Today is Friday, March 24, the 83rd day of 2006. There are 282 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 24th, 1765, Britain enacted the Quartering Act, requiring American colonists to provide temporary housing to British soldiers.
On this date:
In 1883, long-distance telephone service was inaugurated between Chicago and New York.
In 1934, President Roosevelt signed a bill granting future independence to the Philippines.
In 1944, in occupied Rome, the Nazis executed more than 300 civilians in reprisal for an attack by Italian partisans the day before that killed 32 German soldiers.
In 1955, the Tennessee Williams play “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” opened on Broadway with Barbara Bel Geddes as Maggie, Ben Gazzara as Brick and Burl Ives as Big Daddy.
In 1976, the president of Argentina, Isabel Peron, was deposed by her country’s military.
In 1980, one of El Salvador’s most respected Roman Catholic Church leaders, Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, was shot to death by gunmen as he celebrated Mass in San Salvador.
In 1989, the nation’s worst oil spill occurred as the supertanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on a reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound and began leaking 11 million gallons of crude.
In 1995, for the first time in 20 years, no British soldiers were patrolling the streets of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
In 1999, NATO launched airstrikes against Yugoslavia, marking the first time in its 50-year existence that it had ever attacked a sovereign country.
In 1999, 39 people were killed when fire erupted in the Mont Blanc tunnel in France and burned for two days.
Ten years ago: NASA astronaut Shannon Lucid transferred from the space shuttle Atlantis to the Russian space station Mir, beginning a five-month stay. Stargazers across the country scanned the skies in hopes of seeing Hyakutake, the brightest comet to pass by the Earth in two decades.
Five years ago: Three car bombs exploded almost simultaneously in southern Russia, killing 23 people in the worst act of terror to hit Russia outside warring Chechnya in months. A Twin Otter plane crashed into a mountainside house on the Caribbean island of St. Barthelemy, killing all 19 people on board and one person in the house. U.S. skater Michelle Kwan won her fourth World Figure Skating title; Irina Slutskaya of Russia got the silver, and American Sarah Hughes earned the bronze.
One year ago: The U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal from the parents of Terri Schiavo to have a feeding tube reinserted into the severely brain-damaged woman. The president of Kyrgyzstan, Askar Akayev, fled the country after opposition activists stormed his headquarters, seized control of state television and rampaged through government offices. Chess legend Bobby Fischer was freed after nearly nine months in Japanese detention; he boarded a flight to his new home, Iceland.
Today’s Birthdays: Animator Joseph Barbera is 95. Fashion and costume designer Bob Mackie is 66. Actor R. Lee Ermey is 62. Movie director Curtis Hanson is 61. Rock musician Lee Oskar is 58. Rock musician Dougie Thomson (Supertramp) is 55. Comedian Louie Anderson is 53. Actress Donna Pescow is 52. Actor Robert Carradine is 52. Actress Kelly LeBrock is 46. Rhythm-and-blues DJ Rodney “Kool Kollie” Terry (Ghostown DJs) is 45. TV personality Star Jones Reynolds (“The View”) is 44. Actress Annabella Sciorra is 42. Rock singer-musician Sharon Corr (The Corrs) is 36. Actress Lara Flynn Boyle is 36. Rapper Maceo (AKA P.A. Pasemaster Mase) is 36. Actress Alyson Hannigan (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) is 32. Actress Keisha Castle-Hughes is 16.
Thought for Today: “The history of almost every civilization furnishes examples of geographical expansion coinciding with deterioration in quality.” — Arnold Joseph Toynbee, English historian (1889-1975).