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Today in history: March 29

/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, March 29, the 88th day of 2005. There are 277 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 29, 1973, the last United States combat troops left South Vietnam, ending America’s direct military involvement in the Vietnam War.

On this date:
In 1638, Swedish colonists settled in present-day Delaware.

In 1790, the 10th president of the United States, John Tyler, was born in Charles City County, Va.

In 1847, victorious forces led by Gen. Winfield Scott occupied the city of Vera Cruz after Mexican defenders capitulated.

In 1867, the British Parliament passed the North America Act to create the Dominion of Canada.

In 1882, the Knights of Columbus was chartered in Connecticut.

In 1943, World War II meat, butter and cheese rationing began.

In 1951, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage. (They were executed in June 1953.)

In 1962, Jack Paar hosted NBC’s “Tonight” show for the final time.

In 1971, Army Lt. William L. Calley Jr. was convicted of murdering at least 22 Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai massacre. (Calley ended up spending three years under house arrest.)

In 1974, eight Ohio National Guardsmen were indicted on charges stemming from the shooting deaths of four students at Kent State University. (The guardsmen were later acquitted.)

Ten years ago: The House of Representatives rejected, 227-204, a constitutional amendment placing term limits on lawmakers. (The rejected proposal would have limited terms to 12 years in the House and Senate.)

Five years ago: President Clinton told a news conference he was appalled when he first learned his campaign had taken illegal foreign donations in 1996 — contributions he called both wrong and unneeded. A federal judge ruled that President Clinton “committed a criminal violation of the Privacy Act” by releasing personal letters to undermine the credibility of Kathleen Willey, one of his accusers.

One year ago: Massachusetts lawmakers approved a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and legalize civil unions, sending the issue to the next legislative session. President Bush welcomed seven former Soviet-bloc nations (Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Latvia and Estonia) into NATO during a White House ceremony. In a stinging rebuke, Secretary-General Kofi Annan fired one top U.N. official and demoted another for security failures leading to the Aug. 19 bombing of the U.N.’s Baghdad headquarters that killed 22 people. At least 19 people were killed in a wave of terrorist violence in Uzbekistan.

Today’s Birthdays: Former U.S. Sen. Eugene McCarthy is 89. Political commentator John McLaughlin is 78. Author Judith Guest is 69. Former British Prime Minister John Major is 62. Comedian Eric Idle is 62. Composer Vangelis is 62. Singer Bobby Kimball (Toto) is 58. Actor Chris Lawford is 50. Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas is 49. Actor Christopher Lambert is 48. Rock singer Perry Farrell (Porno for Pyros; Jane’s Addiction) is 46. Model Elle Macpherson is 42. Rock singer-musician John Popper (Blues Traveler) is 38. Actress Lucy Lawless is 37. Country singer Regina Leigh (Regina Regina) is 37. Country singer Brady Seals is 36. Tennis player Jennifer Capriati is 29.

Thought for Today: “Tolerance always has limits — it cannot tolerate what is itself actively intolerant.” — Sidney Hook, American philosopher and author.