Today is Saturday, March 20, the 79th day of 2021. There are 286 days left in the year. Spring arrives at 5:37 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
Today’s Highlight in History
On March 20, 1995: In Tokyo, 12 people were killed, more than 5,500 others sickened when packages containing the deadly chemical sarin were leaked on five separate subway trains by Aum Shinrikyo cult members.
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In 1413: England’s King Henry IV died; he was succeeded by Henry V.
In 1727: Physicist, mathematician and astronomer Sir Isaac Newton died in London.
In 1815: Napoleon Bonaparte returned to Paris after escaping his exile on Elba, beginning his “Hundred Days” rule.
In 1854: The Republican Party of the United States was founded by slavery opponents at a schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin.
In 1922: The decommissioned USS Jupiter, converted into the first U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, was re-commissioned as the USS Langley.
In 1933: The state of Florida electrocuted Giuseppe Zangara for shooting to death Chicago Mayor Anton J. Cermak at a Miami event attended by President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, the presumed target, the previous February.
In 1952: The U.S. Senate ratified, 66-10, a Security Treaty with Japan.
In 1976: Kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was convicted of armed robbery for her part in a San Francisco bank holdup carried out by the Symbionese Liberation Army. (Hearst was sentenced to seven years in prison; she was released after serving 22 months, and was pardoned in 2001 by President Bill Clinton.)
In 1977: Voters in Paris chose former French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac to be the French capital’s first mayor in more than a century.
In 1985: Libby Riddles of Teller, Alaska, became the first woman to win the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race.
In 1996: A jury in Los Angeles convicted Erik and Lyle Menendez of first-degree murder in the shotgun slayings of their wealthy parents. (They were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.)
In 2004: Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide rallied against the U.S.-led war in Iraq on the first anniversary of the start of the conflict. The U.S. military charged six soldiers with abusing inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison.
Ten years ago: As Japanese officials reported progress in their battle to gain control over a leaking, tsunami-stricken nuclear complex, the discovery of more radiation-tainted vegetables and tap water added to public fears about contaminated food and drink. AT&T Inc. said it would buy T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom AG in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $39 billion (however, AT&T later dropped its bid following fierce government antitrust objections).
Five years ago: President Barack Obama opened a historic visit to Cuba, eager to push decades of acrimony deeper into the past. A bus carrying university exchange students back from Spain’s largest fireworks festival crashed on a highway south of Barcelona, killing 13 passengers. The United States won 13 golds out of a possible 26 events and 23 medals in all, making it the biggest haul in the history of the world indoor track and field championships which were held in Portland, Oregon.
One year ago: The governor of Illinois ordered residents to remain in their homes except for essential needs, joining similar efforts in California and New York to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Stocks tumbled again on Wall Street, ending their worst week since the 2008 financial crisis; the Dow fell more than 900 points to end the week with a 17% loss. At a White House briefing, President Donald Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, were openly divided on the possible effectiveness of drugs being explored to treat the virus. Trump announced the closing of the Mexican border to most travel but not trade. Starbucks said it was temporarily closing access to its stores in the U.S. and reducing services to drive thru and delivery only. Singer Kenny Rogers, whose career spanned jazz, folk, country and pop, died at his home in Georgia; he was 81. Six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady signed a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.