Today is Sunday, April 26, the 116th day of 1998. There are 249 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:On April 26, 1986, the world's worst nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl plant in the Soviet Union. An explosion and fire sent radioactivity into the atmosphere; at least 31 died immediately.

On this date:

In 1607, an expedition of English colonists, including Capt. John Smith, went ashore at Cape Henry, Va., to establish the first permanent English settlement in the Western Hemisphere.

In 1785, American naturalist and artist John James Audubon was born in Haiti.

In 1865, John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Lincoln, was surrounded by federal troops near Bowling Green, Va., and killed.

In 1900, seismologist Charles Richter, who devised the earthquake-measuring scale that bears his name, was born in Hamilton, Ohio.

In 1937, planes from Nazi Germany raided the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

In 1945, Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, the head of France's Vichy government during World War II, was arrested.

In 1964, the African nations of Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania.

In 1968, the United States exploded beneath the Nevada desert a one-megaton nuclear device called "Boxcar."

In 1970, the Broadway musical "Company" opened at the Alvin Theatre in New York City.

In 1980, following an unsuccessful attempt by the United States to rescue U.S. Embassy hostages in Iran, the Tehran government announced that captives were being scattered to thwart any future effort.

Ten years ago: Vice President George Bush locked up the Republican presidential nomination with an easy win in the Pennsylvania primary. Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis won the Democratic contest.

Five years ago: President Clinton signed an executive order imposing new economic sanctions against Yugoslavia after the Serbian leadership in Bosnia voted against accepting a U.N.-sponsored plan to end the war. Also, Conan O'Brien was named to succeed David Letterman as host of NBC's "Late Night" program.

One year ago: In his Saturday radio address, President Clinton prepared for the opening of a community service summit by asking Congress to pay for a literacy drive for third-graders.

Today's Birthdays: Actress-comedian Carol Burnett is 65. Rhythm-and-blues singer Maurice Williams is 60. Songwriter-musician Duane Eddy is 60. Singer Bobby Rydell is 56. Actress Claudine Auger ("Thunderball") is 56. Rock musician Gary Wright is 55. Actor Giancarlo Esposito is 40. Rock musician Roger Taylor (Duran Duran) is 38. Rock musician Chris Mars is 37. Actor-singer Michael Damian ("The Young and the Restless") is 36. Rapper T-Boz (TLC) is 28. Actress Marne Patterson ("Something So Right") is 19.

Thought for Today: "For those who do not think, it is best at least to rearrange their prejudices once in a while." - Luther Burbank, American horticulturist (1849-1926).