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Friday, March 12, 2004


Today is Friday, March 12th.

The 72nd day of 2004.

There are 294 days left in the year.


Today's Highlight in History:

On March 12, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt delivered the first of his radio "fireside chats," telling Americans what was being done to deal with the nation's economic crisis.


On this date:

In 1496, Jews were expelled from Syria.

In 1664, New Jersey became a British colony as King Charles II granted land in the New World to his brother James, the Duke of York.

In 1755, In North Arlington, NJ, the steam engine was used for the first time.

In 1789, The United States Post Office is established.

In 1809, Britain signed a treaty with Persia [today's Iran] forcing the French to leave the country.

In 1850, the first $20 gold piece was issued.

In 1890, Russian dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky was born.

In 1894, Coca-Cola was sold in bottles for the first time.

In 1912, Capt Albert Berry performed the first parachute jump from an airplane.

In 1912, Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Guides, which later became the Girl Scouts of America.

In 1913, Canberra became the capital of Australia.

In 1922, Writer and leading chronicler (On the Road) of the 1950's "beat generation," Jean-Louis (Jack) Kerouac was born in Lowell, MA. He died on October 21, 1969, at his home in St. Petersburg, FL at the age of 47.

In 1925, Chinese revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen died.

In 1928, at three minutes before midnight, the St. Francis Dam 50 miles north of Los Angeles suddenly collapsed, sending a 78-foot-high wall of water crashing on a 54-mile path of destruction through communities along the Santa Clara River Valley of Ventura County and onward to the Pacific Ocean. Over 450 people lost their lives in the catastrophe, the second worst natural disaster in California history; only the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire killed more people.

In 1930, Indian political and spiritual leader Mohandas K. Gandhi began a 200-mile march to protest a British tax on salt.

In 1938, the "Anschluss" took place as German troops entered Austria.

In 1939, Pope Pius XII was formally crowned in ceremonies at the Vatican.

In 1945, Anne Frank, the Jewish teen-ager who kept a diary of her wartime experiences, died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. She was 15.

In 1945, The British Empire celebrates its first "British Empire Day" which they rename "Commonwealth Day" in 1958.

In 1947, President Truman established what became known as the "Truman Doctrine" to help Greece and Turkey resist Communism.

In 1951, "Dennis the Menace," created by cartoonist Hank Ketcham, made its syndicated debut in 16 newspapers.

In 1959, The U.S. House of Representatives joins the Senate in approving the statehood of Hawaii.

In 1963, the House of Representatives voted to grant former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill honorary U.S. citizenship.

In 1969, Paul McCartney married Linda Eastman in London.

In 1972, Hockey legend Gordie Howe retires from the NHL after twenty-six seasons.

In 1974, "Wonder Woman" debuted on ABC-TV. The show later went to NBC-TV.

In 1980, A jury finds John Wayne Gacy guilty of murdering thirty-three people in Chicago.

In 1985, Former U.S. President Richard M. Nixon announced that he planned to drop Secret Service protection and hire his own bodyguards in an effort to lower the deficit by $3 million.

In 1987, a federal judge in Washington dismissed lawsuits by Lt. Col. Oliver North seeking to stop an independent counsel's investigation of his role in the Iran-Contra affair.

In 1987, "Les Miserables" opened on Broadway.

In 1989, About 2,500 veterans and supporters marched at the Art Institute of Chicago to demand that officials remove an American flag placed on the floor as part of an exhibit.

In 1989, Prime Minister Sadiq al Mahdi of Sudan formed a new cabinet to end civil war.

In 1990, Exxon pleaded guilty to criminal charges and agreed to pay $100 million fine in a $1.1 billion settlement of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Years after millions of barrels of oil fouled Prince William Sound in Alaska, the area still has not recovered.

In 1992, Mauritius became a republic but remained a member of the British Commonwealth.

In 1993, In the U.S., the Pentagon called for the closure of 31 major military bases.

In 1993, Janet Reno was sworn in as the nation's first female attorney general.

In 1993, Several bombs were set off in Bombay, India. About 300 were killed and hundreds more were injured.

In 1997, Police in Los Angeles arrested Mikail Markhasev for the shooting of Bill Cosby's 27-year-old son, Ennis. Markhasev was later convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

In 1998, Astronomers cancelled a warning that a mile-wide asteroid might collide with Earth saying that calculations had been off by 600,000 miles.

In 2001, A U.S. Navy jet mistakenly dropped a bomb on a group of military personnel at a bombing range in Kuwait, killing five Americans and one New Zealander.

In 2002, The U.N. Security Council approved a U.S.-sponsored resolution that endorsed a Palestinian state for the first time.

In 2002, In Houston, Andrea Yates was convicted of murdering her five children in the family bathtub.

In 2002, U.S. homeland security chief Tom Ridge unveiled a color-coded system for terror warnings.

In 2002, Conoco and Phillips Petroleum stockholders approved a proposed merger worth $15.6 billion.

Ten years ago (1994):

The Church of England ordained its first women priests.

Secretary of State Warren Christopher held discussions with Chinese leaders in Beijing that were marked by blunt exchanges on human rights.

A photo by Marmaduke Wetherell of the Loch Ness monster was confirmed to be a hoax. The photo was taken of a toy submarine with a head and neck attached.

Five years ago (1999):

Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic joined NATO.

Violinist Yehudi Menuhin died in Berlin at age 82.

One year ago (2003):

Elizabeth Smart, the 15-year-old girl who'd vanished from her bedroom nine months earlier, was found alive in a Salt Lake City suburb with two drifters.

Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic was assassinated.

The U.S. Air Force announced that it would resume reconnaissance flights off the coast of North Korea. The flights had stopped on March 2 after an encounter with four armed North Korean jets.

Author Howard Fast died in Greenwich, Conn., at age 88.

Actress Lynne Thigpen died in Los Angeles at age 54.


Today's Birthdays:

Former astronaut Wally Schirra is 81.

Playwright Edward Albee is 76.

Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young is 72.

Broadcast journalist Lloyd Dobyns is 68.

Singer Al Jarreau is 64.

Actress Barbara Feldon (Agent 99 - "Get Smart") is 63

Actress-singer Liza Minnelli is 58.

Singer-songwriter James Taylor is 56.

Rock singer-musician Bill Payne (Little Feat) is 55.

Actor Jon Provost ("Lassie") is 54.

Author Carl Hiaasen is 51.

XXX-rated actor Ron Jeremy is 51.

Actor Jerry Levine is 47.

Rock musician Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) is 47.

Singer Marlon Jackson (The Jackson Five) is 47.

Actor Courtney B. Vance is 44.

Actor Titus Welliver is 43.

Former baseball player Darryl Strawberry is 42.

Actress Julia Campbell is 41.

Actor Aaron Eckhart is 36.

Rock musician Graham Coxon is 35.

Actor Samm Levine is 22.


Thought for Today:

"Ill luck, you know, seldom comes alone." -

- Miguel de Cervantes, Spanish novelist, dramatist and poet (1547-1616).


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