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Today in History

Friday April 05, 2002

Today is Friday, April 5, the 95th day of 2002. There are 270 days left in the year. 


Highlight in History: 

On April 5, 1951, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sentenced to death following their conviction in New York on charges of conspiring to commit espionage for the Soviet Union; co-defendant Morton Sobell was sentenced to 30 years in prison (he was released in 1969). 


On this date: 

In 1614, American Indian princess Pocahontas married English colonist John Rolfe in Virginia. 

In 1621, the Mayflower sailed from Plymouth, Mass., on a return trip to England. 

In 1649, Elihu Yale, the English philanthropist for whom Yale University is named, was born. 

In 1792, George Washington cast the first presidential veto, rejecting a congressional measure for apportioning representatives among the states. 

In 1887, British historian Lord Acton wrote, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” 

In 1895, playwright Oscar Wilde lost his criminal libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry, who’d accused the writer of homosexual practices. 

In 1964, Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur died in Washington at age 84. 

In 1975, nationalist Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek died at age 87. 

In 1976, reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes died in Houston at age 72. 

In 1987, Fox Broadcasting Co. made its prime-time TV debut by airing the premiere episodes of “Married ... With Children” and “The Tracey Ullman Show” three times each. 

Ten years ago: Medical student Suada Dilberovic became the first fatality of war in Bosnia-Herzegovina as Serb nationalists began forcibly opposing the republic’s secession from Yugoslavia. In Washington, D.C., a crowd estimated by authorities at half a million marched in support of abortion rights. Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton died in Little Rock, Ark., at age 74. 

Five years ago: Allen Ginsberg, the counterculture guru who’d shattered conventions as poet laureate of the Beat Generation, died in New York City at age 70. 

One year ago: The United States and China intensified negotiations for the release of an American spy plane’s crew; President Bush, in a conciliatory gesture, expressed regret over the plane’s in-flight collision with a Chinese fighter that triggered the tense standoff. Dutch driver Perry Wacker was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 14 years in prison in the deaths of 58 Chinese immigrants who suffocated in his truck in Dover, England. Wang Zhizhi became the first Chinese player to play in the NBA when he took the court for Dallas against Atlanta. (Wang scored six points and grabbed three rebounds as the Mavericks beat the Hawks 108-to-94.) 


Today’s Birthdays: Actor Gregory Peck is 86. Novelist Arthur Hailey is 82. Actress Gale Storm is 80. Movie producer Roger Corman is 76. Country music producer Cowboy Jack Clement is 71. Impressionist-actor Frank Gorshin is 69. Secretary of State Colin Powell is 65. Country singer Tommy Cash is 62. Actor Michael Moriarty is 61. Writer-director Peter Greenaway is 60. Actor Max Gail is 59. Actress Jane Asher is 56. Singer Agnetha Faltskog (ABBA) is 52. Rock musician Mike McCready (Pearl Jam) is 37. Country singer Troy Gentry is 35. Singer Paula Cole is 34. Country singer Pat Green is 30.