Today in History: March 10

Today is Saturday, March 10, the 69th day of 2018.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell’s assistant, Thomas Watson, heard Bell say over his experimental telephone: “Mr. Watson – come here – I want to see you” from the next room of Bell’s Boston laboratory.

On this date:

In 1496, Christopher Columbus concluded his second visit to the Western Hemisphere as he left Hispaniola for Spain.

In 1785, Thomas Jefferson was appointed America’s minister to France, succeeding Benjamin Franklin.

In 1848, the U.S. Senate ratified the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War.

In 1933, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake centered off Long Beach, California, resulted in 120 deaths.

In 1948, the body of the anti-Communist foreign minister of Czechoslovakia, Jan Masaryk (yahn mah-SAH’-reek), was found in the garden of Czernin (CHEHR’-neen) Palace in Prague.

In 1959, the Tennessee Williams play “Sweet Bird of Youth,” starring Paul Newman and Geraldine Page, opened at Broadway’s Martin Beck Theatre.

In 1969, James Earl Ray pleaded guilty in Memphis, Tennessee (on his 41st birthday) to assassinating civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (Ray later repudiated that plea, maintaining his innocence until his death.)

In 1973, the Pink Floyd album “The Dark Side of the Moon” was first released in the U.S. by Capitol Records (the British release came nearly two weeks later).

In 1985, Konstantin U. Chernenko, who was the Soviet Union’s leader for 13 months, died at age 73; he was succeeded by Mikhail Gorbachev.

In 1988, pop singer Andy Gibb died in Oxford, England, at age 30 of heart inflammation.

In 1993, Dr. David Gunn was shot to death outside a Pensacola, Florida, abortion clinic. (Shooter Michael Griffin is serving a life sentence.)

In 2003, shortly before the start of the Iraq war, Natalie Maines, lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, told a London audience: “Just so you know… we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” (Maines later apologized for the phrasing of her remark.)

Ten years ago: A suicide bomber killed five U.S. soldiers as they chatted with shop owners while on a foot patrol in central Baghdad. New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer apologized after allegations surfaced that he had paid thousands of dollars for a high-end call girl; he did not elaborate on the scandal, which drew calls for his resignation. Democrat Barack Obama ridiculed the idea of being Hillary Rodham Clinton’s running mate, saying in Columbus, Mississippi, that voters had to choose between the two for the top spot on the fall ticket.

Five years ago: The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai (HAH’-mihd KAHR’-zeye), accused the Taliban and the U.S. of working in concert to convince Afghans that violence would worsen if most foreign troops left – an allegation the top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Joseph Dunford, rejected as “categorically false.”

One year ago: The Labor Department reported that U.S. employers added 235,000 jobs in February 2017 as the unemployment rate dipped to 4.7 percent from 4.8 percent. President Donald Trump chose Scott Gottlieb, a conservative doctor-turned-pundit with deep ties to Wall Street and the pharmaceutical industry, to lead the Food and Drug Administration. Two girls, ages 10 and 3, were killed in a fire in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, blamed on an exploding hoverboard; a firefighter died in a traffic accident en route to the blaze. South Korea’s Constitutional Court formally removed impeached President Park Geun-hye from office over a corruption scandal. Death claimed “Bridges of Madison County” author Robert James Waller at age 77 and Joni Sledge, a member of the group Sister Sledge, at age 60.

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© 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.