TODAY IN HISTORY
April 17, 2013 10:30 AM

Today is Wednesday, April 17, the 107th day of 2013. There are 258 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 17, 1961, some 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in an attempt to topple Fidel Castro, whose forces crushed the incursion by the third day.

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 1521, Martin Luther went before the Diet of Worms to face charges stemming from his religious writings. (He was later declared an outlaw by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.)

In 1937, the animated cartoon character Daffy Duck made his debut in the Warner Bros. cartoon “Porky’s Duck Hunt,” directed by Tex Avery.

In 1941, Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany during World War II.

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

In 1970, Apollo 13 astronauts James A. Lovell, Fred W. Haise and Jack Swigert splashed down safely in the Pacific, four days after a ruptured oxygen tank crippled their spacecraft while en route to the moon.

In 1986, at London’s Heathrow Airport, a bomb was discovered in the bag of a pregnant Irishwoman about to board an El Al jetliner to Israel; she’d been tricked into carrying the bomb by her Jordanian fiance.

In 1993, a federal jury in Los Angeles convicted two former police officers of violating the civil rights of beaten motorist Rodney King; two other officers were acquitted.

Ten years ago: U.S. special forces in Baghdad captured Barzan Ibrahim Hasan, a half brother of and adviser to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The U.S. government awarded Bechtel Corp. a major contract for helping rebuild Iraq’s power, water and sewage systems. Diet doctor Robert C. Atkins died in New York at age 72.

Five years ago: Pope Benedict XVI, during his visit to Washington, talked and prayed privately with survivors of the clergy sex abuse scandal in what’s believed to be a first-ever meeting between a pontiff and abuse victims.

One year ago: Riding on the back of a 747 jet, retired space shuttle Discovery traveled from Cape Canaveral, Fla., to Chantilly, Va., to be installed in its new home — the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum annex near Washington Dulles Airport in northern Virginia.

Today’s Birthdays: Composer-musician Jan Hammer is 65. Actress Olivia Hussey is 62. Actor Clarke Peters is 61. Rock singer-musician Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks) is 58. Actor Sean Bean is 54. Actor Joel Murray is 51. Rock singer Maynard James Keenan is 49. Actress Lela Rochon is 49. Actor William Mapother is 48.

Actress Leslie Bega is 46. Actress Kimberly Elise is 46. Singer Liz Phair is 46. Rapper-actor Redman is 43. Actress Jennifer Garner is 41. Country musician Craig Anderson (Heartland) is 40. Singer Victoria Adams Beckham is 39. Actress-singer Lindsay Korman is 35. Actress Rooney Mara is 28.

Actress Jacqueline MacInnes Wood is 26. Figure skater Mirai Nagasu is 20. Actor Paulie Litt is 18. Actress Dee Dee Davis is 17.

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