This Day in History - April 2
Jamaica's 2016 Olympic and 2017 World Championships 110m hurdles champion Omar McLeod is born this day in 1994. (Photo: AFP)

Today is the 115th day of 2023. There are 250 days left in the year.


2000: The United Nations releases a new assessment of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, saying the worst health consequences for millions of people may be yet to come.


1792: Highwayman Nicolas Jacques Pelletier becomes the first person under French law to be executed by guillotine.

1859: Ground is broken for the Suez Canal.

1898: The United States declares war on Spain.

1901: New York becomes the first US state to mandate licence plates when Governor Benjamin Odell, Jr signs a law ordering automobiles and motorcycles to display "the separate initials of the owner's name placed upon the back thereof in a conspicuous place".

1915: Allied soldiers invade the Gallipoli Peninsula in an unsuccessful attempt to take the Ottoman Turkish Empire out of World War I; the event is now commemorated as Anzac Day.

1920: The Supreme Allied Command assigns mandates of Mesopotamia and Palestine to Britain, and of Syria and Lebanon to France. Poland launches an offensive against Soviets in Ukraine.

1942: A coal mine disaster in Benxi, Japanese-occupied China, kills 1,549 workers in the world's worst mining disaster at the time.

1945: Delegates of 45 nations meet in San Francisco to organise the United Nations.

1950: Chuck Cooper becomes the first African American to be drafted into the NBA (for the Boston Celtics)

1954: Bell labs announces the first solar battery made from silicon; it has about 6 per cent efficiency.

1957: King Hussein proclaims martial law in Jordan and seals frontiers after a Palestinian coup attempt.

1959: The St Lawrence Seaway, one of the largest civil engineering feats ever undertaken, officially opens and links the Atlantic Ocean with the Great Lakes.

1974: Portugal's bloodless "Revolution of the Carnations" ends 48 years of rightist dictatorship.

1983: Soviet leader Yuri V Andropov invites 10-year-old Samantha Smith to visit his country after receiving a letter in which the schoolgirl from Maine expressed fears about nuclear war.

1985: Big River, based on Mark Twain's 1884 novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, opens at Eugene O'Neill Theater in New York City; runs for 1005 performances; and wins 3 Tony Awards.

1988: South Africa says it accepts a Western plan aimed at preparing South West Africa, now Namibia, for independence under black majority rule.

1990: Violeta Barrios de Chamorro of Nicaragua becomes Central America's first female president amid uproar over a decision to let leftist Sandinistas keep control of the army and security.

1991: The Soviet Union's Communist Party plenum decides to keep Mikhail Gorbachev as leader despite hours of harsh criticism that led him to offer to resign.

1992: Afghanistan's capital falls, with little fighting, to two rival rebel groups under Ahmed Shah Masood and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, following the collapse of the communist Government.

1995: For the first time, the Argentine military admits to crimes during the 1976-1983 "dirty war" against dissidents.

1996: A Spanish Supreme Court judge clears Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez of involvement in the assassinations of Basque separatists during the 1980s.

1997: In what is called a monumental defeat for the US tobacco industry, a federal judge rules for the first time that tobacco can be regulated as a drug.

1998: Millions of Nigerians boycott legislative elections billed by the ruling junta as a first step toward democracy.

2002: The US House of Representatives approves a measure to split the Immigration and Naturalization Service into two separate enforcement and service branches, making immigration reform a top priority in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

2007: A court overturns amnesties for two leaders of Argentina's military dictatorship, former military President Jorge Videla and navy chief Eduardo Massera, ordering they return to prison to serve their life terms for crimes against humanity during the country's "dirty war".

2008: Congo troops clash with Rwandan Hutu militias, with whom they were formerly allied, culminating a week of violence that forced more than 12,000 people from their homes.

2010: An explosion caused by a torpedo likely tore apart and sank a South Korean warship near the North Korean border, Seoul's defence minister says while declining to assign blame for the blast as suspicion increasingly falls on Pyongyang.

2011: The latest NATO air strike on Moammar Gadhafi's compound steps up pressure on the increasingly embattled Libyan leader who is struggling to hold onto the western half of the country.

2012: Scientists say tiny meteorites found in the Sierra foothills of northern California likely were part of a giant fireball that exploded in daylight with about one-third the explosive force of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II.

2013: Israel shoots down a drone as it approaches its northern coast from neighbouring Lebanon, raising suspicions that the Hezbollah militant group is behind the infiltration attempt.

2014: In a cost-saving measure the water supply of Flint, Michigan, is switched from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River, causing a public health crisis as residents are exposed to dangerously high levels of lead.

2015: A magnitude-7.8 earthquake strikes near Kathmandu, Nepal, causing widespread damage and killing several thousand.

2021: Chinese film-maker Chloé Zhao becomes the first person of colour to win the Academy Award for Best Director in recognition for her Nomadland (2020), which was also named Best Picture.

Chloe Zhao, a Chinese film-maker, becomes the first person of colour to win the Academy Award for Best Director, on this day 2021.


Oliver Cromwell, English statesman (1599-1658); Guglielmo Marconi, Italian radio pioneer (1874-1937); Morris West, Australian author (1916-1999); Ella Fitzgerald, US singer (1918-1996); Al Pacino, US actor (1940- ); Bjorn Ulvaeus, Swedish musician-composer, ABBA member (1945- ); Omar Mcleod, Jamaican 2016 Olympic and 2017 World Championships 110m hurdles champion (1994- )

— AP/Jamaica Observer

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