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14th of April

The 14th of April is known as Pan American Day to commemorate the first international conference of American countries – observed in 24 American Nations and is a public holiday in many including Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Uruguay. The 14th of April is also the second day of the New Year’s celebration of Songkran or Pii Mai (13th to 15th of April) in the country of Laos and Thailand. The 14th of April is the 104th day of the year (Gregorian calendar) or 105th in a leap year.

 

 

 

 

 

14th of April

 

On the 14th of April 2003

The largest collaboration in the world’s history for biological research is completed with the successful completion of the “Human Genome Project” announced. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is made from two strands twisted to form a helix. Each strand is made from nucleotides which are chemical units made of four possible bases, either guanine (G), cytosine (C), adenine (A) and thymine (T) (G.C.A.T). a base on one strand will always pair up with the corresponding base on the other strand; A will always pair with T and C will always pair with G. DNA is used to code how proteins are ‘grown’ to make various features of biological entities. The colour of your eyes, for example, would have been programmed from the DNA passed through your parents. The genome is the complete guide to the creation of a species, in this case Homo-Sapiens, and was gained by cataloguing all the DNA strands in the Human body. Although most of the code is not yet understood it was a remarkable achievement to catalogue the 3 billion or so pairs in our genome. The finished Human Genome Project is 99 percent complete with less than 400 gaps and an accuracy of less than one error in 10,000 pairs which is pretty incredible.

    

On the 14th of April 1865

Just 5 days after the Confederate military leader, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union military leader, General Ulysses S. Grant, United States President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. The day was Good Friday and as Lincoln watched a performance of “Our American Cousin” at the Ford theatre, he was fatally shot by actor and confederate sympathiser, John Wilkes Booth. This was part of a much larger plan. In March of that year Booth had been part of a plan to kidnap the President and take him to the confederate capital of Richmond, but Lincoln didn’t show where Booth had planned to kidnap him and with the civil war effectively ending five days before he had to come up with a new plan. The plan was to assassinate President Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Seward simultaneously. Booth assigned himself to killing Lincoln at the theatre and had ordered fellow conspirators, George A. Atzerodt, to kill the Vice President and Lewis T. Powell to kill Seward.  On the 14th of April 1865 Booth entered the Presidents private booth at the theatre and shot Lincoln in the back of the head before jumping from the box and escaping. Powell broke into the home of the Secretary of State and seriously wounded Seward and three others, but Seward survived and conspirator Atzerodt ran away. With the Vice President and Secretary of state safe, the plan didn’t have the desired affect.