Today in History — April 10

/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, April 10, the 100th day of 2007. There are 265 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 10, 1912, the RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton, England, on its ill-fated maiden voyage.

On this date:
In 1790, President George Washington signed into law the first United States Patent Act.

In 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was incorporated.

In 1925, the novel “The Great Gatsby,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, was first published.

In 1932, German president Paul Von Hindenburg was re-elected in a runoff, with Adolf Hitler coming in second.

In 1957, Egypt reopened the Suez Canal to all shipping traffic. (The canal had been closed due to wreckage resulting from the Suez Crisis.)

In 1957, John Osborne’s play “The Entertainer,” starring Laurence Olivier, opened in London.

In 1963, the nuclear-powered submarine USS Thresher sank during deep-diving tests off Cape Cod, Mass., in a disaster that claimed 129 lives.

In 1972, the United States and the Soviet Union joined some 70 nations in signing an agreement banning biological warfare.

In 1981, imprisoned IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands was declared the winner of a by-election to the British Parliament.

In 1998, the Northern Ireland peace talks concluded as negotiators reached a landmark settlement to end 30 years of bitter rivalries and bloody attacks.

Ten years ago: A federal judge struck down the Line-Item Veto Act, a law that let the president strike specific items from spending bills passed by Congress. (The U.S. Supreme Court later set aside the judge’s ruling; however, the nation’s highest court ultimately struck down the veto as unconstitutional in 1998.) One-time fighter pilot and former POW Pete Peterson was confirmed by the Senate as the first postwar U.S. ambassador to Vietnam.

Five years ago: Eight Israelis were killed by a suicide bomber aboard a bus in Haifa.

One year ago: Former Enron Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling began testifying in his fraud and conspiracy trial in Houston, declaring himself “absolutely innocent.” Hundreds of thousands of people demanding U.S. citizenship for illegal immigrants took to the streets in dozens of cities from New York to San Diego. French President Jacques Chirac caved in to protesters, canceling a law on youth employment that had fueled nationwide unrest.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Harry Morgan is 92. Actor Max von Sydow is 78. Actress Liz Sheridan is 78. Actor Omar Sharif is 75. Author David Halberstam is 73. Sportscaster John Madden is 71. Rhythm-and-blues singer Bobbie Smith (The Spinners) is 71. Sportscaster Don Meredith is 69. Reggae artist Bunny Wailer is 60. Actor Steven Seagal is 56. Folk-pop singer Terre Roche (The Roches) is 54. Actor Peter MacNicol is 53. Rock musician Steven Gustafson (10,000 Maniacs) is 50. Singer-producer Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds is 49. Rock singer-musician Brian Setzer is 48. Rapper Afrika Bambaataa is 47. Rock singer Katrina Leskanich is 47. Actor Jeb Adams is 46. Olympic gold medal speedskater Cathy Turner is 45. Rock musician Tim “Herb” Alexander is 42. Actor-comedian Orlando Jones is 39. Singer Kenny Lattimore is 37. Rapper Kamaal (aka Q-Tip) is 37. Blues singer Shemekia Copeland is 28. Actress Chyler Leigh is 25. Actor Ryan Merriman is 24. Singer Mandy Moore is 23. Actor Haley Joel Osment is 19.

Thought for Today: “To understand another human being you must gain some insight into the conditions which made him what he is.” — Margaret Bourke-White, American photojournalist (1904-1971).