GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

April 24, 2013

Today in History

The Associated Press
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Today is Wednesday, April 24, the 114th day of 2013. There are 251 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 24, 1913, the 792-foot Woolworth Building, at that time the tallest skyscraper in the world, officially opened in Manhattan as President Woodrow Wilson pressed a button at the White House to signal the lighting of the towering structure.

On this date:

In 1800, Congress approved a bill establishing the Library of Congress.

In 1898, Spain declared war on the United States. (The United States responded in kind the next day.)

In 1915, what’s regarded as the start of the Armenian genocide began as the Ottoman Empire rounded up Armenian political and cultural leaders in Constantinople.

In 1932, in the Free State of Prussia, the Nazi Party gained a plurality of seats in parliamentary elections.

In 1953, British statesman Winston Churchill was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1962, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology achieved the first satellite relay of a television signal, using NASA’s Echo 1 balloon satellite to bounce a video image from Camp Parks, Calif., to Westford, Mass.

In 1963, the Boston Celtics won the NBA Finals in Game 6, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 112-109.

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 unsuccessful attempt to free the American hostages in Iran, a mission that resulted in the deaths of eight U.S. servicemen.

Ten years ago, U.S. forces in Iraq took custody of Tariq Aziz, the former Iraqi deputy prime minister. China shut down a Beijing hospital as the global death toll from SARS surpassed 260. In Red Lion, Pa., 14-year-old James Sheets shot and killed principal Eugene Segro inside a crowded junior high school cafeteria, then killed himself.

Five years ago, The White House accused North Korea of assisting Syria’s secret nuclear program, saying a Syrian nuclear reactor destroyed by Israel in 2007 was not intended for “peaceful purposes.”

One year ago, President Barack Obama went after the college vote, telling students at the University of North Carolina that he and first lady Michelle Obama had “been in your shoes” and didn’t pay off their student loans until eight years ago. Republican Mitt Romney swept primaries in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York. Lakers forward Metta World Peace was suspended for seven games by the NBA two days after a vicious elbow on Oklahoma City’s James Harden.

Today’s Birthdays: Film and drama critic Stanley Kauffmann is 97. Movie director-producer Richard Donner is 83. Actress Shirley MacLaine is 79. Author Sue Grafton is 73. Actor-singer Michael Parks is 73. Actress-singer-director Barbra Streisand is 71. Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is 71. Country singer Richard Sterban (The Oak Ridge Boys) is 70. Rock musician Doug Clifford (Creedence Clearwater Revival) is 68. Rock singer-musician Rob Hyman is 63. The Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland, Enda Kenny, is 62. Actor-playwright Eric Bogosian is 60.

Thought for Today, “To change and to improve are two different things.” — German proverb.