Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 27, 2011, powerful tornadoes raked the South and Midwest; according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, more than 120 twisters resulted in 316 deaths.
On this date:
In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed by natives in the Philippines.
In 1791, the inventor of the telegraph, Samuel Morse, was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts.
In 1810, Ludwig van Beethoven wrote one of his most famous piano compositions, the Bagatelle in A-minor.
In 1865, the steamer Sultana, carrying freed Union prisoners of war, exploded on the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tennessee; death toll estimates vary from 1,500 to 2,000.
In 1950, Britain formally recognized the state of Israel.
In 1965, broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow died in Pawling, New York, two days after turning 57.
In 1978, 51 construction workers plunged to their deaths when a scaffold inside a cooling tower at the Pleasants Power Station site in West Virginia fell 168 feet to the ground.
In 1982, the trial of John W. Hinckley Jr., who shot four people, including President Ronald Reagan, began in Washington. (The trial ended with Hinckley’s acquittal by reason of insanity.)
In 1992, the new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was proclaimed in Belgrade by the republic of Serbia and its lone ally, Montenegro. Russia and 12 other former Soviet republics won entry into the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Betty Boothroyd became the first female Speaker of Britain’s House of Commons.
In 1994, former President Richard M. Nixon was remembered at an outdoor funeral service attended by all five of his successors at the Nixon presidential library in Yorba Linda, California.
In 2002, South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth arrived at the international space station for an eight-day, seven-night cruise that had cost him $20 million.
In 2009, a 23-month-old Mexico City toddler died at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, becoming the first swine-flu death on U.S. soil.
Ten years ago: Defending his company against blistering criticism, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, told a Senate hearing that clients who’d bought subprime mortgage securities from the Wall Street powerhouse in 2006 and 2007 came looking for risk “and that’s what they got.” Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was extradited from the United States to France, where he was later convicted of laundering drug money and received a seven-year sentence. Thomas Hagan, the only man to admit shooting Malcolm X, was freed on parole. University of Washington president Mark Emmert was selected as president of the NCAA.
Five years ago: Rioters plunged part of Baltimore into chaos, torching a pharmacy, setting police cars ablaze and throwing bricks at officers hours after thousands attended a funeral for Freddie Gray, who died from a severe spinal injury he’d suffered in police custody; the Baltimore Orioles’ home game against the Chicago White Sox was postponed because of safety concerns. Opening statements took place in Centennial, Colorado, at the trial of movie theater shooter James Holmes. Loretta Lynch was sworn in as the 83rd U.S. attorney general, the first African-American woman to serve as the nation’s top law enforcement official.
One year ago: A gunman opened fire inside a synagogue near San Diego as worshippers celebrated the last day of Passover, killing a woman and wounding the rabbi and two others. (John Earnest is awaiting trial on charges including hate-crime-related murder and attempted murder; he is also facing charges in a mosque fire that happened weeks earlier.) A construction crane collapsed at the new Google Seattle campus, pinning six cars underneath; two ironworkers and two people in the cars were killed. Oliver North announced that he would not serve a second term as National Rifle Associate president; he made it clear that he’d been forced out after his own failed attempt to remove the group’s longtime CEO, Wayne LaPierre.
Today’s Birthdays: Actress Anouk Aimee is 88. Rock musician Jim Keltner is 78. Rock singer Kate Pierson (The B-52’s) is 72. Rhythm-and-blues singer Herbie Murrell (The Stylistics) is 71. Actor Douglas Sheehan is 71. Rock musician Ace Frehley is 69. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is 69. Pop singer Sheena Easton is 61. Actor James Le Gros (groh) is 58. Rock musician Rob Squires (Big Head Todd and the Monsters) is 55. Singer Mica (MEE’-shah) Paris is 51. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., is 51. Actor David Lascher is 48. Actress Maura West is 48. Actress Sally Hawkins is 44. Rock singer Jim James (My Morning Jacket) is 42. Rock musician Patrick Hallahan (My Morning Jacket) is 42. Rock singer-musician Travis Meeks (Days of the New) is 41. Neo-soul musician Joseph Pope III (Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats) is 41. Country musician John Osborne (Brothers Osborne) is 38. Actor Francis Capra is 37. Actress Ari Graynor is 37. Rock singer-musician Patrick Stump (Fall Out Boy) is 36. Actress Sheila Vand is 35. Actress Jenna Coleman is 34. Pop singer Nick Noonan (Karmin) is 34. Actor William Moseley is 33. Actress Emily Rios is 31. Singer Allison Iraheta is 28.
Thought for Today: “Fear not those who argue but those who dodge.” — Dale Carnegie, American writer-lecturer (1888-1955).