Thursday, March 20

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Today is Thursday, March 20, the 79th day of 2014 There are 286 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1616 - Sir Walter Raleigh is released from Tower of London to seek gold in Guyana.

1784 - Holland cedes Negapatama and Madras, India, to Britain.

1816 - U.S. Supreme Court affirms its right to review state court decisions.

1849 - Second Sikh War between Sikhs and Britain begins in India; Ludwig I, King of Bavaria, abdicates.

1850 - Another Anglo-Kaffir war breaks out in South Africa.

1852 - Harriet Beecher Stowe's influential novel about slavery, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," is published in the United States.

1896 - Marines land in Nicaragua to protect U.S. citizens in the wake of a revolution.

1899 - Martha M. Place of Brooklyn, New York, becomes the first woman to be executed in the electric chair in the United States.

1916 - Allies agree on partition of Turkey.

1942 - U.S. General Douglas MacArthur declares: "I shall return" to the Philippines after leaving for Australia in the face of a Japanese invasion.

1956 - France recognizes independence of Tunisia, with Habib Bourguiba as its first president.

1972 - Nineteen mountain climbers on Japan's Mount Fuji are killed in avalanche.

1976 - Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst is convicted of armed robbery for her part in a San Francisco bank holdup.

1987 - Italian air force Gen. Livio Giorgieri is shot dead by two youths on motorcycle. The attack is attributed to the Red Brigades terrorist group; U.S. Food and Drug Administration approve the sale of AZT, a drug shown to prolong the lives of some AIDS patients.

1988 - Honduran warplanes bomb Nicaraguan troops who chased Contras rebels into Honduras.

1989 - PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat blames Israeli government for escalating violence in West Bank and Gaza Strip.

1990 - Namibia becomes an independent nation, marking the end of 75 years of South African rule.

1991 - U.S. forces shoot down an Iraqi warplane saying it was violating a cease-fire agreement; Khaleda Zia is elected prime minister in the first peaceful, democratic transfer of power in Bangladesh.

1992 - Iraq backs down under threat of possible air raids and admits far larger ballistic and chemical arsenals than disclosed earlier.

1993 - Russian President Boris Yeltsin declares emergency rule until he can conduct a referendum on whether the people trust him or the hard-line Congress to govern.

1994 - Tunisians elect first multiparty parliament.

1995 - In Tokyo, 12 people are killed, more than 5,500 others sickened when packages containing the poisonous gas sarin leak on five separate subway trains.

1997 - The Swiss National Bank confirms that it helped other neutral European countries to buy millions of dollars worth of Nazi gold during World War II.

1998 - The Trans-Kalahari Highway, sub-Saharan Africa's first road connecting the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, is opened.

2000 - President Abdou Diouf concedes defeat in Senegalese elections, marking a rare victory for democratic change in Africa and bringing a fiery opposition leader to power.

2003 - Former U.S. Air Force Sergeant Brian Regan accepts a sentence of life in prison for attempting to sell U.S. defense secrets to China and Iraq.

2004 - Thousands of people march in cities across the globe to mark the first anniversary of the war in Iraq, demanding an end to the U.S. occupation — which some blamed for spawning more terrorism — and the withdrawal of international troops.

2005 - Iraq recalls its ambassador to neighboring, Sunni-dominated Jordan in a growing dispute over Shiite Muslim claims that Amman is failing to block terrorists from entering Iraq.

2006 - About 1,000 pro-democracy activists march in the Nepalese capital of Katmandu, demanding King Gyanendra free political detainees and give up powers he seized in 2005.

2007 - Fire engulfs a nursing home in Kamyshevatskaya, a small town in south Russia, killing 62 frail and elderly residents after the night watchman ignores two alarms and rescue workers take nearly an hour to arrive.

2008 - Australia commits $17 million to train Aboriginal nurses and doctors, as part of efforts to close a 17-year gap in the life expectancies of indigenous and other Australians.

2009 - France submits a formal request to rejoin NATO's command structure after a 43-year-absence.

2010 - Visiting U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that Israeli settlement building anywhere on occupied land is illegal and must be stopped, while a Palestinian teenager is killed in clashes with Israeli troops elsewhere in the West Bank.

2011 — Moammar Gadhafi vows a "long war" as allied forces launch a second night of strikes on Libya, and jubilant rebels who only a day before were in danger of being crushed by his forces now boast they will bring him down.

2012 — Residents of an Afghan village near where an American soldier is alleged to have killed 16 civilians are convinced that the slayings were in retaliation for a roadside bomb attack on U.S. forces in the same area a few days earlier.

2013 — President Barack Obama, on his first visit to Israel as president, affirms the Jewish state's sovereign right to defend itself from any threat and vows to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Today's Birthdays:

Ovid, Latin poet (43 B.C.-17 A.D.); Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian dramatist (1828-1906); Lauritz Melchior, Danish-American operatic tenor (1890-1973); Fred Rogers, U.S. children's TV personality (1928-2003); Carl Reiner, U.S. producer (1922--); Spike Lee, U.S. filmmaker (1957--); Holly Hunter, U.S. actress (1958--).

Thought For Today:

Spring has no language but a cry — Thomas Wolfe, American author (1900-1938).

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