Today is Friday, April 18, the 108th day of 2014 with 257 to follow.
This is Good Friday.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mercury, Neptune, Saturn, Uranus and Venus. The evening stars are Jupiter and Mars.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include Italian Duchess Lucrezia Borgia in 1480; lawyer Clarence Darrow in 1857; conductor Leopold Stokowski in 1882; musician Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown in 1924; actors Barbara Hale in 1922 (age 92), Hayley Mills in 1946 (age 68), James Woods in 1947 (age 67), Rick Moranis in 1953 (age 61), Eric Roberts in 1956 (age 58), Jane Leeves in 1961 (age 53), Maria Bello in 1967 (age 47) and Melissa Joan Hart in 1976 (age 38); late-night talk show host Conan O'Brien and actor Eric McCormack, both in 1963 (age 51); and TV personality Kourtney Kardashian in 1979 (age 35).
On this date in history:
In 1506, the cornerstone of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome was placed.
In 1775, American patriot Paul Revere began his famous ride through the Massachusetts countryside, crying out "The British are coming!" to rally the Minutemen.
In 1831, the University of Alabama was founded.
In 1906, an earthquake, estimated at magnitude-7.9, struck San Francisco, collapsing buildings and igniting fires that destroyed much of what remained of the city. (By the time it was over three days later, almost 500 people were dead and more than 250,000 were homeless.)
In 1923, Yankee Stadium opened in New York.
In 1942, U.S. planes bombed the Japanese mainland for the first time during World War II.
In 1945, journalist Ernie Pyle, America's most popular World War II correspondent, was killed by Japanese machine-gun fire on the island of Ie Shima in the Pacific.
In 1949, the Republic of Ireland formally declared itself independent from Britain.
In 1980, Rhodesia became the independent African nation of Zimbabwe.
In 1983, the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, was severely damaged by a car-bomb explosion that killed 63 people, including 17 Americans.
In 1992, an 11-year-old Florida boy sued to "divorce" his natural parents and remain with his foster parents. (The boy eventually won his lawsuit.)
In 2002, former U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey, D.-Neb., revealed that at least 13 civilians were killed by his U.S. Navy unit in a Vietnamese village in 1969.
In 2004, in one of his first acts as Spain's prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero issued orders withdrawing all 1,300 Spanish troops from Iraq.
In 2007, More than 125 people were killed in a suicide car-bomb explosion near a Baghdad market.
In 2012, U.S. Secretary of State Leon Panetta condemned the behavior of American soldiers photographed posing with corpses of Afghan insurgents in 2010.
In 2013, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a shooting survivor, said the Senate defeated a bill on expanded background checks for gun purchases because of "political fear and ... cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association."
A thought for the day: Edward W. Howe said, "If you don't learn to laugh at troubles, you won't have anything to laugh at when you grow old."