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The Associated Press
Wednesday April 17, 2002

Today is Wednesday, April 17, the 107th day of 2002. There are 258 days left in the year. 


Highlight in History: 

On April 17, 1961, about 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in a failed attempt to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro. 


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 1524, Giovanni da Verrazano reached present-day New York harbor. 

In 1790, American statesman Benjamin Franklin died in Philadelphia at age 84. 

In 1964, Ford Motor Co. unveiled its new Mustang. 

In 1964, Jerrie Mock of Columbus, Ohio, became the first woman to complete a solo airplane flight around the world. 

In 1969, a jury in Los Angeles convicted Sirhan Sirhan of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. 

In 1969, Czechoslovak Communist Party chairman Alexander Dubcek was deposed. 

In 1970, the astronauts of Apollo 13 splashed down safely in the Pacific, four days after a ruptured oxygen tank crippled their spacecraft. 


Ten years ago: 

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told the Senate Banking Committee the modest pace of economic expansion wasn’t adequate, a remark interpreted as a signal he might cut interest rates further. 


Five years ago: 

House Speaker Newt Gingrich announced he would borrow $300,000 from retired Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole to pay a sanction imposed for violation of House rules. Former Israeli president Chaim Herzog died in Tel Aviv at age 78. 


One year ago: 

By a nearly two-to-one margin, Mississippi residents voted to keep the Confederate emblem on their state flag. San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds became the 17th major leaguer ever to reach 500 career home runs. 


Today’s Birthdays: 

Composer-musician Jan Hammer is 54. Actress Olivia Hussey is 51. Rock singer-musician Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks) is 47. Singer Liz Phair is 35. Actress Jennifer Garner is 30. Singer Victoria Adams Beckham (Spice Girls) is 28.