Today in History

Today is Wednesday, March 24, the 83rd day of 2010. There are 282 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 24, 1980, one of El Salvador’s most respected Roman Catholic Church leaders, Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, was shot to death by a sniper as he celebrated Mass in San Salvador. (Romero was assassinated after urging the Salvadoran military to halt death squads that had killed thousands of suspected guerrillas and leftist opponents of the government.)

On this date:

In 1765, Britain enacted the Quartering Act, requiring American colonists to provide temporary housing to British soldiers.

In 1882, German scientist Robert Koch (kohk) announced in Berlin that he had discovered the bacillus responsible for tuberculosis.

In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill granting future independence to the Philippines.

In 1944, in occupied Rome, the Nazis executed more than 300 civilians in reprisal for an attack by Italian partisans the day before that had killed 32 German soldiers.

In 1955, the Tennessee Williams play “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” opened on Broadway.

In 1958, rock-and-roll singer Elvis Presley was inducted into the Army in Memphis, Tenn.

In 1976, the president of Argentina, Isabel Peron, was deposed by her country’s military.

In 1989, the supertanker Exxon Valdez (vahl-DEEZ’) ran aground on a reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound and began leaking 11 million gallons of crude oil.

In 1995, after 20 years, British soldiers stopped routine patrols in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

In 1999, NATO launched airstrikes against Yugoslavia, marking the first time in its 50-year existence that it had ever attacked a sovereign country. Thirty-nine people were killed when fire erupted in the Mont Blanc tunnel in France and burned for two days.

Ten years ago: A federal judge awarded former hostage Terry Anderson $341 million from Iran, holding Iranian agents responsible for Anderson’s nearly seven years of captivity in Lebanon. (Anderson later received $26.2 million in frozen Iranian assets.) Sig Mickelson, the first president of CBS News, died in San Diego at age 86.

Five years ago: The U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal from the parents of Terri Schiavo to have a feeding tube reinserted into the severely brain-damaged woman. The president of Kyrgyzstan (KEER’-gih-stan), Askar Akayev (AHS’-kahr ah-KY’-ev), fled the country after opposition activists stormed his headquarters, seized control of state television and rampaged through government offices. Chess legend Bobby Fischer was freed after being detained nine months in Japan for trying to leave the country with an invalid U.S. passport; he boarded a flight to his new home, Iceland.

One year ago: In his second prime-time news conference since taking office, President Barack Obama claimed early progress in his aggressive campaign to lead the nation out of economic chaos and declared that despite obstacles ahead, “we’re moving in the right direction.” Citing the AIG debacle, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in a rare joint appearance before a House committee, asked for unprecedented powers to regulate complex nonbank financial institutions. Baseball Hall of Famer George Kell died in Swifton, Ark. at age 86.

Today’s Birthdays: Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti is 91. Fashion and costume designer Bob Mackie is 71. Actor R. Lee Ermey is 66. Movie director Curtis Hanson is 65. Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire is 63. Rock musician Lee Oskar is 62. Singer Nick Lowe is 61. Rock musician Dougie Thomson (Supertramp) is 59. Fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger is 59. Comedian Louie Anderson is 57. Actress Donna Pescow is 56. Actor Robert Carradine is 56. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is 54. Actress Kelly LeBrock is 50. Rhythm-and-blues DJ Rodney “Kool Kollie” Terry (Ghostown DJs) is 49. TV personality Star Jones is 48. Country-rock musician Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers) is 46. Rock singer-musician Sharon Corr (The Corrs) is 40. Actress Lara Flynn Boyle is 40. Rapper Maceo (AKA P.A. Pasemaster Mase) is 40. Actor Jim Parsons is 37. Actress Alyson Hannigan is 36. NFL quarterback Peyton Manning is 34. Rock musician Benj Gershman (O.A.R.) is 30. Actress Keisha Castle-Hughes is 20.

Thought for Today: “The history of almost every civilization furnishes examples of geographical expansion coinciding with deterioration in quality.” — Arnold Joseph Toynbee, English historian (1889-1975).

Posted in Today in History.

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