Today's highlight in history:
On April 24, 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 of the
letters "M.I.T." transmitted from Camp Parks, Calif., to Westford,
On this date:
In 1792, the national anthem of France, "La Marseillaise" (lah
mahr-say-YEHZ'), was composed by Captain Claude Joseph Rouget de
In 1800, Congress approved a bill establishing the Library of
In 1898, Spain declared war on the United States. (The United States
responded in kind the next day.)
In 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.
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
In 1960, rioting erupted in Biloxi, Miss., after black protesters
staging a "wade-in" at a whites-only beach were attacked by a crowd
of hostile whites.
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 1997, comedian Pat Paulsen died in Tijuana, Mexico, at age 69.
Ten years ago: After an extraordinary meeting at the Vatican
sparked by a sex abuse scandal, American Roman Catholic leaders
agreed to make it easier to remove priests who were guilty of
sexually abusing minors. Michael McDermott, a software engineer
who'd claimed he was insane when he shot to death seven co-workers,
was convicted of murder in Cambridge, Mass., and automatically
sentenced to life in prison without parole.
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Five years ago: In a harsh exchange, Vice
President Dick Cheney accused Democratic leader Harry Reid of
personally pursuing a defeatist strategy in Iraq to win votes at
home -- a charge dismissed by Reid as President George W. Bush's
"attack dog" lashing out. Seven people were killed by a tornado in
Maverick County on the Texas-Mexico border. European astronomers
announced they had found a potentially habitable planet outside the
solar system. Warren Avis, the founder of Avis Rent A Car, died in
Ann Arbor, Mich., at age 92.
One year ago: Pope Benedict XVI offered an Easter Sunday
prayer for diplomacy to prevail over warfare in Libya and for
citizens of the Middle East to build a new society. Taliban
militants staged a massive jailbreak in Kandahar, Afghanistan, as
some 480 inmates escaped through a tunnel that had been dug over a
matter of months. Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu, 86, who'd served as South
Vietnam's unofficial first lady early in the Vietnam War, died in
Today's birthdays: Film and drama critic Stanley Kauffmann is
96. Movie director-producer Richard Donner is 82. Actress Shirley
MacLaine is 78. Author Sue Grafton is 72. Actor-singer Michael Parks
is 72. Actress-singer-director Barbra Streisand is 70. Former
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is 70. Country singer Richard Sterban
(The Oak Ridge Boys) is 69. Rock musician Doug Clifford (Creedence
Clearwater Revival) is 67. Rock singer-musician Rob Hyman is 62.
Actor-playwright Eric Bogosian is 59. Rock singer-musician Jack
Blades (Night Ranger) is 58. Actor Michael O'Keefe is 57. Rock
musician David J (Bauhaus) is 55. Actor Glenn Morshower is 53. Rock
musician Billy Gould is 49. Actor-comedian Cedric the Entertainer is
48. Actor Djimon Hounsou (JEYE'-mihn OHN'-soo) is 48. Rock musician
Patty Schemel is 45. Rock musician Aaron Comess (Spin Doctors) is
44. Actress Melinda Clarke is 43. Latin pop singer Alejandro
Fernandez is 41. Country-rock musician Brad Morgan (Drive-By
Truckers) is 41. Rock musician Brian Marshall (Creed; Alter Bridge)
is 39. Actor Derek Luke is 38. Actor Eric Balfour is 35. Actress
Rebecca Mader is 35. Country singer Rebecca Lynn Howard is 33.
Country singer Danny Gokey is 32. Actor Austin Nichols is 32.
Actress Sasha Barrese is 31. Contemporary Christian musician Jasen
Rauch (Red) is 31. Singer Kelly Clarkson is 30. Rock singer-musician
Tyson Ritter (The All-American Rejects) is 28.
Thought for today: "I feel proud to be living in a country
where people are not afraid to laugh at themselves and where
political satire is tolerated by the government, if not the
television network." -- Pat Paulsen (1927-1997)
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