On this day - March 20

2012-03-20 08:46
Today is Tuesday, March 20, the 80th day of 2012. There are 286 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1616 - Sir Walter Raleigh is released from Tower of London to seek gold in Guyana.

1784 - Holland cedes Negapatama and Madras, India, to Britain.

1816 - US Supreme Court affirms its right to review state court decisions.

1849 - Second Sikh War between Sikhs and Britain begins in India; Ludwig I, King of Bavaria, abdicates.

1852 - Harriet Beecher Stowe's influential novel about slavery, "Uncle Tom's Cabin", is published in the United States.

1896 - Marines land in Nicaragua to protect US citizens in the wake of a revolution.

1899 - Martha M Place of Brooklyn, New York, becomes the first woman to be executed in the electric chair in the United States.

1916 - Allies agree on partition of Turkey.

1942 - US General Douglas MacArthur declares: "I shall return" to the Philippines after leaving for Australia in the face of a Japanese invasion.

1956 - France recognises independence of Tunisia, with Habib Bourguiba as its first president.

1972 - Nineteen mountain climbers on Japan's Mount Fuji are killed in avalanche.

1976 - Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst is convicted of armed robbery for her part in a San Francisco bank holdup.

1987 - Italian air force General Livio Giorgieri is shot dead by two youths on motorcycle. The attack is attributed to the Red Brigades terrorist group; US Food and Drug Administration approve the sale of AZT, a drug shown to prolong the lives of some Aids patients.

1988 - Honduran warplanes bomb Nicaraguan troops who chased Contras rebels into Honduras.

1989 - PLO Chairperson Yasser Arafat blames Israeli government for escalating violence in West Bank and Gaza Strip.

1990 - Namibia becomes an independent nation, marking the end of 75 years of South African rule.

1991 - US forces shoot down an Iraqi warplane saying it was violating a cease-fire agreement; Khaleda Zia is elected prime minister in the first peaceful, democratic transfer of power in Bangladesh.

1992 - Iraq backs down under threat of possible air raids and admits far larger ballistic and chemical arsenals than disclosed earlier.

1993 - Russian President Boris Yeltsin declares emergency rule until he can conduct a referendum on whether the people trust him or the hard-line Congress to govern.

1994 - Tunisians elect first multiparty parliament.

1995 - In Tokyo, 12 people are killed, more than 5 500 others sickened when packages containing the poisonous gas sarin leak on five separate subway trains.

1997 - The Swiss National Bank confirms that it helped other neutral European countries to buy millions of dollars worth of Nazi gold during World War II.

1998 - The Trans-Kalahari Highway, sub-Saharan Africa's first road connecting the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, is opened.

2000 - President Abdou Diouf concedes defeat in Senegalese elections, marking a rare victory for democratic change in Africa and bringing a fiery opposition leader to power.

2003 - Former US Air Force Sergeant Brian Regan accepts a sentence of life in prison for attempting to sell US defence secrets to China and Iraq.

2004 - Thousands of people march in cities across the globe to mark the first anniversary of the war in Iraq, demanding an end to the US occupation - which some blamed for spawning more terrorism - and the withdrawal of international troops.

2005 - Iraq recalls its ambassador to neighbouring, Sunni-dominated Jordan in a growing dispute over Shiite Muslim claims that Aman is failing to block terrorists from entering Iraq.

2006 - About 1 000 pro-democracy activists march in the Nepalese capital of Katmandu, demanding King Gyanendra free political detainees and give up powers he seized in 2005.

2007 - Fire engulfs a nursing home in Kamyshevatskaya, a small town in south Russia, killing 62 frail and elderly residents after the night watchman ignores two alarms and rescue workers take nearly an hour to arrive.

2008 - Australia commits $17m to train Aboriginal nurses and doctors, as part of efforts to close a 17-year gap in the life expectancies of indigenous and other Australians.

2009 - France submits a formal request to rejoin Nato's command structure after a 43-year-absence.

2010 - Visiting UN chief Ban Ki-moon says that Israeli settlement building anywhere on occupied land is illegal and must be stopped, while a Palestinian teenager is killed in clashes with Israeli troops elsewhere in the West Bank.

2011 - Muammar Gaddafi vows a "long war" as allied forces launch a second night of strikes on Libya, and jubilant rebels who only a day before were in danger of being crushed by his forces now boast they would bring him down.

Today's Birthdays:
Ovid, Latin poet (43 BC-17 AD); Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian dramatist (1828-1906); Lauritz Melchior, Danish-American operatic tenor (1890-1973); Fred Rogers, US children's TV personality (1928-2003); Carl Reiner, US producer (1922--); Spike Lee, US filmmaker (1957--); Holly Hunter, US actress (1958--).

Thought For Today:
Spring has no language but a cry - Thomas Wolfe, American author (1900-1938).

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