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Today in history: March 21

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

Today is Tuesday, March 21, the 80th day of 2006. There are 285 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
Two hundred years ago, on March 21, 1806, Mexican statesman Benito Juarez was born in Oaxaca.

On this date:
In 1685, composer Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany.

In 1790, Thomas Jefferson reported to President Washington in New York as the new secretary of state.

In 1804, the French civil code, or the “Code Napoleon” as it was later called, was adopted.

In 1945, during World War II, Allied bombers began four days of raids over Germany.

In 1946, the United Nations set up temporary headquarters at Hunter College in New York.

In 1956, 50 years ago, “Marty” won best picture at the Academy Awards; its star, Ernest Borgnine, won best actor. Anna Magnani won best actress for “The Rose Tattoo.”

In 1960, some 70 people were killed in Sharpeville, South Africa, when police fired on demonstrators.

In 1965, more than 3,000 civil rights demonstrators led by the Reverend Martin Luther King Junior began their march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

In 1979, the Egyptian Parliament unanimously approved a peace treaty with Israel.

In 1985, police in Langa, South Africa, opened fire on blacks marching to mark the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville shootings, killing at least 21 demonstrators.

Ten years ago: General Motors and the United Auto Workers reached a settlement in a 17-day brake-factory strike that idled more than 177,000 employees and brought the automaker to a near standstill.

Five years ago: Space shuttle Discovery glided to a predawn touchdown, bringing home the first residents of the international space station. The Supreme Court ruled that hospitals cannot test pregnant women for drug use without their consent. The U.S. ordered 51 Russian diplomats to leave, in retaliation for Russia’s use of an FBI spy, Robert Hanssen.

One year ago: A high school student on the Red Lake Indian reservation in Minnesota killed five schoolmates, a teacher and an unarmed guard before taking his own life; Jeff Weise had earlier killed his grandfather and his grandfather’s companion. Armed with a new law rushed through Congress and signed by President Bush, the attorney for Terri Schiavo’s parents pleaded with a judge to order the brain-damaged woman’s feeding tube re-inserted. (The judge ended up refusing.) Ailing Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist returned to the Supreme Court bench to hear arguments despite his thyroid cancer. Cabaret singer Bobby Short died in New York City at age 80.

Today’s Birthdays: Violinist-conductor Joseph Silverstein is 74. Actor Al Freeman Junior is 72. Actress Kathleen Widdoes is 67. Singer Solomon Burke is 66. Actress Marie-Christine Barrault is 62. Singer-musician Rose Stone (Sly and the Family Stone) is 61. Actor Timothy Dalton is 60. Singer Eddie Money is 57. Rock singer-musician Roger Hodgson (Supertramp) is 56. Rock musician Conrad Lozano (Los Lobos) is 55. Rhythm-and-blues singer Russell Thompkins Junior (The Stylistics) is 55. Actress Sabrina LeBeauf is 48. Actor Gary Oldman is 48. Actor Matthew Broderick is 44. Comedian Rosie O’Donnell is 44. Rock musician Jonas “Joker” Berggren (Ace of Base) is 39. Rock M-C Maxim (Prodigy) is 39. Rock musician Andrew Copeland (Sister Hazel) is 38. “Hip-hop DJ” DJ Premier (Gang Starr) is 37.

Thought for Today: “Entre los individuos como entre las naciones, el respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz.” (Among individuals, as among nations, peace is the respect of others’ rights.) — Benito Juarez, Mexican statesman (1806-1872).