Today in History

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Posted: Mar 20, 2011 12:00 AM
Today in History

Today is Sunday, March 20, the 79th day of 2011. There are 286 days left in the year. Spring arrives at 6:21 p.m. Eastern time.

Today's Highlight in History:

On March 20, 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte returned to Paris after escaping his exile on Elba, beginning his "Hundred Days" rule.

On this date:

In 1413, England's King Henry IV died; he was succeeded by Henry V.

In 1727, physicist, mathematician and astronomer Sir Isaac Newton died in London.

In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe's influential novel about slavery, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," was first published in book form after being serialized.

In 1899, Martha M. Place of Brooklyn, N.Y., became the first woman to be executed in the electric chair as she was put to death at Sing Sing for the murder of her stepdaughter.

In 1956, union workers ended a 156-day strike at Westinghouse Electric Corp.

In 1969, John Lennon married Yoko Ono in Gibraltar.

In 1977, voters in Paris chose former French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac to be the French capital's first mayor in more than a century.

In 1985, Libby Riddles of Teller, Ala., became the first woman to win the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race.

In 1995, in Tokyo, 12 people were killed, more than 5,500 others sickened when packages containing the poisonous gas sarin were leaked on five separate subway trains by Aum Shinrikyo (ohm shin-ree-kyoh) cult members.

In 1999, Bertrand Piccard of Switzerland and Brian Jones of Britain became the first aviators to fly a hot-air balloon around the world nonstop.

Ten years ago: The skipper of the USS Greeneville took the stand before a Navy court of inquiry and accepted sole responsibility for the collision of his submarine with a Japanese trawler off Hawaii that killed nine Japanese. (Cmdr. Scott Waddle ended up being reprimanded, but was allowed to retire with full rank and pension.) Lori Berenson, accused of aiding guerrillas in Peru, received a retrial in civilian court (she was later convicted of terrorist collaboration and sentenced to 20 years, but was eventually paroled, a decision that's being appealed by prosecutors). Power-strapped California saw a second day of rolling blackouts.

Five years ago: Beginning the fourth year of an unpopular war, President George W. Bush defended his Iraq record against skeptical questioning at the City Club in Cleveland. Anti-war activists marked the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq with a "Bring 'Em Home Now!" concert in New York. Paul Tagliabue announced he would step down as NFL commissioner after 16 years. Japan beat Cuba 10-6 in the title game of the inaugural World Baseball Classic.

One year ago: Pope Benedict XVI sent an unprecedented letter to Ireland apologizing for chronic child abuse within the Roman Catholic church, but failed to calm anger of many victims. Thousands of protesters _ many directing their anger squarely at President Barack Obama _ marched through the nation's capital to urge immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. Former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall died in Santa Fe, N.M., at 90. Lady Bird Johnson's former press secretary, Liz Carpenter, died in Austin, Texas, at 89.

Today's Birthdays: British songstress Dame Vera Lynn is 94. Producer-director-comedian Carl Reiner is 89. Actor Hal Linden is 80. Former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney (muhl-ROO'-nee) is 72. Country singer Don Edwards is 72. TV producer Paul Junger Witt is 68. Country singer-musician Ranger Doug (Riders in the Sky) is 65. Hockey Hall-of-Famer Bobby Orr is 63. Blues singer-musician Marcia Ball is 62. Actor William Hurt is 61. Rock musician Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) is 61. Rock musician Jimmie Vaughan is 60. Country musician Jimmy Seales (Shenandoah) is 57. Actress Amy Aquino (ah-KEE'-noh) is 54. Movie director Spike Lee is 54. Actress Theresa Russell is 54. Actress Vanessa Bell Calloway is 54. Actress Holly Hunter is 53. Rock musician Slim Jim Phantom (The Stray Cats) is 50. Actress-model-designer Kathy Ireland is 48. Actor David Thewlis is 48. Rock musician Adrian Oxaal (James) is 46. Actress Liza Snyder is 43. Actor Michael Rapaport is 41. Actor Alexander Chaplin is 40. Rock singer Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) is 35. Actor Michael Genadry is 33. Actress Bianca Lawson is 32. Rock musician Nick Wheeler (The All-American Rejects) is 29. Actress-singer Christy Carlson Romano is 27.

Thought for Today: "Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment." _ Ellis Peters (Edith Pargeter), British author (1913-1995)

(Above Advance for Use Sunday, March 20)

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