Today is Tuesday, April 19, the 109th day of 2011. There are 256 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On April 19, 1861, a week after the Civil War began, President Abraham Lincoln authorized a blockade of Southern ports.
On this date:
In 1775, the American Revolutionary War began with the battles of Lexington and Concord.
In 1911, the Ballet Russes premiered "Le Spectre de la Rose" in Monte Carlo, with Vaslav Nijinsky and Tamara Karsavina.
In 1933, the United States went off the gold standard.
In 1943, during World War II, tens of thousands of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto began a valiant but ultimately futile battle against Nazi forces.
In 1951, General Douglas MacArthur, relieved of his Far East command by President Harry S. Truman, bid farewell in an address to Congress in which he quoted a line from a ballad: "Old soldiers never die; they just fade away."
In 1961, the Federal Communications Commission authorized regular FM stereo broadcasting starting on June 1, 1961.
In 1971, the West African nation of Sierra Leone was declared a republic.
In 1993, the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, ended as fire destroyed the structure after federal agents began smashing their way in; dozens of people, including sect leader David Koresh, were killed.
In 1995, a truck bomb destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. (Bomber Timothy McVeigh was later convicted of federal murder charges and executed.)
In 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany was elected pope in the first conclave of the new millennium; he took the name Benedict XVI.
Ten years ago: Pharmaceutical giants dropped a lawsuit against a South African law that could provide cheaper, generic AIDS drugs to millions of Africans _ ending an international battle over patent rights and profit. The musical "The Producers" opened on Broadway. Former New Hampshire Gov. Meldrim Thomson Jr. died at his home in Orford at age 89.
Five years ago: White House political mastermind Karl Rove surrendered his role as chief policy coordinator and press secretary Scott McClellan resigned in an escalation of a Bush administration shake-up. The U.S. government released a previously secret list of the names and nationalities of 558 people held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
One year ago: The U.S. and Iraq claimed a major victory against al-Qaida, saying their forces had killed the terror group's two top figures in an air and ground assault on their safe house near former President Saddam Hussein's hometown. Kenya's Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot (CHEHR'-ee-aht) won the Boston Marathon and broke the course record with a time of 2:05:52; Ethiopia's Teyba Erkesso won the women's race in a time of 2:26:11.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Hugh O'Brian is 86. Actress Elinor Donahue is 74. Rock musician Alan Price (The Animals) is 69. Actor Tim Curry is 65. Pop singer Mark "Flo" Volman (The Turtles; Flo and Eddie) is 64. Actor Tony Plana ("Ugly Betty") is 59. Former tennis player Sue Barker is 55. Former race car driver Al Unser Jr. is 49. Recording executive Suge Knight is 46. Singer-songwriter Dar Williams is 44. Actress Ashley Judd is 43. Singer Bekka Bramlett is 43. Latin pop singer Luis Miguel is 41. Actress Jennifer Esposito is 39. Actress Jennifer Taylor is 39. Jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux (PAY'-roo) is 37. Actor James Franco is 33. Actress Kate Hudson is 32. Actor Hayden Christensen is 30. Actress Catalina Sandino Moreno is 30. Actor Courtland Mead is 24. Tennis player Maria Sharapova is 24.
Thought for Today: "Never one thing and seldom one person can make for a success. It takes a number of them merging into one perfect whole." _ Marie Dressler, Canadian actress (1869-1934).
(Above Advance for Use Tuesday, April 19)
Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.