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Today in History

Saturday April 06, 2002

Today is Saturday, April 6, the 96th day of 2002. There are 269 days left in the year. A reminder: Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday at 2 a.m. local time. Clocks go forward one hour. 


Highlight in History: 

On April 6, 1909, explorers Robert E. Peary and Matthew A. Henson became the first men to reach the North Pole. (The claim, disputed by skeptics, was upheld in 1989 by the Navigation Foundation.) 


On this date: 

In 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was organized by Joseph Smith in Fayette, N.Y. 

In 1862, the Civil War Battle of Shiloh began in Tennessee. 

In 1896, the first modern Olympic games formally opened in Athens, Greece. 

In 1917, Congress approved a declaration of war against Germany. 

In 1965, the United States launched the Early Bird communications satellite. 

In 1971, Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky died in New York City. 

In 1994, Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun announced his retirement after 24 years. 

In 1994, the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were killed in a mysterious plane crash near Rwanda’s capital; widespread violence erupted in Rwanda over claims the plane had been shot down. 

In 1998, country singer Tammy Wynette died at her Nashville, Tenn., home at age 55. 

In 2000, a private company mapping the human genetic blueprint announced it had decoded all of the DNA pieces that make up the genetic pattern of a single human being. 

Ten years ago: The Supreme Court limited some undercover “sting” operations as it ruled that a Nebraska farmer had been entrapped by postal agents into buying mail-order child pornography. The European Community recognized the former Yugoslav republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina as an independent state. Science-fiction author Isaac Asimov died in New York at age 72. 

Five years ago: NASA officials announced they were cutting short the 16-day mission of space shuttle Columbia by 12 days because of a deteriorating and potentially explosive power generator on board the spacecraft. A blizzard shut down much of the northern Plains. Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke died at age 84. 

One year ago: Algerian national Ahmed Ressam, accused of bringing explosives into the United States just days before the millennium celebrations, was convicted twice in the same day — first in France for belonging to a group supporting Islamic militants, then in Los Angeles on terror charges. Pacific Gas and Electric filed for bankruptcy in an offshoot of the California energy crisis. 

Today’s Birthdays: Composer-conductor Andre Previn is 73. Actor Ivan Dixon is 71. Country singer Merle Haggard is 65. Actor Billy Dee Williams is 65. Actor Roy Thinnes is 64. Movie director Barry Levinson is 60. Singer Michelle Phillips is 58. Actor John Ratzenberger is 55. Actress Marilu Henner is 50. Figure skater Janet Lynn is 49. Actor Michael Rooker is 47. Actress Ari Meyers is 33. Actor Paul Rudd is 33. Actor Jason Hervey is 30. Actor Zach Braff is 27. Actress Candace Cameron is 26.