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Friday, March 19, 2004


Today is Friday, March 19th

The 79th day of 2004.

There are 287 days left in the year.

This is the date the swallows traditionally return to the San Juan Capistrano Mission in California.


Today's Highlight in History:

One year ago, on March 19, 2003, President Bush ordered the start of war against Iraq. (Because of the time difference, it was early March 20 in Iraq; U.S. forces bombarded Baghdad with cruise missiles and precision-guided bombs aimed at Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi leaders.)


On this date:

In 721, B.C.E., according to the Roman historian Ptolemy, Babylonian astronomers noted history's first recorded eclipse: an eclipse of the moon.

In 1628, 90 Puritan merchants (New England Co.) receive New World land patent; Massachusetts Colony founded

In 1748, English Naturalization Act passes granting Jews right to colonize US.

In 1822, The city of Boston, Massachusetts, was incorporated.

In 1831, The first reported bank heist in U.S. history takes place when $245,000 is stolen from the City Bank in New York City.

In 1848, American frontiersman and law enforcement officer Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp was born in Monmouth, Illinois. He died in 1929.

In 1859, the opera "Faust" by Charles Gounod premiered in Paris.

In 1895, The Los Angeles Railway was established to provide streetcar service.

In 1908, The state of Maryland barred Christian Scientists from practicing without medical diplomas.

In 1917, the Supreme Court upheld the eight-hour work day for railroads.

In 1918, Congress approved daylight-saving time.

In 1931, Nevada legalized gambling.

In 1945, about 800 people were killed as kamikaze planes attacked the U.S. carrier Franklin off Japan; the ship, however, was saved.

In 1945, Adolf Hitler issued his "Nero Decree," ordering the destruction of German facilities that could fall into Allied hands.

In 1951, Herman Wouk's war novel "The Caine Mutiny" was published.

In 1953, the Academy Awards ceremony was televised for the first time; "The Greatest Show on Earth" was named best picture of 1952.

In 1973, "POWs Return from Vietnam" Shortly after the Paris cease-fire agreement was signed, North Vietnam began releasing American prisoners of war. The most touching reunion seen on TV took place at California's Travis Air Force Base, as Lt. Col. Robert Stirm stepped onto the tarmac. His eldest daughter, Lorrie, 15, beamed as she rushed at her father with arms outstretched, followed closely by her brothers, her sister, and her mother, Loretta. The scene personified Operation Homecoming, during which 591 serviceman were released.

In 1975, Pennsylvania became the first state to allow girls to compete with boys in high school sports.

In 1976, Buckingham Palace announced the separation of Princess Margaret and her husband, the Earl of Snowdon, after 16 years of marriage.

In 1977, The last episode of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" aired.

In 1979, the U.S. House of Representatives began televising its day-to-day business.

In 1980, The Prime Interest Rate went to 19.0 percent

In 1982, The 100th episode of "Dallas" aired on CBS.

In 1984, 20 years ago, The Prime Interest Rate went to 11.5 percent

In 1984, The TV show "Kate and Allie" premiered.

In 1987, Televangelist Jim Bakker resigns from the PTL following a sex scandal that involved himself and his secretary, Jessica Hahn.

In 1988, Two British soldiers were killed by mourners at a funeral in Belfast, North Ireland. The soldiers were shot to death after being dragged from a car and beaten.

In 1989, The 300th episode of "Dallas" aired on CBS.

In 1990, Latvia's political opposition claimed victory in the republic's first free elections in 50 years.

In 1997, The 200th episode of "Beverly Hills 90210" was aired on FOX.

In 1998, The World Health Organization warned of tuberculosis epidemic that could kill 70 million people in next two decades.

In 2000, Vector Data Systems conducted a simulation of the 1993 Branch Davidian siege in Waco, TX. The simulation showed that the government had not fired first.

In 2001, California officials declared a power alert and ordered the first of two days of rolling blackouts.

In 2002, Operation Anaconda, the largest U.S.-led ground offensive since the Gulf War, ended in eastern Afghanistan. During the operation, which began on March 2, it was reported that at least 500 Taliban and al Qaeda fighters were killed. Eleven allied troops were killed during the same operation.

In 2002, Actor Ben Kingsley was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

Ten years ago (1994):

Talks between North Korea and South Korea collapsed, imperiling a U.S.-brokered deal to resolve the North Korean nuclear dispute.

In his weekly radio address, President Clinton promised to tell people "all across America about our health reform plan and what it really means."

Five years ago (1999):

During a White House news conference, Clinton prepared the nation for airstrikes against Serbian targets following the collapse of Kosovo peace talks in Paris.

A powerful bomb shattered an outdoor food market in Vladikavkaz, Russia, killing at least 53 people.

One year ago (2003):

Tobacco farmer Dwight Ware Watson, who'd claimed to be carrying bombs in a tractor and trailer that he'd driven into a pond on Washington's National Mall, surrendered after disrupting traffic for two days; there were no explosives.

Six men hijacked a Cuban airliner at knifepoint to the Florida Keys to seek asylum in the United States. (The six were later convicted of federal hijacking charges.)

Mahmoud Abbas accepted the position of Palestinian prime minister.


Today's Birthdays:

Former White House national security adviser Brent Scowcroft is 79.

Actor-director Patrick McGoohan is 76.

Theologian Hans Kung is 76.

Jazz musician Ornette Coleman is 74.

Author Philip Roth is 71.

Actress Renee Taylor is 71.

Actress-singer Phyllis Newman is 69.

Actress Ursula Andress is 68.

Singer Clarence "Frogman" Henry is 67.

Rock musician Paul Atkinson (The Zombies) is 58.

Singer Ruth Pointer (The Pointer Sisters) is 58.

Actress Glenn Close is 57.

Actor Bruce Willis is 49.

Rock musician Gert Bettens (K's Choice) is 34.

Rock musician Zach Lind (Jimmy Eat World) is 28.

Actor Craig Lamar Traylor ("Malcolm in the Middle") is 15.


Thought for Today:

"History is always repeating itself, but each time the price goes up." -

— Anonymous.


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