updated 3/11/2005 12:02:50 AM ET 2005-03-11T05:02:50

Today is Friday, March 11, the 70th day of 2005. There are 295 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:
On March 11, 1942, as Japanese forces continued to advance in the Pacific during World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur left the Philippines for Australia, vowing: “I shall return.” (He kept that promise nearly three years later.)

On this date:
In 1810, Emperor Napoleon of France was married by proxy to Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria.

In 1861, the Confederate convention in Montgomery, Ala., adopted a constitution.

In 1888, the famous “Blizzard of ’88” struck the northeastern United States, resulting in some 400 deaths.

In 1930, former President and Chief Justice Taft was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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

In 1959, the Lorraine Hansberry drama “A Raisin in the Sun” opened at New York’s Ethel Barrymore Theater.

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

In 1965, “I Lost It at the Movies,” a collection of film criticism by Pauline Kael, was first published by Little, Brown and Co.

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 Soviet President Konstantin U. Chernenko.

Ten years ago: President Clinton nominated Deputy Defense Secretary John Deutch to be CIA director. Gerry Adams, leader of the IRA-allied Sinn Fein party, arrived in the United States for a St. Patrick’s Day visit.

Five years ago: Ricardo Lagos was sworn in as president of Chile, the second socialist to take the post since Salvador Allende was killed in a 1973 coup.

One year ago: Ten bombs exploded in quick succession across the commuter rail network in Madrid, Spain, killing 191 people and wounding more than 2,000 in an attack linked to al-Qaida. The California Supreme Court halted gay weddings in San Francisco, but only so it could take the time to decide whether they were legal.

Today’s birthdays: Actor Terence Alexander is 82. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is 74. ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson is 71. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is 69. Musician Flaco Jimenez is 66. Actress Tricia O’Neil is 60. Rock singer-musician Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge) is 58. Singer Bobby McFerrin is 55. Movie director Jerry Zucker is 55. Actress Susan Richardson is 53. Singer Nina Hagen is 50. Country singer Jimmy Fortune (The Statler Brothers) is 50. Singer Cheryl Lynn is 48. Actress Alex Kingston is 42. Actor Wallace Langham is 40. Singer Lisa Loeb is 37. Singer Pete Droge is 36. Actor Terrence Howard is 36. Rock musician Rami Jaffee (Wallflowers) is 36. Actor Johnny Knoxville is 34. Rock singer-musicians Joel and Benji Madden (Good Charlotte) are 26. Actor David Anders is 24. Actress Thora Birch is 23. Actor Anton Yelchin is 16.

Thought for today: “Death destroys a man; the idea of Death saves him.” — E.M. Forster, English author (1879-1970).

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