Today in History

Today is Friday, April 24, the 114th day of 2015. There are 251 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On April 24, 1915, what's regarded as the start of the Armenian genocide began as the Ottoman Empire rounded up Armenian political and cultural leaders in Constantinople.

On this date:

In 1792, the national anthem of France, "La Marseillaise" (lah mahr-say-YEHZ'), was composed by Captain Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle.

In 1800, Congress approved a bill establishing the Library of Congress.

In 1898, Spain declared war on the United States. (The United States responded in kind the next day.)

In 1916, some 1,600 Irish nationalists launched the Easter Rising by seizing several key sites in Dublin. (The rising was put down by British forces almost a week later.)

In 1932, in the Free State of Prussia, the Nazi Party gained a plurality of seats in parliamentary elections.

In 1953, British statesman Winston Churchill was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1962, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology achieved the first satellite relay of a television signal, using NASA's Echo 1 balloon satellite to bounce a video image from Camp Parks, California, to Westford, Massachusetts.

In 1970, the People's Republic of China launched its first satellite, which kept transmitting a song, "The East Is Red."

In 1980, the United States launched an unsuccessful attempt to free the American hostages in Iran, a mission that resulted in the deaths of eight U.S. servicemen.

In 1986, Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, for whom King Edward VIII had given up the British throne, died in Paris at age 89.

In 1990, the space shuttle Discovery blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying the $1.5 billion Hubble Space Telescope.

In 1995, the final bomb linked to the Unabomber exploded inside the Sacramento, California, offices of a lobbying group for the wood products industry, killing chief lobbyist Gilbert B. Murray. (Theodore Kaczynski was later sentenced to four lifetimes in prison for a series of bombings that killed three men and injured 29 others.)

Ten years ago: Pope Benedict XVI formally began his stewardship of the Roman Catholic Church; the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said in his installation homily that as pontiff he would listen to the will of God in governing the world's 1.1 billion Catholics. South Korean scientists succeeded in cloning a dog as an Afghan hound puppy named "Snuppy" was born. Former Israeli president Ezer Weizman died in Caesarea, Israel, at age 80.

Five years ago: The policy-setting panel of the International Monetary Fund, with a nervous eye on Greece, pledged during a meeting in Washington to address the risks posed to the global recovery from high government debt. A dozen people were killed by a tornado system that bumped down in Louisiana before plowing into Mississippi and then Alabama. Etiquette expert Elizabeth Post (granddaughter-in-law of Emily Post) died in Naples, Florida, at 89.

One year ago: An Afghan government security guard opened fire on foreign doctors at a Kabul hospital, killing three Americans in the latest of a deadly string of attacks on Western civilians in the capital. The tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands took on the United States and the world's eight other nuclear-armed nations with an unprecedented lawsuit demanding they meet their obligations toward disarmament and accusing them of "flagrant violations" of international law.

Today's Birthdays: Movie director-producer Richard Donner is 85. Actress Shirley MacLaine is 81. Author Sue Grafton is 75. Actor-singer Michael Parks is 75. Actress-singer-director Barbra Streisand is 73. Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is 73. Country singer Richard Sterban (The Oak Ridge Boys) is 72. Rock musician Doug Clifford (Creedence Clearwater Revival) is 70. Rock singer-musician Rob Hyman is 65. The Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland, Enda Kenny, is 64. Actor-playwright Eric Bogosian is 62. Rock singer-musician Jack Blades (Night Ranger) is 61. Actor Michael O'Keefe is 60. Rock musician David J (Bauhaus) is 58. Actor Glenn Morshower is 56. Rock musician Billy Gould is 52. Actor-comedian Cedric the Entertainer is 51. Actor Djimon Hounsou (JEYE'-mihn OHN'-soo) is 51. Rock musician Patty Schemel is 48. Rock musician Aaron Comess (Spin Doctors) is 47. Actress Melinda Clarke is 46. Actor Rory McCann (TV: "Game of Thrones") is 46. Latin pop singer Alejandro Fernandez is 44. Country-rock musician Brad Morgan (Drive-By Truckers) is 44. Rock musician Brian Marshall (Creed; Alter Bridge) is 42. Actor Derek Luke is 41. Actor Eric Balfour is 38. Actress Rebecca Mader is 38. Country singer Rebecca Lynn Howard is 36. Country singer Danny Gokey is 35. Actor Austin Nichols is 35. Actress Sasha Barrese is 34. Contemporary Christian musician Jasen Rauch (Red) is 34. Singer Kelly Clarkson is 33. Rock singer-musician Tyson Ritter (The All-American Rejects) is 31. Actor Doc Shaw is 23. Golfer Lydia Ko is 18.

Thought for Today: "The door to the past is a strange door. It swings open and things pass through it, but they pass in one direction only. No man can return across that threshold, though he can look down still and see the green light waver in the water weeds." — Loren Eiseley, American anthropologist (1907-1977).

(Above Advance for Use Friday, April 24)

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