Today is Sunday, April 25, the 116th day of 2004 with 250 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Neptune, Uranus, Mercury and Pluto. The evening stars are Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include Oliver Cromwell, lord protector of England, in 1599; Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of the radio telegraph, in 1874; U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan in 1906; pioneer broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow in 1908; singer Ella Fitzgerald in 1918; former Harlem Globetrotters basketball player Meadow George "Meadowlark" Lemon III in 1932 (age 72); and actors Al Pacino in 1940 (age 64), Talia Shire in 1946 (age 58), Hank Azaria in 1964 (age 40), and Renee Zellweger in 1969 (age 35).
On this date in history:
In 1507, German geographer and mapmaker Martin Waldseemuller published a book in which he named the newly discovered continent of the New World "America" after the man he (mistakenly) thought had discovered it: Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci.
in 1859, ground was broken for the Suez Canal at Port Said, Egypt.
In 1862, Union forces captured New Orleans during the Civil War.
In 1898, Congress formally declared war on Spain in the battle over Cuba.
In 1901, the state of New York became the first state to require license plates on automobiles.
In 1945, delegates of 46 countries gathered in San Francisco to organize a permanent United Nations.
In 1962, Ranger 4 landed on the moon.
In 1967, the first law legalizing abortion in the United States was signed into law by Colorado Gov. John Arthur Love.
In 1982, Israel turned over the final third of the occupied Sinai Peninsula to Egypt under the Camp David peace agreement.
In 1990, Discovery astronauts released the $1.5 billion Hubble Space Telescope into orbit. The telescope was later determined to be flawed, prompting another space mission to repair it.
Also in 1990, Violetta Chamorro assumed the Nicaraguan presidency, ending more than a decade of leftist Sandinista rule.
In 1991, the United States announced its first financial aid to Hanoi since the 1960s: $1 million to make artificial limbs for Vietnamese disabled during the war.
In 1992, Pentagon officials said an airman was missing and two others were injured after a U.S. Air Force C-130 drug-interdiction aircraft was fired on by Peruvian jets.
In 1993, an estimated 300,000 people took part in a gay rights march on the National Mall in Washington.
In 1994, the Japanese Diet elected Tsutomo Hata as prime minister.
In 1995, regular season play by major-league baseball teams got underway and was the first official action since the longest strike in sports history began in August 1994.
In 1997, a federal district court in Greensboro, N.C., ruled the Food and Drug Administration had the power to regulate the distribution, sale and use of tobacco products.
In 1998, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton testified via videotape for the Little Rock, Ark., grand jury in the Whitewater case.
In 1999, Vice President Al Gore was among the 70,000 who attended a memorial service for the victims of the Columbine High School shootings five days earlier.
In 2000, the Vermont House of Representatives approved a measure legalizing "civil unions" among same sex couples. The governor signed the bill into law, making Vermont the first state in the nation to give homosexual couples the same legal status as heterosexual married couples.
In 2001, the Japanese Diet elected Junichiro Koizumi, a former health and welfare minister, as the country's new prime minister.
In 2002, Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia presented President George W. Bush with an Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal and reportedly warned Bush that the U.S. must do more to stop Israeli incursions in Palestinian territory or lose credibility in the Middle East.
In 2003, Chinese health officials closed a second hospital and ordered about 4,000 people in the capital city of Beijing to stay home as the number of cases and deaths from severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, continued to surge in the country.
Also, in 2003, Farouk Hijazi, the former director of external operations for Iraqi intelligence and a former ambassador to Tunisia and Turkey, was captured. Hijazi was believed by the U.S. government to have helped plan the failed 1993 assassination attempt on former President George H.W. Bush in Kuwait.
A thought for the day: President Kennedy said, "History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside."