Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Saturday, March 12, the 72nd day of 2016. There are 294 days left in the year. Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday at 2 a.m. locally. Clocks go forward one hour.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 12, 1912, the Girl Scouts of the USA had its origins as Juliette Gordon Low of Savannah, Georgia, founded the first American troop of the Girl Guides.

On this date:

In 1664, England’s King Charles II granted an area of land on the East Coast of present-day North America known as New Netherland to his brother James, the Duke of York.

In 1857, the original version of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Simon Boccanegra” was poorly received at its premiere in Venice, Italy. (Verdi offered a revised version in 1881.)

In 1925, Chinese revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen died.

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the first of his 30 radio addresses that came to be known as “fireside chats,” telling Americans what was being done to deal with the nation’s economic crisis.

In 1938, the Anschluss merging Austria with Nazi Germany took place as German forces crossed the border between the two countries.

In 1940, Finland and the Soviet Union concluded an armistice during World War II. (Fighting between the two countries flared again the following year.)

In 1951, “Dennis the Menace,” created by cartoonist Hank Ketcham, made its syndicated debut in 16 newspapers.

In 1967, Gen. Suharto became Acting President of Indonesia, replacing President Sukarno.

In 1971, Hafez Assad was confirmed as president of Syria in a referendum.

In 1980, a Chicago jury found John Wayne Gacy Jr. guilty of the murders of 33 men and boys. (The next day, Gacy was sentenced to death; he was executed in May 1994.)

In 1993, Janet Reno was sworn in as the first female U.S. attorney general. A three-day blizzard that came to be known as “The Storm of the Century” began inundating the eastern third of the U.S. A series of bombings in Mumbai, India, killed 257 people (the explosions were allegedly masterminded by India’s most wanted man, Dawood Ibrahim).

In 2003, Elizabeth Smart, the 15-year-old girl who’d vanished from her bedroom nine months earlier, was found alive in a Salt Lake City suburb with two drifters, Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee, who are serving prison terms for kidnapping her.

Ten years ago: Four U.S. Army soldiers attacked an Iraqi family south of Baghdad; three of them took turns raping a 14-year-old girl, Abeer Qassim Al-Janabi, whose parents and 6-year-old sister had been slain by one of the soldiers, Steven Dale Green, who then killed Abeer. (Green committed suicide in prison in Feb. 2014; the others are serving lengthy sentences.) In eastern Afghanistan, a roadside bomb killed four U.S. troops passing by in an armored vehicle.

Five years ago: Fifteen passengers were killed when a tour bus returning from a Connecticut casino scraped along a guard rail on the outskirts of New York City, tipped on its side and slammed into a pole that sheared it nearly end to end. (Driver Ophadell Williams was later acquitted of manslaughter and negligent homicide.) A Cuban court found U.S. contractor Alan Gross guilty of bringing satellite phones and other communication equipment to Cuba illegally while working on a USAID-funded democracy-building program and sentenced him to 15 years in prison. (Cuba released Gross in Dec. 2014). The Arab League asked the U.N. Security Council to impose a no-fly zone to protect Libyan rebels. Legendary American jazz drummer Joe Morello, 82, a member of the Dave Brubeck Quartet, died in Irvington, New Jersey.

One year ago: Two Ferguson, Missouri, police officers were shot and wounded in front of the police department during a protest; U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder denounced the shooter as a “damn punk.” NASA launched its Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft on a billion-dollar mission to study the explosive give-and-take of the Earth and sun’s magnetic fields.

Today’s Birthdays: Playwright Edward Albee is 88. Politician, diplomat and civil rights activist Andrew Young is 84. Actress Barbara Feldon is 83. Broadcast journalist Lloyd Dobyns is 80. Singer Al Jarreau is 76. Actress-singer Liza Minnelli is 70. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is 69. Singer-songwriter James Taylor is 68. Former Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., is 68. Rock singer-musician Bill Payne (Little Feat) is 67. Actor Jon Provost (TV: “Lassie”) is 66. Author Carl Hiaasen (HY’-ah-sihn) is 63. Rock musician Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) is 60. Actor Jerry Levine is 59. Singer Marlon Jackson (The Jackson Five) is 59. Actor Jason Beghe is 56. Actor Courtney B. Vance is 56. Actor Titus Welliver is 55. Former MLB All-Star Darryl Strawberry is 54. Actress Julia Campbell is 53. Actor Jake Weber is 53. Actor Aaron Eckhart is 48. CNN reporter Jake Tapper is 47. Rock musician Graham Coxon is 47. Country musician Tommy Bales (Flynnville Train) is 43. Actor Rhys Coiro is 37. Country singer Holly Williams is 35. Actor Samm (cq) Levine is 34. Actor Jaimie Alexander (TV: “Blindspot”) is 32. Actor Tyler Patrick Jones is 22. Actress Kendall Applegate is 17.

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