Today is Friday, April 13, the 104th day of 2012. There are 262 days left in the year.
Today's highlight in history:
On April 13, 1861, at the start of the Civil War, Fort Sumter in South Carolina fell to Confederate forces as the Union commander, Maj. Robert Anderson, agreed to surrender in the face of relentless bombardment.
On this date:
In 1598, King Henry IV of France endorsed the Edict of Nantes, which granted rights to the Protestant Huguenots. (The edict was abrogated in 1685 by King Louis XIV, who declared France entirely Catholic again.)
In 1742, Handel's "Messiah" had its first public performance in Dublin, Ireland.
In 1743, the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, was born in Shadwell in the Virginia Colony.
In 1860, the Pony Express completed its inaugural run from St. Joseph, Mo. to Sacramento, Calif. in 10 days.
In 1912, the Royal Flying Corps, a predecessor of Britain's Royal Air Force, was created.
In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Jefferson Memorial.
In 1958, Van Cliburn of the United States won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition for piano in Moscow; Russian Valery Klimov won the violin competition.
In 1960, the U.S. Navy's Transit 1B navigational satellite was successfully launched into orbit.
In 1964, Sidney Poitier became the first black performer in a leading role to win an Academy Award for "Lilies of the Field." (Patricia Neal was named Best Actress for "Hud"; Best Picture went to "Tom Jones.")
In 1970, Apollo 13, four-fifths of the way to the moon, was crippled when a tank containing liquid oxygen burst. (The astronauts managed to return safely.)
In 1986, Pope John Paul II visited the Great Synagogue of Rome in the first recorded papal visit of its kind to a Jewish house of worship.
In 1992, the Great Chicago Flood took place as the city's century-old tunnel system and adjacent basements filled with water from the Chicago River.
Ten years ago: Venezuela's interim president, Pedro Carmona, resigned a day after taking office in the face of protests by thousands of supporters of the ousted president, Hugo Chavez.
Five years ago: Iraq's parliament met in an extraordinary session on a Friday, the Muslim day of prayer, and declared it would not bow to terrorism; a bouquet of red roses and a white lily sat in the place of a lawmaker killed in a parliament dining hall suicide bombing.
One year ago: Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons were detained for investigation of corruption, abuse of power and killings of protesters. A federal jury in San Francisco convicted Barry Bonds of a single charge of obstruction of justice, but failed to reach a verdict on the three counts at the heart of allegations that he'd knowingly used steroids and human growth hormone and lied to a grand jury about it. The NBA fined Kobe Bryant $100,000 for using a derogatory gay term in frustration over a referee's call.
Today's birthdays: Movie director Stanley Donen is 88. Former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., is 79. Actor Lyle Waggoner is 77. Actor Edward Fox is 75. Actor Paul Sorvino and poet Seamus Heaney are 73. Movie-TV composer Bill Conti is 70. Rock musician Jack Casady is 68. Actor Tony Dow is 67. Singer Al Green is 66. Actors Ron Perlman and William Sadler are 62. Singer Peabo Bryson is 61. Bandleader/rock musician Max Weinberg is 61. Bluegrass singer-musician Sam Bush is 60. Rock musician Jimmy Destri is 58. Singer-musician Louis Johnson (The Brothers Johnson) is 57. Comedian Gary Kroeger and actress Saundra Santiago are 55. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Pa., is 52. Rock musician Joey Mazzola (Sponge) is 51. Chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov is 49. Actresses Page Hannah and Caroline Rhea, also a comedienne, are 48. Rock musician Lisa Umbarger is 47. Rock musician Marc Ford is 46. Reggae singer Capleton is 45. Actor Ricky Schroder is 42. Rock singer Aaron Lewis (Staind) is 40. Actor Bokeem Woodbine is 39. Singer Lou Bega and actor-producer Glenn Howerton are 36. Actor Kyle Howard is 34. Actress Courtney Peldon is 31. Pop singer Nellie McKay is 30. Actress Hannah Marks is 19.
Thought for today: "In the landscape of extinction, precision is next to godliness." — Samuel Beckett, Irish poet and playwright (born this date in 1906, died 1989).