updated 5/24/2005 12:01:15 AM ET 2005-05-24T04:01:15

Today is Tuesday, May 24, the 144th day of 2005. There are 221 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 24, 1844, Samuel F.B. Morse transmitted the message, “What hath God wrought!” from Washington to Baltimore as he formally opened America’s first telegraph line.

On this date:
In 1819, Queen Victoria was born in London.

In 1881, some 200 people died when the Canadian ferry Princess Victoria sank near London, Ontario.

In 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge, linking Brooklyn and Manhattan, was opened to traffic.

In 1941, the German battleship Bismarck sank the British dreadnought Hood in the North Atlantic.

In 1958, United Press International was formed through a merger of the United Press and the International News Service.

In 1962, astronaut Scott Carpenter became the second American to orbit the Earth as he flew aboard Aurora Seven.

In 1976, Britain and France opened trans-Atlantic Concorde service to Washington.

In 1977, in a surprise move, the Kremlin ousted Soviet President Nikolai Podgorny from the Communist Party’s ruling Politburo.

In 1980, Iran rejected a call by the World Court in The Hague to release the American hostages.

In 2002, President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a landmark nuclear arms reduction treaty in Moscow.

Ten years ago: Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss was sentenced to three years in prison and fined $1,500 for running a call-girl ring that catered to the rich and famous. Former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson died in London at age 79.

Five years ago: Israeli troops pulled out unilaterally from south Lebanon, ending 18 years of occupation. Gunmen killed five people in a robbery attempt at a Wendy’s restaurant in the New York borough of Queens. The state of Maryland dismissed its wiretapping case against Linda Tripp after a judge disallowed most of Monica Lewinsky’s testimony. Isiah Thomas, Bob McAdoo and Tennessee women’s coach Pat Summitt were elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

One year ago: President Bush sought to reassure Americans in a prime-time address that he had a plan to pull Iraq out of the violence and chaos that had marked the year since he declared an end to major combat. In a rare public apology, the FBI admitted mistakenly linking an American lawyer’s fingerprint to one found near the scene of a terrorist bombing in Spain. Severe storms flooded villages in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, resulting in an estimated 3,000 deaths.

Today’s Birthdays: Comedian Tommy Chong is 67. Singer Bob Dylan is 64. Actor Gary Burghoff is 62. Singer Patti LaBelle is 61. Actress Priscilla Presley is 60. Country singer Mike Reid is 58. Actor Jim Broadbent is 55. Actor Alfred Molina is 52. Singer Roseanne Cash is 50. Actress Kristin Scott Thomas is 45. Rock musician Vivian Trimble is 42. Actor John C. Reilly is 40. Actor Eric Close is 38. Rapper-recording executive Heavy D is 38. Rock musician Rich Robinson is 36. Actor Billy L. Sullivan is 25. Actor-rapper Big Tyme is 22. Country singer Billy Gilman is 17. Actor Cayden Boyd is 11.

Thought for Today: “It is the weakness and danger of republics that the vices as well as virtues of the people are represented in their legislation.” — Helen Maria Hunt Jackson, American author (1830-1885).

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