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Today in history: April 24

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Monday, April 24, the 114th day of 2006. There are 251 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 24, 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 several days later.)

On this date:
In 1792, the national anthem of France, “La Marseillaise,” was composed by Capt. Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle.

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

In 1877, federal troops were ordered out of New Orleans, ending the North’s post-Civil War rule in the South.

In 1898, Spain declared war on the United States after rejecting America’s ultimatum to withdraw from Cuba.

In 1915, the Ottoman Turkish Empire began the brutal mass deportation of Armenians during World War I.

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

In 1968, leftist students at Columbia University in New York began a weeklong occupation of several campus buildings.

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 abortive attempt to free the American hostages in Iran, a mission that resulted in the deaths of eight U.S. servicemen.

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

Ten years ago: The main assembly of the Palestine Liberation Organization voted to revoke clauses in its charter that called for an armed struggle to destroy Israel. Negotiators for Congress and the White House agreed on a permanent budget for fiscal year 1996.

Five years ago: A New Zealand air force plane rescued four ailing Americans at an Antarctic research station. Reformer Junichiro Koizumi was chosen president of Japan’s ruling party, guaranteeing his election as the country’s next prime minister. The Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, that police can arrest and handcuff people for minor traffic offenses. The Rev. Leon Sullivan, a pioneering civil rights crusader credited with helping end South Africa’s system of apartheid, died in Scottsdale, Ariz., at age 78.

One year 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. Former Israeli president Ezer Weizman died in Caesarea, Israel, at age 80.

Today’s Birthdays: Critic Stanley Kauffmann is 90. Actress Shirley MacLaine is 72. Author Sue Grafton is 66. Actor-singer Michael Parks is 66. Actress-singer-director Barbra Streisand is 64. Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is 64. Country singer Richard Sterban (The Oak Ridge Boys) is 63. Rock musician Doug Clifford (Creedence Clearwater Revival) is 61. Actor-playwright Eric Bogosian is 53. Actor Michael O’Keefe is 51. Rock musician David J (Bauhaus) is 49. Rock musician Billy Gould is 43. Actor-comedian Cedric the Entertainer is 42. Actor Djimon Hounsou is 42. Rock musician Patty Schemel is 39. Rock musician Aaron Comess (Spin Doctors) is 38. Actress Melinda Clarke is 37. Latin pop singer Alejandro Fernandez is 35. Actor Derek Luke is 32. Actor Eric Balfour is 29. Country singer Rebecca Lynn Howard is 27. Singer Kelly Clarkson is 24.

Thought for Today: “Never practice what you preach. If you’re going to practice it, why preach it?” — Lincoln Steffens, American journalist-reformer (1866-1936).