Today is Wednesday, March 20, the 79th day of 2019.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 20, 1995, in Tokyo, 12 people were killed, more than 5,500 others sickened when packages containing the deadly chemical sarin were leaked on five separate subway trains by Aum Shinrikyo (ohm shin-ree-kyoh) cult members.
On this date:
In 1413, England’s King Henry IV died; he was succeeded by Henry V.
In 1760, a 10-hour fire erupted in Boston, destroying 349 buildings and burning 10 ships, but claiming no lives.
In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte returned to Paris after escaping his exile on Elba, beginning his “Hundred Days” rule.
In 1854, the Republican Party of the United States was founded by slavery opponents at a schoolhouse in Ripon (RIH’-puhn), Wisconsin.
In 1942, U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur, having evacuated the Philippines at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, told reporters in Terowie, Australia: “I came out of Bataan, and I shall return.”
In 1952, the U.S. Senate ratified, 66-10, a Security Treaty with Japan.
In 1969, John Lennon married Yoko Ono in Gibraltar.
In 1976, kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was convicted of armed robbery for her part in a San Francisco bank holdup carried out by the Symbionese Liberation Army. (Hearst was sentenced to seven years in prison; she was released after serving 22 months, and was pardoned in 2001 by President Bill Clinton.)
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, Alaska, became the first woman to win the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race.
In 1990, singer Gloria Estefan suffered a broken back when a truck rear-ended her tour bus on a snow-covered highway in Pennsylvania. (Surgeons implanted titanium rods to stabilize her spine, and Estefan was able to make a comeback after months of intensive physical therapy.)
In 2004, Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide rallied against the U.S.-led war in Iraq on the first anniversary of the start of the conflict. The U.S. military charged six soldiers with abusing inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison.
Ten years ago: President Barack Obama reached out to the Iranian people in a video with Farsi subtitles, saying the U.S. was prepared to end years of strained relations if Tehran toned down its bellicose rhetoric; Iranian officials dismissed the overture, saying they wanted concrete change from Washington before they were ready to enter a dialogue. Pope Benedict XVI, visiting Angola, condemned sexual violence against women in Africa and chided those countries on the continent that approved abortion.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama ordered economic sanctions against nearly two dozen members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and a major bank that provided them support, raising the stakes in an East-West showdown over Ukraine. Four gunmen opened fire in a crowded restaurant frequented by foreigners at the Serena Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing nine people.
One year ago: Investigators pursuing a suspected serial bombing in Austin, Texas, shifted attention to a FedEx shipping center near San Antonio, where a package had exploded. In a phone call to Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump offered congratulations on Putin’s re-election victory; a senior official said Trump had been warned in briefing materials that he should not congratulate Putin.
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