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Today in history: April 25

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

Today is Tuesday, April 25, the 115th day of 2006. There are 250 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 25 1945, during World War II, U.S. and Soviet forces linked up on the Elbe River, a meeting that dramatized the collapse of Nazi Germany’s defenses.

On this date:
In 1792, highwayman Nicolas Jacques Pelletier became the first person under French law to be executed by the guillotine.

In 1859, ground was broken for the Suez Canal.

In 1898, the United States formally declared war on Spain.

In 1906, 100 years ago, Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan was born in Newark, N.J.

In 1908, broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow was born in Pole Creek, N.C.

In 1915, during World War I, Allied soldiers invaded the Gallipoli Peninsula in an unsuccessful attempt to take the Ottoman Turkish Empire out of the war.

In 1945, delegates from some 50 countries met in San Francisco to organize the United Nations.

In 1959, the St. Lawrence Seaway opened to shipping.

In 1983, the Pioneer 10 spacecraft crossed Pluto’s orbit, speeding on its endless voyage through the Milky Way.

In 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was deployed from the space shuttle Discovery.

Ten years ago: A day after the PLO annulled clauses calling for Israel’s destruction, Israel’s governing Labor Party abandoned its long-standing opposition to a Palestinian state. Ford Motor Co. announced a recall of about 8 million cars, minivans and pickups because of an ignition switch fire hazard.

Five years ago: In unusually blunt terms, President Bush warned China that an attack on Taiwan could provoke a U.S. military response. A rescue plane flew out of the South Pole with ailing American doctor Ronald S. Shemenski in the most daring airlift ever from the pole. Ousted Philippine President Joseph Estrada became the country’s first leader to be arrested for alleged corruption in office. Federal regulators ordered limited price controls on California wholesale electricity markets.

One year ago: At his Texas ranch, President Bush prodded Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Abdullah to help curb skyrocketing oil prices. The CIA’s top weapons hunter in Iraq, Charles Duelfer, said his search for weapons of mass destruction had been “exhausted” without finding any. A packed commuter train jumped the tracks and hurtled into an apartment complex in western Japan, killing 107 people. A space capsule carrying a U.S.-Russian-Italian crew landed safely in northern Kazakhstan, following a mission aboard the international space station.

Today’s Birthdays: Movie director-writer Paul Mazursky is 76. Songwriter Jerry Leiber is 73. Actor Al Pacino is 66. Rock musician Stu Cook (Creedence Clearwater Revival) is 61. Singer Bjorn Ulvaeus (ABBA) is 61. Actress Talia Shire is 60. Actor Jeffrey DeMunn is 59. Rock musician Michael Brown (The Left Banke) is 57. Rock musician Steve Ferrone (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) is 56. Country singer-songwriter Rob Crosby is 52. Actor Hank Azaria is 42. Rock singer Andy Bell (Erasure) is 42. Rock musician Eric Avery (Jane’s Addiction) is 41. TV personality Jane Clayson is 39. Actress Renee Zellweger is 37. Actor Jason Lee is 36. Actor Jason Wiles is 36. Actress Emily Bergl is 31. Actress Marguerite Moreau is 29. Singer Jacob Underwood is 26.

Thought for Today: “A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” — William James, American philosopher and psychologist (1842-1910).