Today in History

AP News
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Posted: Mar 16, 2011 12:00 AM
Today in History

Today is Wednesday, March 16, the 75th day of 2011. There are 290 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On March 16, 1802, President Thomas Jefferson signed a measure authorizing the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

On this date:

In 1751, James Madison, fourth president of the United States, was born in Port Conway, Va.

In 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel "The Scarlet Letter" was first published.

In 1926, rocket science pioneer Robert H. Goddard successfully tested the first liquid-fueled rocket, in Auburn, Mass.

In 1968, during the Vietnam War, the My Lai (mee ly) Massacre of Vietnamese civilians was carried out by U.S. Army troops; estimates of the death toll vary between 347 and 504.

In 1971, former Republican presidential candidate Thomas E. Dewey, 68, died in Bal Harbour, Fla.; American actress Bebe Daniels, 70, died in London.

In 1984, William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, was kidnapped by terrorists (he was tortured by his captors and killed in 1985).

In 1985, Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press, was abducted in Beirut; he was released in Dec. 1991.

In 1991, U.S. skaters Kristi Yamaguchi, Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan swept the World Figure Skating Championships in Munich, Germany.

In 1994, figure skater Tonya Harding pleaded guilty in Portland, Ore., to conspiracy to hinder prosecution for covering up an attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan, avoiding jail but drawing a $100,000 fine.

In 2003, American activist Rachel Corrie, 23, was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer while trying to block the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip.

Ten years ago: Rap impresario Sean "Puffy" Combs was acquitted in New York of taking an illegal handgun into a crowded Manhattan hip-hop club where three people were later wounded; he was also cleared of trying to bribe his way out of trouble. Combs' bodyguard, Anthony "Wolf" Jones, was acquitted of the same charges. Saudi commandos ended the hijacking of a Russian plane by armed Chechens in a raid that resulted in the deaths of a flight attendant, a hijacker and a passenger.

Five years ago: Iraq's new parliament met briefly for the first time; lawmakers took the oath but did no business and adjourned after just 40 minutes, unable to agree on a speaker, let alone a prime minister. The Senate narrowly passed a $2.8 trillion election-year budget blueprint.

One year ago: In testy exchanges with Republicans, Attorney General Eric Holder told a House Appropriations subcommittee that Osama bin Laden would never face trial in the United States because he would not be captured alive. Lance Mackey won the 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to become the first musher in the event's 38-year history to win four consecutive races.

Today's Birthdays: Comedian-director Jerry Lewis is 85. Country singer Ray Walker (The Jordanaires) is 77. Movie director Bernardo Bertolucci is 70. Game show host Chuck Woolery is 70. Singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker is 69. Country singer Robin Williams is 64. Actor Erik Estrada is 62. Actor Victor Garber is 62. Actress Kate Nelligan is 60. Country singer Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel) is 60. Rock singer-musician Nancy Wilson (Heart) is 57. Golfer Hollis Stacy is 57. Actress Isabelle Huppert is 56. Actor Clifton Powell is 55. Rapper-actor Flavor Flav (Public Enemy) is 52. Rock musician Jimmy DeGrasso is 48. Folk singer Patty Griffin is 47. Country singer Tracy Bonham is 44. Actress Lauren Graham is 44. Actor Judah Friedlander (FREED'-lan-duhr) is 42. Actor Alan Tudyk (TOO'-dihk) is 40. Actor Tim Kang (TV: "The Mentalist") is 38. Rhythm-and-blues singer Blu Cantrell is 35. Actress Brooke Burns is 33. Rock musician Wolfgang Van Halen is 20.

Thought for Today: "The only joy in the world is to begin." _ Cesare Pavese (CHAY'-zah-ray pah-VAY'-zay), Italian novelist (1908-1950).

(Above Advance for Use Wednesday, March 16)

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