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Today in History

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Today is Monday, April 30, the 121st day of 2012. There are 245 days left in the year.
Today's highlight:
On April 30, 1812, Louisiana became the 18th state of the Union.
On this date:
In 1789, George Washington took office in New York as the first president of the United States.
In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France for 60 million francs, the equivalent of about $15 million.
In 1900, engineer John Luther "Casey" Jones of the Illinois Central Railroad died in a train wreck near Vaughan, Miss., after staying at the controls in a successful effort to save the passengers.
In 1911, a fire broke out in Bangor, Maine, destroying much of the downtown area before it was brought under control the next morning; two deaths were blamed on the blaze.
In 1912, Universal Studios had its beginnings as papers incorporating the Universal Film Manufacturing Co. were filed and recorded in New York State.
In 1939, the New York World's Fair officially opened with a ceremony that included an address by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In 1945, as Russian troops approached his Berlin bunker, Adolf Hitler committed suicide along with his wife of one day, Eva Braun.
In 1958, the American Association of Retired Persons (later simply AARP) was founded in Washington, D.C.
In 1968, New York City police forcibly removed student demonstrators occupying five buildings at Columbia University.
In 1973, President Richard M. Nixon announced the resignations of top aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, along with Attorney General Richard G. Kleindienst and White House counsel John Dean.
In 1980, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands abdicated; she was succeeded by her daughter, Princess Beatrix.
In 1997, the Senate approved the nomination of Alexis Herman to be labor secretary. ABC-TV aired the "coming out" episode of the situation comedy "Ellen" in which the title character, played by Ellen DeGeneres, acknowledged her homosexuality.
Ten years ago: Benevolence International Foundation, an Islamic charity based in suburban Chicago, and its director were charged with perjury; authorities accused the charity of supporting terrorists. (Enaam Arnaout later pleaded guilty to racketeering, admitting he'd defrauded donors by diverting some of the money to Islamic military groups in Bosnia and Chechnya.)
Five years ago: A British judge sentenced five al-Qaida-linked men, all British citizens, to life in prison for plotting to attack London targets, including a nightclub, power plants and shopping mall with bombs. An Israeli government probe faulted Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for what it called "very severe failures" in Israel's war with Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. Actor Tom Poston died in Los Angeles at age 85.
One year ago: A Libyan official said Moammar Gadhafi had escaped a NATO missile strike in Tripoli that killed one of his sons and three young grandchildren. (There have been conflicting accounts about whether Gadhafi's relatives even died in the airstrike.) In Moscow, Japan's Miki Ando defeated Olympic champion Kim Yu-na of South Korea at the world figure skating championships originally scheduled for Japan, which had been devastated by an earthquake and tsunami.
Associated Press

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