Today in history


Today is Monday, April 24, the 114th day of 2017. There are 251 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 24, 1967, Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov was killed when his Soyuz 1 spacecraft smashed into the Earth after his parachutes failed to deploy properly during re-entry; he was the first human spaceflight fatality.

On this date:

In 1792, Capt. Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle began composing “War Song for the Rhine Army,” later known as “La Marseillaise” (lah mahr-say-YEHZ’), the national anthem of France.

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 1915, in what’s considered the start of the Armenian genocide, the Ottoman Empire began rounding 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 five days later.)

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

In 1947, novelist Willa Cather, author of “My Antonia,” died in New York at age 73.

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 1997, comedian Pat Paulsen died in Tijuana, Mexico, at age 69.

Ten 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, Michigan.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama went after the college vote, telling students at the University of North Carolina that he and first lady Michelle Obama had “been in your shoes” and didn’t pay off their student loans until eight years ago. Republican Mitt Romney swept primaries in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York. Lakers forward Metta World Peace was suspended for seven games by the NBA two days after a vicious elbow on Oklahoma City’s James Harden.

One year ago: President Barack Obama, visiting Hannover, Germany, defended international trade deals in the face of domestic and foreign opposition, saying it was “indisputable” that they strengthened the economy and made American businesses more competitive. British astronaut Tim Peake completed the London Marathon from 250 miles above the Earth, running the 26.2-mile race harnessed to a treadmill aboard the International Space Station, with a simulation of the route through London’s streets playing on an iPad. (Peake finished in 3 hours and 35 minutes.) Billy Paul, 80, a jazz and soul singer best known for the No. 1 hit ballad and “Philadelphia Soul” classic “Me and Mrs. Jones,” died in Blackwood, New Jersey.

Today’s Birthdays: Movie director-producer Richard Donner is 87. Actress Shirley MacLaine is 83. Author Sue Grafton is 77. Actor-singer Michael Parks is 77. Actress-singer-director Barbra Streisand is 75. Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is 75. Country singer Richard Sterban (The Oak Ridge Boys) is 74. Rock musician Doug Clifford (Creedence Clearwater Revival) is 72. Rock singer-musician Rob Hyman is 67. The prime minister of Ireland, or Taoiseach (TEE’-shuk), Enda Kenny, is 66. Actor-playwright Eric Bogosian is 64. Rock singer-musician Jack Blades (Night Ranger) is 63. Actor Michael O’Keefe is 62. Rock musician David J (Bauhaus) is 60. Actor Glenn Morshower is 58. Rock musician Billy Gould is 54. Actor-comedian Cedric the Entertainer is 53. Actor Djimon Hounsou (JEYE’-mihn OHN’-soo) is 53. Rock musician Patty Schemel is 50. Actress Stacy Haiduk (TV: “The Young and the Restless”) is 49. Rock musician Aaron Comess (Spin Doctors) is 49. Actor Aidan Gillen is 49. Actress Melinda Clarke is 48. Actor Rory McCann is 48. Latin pop singer Alejandro Fernandez is 46. Country-rock musician Brad Morgan (Drive-By Truckers) is 46. Rock musician Brian Marshall (Creed; Alter Bridge) is 44. Actor Derek Luke is 43. Actor Eric Balfour is 40. Actress Rebecca Mader is 40. Country singer Rebecca Lynn Howard is 38. Country singer Danny Gokey is 37. Actress Reagan Gomez is 37. Actor Austin Nichols is 37. Actress Sasha Barrese is 36. Contemporary Christian musician Jasen Rauch (Red) is 36. Singer Kelly Clarkson is 35. Rock singer-musician Tyson Ritter (The All-American Rejects) is 33. Actor Joe Keery is 25. Actor Jack Quaid is 25. Actor Doc Shaw is 25. Golfer Lydia Ko is 20.

Thought for Today: “That is happiness; to be dissolved into something completely great.” — Willa Cather (1873-1947).

By The Associated Press

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