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    This day in history

    Today is Tuesday, April 16, the 106th day of 2019. There are 259 days left in the year.

    Birthdays: Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI is 92. Singer Bobby Vinton is 84. Red Sox pitching star Jim Lonborg is 77. Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 72. Former Massachusetts first lady Ann Romney is 70. NFL coach Bill Belichick is 67. Midnight Oil singer and former politician Peter Garrett is 66. Actress Ellen Barkin is 65. Soul Asylum singer David Pirner is 55. Actor-comedian Martin Lawrence is 54. Actor Peter Billingsley (Ralphie in “A Christmas Story) is 48. Actress-singer Kelli O’Hara is 43.

    In 1889, comedian and movie director Charles Chaplin was born in London.


    In 1945, during World War II, a Soviet submarine in the Baltic Sea torpedoed and sank the MV Goya, which Germany was using to transport civilian refugees and wounded soldiers; it’s estimated that up to 7,000 people died.

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    In 1947, the cargo ship Grandcamp, carrying ammonium nitrate, blew up in the harbor in Texas City, Texas; a nearby ship, the High Flyer, which was carrying ammonium nitrate and sulfur, caught fire and exploded the following day; the blasts and fires killed nearly 600 people.

    In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his ‘‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’’ in which the civil rights activist responded to a group of local clergymen who had criticized him for leading street protests; King defended his tactics, writing, ‘‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’’

    In 1972, Apollo 16 blasted off on a voyage to the moon with astronauts John W. Young, Charles M. Duke Jr. and Ken Mattingly on board.

    In 1986, dispelling rumors he was dead, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi appeared on television to condemn the US raid on his country and to say that Libyans were ‘‘ready to die’’ defending their nation.


    In 2007, in one of America’s worst school attacks, a college senior killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech before taking his own life.

    In 2008, the Supreme Court upheld, 7-2, the most widely used method of lethal injection, allowing states to resume executions after a seven-month halt. Pope Benedict XVI was welcomed by President George W. Bush as only the second pontiff to visit the White House (after John Paul II) and the first in 29 years.

    In 2014, more than 300 people, mostly students, died when a South Korean ferry, the Sewol, sank while en route from Incheon to the resort island of Jeju; 172 people survived.

    Last year, the New York Times and The New Yorker won the Pulitzer Prize for public service for breaking the Harvey Weinstein scandal with reporting that galvanized the #MeToo movement. Rap star Kendrick Lamar was awarded the Pulitzer for music, becoming the first non-classical or non-jazz artist to win the prize.