Today is Wednesday, April 18, the 109th day of 2012. There are 257 days left in the year.
Today's highlight in history:
On April 18, 1942, an air squadron from the USS Hornet led by Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle raided Tokyo and other Japanese cities during World War II.
On this date:
In 1775, Paul Revere began his famous ride from Charlestown to Lexington, Mass., warning American colonists that the British were coming.
In 1831, the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa was officially opened.
In 1906, a devastating earthquake struck San Francisco, followed by raging fires; estimates of the final death toll range between 3,000 and 6,000.
In 1910, suffragists showed up at the U.S. Capitol with half a million signatures demanding that women have the right to vote.
In 1912, the RMS Carpathia, carrying survivors of the Titanic disaster, arrived in New York.
In 1934, the first laundromat (called a "washateria") opened in Fort Worth, Texas.
In 1942, the first World War II edition of The Stars and Stripes was published as a weekly newspaper.
In 1945, famed American war correspondent Ernie Pyle, 44, was killed by Japanese gunfire on the Pacific island of Ie Shima, off Okinawa.
In 1949, the Republic of Ireland was proclaimed.
In 1954, Gamal Abdel Nasser seized power, becoming prime minister of Egypt.
In 1978, the Senate approved the Panama Canal Treaty, providing for the complete turnover of control of the waterway to Panama on the last day of 1999.
In 1983, 63 people, including 17 Americans, were killed at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, by a suicide bomber.
Ten years ago: Police arrested actor Robert Blake in the shooting death of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, nearly a year earlier (Blake was acquitted at his criminal trial but found liable in a civil trial). Amtrak's Auto Train derailed near Crescent City, Fla., killing four passengers. Afghanistan's former king, Mohammad Zaher Shah, returned to his country after 29 years in exile. A small plane slammed into a skyscraper in Milan, Italy, killing the plane's sole occupant and two other people..
Five years ago: The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, upheld the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. Four large bombs exploded in mainly Shiite locations of Baghdad, killing at least 183 people. .
One year ago: Standard & Poor's lowered its long-term outlook for the U.S. government's fiscal health from "stable" to "negative." Crystal Mangum, who'd falsely accused three Duke lacrosse players of raping her, was charged with murdering her boyfriend, Reginald Daye. Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai won the Boston Marathon in a record time of 2:03:02, while fellow Kenyan Caroline Kilel won the women's race in 2:22:36. The Los Angeles Times won a Pulitzer Prize for revealing that officials in Bell, Calif., were paying themselves exorbitant salaries; but for the first time in the Pulitzers' 95-year history, no award was given in the category of breaking news. Jennifer Egan's novel "A Visit From the Goon Squad" won the Pulitzer for fiction.
Today's birthdays: Actress Barbara Hale is 91. Actor Clive Revill is 82. Actor James Drury is 78. Actor Robert Hooks is 75. Actress Hayley Mills is 66. Actors James Woods, Dorothy Lyman and Cindy Pickett and country musician Walt Richmond (The Tractors) are 65. Country musician Jim Scholten (Sawyer Brown) is 60. Actor Rick Moranis is 59. Actors Melody Thomas Scott, Eric Roberts and John James are 56. Rock musician Les Pattinson (Echo and the Bunnymen) is 54. Author-journalist Susan Faludi is 53. Actress Jane Leeves is 51. Talk show host Conan O'Brien, bluegrass singer-musician Terry Eldredge and actor Eric McCormack are 49. Actress Maria Bello is 45. Actress Mary Birdsong is 44. Rock musician Greg Eklund (The Oolahs) is 42. Actor David Tennant is 41. Country musician Marvin Evatt, rock musician Mark Tremonti and rhythm-and-blues singer Trina (Trina and Tamara) are 38. Actors Melissa Joan Hart and Sean Maguire are 36. Actor Bryce Johnson is 35. Reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian is 33. Actress America Ferrera is 28. Actress Alia Shawkat is 23. Actress Britt Robertson (TV: "Life Unexpected") is 22. Actor Moises Arias ("Hannah Montana") is 18.
Thought for today: "There is no shame in not knowing; the shame lies in not finding out." — Russian proverb.