Today in History

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Posted: Apr 25, 2011 12:00 AM
Today in History

Today is Monday, April 25, the 115th day of 2011. There are 250 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On April 25, 1507, German cartographer Martin Waldseemueller produced a world map containing the first recorded use of the term "America," in honor of Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci (vehs-PYOO'-chee).

On this date:

In 1792, highwayman Nicolas Jacques Pelletier became the first person under French law to be executed by the guillotine.

In 1859, ground was broken for the Suez Canal.

In 1898, the United States formally declared war on Spain.

In 1901, New York Gov. Benjamin Barker Odell Jr. signed an automobile registration bill which imposed a 15 mph speed limit on highways.

In 1915, during World War I, Allied soldiers invaded the Gallipoli (guh-LIHP'-uh-lee) Peninsula in an unsuccessful attempt to take the Ottoman Empire out of the war.

In 1944, the United Negro College Fund was founded.

In 1945, during World War II, U.S. and Soviet forces linked up on the Elbe (EL'-beh) River, a meeting that dramatized the collapse of Nazi Germany's defenses. Delegates from some 50 countries met in San Francisco to organize the United Nations.

In 1959, the St. Lawrence Seaway opened to shipping.

In 1983, Soviet leader Yuri V. Andropov (an-DRAH'-pawf) invited Samantha Smith to visit his country after receiving a letter from the Manchester, Maine, schoolgirl.

In 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was deployed in orbit from the space shuttle Discovery. (Although Hubble was hailed as a scientific triumph, it was discovered that the telescope's primary mirror was flawed, requiring the installation of corrective components to achieve optimal focus.)

Ten years ago: In unusually blunt terms, President George W. Bush warned China an attack on Taiwan could provoke a U.S. military response. A rescue plane flew out of the South Pole with ailing American doctor Ronald S. Shemenski. Ousted Philippine President Joseph Estrada became the country's first leader to be arrested for alleged corruption in office. Estrada was convicted of "plunder" in 2007 but was immediately granted a pardon by his successor and political nemesis, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (mah-kuh-puh-GAHL' uh-ROY'-oh) Federal regulators ordered limited price controls on California wholesale electricity markets.

Five years ago: In a rare video posted on the Internet, al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (AH'-boo MOO'-sahb ahl-zahr-KOW'-ee) swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden and said any government formed in Iraq would be merely a "stooge." President George W. Bush ordered a temporary suspension of environmental rules for gasoline, making it easier for refiners to meet demand.

One year ago: President Barack Obama made a pilgrimage to Billy Graham's mountainside home, concluding his North Carolina vacation with his first meeting with the ailing evangelist who had counseled commanders in chief since Dwight Eisenhower. An al-Qaida front group in Iraq confirmed the deaths of its two top leaders a week after a raid by Iraqi and U.S. security forces on the leaders' safe house near Tikrit (tih-KREET'), north of Baghdad. British writer Alan Sillitoe, 82, died in London.

Today's Birthdays: Movie director-writer Paul Mazursky is 81. Songwriter Jerry Leiber (LEE'-buhr) is 78. Actor Al Pacino is 71. Rock musician Stu Cook (Creedence Clearwater Revival) is 66. Singer Bjorn Ulvaeus (ABBA) is 66. Actress Talia Shire is 65. Actor Jeffrey DeMunn is 64. Rock musician Michael Brown (The Left Banke) is 62. Rock musician Steve Ferrone (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) is 61. Country singer-songwriter Rob Crosby is 57. Actor Hank Azaria is 47. Rock singer Andy Bell (Erasure) is 47. Rock musician Eric Avery (Jane's Addiction) is 46. Country musician Rory Feek (Joey + Rory) is 46. TV personality Jane Clayson is 44. Actress Renee Zellweger is 42. Actress Gina Torres is 42. Actor Jason Lee is 41. Actor Jason Wiles is 41. Actress Emily Bergl is 36. Actress Marguerite Moreau is 34. Singer Jacob Underwood is 31. Actress Sara Paxton is 23. Actress Allisyn Ashley Arm is 15.

Thought for Today: "I think that the glorious thing about the human race is that it does change the world _ constantly. The world or 'life' may seem to more often overwhelm the human being, but it is the human being's capacity for struggling against being overwhelmed which is remarkable and exhilarating." _ Lorraine Hansberry, American author-dramatist (1930-1965).

(Above Advance for Use Monday, April 25)

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