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Today in history: March 24

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

Today is Thursday, March 24, the 83rd day of 2005. There are 282 days left in the year. The Jewish holiday Purim begins at sunset.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 24, 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 1905, 100 years ago, author Jules Verne died in Amiens, France, at the age of 77.

In 1934, President Franklin 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 Exxon Valdez ran aground on a reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound and began leaking 11 million gallons of crude.

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: The House of Representatives passed, 234-199, a welfare reform package calling for the most profound changes in social programs since the New Deal; President Clinton criticized the bill, saying it was “weak on work and tough on children.” For the first time in 20 years, no British soldiers were patrolling the streets of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Five years ago: A federal judge awarded former hostage Terry Anderson $34 million dollars from Iran, holding Iranian agents responsible for Anderson’s nearly seven years of captivity in Lebanon. Sig Mickelson, the first president of CBS News, died in San Diego at age 86.

One year ago: Former top terrorism adviser Richard Clarke, testifying before the federal 9-11 Commission, accused the Bush administration of scaling back the campaign against Osama bin Laden before the attacks and undermining the fight against terrorism by invading Iraq. The European Union slapped Microsoft with a $613 million fine for abusively wielding its Windows software monopoly.

Today’s Birthdays: Animator Joseph Barbera is 94. Fashion and costume designer Bob Mackie is 65. Actor R. Lee Ermey is 61. Movie director Curtis Hanson is 60. Rock musician Lee Oskar is 57. Rock musician Dougie Thomson (Supertramp) is 54. Comedian Louie Anderson is 52. Actress Donna Pescow is 51. Actor Robert Carradine is 51. Actress Kelly LeBrock is 45. R&B DJ Rodney “Kool Kollie” Terry (Ghostown DJs) is 44. TV personality Star Jones Reynolds (“The View”) is 43. Actress Annabella Sciorra is 41. Rock singer-musician Sharon Corr (The Corrs) is 35. Actress Lara Flynn Boyle is 35. Rapper Maceo (AKA P.A. Pasemaster Mase) is 35. Actress Alyson Hannigan (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) is 31. Actress Keisha Castle-Hughes (“The Whale Rider”) is 15.

Thought for Today: “Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will — his personal responsibility in the realm of faith and morals.” — Albert Schweitzer, German-born missionary and Nobel laureate (1875-1965).