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This Day In History: April 17

Today is the 108th day of 2008 and the 29th day of spring.

TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1524, Italian navigator Giovanni da Verrazano, sailing for France, led the first European expedition into New York Harbor. In 1861, Virginia became the eighth state to secede from the Union. In 1961, a group of CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched an unsuccessful invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. In 1993, a Los Angeles jury convicted two police officers of violating the civil rights of assaulted motorist Rodney King.

TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971), Soviet political leader; Senor Wences (1896-1999), ventriloquist; Thornton Wilder, playwright/novelist (1897-1975); William Holden (1918-81), actor; Boomer Esiason (1961- ), football player/broadcaster, is 47; Jennifer Garner (1972- ), actress, is 36.

TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1953, 21-year-old Mickey Mantle hit a 565-foot homer over the wall of Griffith Stadium in Washington, the first "tape-measure" home run in baseball history.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Hope, like faith, is nothing if it is not courageous; it is nothing if it is not ridiculous." - Thornton Wilder

TODAY'S FACT: More Civil War battles were fought in Virginia than any other state.

TODAY'S NUMBER: -272 - temperature, in degrees Celsius, of the Boomerang Nebula, the coldest known place in the universe.

TODAY'S MOON: Between first quarter (April 12) and full moon (April 20)

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