Today is Tuesday, April 8, the 98th day of 2014. There are 267 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On April 8, 1864, the United States Senate passed, 38-6, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolishing slavery. (The House of Representatives passed it in Jan. 1865; the amendment was ratified and adopted in Dec. 1865.)
On this date:
In 1820, the Venus de Milo statue was discovered by a farmer on the Greek island of Milos.
In 1904, Longacre Square in Manhattan was renamed Times Square after The New York Times.
In 1911, an explosion at the Banner Coal Mine in Littleton, Ala., claimed the lives of 128 men, most of them convicts loaned out from prisons.
In 1913, the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, providing for popular election of United States senators (as opposed to appointment by state legislatures), was ratified. President Woodrow Wilson became the first chief executive since John Adams to address Congress in person as he asked lawmakers to enact tariff reform. The Republic of China's first parliament convened.
In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Emergency Relief Appropriations Act, which provided money for programs such as the Works Progress Administration.
In 1946, the League of Nations assembled in Geneva for its final session.
In 1952, President Harry S. Truman seized the American steel industry to avert a nationwide strike. (The Supreme Court later ruled that Truman had overstepped his authority, opening the way for a seven-week strike by steelworkers.)
In 1961, a suspected bomb exploded aboard the passenger liner MV Dara in the Persian Gulf, causing it to sink; 238 of the 819 people aboard were killed.
In 1974, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hit his 715th career home run in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, breaking Babe Ruth's record.
In 1988, TV evangelist Jimmy Swaggart resigned from the Assemblies of God after he was defrocked for rejecting an order from the church's national leaders to stop preaching for a year amid reports he'd consorted with a prostitute.
In 1994, Kurt Cobain, singer and guitarist for the grunge band Nirvana, was found dead in Seattle from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound; he was 27.
Ten years ago: National security adviser Condoleezza Rice told the September 11 commission "there was no silver bullet" that could have prevented the deadly terror attacks. Iraqi insurgents released a videotape of three Japanese captives, threatening to burn them alive if Japan did not withdraw its troops from Iraq. (The hostages were later released unharmed.) Fred Olivi, who copiloted the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, died in Lemont, Ill., at age 82.
Five years ago: Somali pirates hijacked the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama; although the crew was able to retake the cargo ship, the captain, Richard Phillips, was taken captive by the raiders and held aboard a lifeboat. (Phillips was rescued four days later by Navy SEAL snipers who shot three of the pirates dead.) A Russian spacecraft carrying a crew of three, including U.S. billionaire space tourist Charles Simonyi, landed safely in Kazakhstan. David "Pop" Winans Sr., patriarch of the award-winning Winans gospel music family, died in Nashville, Tenn., at age 74.
One year ago: President Barack Obama warned Congress not to use delaying tactics against tighter gun regulations and told families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims during a visit to Hartford, Conn., that he was "determined as ever" to honor their children with tougher laws. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, 87, died in London after a stroke. Actress and former Disney "Mouseketeer" Annette Funicello, 70, died in Bakersfield, Calif. Rick Pitino, who'd coached Louisville in the NCAA championship game, was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame along with former NBA stars Bernard King and Gary Payton, former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian, North Carolina women's coach Sylvia Hatchell, former University of Houston coach Guy Lewis and former University of Virginia star Dawn Staley.
Today's Birthdays: Comedian Shecky Greene is 88. Actor-turned-diplomat John Gavin is 83. Author and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh is 77. Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is 76. Basketball Hall-of-Famer John Havlicek is 74. "Mouseketeer" Darlene Gillespie is 73. Rhythm-and-blues singer J.J. Jackson is 73. Singer Peggy Lennon (The Lennon Sisters) is 73. Songwriter-producer Leon Huff is 72. Actor Hywel Bennett is 70. Actor Stuart Pankin is 68. Rock musician Steve Howe is 67. Former House Republican Leader Tom DeLay is 67. Movie director John Madden is 65. Rock musician Mel Schacher (Grand Funk Railroad) is 63. Actor John Schneider is 54. "Survivor" winner Richard Hatch is 53. Rock musician Izzy Stradlin is 52. Singer Julian Lennon is 51. Actor Dean Norris is 51. Rock singer-musician Donita Sparks is 51. Rapper Biz Markie is 50. Actress Robin Wright is 48. Actress Patricia Arquette is 46. Rock singer Craig Honeycutt (Everything) is 44. Rock musician Darren Jessee is 43. Actress Emma Caulfield is 41. Actress Katee Sackhoff is 34. Actor Taylor Kitsch is 33. Rock singer-musician Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend) is 30. Actor Taran Noah Smith is 30. Actress Kirsten Storms is 30. Actress Sadie Calvano is 17.
Thought for Today: "The truth is always something that is told, not something that is known. If there were no speaking or writing, there would be no truth about anything." -- Susan Sontag, American author and critic (1933-2004).