Today is Tuesday, April 26, the 116th day of 2011. There are 249 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On April 26, 1986, a major nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union) as an explosion and fire caused radioactive fallout to begin spewing into the atmosphere. At least 31 people died fighting the plant fire, but the number of other deaths resulting from the disaster remains in dispute.
On this date:
In 1607, English colonists went ashore at present-day Cape Henry, Va., on an expedition to establish the first permanent English settlement in the Western Hemisphere.
In 1785, American naturalist, hunter and artist John James Audubon was born in present-day Haiti.
In 1865, John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, was surrounded by federal troops near Bowling Green, Va., and killed.
In 1909, Abdul Hamid II was deposed as sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
In 1937, planes from Nazi Germany raided the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.
In 1945, Marshal Henri Philippe Petain (an-REE' fee-LEEP' pay-TAN'), the head of France's Vichy government during World War II, was arrested.
In 1961, Roger Maris of the New York Yankees hit the first of his 61 home runs during a 162-game season (compared to Babe Ruth's 60 home runs during a 154-game season) as he hit a roundtripper off Paul Foytack at Tiger Stadium.
In 1968, the United States exploded beneath the Nevada desert a 1.3 megaton nuclear device called "Boxcar."
In 1970, the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical "Company" opened at the Alvin Theatre in New York.
In 2000, Vermont Gov. Howard Dean signed the nation's first bill allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions.
Ten years ago: Ukraine's communist-dominated parliament dismissed reform-oriented Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko (yoo-SHEN'-koh) and his government, plunging the nation into political chaos. Junichiro Koizumi (joon-ee-chee-roh koh-ee-zoo-mee) was elected as prime minister of Japan in a vote by the lower house of Japan's parliament.
Five years ago: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld paid a surprise visit to Iraq, where they embraced the country's fledgling leaders as independent and focused on the future.
One year ago: A Haitian judge dismissed kidnapping and criminal association charges against 10 American missionaries who'd been detained for trying to take a busload of children out of the country after the Jan. 2010 earthquake, but said that Laura Silsby, the last of the 10 still in jail, would face a lesser charge. (Silsby was freed in May 2010 after being convicted of arranging illegal travel and sentenced to time served.)
Today's Birthdays: Actress-comedian Carol Burnett is 78. Rhythm-and-blues singer Maurice Williams is 73. Songwriter-musician Duane Eddy is 73. Singer Bobby Rydell is 69. Rock musician Gary Wright is 68. Actor Giancarlo Esposito is 53. Rock musician Roger Taylor (Duran Duran) is 51. Actress Joan Chen is 50. Rock musician Chris Mars is 50. Actor-singer Michael Damian is 49. Actor Jet Li (lee) is 48. Rock musician Jimmy Stafford (Train) is 47. Actor-comedian Kevin James is 46. Actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste is 44. Country musician Joe Caverlee (Yankee Grey) is 43. Rapper T-Boz (TLC) is 41. Country musician Jay DeMarcus (Rascal Flatts) is 40. Country musician Michael Jeffers (Pinmonkey) is 39. Rock musician Jose Pasillas (Incubus) is 35. Actor Jason Earles is 34. Actor Leonard Earl Howze is 34. Actor Tom Welling is 34. Actor Nyambi Nyambi is 32. Actress Jordana Brewster is 31. Actress Marnette Patterson is 31. Actor Channing Tatum is 31. Actor Aaron Weeks is 25.
Thought for Today: "Perfect order is the forerunner of perfect horror." -- Carlos Fuentes, Mexican author.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)