Today is Wednesday, April 11, the 102nd day of 2012. There are 264 days left in the year.
Today's highlight in history:
On April 11, 1862, the Civil War Battle of Fort Pulaski in Chatham County, Ga., ended a day after it began as the fort fell to Union forces.
On this date:
In 1689, William III and Mary II were crowned as joint sovereigns of Britain.
In 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte abdicated as Emperor of the French and was banished to the island of Elba.
In 1899, the treaty ending the Spanish-American War was declared in effect.
In 1912, Crosley Field, the longtime home of the Cincinnati Reds, had its opening day under its original name, Redland Field. (The Reds defeated the Chicago Cubs 10-6.)
In 1921, Iowa became the first state to impose a cigarette tax, at 2 cents a package.
In 1945, during World War II, American soldiers liberated the notorious Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald in Germany.
In 1951, President Harry S. Truman relieved Gen. Douglas MacArthur of his commands in the Far East.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy held a press conference in which he angrily denounced plans by United States Steel and other steel producers to raise prices (the companies ended up backing down). The New York Mets played their first game, losing to the host St. Louis Cardinals 11-4.
In 1970, Apollo 13, with astronauts James A. Lovell, Fred W. Haise and Jack Swigert, blasted off on its ill-fated mission to the moon.
In 1979, Idi Amin was deposed as president of Uganda as rebels and exiles backed by Tanzanian forces seized control.
In 1981, President Ronald Reagan returned to the White House from the hospital, 12 days after he was wounded in an assassination attempt. Race-related rioting erupted in the Brixton district of south London.
Ten years ago: Congressman James A. Traficant Jr., D-Ohio, was convicted of taking bribes and kickbacks from businessmen and his own staff. (Traficant was later expelled from Congress and sentenced to eight years in prison; he was released in September 2009.) Venezuelan police battled protesters demanding President Hugo Chavez's ouster.
Five years ago: North Carolina's top prosecutor dropped all charges against three former Duke University lacrosse players accused of sexually assaulting a stripper at a party, saying the athletes were innocent victims of a "tragic rush to accuse." MSNBC announced it was dropping its simulcast of the "Imus in the Morning" radio program, responding to growing outrage over host Don Imus' on-air reference to the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos." (CBS Radio followed suit the next day.)
One year ago: A bloody, four-month standoff in the West African nation of Ivory Coast ended when troops loyal to the elected president routed and captured his rival, Laurent Gbagbo, the longtime strongman who'd lost the vote but refused to give up power. A subway bombing in Minsk, Belarus, claimed 15 lives.
Today's birthdays: Ethel Kennedy is 84. Actor Joel Grey is 80. Actress Louise Lasser is 73. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Ellen Goodman is 71. Movie writer-director John Milius is 68. Actors Peter Riegert and Meshach Taylor are 65. Movie director Carl Franklin is 63. Actor Bill Irwin is 62. Country singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale and songwriter-producer Daryl Simmons are 55. Rock musician Nigel Pulsford and actor Lucky Vanous are 51. Country singer Steve Azar is 48. Singer Lisa Stansfield is 46. Rock musician Dylan Keefe (Marcy Playground) and actor Johnny Messner are 42. Actor Vicellous Shannon is 41. Rapper David Banner and actress Tricia Helfer are 38. Rock musician Chris Gaylor (The All-American Rejects) is 33. Actress Kelli Garner is 28. Singer Joss Stone is 25.
Thought for today: "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." — Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007).