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Today in History — April 25

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

BC-History-April 25,0607

Today in History

By The Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, April 25, the 115th day of 2007. There are 250 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

Five hundred years ago, on April 25, 1507, America got its name from German cartographer Martin Waldseemueller, who first used the term on a world map to refer to the huge mass of land in the Western Hemisphere, in honor of Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci.

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, Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan was born in Newark, N.J.

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

In 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.

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 X 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: The prosecution began calling witnesses in Timothy McVeigh’s Oklahoma City bombing trial. A federal judge ruled for the first time that the Food and Drug Administration can regulate tobacco as a drug — but said it couldn’t restrict cigarette advertising.

Five years ago: President Bush hosted Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at his Texas ranch for a day of talks. The House voted overwhelmingly, 405-9, to abolish the embattled Immigration and Naturalization Service. Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, the effervescent, sometimes volatile member of the Grammy-winning trio TLC, died in a car crash in Honduras; she was 30.

One year ago: In a rare video posted on the Internet, al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden and said any government formed in Iraq would be merely a “stooge.” President Bush ordered a temporary suspension of environmental rules for gasoline, making it easier for refiners to meet demand.

Today’s Birthdays: Movie director-writer Paul Mazursky is 77. Songwriter Jerry Leiber is 74. Actor Al Pacino is 67. Rock musician Stu Cook (Creedence Clearwater Revival) is 62. Singer Bjorn Ulvaeus (ABBA) is 62. Actress Talia Shire is 61. Actor Jeffrey DeMunn is

60. Rock musician Michael Brown (The Left Banke) is 58. Rock musician Steve Ferrone (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) is 57. Country singer-songwriter Rob Crosby is 53. Actor Hank Azaria is

43. Rock singer Andy Bell (Erasure) is 43. Rock musician Eric Avery (Jane’s Addiction) is 42. TV personality Jane Clayson is 40. Actress Renee Zellweger is 38. Actress Gina Torres is 38. Actor Jason Lee is 37. Actor Jason Wiles is 37. Actress Emily Bergl is

32. Actress Marguerite Moreau is 30. Singer Jacob Underwood is 27.

Thought for Today: “I think that the glorious thing about the human race is that it does change the world — constantly. The world or ’life’ may seem to more often overwhelm the human being, but it is the human being’s capacity for struggling against being overwhelmed which is remarkable and exhilarating.” — Lorraine Hansberry, American author-dramatist (1930-1965).