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Today in History: March 11

Today is Sunday, March 11, the 70th day of 2018.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 11, 1918, what are believed to be the first confirmed U.S. cases of a deadly global flu pandemic were reported among U.S. Army soldiers stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas; 46 would die. (The worldwide outbreak of influenza claimed an estimated 20 to 40 million lives.)

On this date:


In 1513, Giovanni de’ Medici was proclaimed pope, succeeding Julius II; he took the name Leo X.

In 1810, French Emperor Napoleon I was married by proxy in Vienna to Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria.

In 1888, the Blizzard of ’88, also known as the “Great White Hurricane,” began inundating the northeastern United States, resulting in some 400 deaths.

In 1927, New York City’s legendary Roxy Theatre held its grand opening; the evening featured the premiere of the silent film drama “The Love of Sunya,” starring Gloria Swanson, who was among the celebrities in attendance.

In 1935, the Bank of Canada began operations, issuing its first series of bank notes.

In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Bill, providing war supplies to countries fighting the Axis.

In 1957, Charles Van Doren’s 14-week run on the rigged NBC game show “Twenty-One” ended as he was “defeated” by attorney Vivienne Nearing; Van Doren’s take was $129,000. American explorer Richard E. Byrd died in Boston at age 68.

In 1965, the Rev. James J. Reeb, a white minister from Boston, died two days after being beaten by whites during civil rights disturbances in Selma, Alabama.

In 1977, more than 130 hostages held in Washington, D.C. by Hanafi Muslims were freed after ambassadors from three Islamic nations joined the negotiations.

In 1985, Mikhail S. Gorbachev was chosen to succeed the late Konstantin U. Chernenko as general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party.

In 1993, Janet Reno was unanimously confirmed by the Senate to be U.S. attorney general.

In 2004, ten bombs exploded in quick succession across the commuter rail network in Madrid, Spain, killing 191 people in an attack linked to al-Qaida-inspired militants.

In 2011, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami struck Japan’s northeastern coast, killing nearly 20,000 people and severely damaging the Fukushima Dai-ichi (foo-koo-SHEE’-mah dy-EE’-chee) nuclear power station.

Ten years ago: The top U.S. military commander for the Middle East resigned amid speculation about a rift over U.S. policy in Iran; Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that Adm. William J. Fallon had asked for permission to retire and that Gates agreed. Democrat Barack Obama defeated Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Mississippi primary.

Five years ago: Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) was convicted of a raft of crimes, including racketeering conspiracy (he was later sentenced to 28 years in prison). North Korea said it was no longer bound by the 1953 armistice that ended fighting in the Korean War, following days of increased tensions over its latest nuclear test. (A U.N. spokesman said that North Korea could not unilaterally dissolve the armistice.)

One year ago: Preet Bharara, an outspoken Manhattan federal prosecutor known for crusading against public corruption, announced on his personal Twitter account that he was fired after refusing a request to resign from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had asked that leftover appointees of former President Barack Obama leave. Duke became the first team to win the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament with four wins in four days by rallying past Notre Dame for a 75-69 victory.

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© 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.