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Today's Highlight in History:

On April 14, 1912, the British liner RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic at 11:40 p.m. ship's time and began sinking. (The ship went under two hours and 40 minutes later with the loss of 1,514 lives.)

On April 14:

In 1775, the first American society for the abolition of slavery was formed in Philadelphia.

In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth during a performance of "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater in Washington.

In 1902, James Cash Penney opened his first store, The Golden Rule, in Kemmerer, Wyo.

In 1935, the "Black Sunday" dust storm descended upon the central Plains, turning a sunny afternoon into total darkness.

In 1939, the John Steinbeck novel "The Grapes of Wrath" was first published by Viking Press.

In 1956, Ampex Corp. demonstrated the first practical videotape recorder at the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters Convention in Chicago.

In 1960, the musical "Bye Bye Birdie" opened on Broadway.

In 1970, President Richard Nixon nominated Harry Blackmun to the U.S. Supreme Court. (The choice of Blackmun, who was unanimously confirmed by the Senate a month later, followed the failed nominations of Clement Haynsworth and G. Harrold Carswell.)

In 1981, the first test flight of America's first operational space shuttle, the Columbia, ended successfully with a landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

In 1986, Americans got word of a U.S. air raid on Libya (because of the time difference, it was the early morning of April 15 where the attack occurred.) French feminist author Simone de Beauvoir died in Paris at age 78.

In 1994, two U.S. Air Force F-15 warplanes mistakenly shot down two U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters over northern Iraq, killing 26 people, including 15 Americans. Turner Classic Movies made its cable debut; the first film it aired was Ted Turner's personal favorite, "Gone with the Wind."

In 2004, in a historic policy shift, President George W. Bush endorsed Israel's plan to hold on to part of the West Bank in any final peace settlement with the Palestinians; he also ruled out Palestinian refugees returning to Israel, bringing strong criticism from the Palestinians.

In 2009, Somali pirates seized four ships with 60 hostages. North Korea said it was restarting its rogue nuclear program, booting U.N. inspectors and pulling out of disarmament talks in an angry reaction to the U.N. Security Council's condemnation of its April 5 rocket launch.

In 2014, speaking for the first time in more than two weeks, President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin showed little sign of agreement during a telephone call initiated by Putin, with Obama urging pro-Russian forces to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine and Putin denying that Moscow was interfering in the region. Suspected Islamic militants struck in the heart of Nigeria with a massive rush-hour bomb blast that killed 75 people in Abuja, the capital. The Washington Post and The Guardian won the Pulitzer Prize in public service for revealing the U.S. government's sweeping surveillance efforts.

In 2018, President Donald Trump declared "Mission Accomplished" for a U.S.-led allied missile attack on Syria's chemical weapons program, but the Pentagon said the Assad government was still capable of using chemical weapons against civilians if it chose to do so. Gun rights supporters gathered at state capitols across the country to push back against efforts to pass stricter gun control laws. Czech filmmaker Milos Forman, whose American movies "Amadeus" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" won a deluge of Academy Awards including Oscars for best director, died at a Connecticut hospital at the age of 86.

Thought for Today:

"Change your life today. Don't gamble on the future, act now, without delay."

— Simone de Beauvoir, French author (born 1908; died this date in 1986).

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