This Day in History — April 3Friday, April 03, 2020
Today is the 94th day of 2020. There are 272 days left in the year.
2003: The World Health Organization reports 2,270 illnesses, including 79 deaths, from a spreading epidemic of a new respiratory ailment known as SARS or severe acute respiratory syndrome.
1512: Beyazid II, Sultan of Turkey, abdicates in favour of son, Selim I.
1612: Protestant Union of Germany signs defensive alliance with England.
1776: George Washington receives an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Harvard College.
1833: Attempt by revolutionaries to take over Frankfurt Diet in Germany is crushed.
1860: The legendary Pony Express begins carrying mail between St Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. (The delivery system lasted only 18 months before giving way to the transcontinental telegraph.)
1882: Jesse James, an outlaw who killed and scalped his victims and an American folk hero of sorts, is killed by a member of his own gang.
1930: Ras Tafari becomes Emperor Haile Selassie of Abyssinia (Ethiopia).
1936: Bruno Hauptmann, convicted of the kidnapping and murder of aviator Charles Lindbergh's baby, is executed.
1942: During World War II, Japanese forces begin their final assault on Bataan against American and Filipino troops who surrendered six days later; the capitulation was followed by the notorious Bataan Death March.
1946: Lieutenant General Masaharu Homma, the Japanese commander responsible for the Bataan Death March, is executed in the Philippines.
1948: United States creates the Marshall Plan, allocating US$5.33 billion in aid to 16 European nations to help in rebuilding after World War II.
1965: The United States launches the SNAP-10A nuclear power system into Earth orbit; it was the first nuclear reactor sent into space.
1968: Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr delivers what turned out to be his final speech, telling a rally of striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, that “I've been to the mountaintop” and “seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!” (About 20 hours later, King was felled by an assassin's bullet at the Lorraine Motel.)
1978: US President Jimmy Carter decides not to produce the neutron bomb. His decision cancels development of a weapon designed to destroy living things while leaving buildings intact.
1982: British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher orders a naval task force to the Falkland Islands. The islands had been British territories since 1833 and Argentina's seizure of the islands was considered an act of aggression.
1995: At least 150 Hutus, mostly women and children, are massacred in a single village in north-eastern Burundi.
1996: Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski is arrested at his remote Montana cabin. An Air Force jetliner carrying Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and American business executives crashes in Croatia, killing all 35 people aboard.
2000: A US judge deals a momentous legal setback to software giant Microsoft Corp, ruling that the company violated federal antitrust laws by building a monopoly and trying to take over the Web browser market.
2001: The death toll in a meningitis outbreak in Burkina Faso tops 1,000. The government and the World Health Organisation scramble to secure vaccine to control the epidemic from spreading to neighbouring countries.
2006: Thailand's prime minister claims victory but acknowledges a strong protest vote in an election held after weeks of demonstrations demanding his resignation for alleged corruption and abuse of power.
2009: John Demjanjuk, accused of being a Nazi death camp guard, marks his 89th birthday by winning a reprieve of his ordered deportation from the US to Germany to face possible trial.
2010: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says that new sanctions because of Iran's nuclear defiance would only strengthen the country's technological progress by encouraging it to become more self-sufficient.
2011: Demonstrators battle police in southern Afghanistan's main city of Kandahar and take to the streets in the turbulent east for the first time as Western pleas fail to halt a third day of rage over a Florida pastor's burning of the Quran.
2012: The United States issues travel restrictions for leaders of Mali's recent coup and says they should restore civilian rule in the West African nation immediately.
2013: The United States says it will deploy a missile defence system to Guam to strengthen the Asian-Pacific region's protections against a possible attack from North Korea in the face of escalating threats from the reclusive nation.
Washington Irving, US writer (1783-1859); James Hertzog, South African statesman-soldier (1865-1942); Camille Chamoun, Lebanese statesman (1900-1988); Marlon Brando, US actor (1924-2004); Doris Day, US actress-singer (1924-2019); Helmut Kohl, German chancellor (1930-2017); Eddie Murphy, US actor (1961- ); Alec Baldwin, US actor (1958- ); David Hyde Pierce, US actor (1959- )