spacecraft while en route to the moon.

In 1975, Cambodia’s five-year war ended as the capital Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge, which instituted brutal, radical policies that claimed an estimated 1.7 million lives until the regime was overthrown in 1979.

In 1984, an 11-day police siege began at Libya’s embassy in London when an unidentified shooter inside the building fired on a crowd of protesters, killing police officer Yvonne Fletcher. (The Libyans in the embassy were eventually allowed to leave the country as Britain and Libya severed relations.)

In 1986, at London’s Heathrow Airport, a bomb was discovered in the bag of Anne-Marie Murphy, a pregnant Irishwoman about to board an El Al jetliner to Israel; she’d been tricked into carrying the bomb by her Jordanian fiance, Nezar Hindawi. The bodies of kidnapped American Peter Kilburn and Britons Philip Padfield and Leigh Douglas were found near Beirut; they had been slain in apparent retaliation for the U.S. raid on Libya.

In 1991, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 3,000 for the first time, ending the day at 3,004.46, up 17.58.

Ten years ago: A Palestinian suicide bomber struck a Tel Aviv restaurant during Passover, killing nine people. A bus crash in Mexico claimed 57 lives. Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan, a Republican, was convicted of corruption (he later served more than 5 1/2 years in federal custody). Robert Cheruiyot (CHEHR’-ee-aht) and Rita Jeptoo pulled off a Kenyan sweep of the Boston Marathon.

Five years ago: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Japan, where she expressed confidence the country would fully recover from its tsunami and nuclear disasters. Actor Michael Sarrazin, 70, died in Montreal.

One year ago: President Barack Obama left open the door to “creative negotiations” in response to Iran’s demand that punishing sanctions be immediately lifted as part of a nuclear deal (the president spoke at a White House news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi). Financial officials from the world’s major economies, meeting in Washington, issued a communique welcoming modest improvements in the global economy while side-stepping fears rattling global financial markets that Greece would default on its bailout loans. Cardinal Francis George, the retired archbishop of Chicago, died at age 78.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor David Bradley is 74. Composer-musician Jan Hammer (yahn HAH’-mur) is 68. Actress Olivia Hussey is 65. Actor Clarke Peters is 64. Rock singer-musician Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks) is 61. Actor Sean Bean is 57. Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason is 55. Actor Joel Murray is 54. Rock singer Maynard James Keenan is 52. Actress Lela Rochon (LEE’-lah rohn-SHAHN’) is 52. Actor William Mapother is 51. Actress Leslie Bega is 49. Actor Henry Ian Cusick is 49. Actress Kimberly Elise is 49. Singer Liz Phair is 49. Rapper-actor Redman is 46. Actress Jennifer Garner is 44. Country musician Craig Anderson is 43. Singer Victoria Adams Beckham is 42. Actress-singer Lindsay Korman is 38. Actor Tate Ellington (TV: “Quantico”) is 37. Actress Rooney Mara is 31. Actress Jacqueline MacInnes Wood is 29. Actor Paulie Litt is 21. Actress Dee Dee Davis is 20.

Thought for Today: “A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past; he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.” — Sydney J. Harris, American journalist (1917-1986).

By The Associated Press