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updated 3/26/2007 12:06:08 AM ET 2007-03-26T04:06:08

BC-History-March 26, Adv26,0638

Adv26

For release Monday, March 26

Today in History

By The Associated Press

Today is Monday, March 26, the 85th day of 2007. There are 280 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 26, 1979, a peace treaty was signed by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat at the White House.

On this date:

In 1804, the Louisiana Purchase was divided into the Territory of Orleans and the District of Louisiana.

In 1827, composer Ludwig van Beethoven died in Vienna, Austria.

In 1892, poet Walt Whitman died in Camden, N.J.

In 1911, playwright Tennessee Williams was born in Columbus, Miss.

In 1917, the Seattle Metropolitans became the first U.S. team to win the Stanley Cup as they defeated the Montreal Canadiens.

In 1937, a 6-foot-tall concrete statue of the cartoon character Popeye was unveiled during the Second Annual Spinach Festival in Crystal City, Texas.

In 1958, the U.S. Army launched America’s third successful satellite, Explorer 3.

In 1964, the musical play “Funny Girl,” starring Barbra Streisand, opened on Broadway.

In 1971, East Pakistan proclaimed its independence, taking the name Bangladesh.

In 1982, groundbreaking ceremonies took place in Washington for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Ten years ago: The bodies of 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate techno-religious cult who had committed suicide were found inside a mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Former drug counselor John G. Bennett Jr. pleaded no contest in Philadelphia to charges stemming from a $100 million charity fraud. (Bennett was sentenced to 12 years in prison for fraud, tax violations and money laundering.)

Five years ago: Yasser Arafat decided not to attend a key Arab summit in Beirut, Lebanon; his Cabinet accused Israel of trying to “blackmail” the Palestinian leader with tough conditions for allowing him to go. Arthur Andersen chief executive Joseph Berardino resigned, bowing to mounting pressure as a result of the accounting firm’s role in the Enron scandal. President Bush nominated Dr. Richard Carmona to be surgeon general.

One year ago: An Afghan court dismissed the case against Abdul Rahman, who was facing possible execution for converting from Islam to Christianity. Paul Dana, 30, died when he slammed into a stopped car during a warmup session of the Toyota Indy 300 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Today’s Birthdays: Jazz musician James Moody is 82. Conductor-composer Pierre Boulez is 82. Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is 77. Actor-director Leonard Nimoy is

76. Actor Alan Arkin is 73. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is 67. Actor James Caan is 67. Author Erica Jong is 65. Journalist Bob Woodward is 64. Singer Diana Ross is 63. Actor Johnny Crawford is 61. Rock singer Steven Tyler is 59. Singer and TV personality Vicki Lawrence is 58. Actor Ernest Thomas is 58. Singer Teddy Pendergrass is 57. Comedian Martin Short is 57. Country singer Ronnie McDowell is 57. Movie composer Alan Silvestri is 57. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao is

54. Country singer Dean Dillon is 52. Country singer Charly McClain is 51. TV personality Leeza Gibbons is 50. Actress Jennifer Grey is

47. Basketball player John Stockton is 45. Actor Michael Imperioli is 41. Rock musician James Iha is 39. Country singer Kenny Chesney is 39. Actor T.R. Knight is 34. Rapper Juvenile is 32. Actress Amy Smart is 31. Actress Keira Knightley is 22. Rapper J-Kwon is 21.

Thought for Today: “The man who never tells an unpalatable truth ’at the wrong time’ (the right time has yet to be discovered) is the man whose success in life is fairly well assured.” — Agnes Repplier, American essayist (1858-1950).

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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