updated 3/30/2005 12:05:50 AM ET 2005-03-30T05:05:50

Today is Wednesday, March 30, the 89th day of 2005. There are 276 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 30, 1981, President Reagan was shot and seriously injured outside a Washington, D.C., hotel by John W. Hinckley Jr. Also wounded were White House press secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent and a District of Columbia police officer.

On this date:
In 1822, Florida became a United States territory.

In 1842, Dr. Crawford W. Long of Jefferson, Ga., first used ether as an anesthetic during a minor operation.

In 1867, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward reached agreement with Russia to purchase the territory of Alaska for $7.2 million, a deal roundly ridiculed as “Seward’s Folly.”

In 1870, the 15th amendment to the Constitution, giving black men the right to vote, was declared in effect.

In 1870, Texas was readmitted to the Union.

In 1945, the Soviet Union invaded Austria during World War II.

In 1955, “On the Waterfront” won the Academy Award for best picture of 1954, while its star, Marlon Brando won best actor; in an upset, Grace Kelly won best actress for “The Country Girl,” beating out Judy Garland for “A Star Is Born.”

In 1979, Airey Neave, a leading member of the British parliament, was killed by a bomb planted by the Irish National Liberation Army.

In 1986, actor James Cagney died at his farm in Stanfordville, N.Y., at age 86.

In 2002, the Queen Mother Elizabeth of England died in her sleep at Royal Lodge, Windsor, outside London; she was 101 years old.

Ten years ago: Tens of thousands of Rwandan refugees, fleeing violence in Burundi, began a two-day trek to sanctuary in Tanzania. Pope John Paul II issued the 11th encyclical of his papacy in which he condemned abortion and euthanasia as crimes that no human laws could legitimize.

Five years ago: In the midst of the 2000 presidential campaign, Vice President Al Gore broke with the Clinton administration, saying he supported legislation to allow 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez to remain in the country while the courts resolved his custody case. Russia’s Alexei Yagudin won his third title in the World Figure Skating Championships.

One year ago: In a reversal, President Bush agreed to let National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice testify publicly and under oath before an independent panel investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. British-born broadcaster Alistair Cooke died in New York at age 95.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer Frankie Laine is 92. Actor Richard Dysart is 76. Actor John Astin is 75. Game show host Peter Marshall is 75. Actor-director Warren Beatty is 68. Rock musician Graeme Edge (The Moody Blues) is 64. Rock musician Eric Clapton is 60. Actor Robbie Coltrane is 55. Rap artist MC Hammer is 42. Singer Tracy Chapman is 41. Actor Ian Ziering is 41. Singer Celine Dion is 37. Actor Mark Consuelos is 35. Singer Norah Jones is 26.

Thought for Today: “God is the sum of all possibilities.” — Isaac Bashevis Singer, Polish-born American Nobel Prize-winning author (1904-1991).

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