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Today in History — April 8

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

Today is Easter Sunday, April 8, the 98th day of 2007. There are 267 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hit his 715th career home run in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, breaking Babe Ruth’s record. The round-tripper was off pitcher Al Downing.

On this date:

In 1513, explorer Juan Ponce de Leon and his expedition began exploring the Florida coastline.

In 1935, Congress approved the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act, which provided money for programs such as the Works Progress Administration.

In 1946, the League of Nations assembled in Geneva for its final session.

In 1952, President Harry Truman seized the steel industry to avert a nationwide strike. (The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled that Truman had overstepped his authority.)

In 1970, the Senate rejected President Nixon’s nomination of G. Harold Carswell to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1973, artist Pablo Picasso died at his home near Mougins, France, at age 91.

In 1981, Gen. Omar N. Bradley died in New York at age 88.

In 1990, Ryan White, the teenage AIDS patient whose battle for acceptance gained national attention, died in Indianapolis at age 18.

In 1993, singer Marian Anderson died in Portland, Ore., at age 96.

In 1994, Kurt Cobain, singer and guitarist for the grunge band Nirvana, was found dead in Seattle from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound; he was 27.

Ten years ago: The space shuttle Columbia returned to Earth, ending a mission cut three-quarters short by a defective generator. The Vatican chose Archbishop Francis George of Portland, Ore., to head the Archdiocese of Chicago, succeeding the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. Singer-songwriter Laura Nyro died in Danbury, Conn., at age 49.

Five years ago: Israel announced it would pull back from two West Bank cities, taking note of President Bush’s plea. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein cut off crude oil exports to demonstrate support for the Palestinians. Arthur Andersen announced it would lay off more than a quarter of its U.S. workforce. The New York Times won seven Pulitzer Prizes, six of them related to coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks; Suzan-Lori Parks became the first black woman to win a Pulitzer for drama for her play “Topdog/Underdog” while Richard Russo won the fiction prize for “Empire Falls.”

One year ago: The Rolling Stones made their debut in mainland China with a censored — but still raucous — concert in Shanghai. Harley-Davidson Inc. opened its first dealership in China.

Today’s Birthdays: Former first lady Betty Ford is 89. Comedian Shecky Greene is 81. Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh is 70. Basketball Hall-of-Famer John Havlicek is 67. “Mouseketeer” Darlene Gillespie is 66. Singer J.J. Jackson is 66. Singer Peggy Lennon (The Lennon Sisters) is 66. Songwriter-producer Leon Huff is

65. Actor Hywel Bennett is 63. Actor Stuart Pankin is 61. Rock musician Steve Howe (Yes) is 60. Movie director John Madden (“Shakespeare in Love”) is 58. Rock musician Mel Schacher (Grand Funk Railroad) is 56. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Gary Carter is 53. Actor John Schneider is 47. Rock musician Izzy Stradlin is 45. Singer Julian Lennon is 44. Rock singer-musician Donita Sparks (L7) is 44. Rapper Biz Markie is 43. Actress Robin Wright Penn is 41. Actress Patricia Arquette is 39. Rock singer Craig Honeycutt (Everything) is 37. Rock musician Darren Jessee is 36. Actress Katee Sackhoff is 27. Actor Taylor Kitsch is 26. Actor Taran Noah Smith is 23. Actress Kirsten Storms is 23.

Thought for Today: “There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money either.” — Robert Graves, English poet (1895-1985).