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The Associated Press
Friday April 12, 2002

Today is Friday, April 12, the 102nd day of 2002. There are 263 days left in the year. 


Highlight in History: 

On April 12, 1861, the American Civil War began as Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina. 

On this date: 

In 1606, England adopted as its flag the original version of the Union Jack. 

In 1862, Union volunteers led by James J. Andrews stole a Confederate train near Marietta, Ga., but were later caught. (This episode inspired the Buster Keaton comedy “The General.”) 

In 1934, “Tender Is the Night,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, was first published. 

In 1945, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Ga., at age 63; he was succeeded by Vice President Harry S. Truman. 

In 1955, the Salk vaccine against polio was declared safe and effective. 

In 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to fly in space, orbiting the earth once before making a safe landing. 

In 1981, the space shuttle Columbia blasted off from Cape Canaveral on its first test flight. 

In 1985, Sen. Jake Garn of Utah became the first senator to fly in space as the shuttle Discovery lifted off. 

In 1989, radical activist Abbie Hoffman was found dead at his home in New Hope, Pa., at age 52. 


Ten years ago: 

After five years in the making, Euro Disneyland, a theme park costing $4 billion, opened in Marne-La-Vallee, France, amid controversy as French intellectuals bemoaned the invasion of American pop culture. 


Five years ago: 

Undaunted by a cache of explosives found on his travel route, Pope John Paul II plunged into a peace mission to Sarajevo, wading into crowds and declaring, “Never again war.” 


One year ago: 

The 24 crew members of a U.S. spy plane arrived in Hawaii after being held for 11 days in China. Cincinnati Mayor Charles Luken declared a state of emergency amid the worst outbreak of racial violence in the city since the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. The Philippine military rescued U.S. hostage Jeffrey Schilling from Muslim rebels who had threatened to behead him. 


Today’s Birthdays: 

Actress-dancer Ann Miller is 79. Opera singer Montserrat Caballe is 69. Jazz musician Herbie Hancock is 62. Actor Frank Bank (“Leave It to Beaver”) is 60. Rock singer John Kay (Steppenwolf) is 58. Actor Ed O’Neill is 56. Actor Dan Lauria is 55. Talk show host David Letterman is 55. Author Scott Turow is 53. Singer David Cassidy is 52. Actor Andy Garcia is 46. Country singer Vince Gill is 45. Rock musician Will Sergeant (Echo & the Bunnymen) is 44. Rock singer Art Alexakis (Everclear) is 40. Folk-pop singer Amy Ray (Indigo Girls) is 38. Figure skater Elaine Zayak is 37. Actor Nicholas Brendon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) is 31. Actress Shannen Doherty is 31. Actress Claire Danes is 23.