April Fools!

April Fools Day is believed to have originated in France around 1582 when the use of the Gregorian calendar was adopted by Charles IX. Prior to that time, the New Year occurred on April 1st, and, for some time after that, many refused to adopt January 1st as the first day of the year. Those who kept with the April tradition were ridiculed by their peers and labeled "fools." The practice of committing mischievous pranks on these "fools" caught on and eventually spread to England, Scotland and the American colonies. Of April Fool's Day, Mark Twain said: "The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.

Easter falls on April 20th of 2003; Good Friday is on the 18th. Passover begins at sunset on April 17th and ends at sunset on April 24th.

Baghdad officially falls to U.S. forces on April 9th. Videotape of a statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled is broadcast around the world and the gesture officially signals the fall of the deposed leader. Additionally, looting is widespread throughout Baghdad's government buildings, museums and retail stores. Fighting continues, and American soldiers discover many Iraqis are far from united with the spirit of liberation for which the operation was named. The Bush administration blames the violence on Hussein loyalists and rogue terrorist forces. As violence continues to erupt, Bush places blame on a group simply known as "insurgents," while many Americans begin to realize Iraq is actually home to a turbulent civil war between multiple religious, political and criminal factions, which might be at odds over who shall control  second largest oil reserve in the world.

April 12th finds scientists at the British Columbia Cancer Agency decode the genome for the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and discover that it's caused by a completely new corona virus. The revelation is an important component in the development of a vaccine.

April 24th marks the release of "X2," which finds a host of stars reprising their "X-Men" roles, including Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Anna Paquin, Rebecca Romijn and more.

A federal judge rules in favor of online services Grokster and StreamCast Networks on April 25th. The judge says services that allow users to exchange movies and music over the internet do not violate copyright laws.

Environmental issues take center stage on Earth Day, which is April 22. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin initiated the environmental awareness day on April 22, 1970, and it continues to inspire the country to conserve, recycle and search for alternative sources of energy.

Here are some helpful April links: