Today's Highlight in History:
On April 26, 1986, the world's worst nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl plant in the Soviet Union. An explosion and fire killed at least 31 people and sent radioactivity into the atmosphere.
On this date:
In 1607, an expedition of English colonists, including Captain John Smith, went ashore at Cape Henry, Va., to establish the first permanent English settlement in the Western Hemisphere.
In 1785, American naturalist and artist John James Audubon was born in Haiti.
In 1865, John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Lincoln, was surrounded by federal troops near Bowling Green, Va., and killed.
In 1937, planes from Nazi Germany raided the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.
In 1945, Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, 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 a record 61 home runs in a single season.
In 1964, the African nations of Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania.
In 1968, the United States exploded beneath the Nevada desert a one-megaton nuclear device called "Boxcar."
In 1970, the Broadway musical "Company" opened at the Alvin Theatre in New York.
In 1989, actress-comedian Lucille Ball died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles at age 77.
Ten years ago: Voting began in South Africa's first all-race elections. A Taiwanese jetliner crashed in Nagoya, Japan, killing 264 people. Rachelle "Shelley" Shannon, who admitted shooting and wounding an abortion provider outside his clinic, was sentenced in Wichita, Kan., to nearly 11 years in prison.
Five years ago: The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Cornelio Sommaruga, met with three U.S. soldiers held captive by Yugoslavia. BBC anchorwoman Jill Dando, the host of a crime-fighting program, was fatally shot on the steps of her London home. (Barry George was convicted in July 2001 of killing Dando.)
One year ago: A Soyuz rocket carrying American astronaut Edward Lu and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko blasted off for the international space station. Charlton Heston, diagnosed with symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, made his last appearance as president of the National Rifle Association during a convention in Orlando, Fla., where he briefly thanked the membership.
Today's Birthdays: Actress-comedian Carol Burnett is 71. Rhythm and blues singer Maurice Williams is 66. Songwriter-musician Duane Eddy is 66. Singer Bobby Rydell is 62. Actress Claudine Auger is 62. Rock musician Gary Wright is 61. Actor Giancarlo Esposito is 46. Rock musician Roger Taylor (Duran Duran) is 44. Actress Joan Chen is 43. Rock musician Chris Mars is 43. Actor-singer Michael Damian is 42. Actor Jet Li is 41. Rock musician Jimmy Stafford (Train) is 40. Actor-comedian Kevin James is 39. Actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste is 37. Country musician Joe Caverlee (Yankee Grey) is 36. Rapper T-Boz (TLC) is 34. Country musician Jay DeMarcus (Rascal Flats) is 33. Country musician Michael Jeffers (Pinmonkey) is 32. Rock musician Jose Pasillas (Incubus) is 28. Actor Tom Welling is 27. Actress Jordana Brewster is 24. Actress Marnette Patterson is 24. Actor Aaron Weeks is 18.
Thought for Today: "Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called." - John Stuart Mill, English political philosopher (1806-1873).