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Today in History

Monday, March 12, 2012

Today is Monday, March 12, the 72nd day of 2012. There are 294 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On March 12, 1912, the Girl Scouts of the USA had its beginnings as Juliette Gordon Low of Savannah, Ga., founded the first American troop of the Girl Guides, a movement which had originated in Britain along with the Boy Scouts.

On this date:

In 1664, England's King Charles II granted an area of land in present-day North America known as New Netherland to his brother James, the Duke of York.

In 1864, Ulysses S. Grant was promoted to the rank of general-in-chief of the Union armies in the Civil War by President Abraham Lincoln.

In 1913, Canberra was officially designated the future capital of Australia.

In 1932, the so-called "Swedish Match King," Ivar Kreuger, was found shot dead in his Paris apartment, an apparent suicide, leaving behind a financial empire that turned out to be worthless.

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the first of his 30 radio "fireside chats," telling Americans what was being done to deal with the nation's economic crisis.

In 1938, the Anschluss merging Austria with Nazi Germany took place as German forces crossed the border between the two countries.

In 1947, President Harry S. Truman established what became known as the "Truman Doctrine" to help Greece and Turkey resist Communism.

In 1951, "Dennis the Menace," created by cartoonist Hank Ketcham, made its syndicated debut in 16 newspapers.

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson won the New Hampshire Democratic primary, but Sen. Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota placed a strong second. The African island of Mauritius became independent of British rule. (On this date in 1992, Mauritius became a republic.)

In 1971, Hafez Assad was confirmed as president of Syria in a referendum.

In 1980, a Chicago jury found John Wayne Gacy Jr. guilty of the murders of 33 men and boys. (The next day, Gacy was sentenced to death; he was executed in May 1994.)

In 1987, the musical play "Les Miserables" opened on Broadway.

Ten years ago: Houston homemaker Andrea Yates was convicted of murder in the drowning deaths of her five children in the family bathtub. (Yates was later retried and found not guilty by reason of insanity.) Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge announced that America was at yellow alert as he unveiled a color-coded system for terror warnings. The U.N. Security Council approved a U.S.-sponsored resolution endorsing a Palestinian state for the first time. The space shuttle Columbia returned to Earth, ending the Hubble Space Telescope repair mission. Martin Buser captured his fourth victory in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Five years ago: President George W. Bush promoted free trade as a salve to Latin America's woes as he spoke out against poverty during a visit to Guatemala; the president then traveled to Mexico. Masked Palestinians kidnapped BBC reporter Alan Johnston at gunpoint in Gaza City. (He was released several months later.) R.E.M. and Van Halen were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

One year ago: Fifteen passengers were killed when a tour bus returning from a Connecticut casino scraped along a guard rail on the outskirts of New York City, tipped on its side and slammed into a pole that sheared it nearly end to end. (The driver faces charges of manslaughter and reckless driving.) A Cuban court found U.S. contractor Alan Gross guilty of bringing satellite phones and other communication equipment to Cuba illegally while working on a USAID-funded democracy-building program and sentenced him to 15 years in prison. The Arab League asked the U.N. Security Council to impose a no-fly zone to protect Libyan rebels. Legendary American jazz drummer Joe Morello, 82, a member of the Dave Brubeck Quartet, died in Irvington, N.J.

Today's Birthdays: Playwright Edward Albee is 84. Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young is 80. Actress Barbara Feldon is 79. Broadcast journalist Lloyd Dobyns is 76. Singer Al Jarreau is 72. Actress-singer Liza Minnelli is 66. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is 65. Singer-songwriter James Taylor is 64. Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., is 64. Rock singer-musician Bill Payne (Little Feat) is 63. Actor Jon Provost ("Lassie") is 62. Author Carl Hiaasen is 59. Rock musician Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) is 56. Actor Jerry Levine is 55. Singer Marlon Jackson (The Jackson Five) is 55. Actor Courtney B. Vance is 52. Actor Titus Welliver is 51. Former MLB All-Star Darryl Strawberry is 50. Actress Julia Campbell is 49. Actor Aaron Eckhart is 44. ABC News reporter Jake Tapper is 43. Rock musician Graham Coxon is 43. Country musician Tommy Bales (Flynnville Train) is 39. Country singer Holly Williams is 31. Actor Samm (cq) Levine is 30. Actor Tyler Patrick Jones is 18. Actress Kendall Applegate (TV: "Desperate Housewives") is 13.

Thought for Today: "A proverb is a short sentence based on long experience." -- Miguel de Cervantes, Spanish novelist, dramatist and poet (1547-1616).

Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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