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Today in History — March 28

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

Today is Wednesday, March 28, the 87th day of 2007. There are 278 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 28, 1979, America’s worst commercial nuclear accident occurred inside the Unit 2 reactor at the Three Mile Island plant near Middletown, Pa.

On this date:
In 1834, the U.S. Senate voted to censure President Jackson for the removal of federal deposits from the Bank of the United States.

In 1854, during the Crimean War, Britain and France declared war on Russia.

In 1898, the Supreme Court, in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, ruled that a child born in the United States to Chinese immigrants was a U.S. citizen.

In 1930, the names of the Turkish cities of Constantinople and Angora were changed to Istanbul and Ankara.

In 1939, the Spanish Civil War effectively ended as Madrid fell to the forces of Francisco Franco.

In 1941, novelist and critic Virginia Woolf died in Lewes, England.

In 1942, during World War II, British naval forces raided the Nazi-occupied French port of St. Nazaire in Operation Chariot.

In 1953, athlete Jim Thorpe died in Lomita, Calif.

In 1969, the 34th president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, died in Washington at age 78.

In 1987, Maria von Trapp, whose life story inspired the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The Sound of Music,” died in Morrisville, Vt., at age 82.

Ten years ago: A medical examiner revealed that some members of the Heaven’s Gate cult who’d committed suicide in a California mansion had also been castrated in apparent pursuit of the group’s ideal of androgynous immortality.

Five years ago: The Arab League, meeting in Beirut, Lebanon, agreed on a peace plan that offered Israel normal relations in exchange for a full withdrawal from war-won lands and a Palestinian state. Archbishop Juliusz Paetz of Poznan, Poland, announced his resignation, but also protested his innocence, following accusations he’d made sexual advances toward young clerics. U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Timothy Woodland was convicted in a Japanese court and sentenced to nearly three years in prison for raping a woman on the southern island of Okinawa.

One year ago: Struggling to revive his troubled presidency, President Bush replaced longtime chief of staff Andy Card with budget director Joshua Bolten. More than 1 million people poured into streets across France and strikers disrupted air, rail and bus travel in the largest nationwide protest over a youth labor law. The Kadima Party won Israel’s parliamentary elections. Former Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger died in Bangor, Maine, at age 88.

Today’s Birthdays: Former White House national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski is 79. Country musician Charlie McCoy is 66. Movie director Mike Newell is 65. Actress Conchata Ferrell is 64. Actor Ken Howard is 63. Actress Dianne Wiest is 59. Country singer Reba McEntire is 52. Actress Tracey Needham is 40. Actor Max Perlich is 39. Country singer Rodney Atkins is 38. Actor Vince Vaughn is 37. Rapper Mr. Cheeks (Lost Boyz) is 36. Actor Ken L. is 34. Actress Julia Stiles is 26.

Thought for Today: “Those who say they give the public what it wants begin by underestimating public taste and end by debauching it.” — T.S. Eliot, American-Anglo poet and critic (1888-1965).