Today is Saturday, April 25, the 115th day of 2015. There are 250 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlights 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. Delegates from some 50 countries gathered in San Francisco to organize the United Nations.
On this date:
In 1507, a world map produced by German cartographer Martin Waldseemueller contained the first recorded use of the term “America,” in honor of Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci.
In 1792, highwayman Nicolas Jacques Pelletier became the first person under French law to be executed by the guillotine.
In 1862, during the Civil War, a Union fleet commanded by Flag Officer David G. Farragut captured the city of New Orleans.
In 1901, New York Gov. Benjamin Barker Odell Jr. signed an automobile registration bill which imposed a 15 mph speed limit on highways.
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 1944, the United Negro College Fund was founded.
In 1959, the St. Lawrence Seaway opened to shipping.
In 1964, vandals sawed off the head of the “Little Mermaid” statue in Copenhagen, Denmark.
In 1974, the “Carnation Revolution” took place in Portugal as a bloodless military coup toppled the Estado Novo regime.
In 1983, 10-year-old Samantha Smith of Manchester, Maine, received a reply from Soviet leader Yuri V. Andropov to a letter she’d written expressing concern about possible nuclear war; Andropov reassured Samantha that the Soviet Union did not want war, and he invited her to visit his country, a trip Samantha made in July.
In 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was deployed in orbit from the space shuttle Discovery. (It was discovered that the telescope’s primary mirror was flawed, requiring the installation of corrective components to achieve optimal focus.) Violeta Barrios de Chamorro was inaugurated as president of Nicaragua, ending eleven years of leftist Sandinista rule.
In 1995, show business legend Ginger Rogers died in Rancho Mirage, California, at age 83.
Ten years ago: At his Texas ranch, President George W. 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 in an addendum to his final report that 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.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama made a pilgrimage to Billy Graham’s mountainside home, concluding his North Carolina vacation with his first meeting with the ailing evangelist who had counseled commanders in chief since Dwight Eisenhower. An al-Qaida front group in Iraq confirmed the deaths of its two top leaders a week after a raid by Iraqi and U.S. security forces on the leaders’ safe house near Tikrit, north of Baghdad. British writer Alan Sillitoe, 82, died in London.
One year ago: President Barack Obama, in a joint news conference in Seoul alongside South Korean President Park Geun-hye (goon-hay), said the U.S. stood “shoulder to shoulder” with its ally in refusing to accept a nuclearized North Korea. The United States and other nations in the Group of Seven said they’d agreed to “move swiftly” to impose additional economic sanctions on Russia in response to its actions in Ukraine. In a historic vote, Northwestern University football players cast secret ballots on whether to form the nation’s first union for college athletes. (The results of the closely watched vote have yet to be released.)
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Al Pacino is 75. Ballroom dance judge Len Goodman (TV: “Dancing with the Stars”) is 71. Rock musician Stu Cook (Creedence Clearwater Revival) is 70. Singer Bjorn Ulvaeus (ABBA) is 70. Actress Talia Shire is 70. Actor Jeffrey DeMunn is 68. Rock musician Steve Ferrone (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) is 65. Country singer-songwriter Rob Crosby is 61. Actor Hank Azaria is 51. Rock singer Andy Bell (Erasure) is 51. Rock musician Eric Avery is 50. Country musician Rory Feek (Joey + Rory) is 50. TV personality Jane Clayson is 48. Actress Renee Zellweger is 46. Actress Gina Torres is 46. Actor Jason Lee is 45. Actor Jason Wiles is 45. Actress Emily Bergl is 40. Actor Jonathan Angel is 38. Actress Marguerite Moreau is 38. Singer Jacob Underwood is 35. Actress Melonie Diaz is 31. Actress Sara Paxton is 27. Actress Allisyn Ashley Arm is 19.
Thought for Today: “It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.” – Marlene Dietrich, German-American actress (1901-1992).