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Today in history: March 11

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Saturday, March 11, the 70th day of 2006. 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 Roosevelt signed into law the Lend-Lease Bill, providing war supplies to countries fighting the Axis.

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 1977, more than 130 hostages held in Washington 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.

In 1986, the state of Georgia pardoned Leo Frank, a Jewish businessman who had been lynched in 1915 for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan.

In 2004, 10 bombs exploded in quick succession across the commuter rail network in Madrid, Spain, killing 191 people in an attack linked to al-Qaida.

Ten years ago: On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 110.55 points to end the day at 5,581 following a 171.24 point plunge the Friday before.

Five years ago: Masked Zapatista rebels urged passage of an Indian rights bill after riding triumphantly into the heart of Mexico’s capital in a march supported by the president and welcomed by 75,000 cheering supporters.

One year ago: A judge, court reporter and sheriff’s deputy were shot and killed at an Atlanta courthouse; Brian Nichols, suspected of killing them and a federal agent, surrendered a day later.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Terence Alexander is 83. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is 75. ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson is 72. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is 70. Musician Flaco Jimenez is 67. Actress Tricia O’Neil is 61. Rock singer-musician Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge) is 59. Singer Bobby McFerrin is 56. Movie director Jerry Zucker is 56. Actress Susan Richardson is 54. Singer Nina Hagen is 51. Country singer Jimmy Fortune (The Statler Brothers) is 51. Singer Cheryl Lynn is 49. Actress Alex Kingston is 43. Actor Wallace Langham is 41. Singer Lisa Loeb is 38. Singer Pete Droge is 37. Actor Terrence Howard is 37. Rock musician Rami Jaffee (Wallflowers) is 37. Actor Johnny Knoxville is 35. Rock singer-musicians Benji and Joel Madden (Good Charlotte) are 27. Actor David Anders is 25. Actress Thora Birch is 24. Actor Anton Yelchin is 17.

Thought for Today: “Never vote for a tax bill nor against an appropriations bill.” — American political maxim.