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Reuters historical calendar - April 26

Written by: Staff
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LONDON, Apr 25 (Reuters) Following are some of the major events to have occurred on April 26 since 1900: 1937 - The Spanish Basque town of Guernica was bombed by German planes sent by Hitler to help Franco during the Spanish Civil War.

1942 - At least 1,540 people died in the world's worst mining disaster at a colliery in Benxi, in Japanese-occupied China.

1945 - Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, leader of France's Vichy collaborationist regime during World War Two, was arrested on treason charges.

1962 - Britain's first satellite, Ariel I, was launched from Cape Canaveral by a Thor-Delta booster.

1964 - Tanganyika, Zanzibar and Pemba joined to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. It was re-named Tanzania on October 29.

1984 - Count Basie (William Basie), U S jazz pianist and big band leader who led his orchestra from 1937, died.

1986 - A reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear complex in the Ukraine exploded and caught fire, spreading a radioactive cloud across Europe in the world's worst nuclear disaster.

1990 - Carlos Pizarro Leongomez, leader of the leftist Colombian guerrilla movement M-19 who gave up violence to run for president, was assassinated on a plane.

1992 - Thousands of Russians celebrated Orthodox Easter, bells ringing out from the walled Kremlin for the first time since Bolshevik leaders vowed to crush Christianity for ever.

1994 - South Africa held its first all-race elections for the national assembly and provincial parliaments.

1994 - A Taiwanese China Airlines A300-600 Airbus crashed at Nagoya airport, some 250 km southwest of Tokyo, killing 264 people.

1997 - Peng Zhen, the first senior victim of China's radical Cultural Revolution and a close associate of late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, died.

1998 - Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi was assassinated in San Sebastian parish in Guatemala City after overseeing a study of the atrocities in Guatemala's long civil war.

2001 - Ukraine's parliament voted overwhelmingly to oust Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko.

2002 - A 19-year-old student bent on revenge for being expelled, shot dead 12 teachers, two pupils, a secretary, a police officer and himself at the Gutenberg high school in the town of Erfurt.

2004 - Leading Polish film maker Lew Rywin was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail for soliciting a bribe in the country's biggest corruption scandal since the 1989 fall of communism.

2004 - Beijing ruled out elections in Hong Kong colony for the city's leader in 2007 and for all lawmakers in 2008.

2005 - Syria withdrew its last soldiers and intelligence agents from Lebanon, ending a 29-year military presence in its small neighbour.

2005 - Austrian-born actress Maria Schell, a film idol who captivated German-speaking audiences in the 1950s and starred opposite some of Hollywood's legendary leading men, died aged 79.

She rose to stardom in films such as ''The Last Bridge''.

REUTERS SI KN1009

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