Today in History — April 24

/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, April 24, the 114th day of 2007. 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 almost a week 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 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 prosecution and defense presented opening statements in the Oklahoma City bombing trial of Timothy McVeigh. The Senate voted 74-26 to approve the chemical weapons treaty, five days before the pact was to take effect. Comedian Pat Paulsen died in Mexico at age 69.

Five years ago: After an extraordinary meeting at the Vatican sparked by a sex abuse scandal, American Roman Catholic leaders agreed to make it easier to remove priests who were guilty of sexually abusing minors. Michael McDermott, a software engineer who’d claimed he was insane when he shot to death seven co-workers, was convicted of murder in Cambridge, Mass.

One year ago: Terrorist bombings killed at least 21 people at a beach resort on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Speaking in Irvine, Calif., President Bush said those calling for massive deportation of the estimated 11 million foreigners living illegally in the United States were not being realistic. Rabbi Moses Teitelbaum, the spiritual leader of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect, died in New York at age 91.

Today’s Birthdays: Film and drama critic Stanley Kauffmann is 91. Movie director-producer Richard Donner is 77. Actress Shirley MacLaine is 73. Author Sue Grafton is 67. Actor-singer Michael Parks is 67. Actress-singer-director Barbra Streisand is 65. Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is 65. Country singer Richard Sterban (The Oak Ridge Boys) is 64. Rock musician Doug Clifford (Creedence Clearwater Revival) is 62. Actor-playwright Eric Bogosian is 54. Actor Michael O’Keefe is 52. Rock musician David J (Bauhaus) is 50. Rock musician Billy Gould is 44. Actor-comedian Cedric the Entertainer is 43. Actor Djimon Hounsou is 43. Rock musician Patty Schemel is 40. Rock musician Aaron Comess (Spin Doctors) is 39. Actress Melinda Clarke is 38. Latin pop singer Alejandro Fernandez is 36. Actor Derek Luke is 33. Actor Eric Balfour is 30. Country singer Rebecca Lynn Howard is 28. Singer Kelly Clarkson is 25.

Thought for Today: “The door to the past is a strange door. It swings open and things pass through it, but they pass in one direction only. No man can return across that threshold, though he can look down still and see the green light waver in the water weeds.” — Loren Eiseley, American anthropologist (1907-1977).