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Today In History

Today is Saturday, March 2, the 61st day of 2013. There are 304 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1678 – French forces of King Louis XIV capture Ghent and Ypres in Belgium.

1776 – U.S. Marines fight first battle, capturing British fort in Bahamas in Revolutionary War.

1801 – Spain declares war with Portugal. It is later called the War of the Oranges after a French general allied with Spain sends oranges to the queen of Spain with the message that he would proceed to Lisbon.

1815 – Dominion of Kandyan Provinces, within British Empire, is formed in Ceylon — now Sri Lanka.

1836 – Texas declares its independence from Mexico.

1877 – Republican Rutherford B. Hayes is declared the winner of the 1876 U.S. presidential election over Democrat Samuel J. Tilden, even though Tilden won the popular vote.

1909 – European powers intervene to prevent Serbo-Austrian war.

1917 – Puerto Ricans are granted U.S. citizenship.

1923 – Time magazine makes its debut in United States.

1939 – Roman Catholic Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli is elected Pope; he takes the name Pius XII.

1955 – Egypt and Syria sign defensive alliance.

1956 – France recognizes independence of Morocco; Pakistan decides to stay in British Commonwealth; Jordan’s King Hussein dismisses Gen. J.B. Glubb from command of Arab Legion.

1962 – Gen. Ne Win overthrows Premier U Nu in Burmese military coup.

1972 – U.S. spacecraft Pioneer 10 is launched on mission to explore environs of planet Jupiter.

1975 – Terrorist bombing of bus in Nairobi, Kenya, kills 27 people and injures about 100.

1985 – The U.S. government approves a screening test for AIDS that detects antibodies to the virus, allowing possibly contaminated blood to be excluded from the blood supply.

1986 – Iran charges that Iraqi warplanes dropped chemical agents on Kurdish village of Baneh in northwestern Iran, causing many civilian casualties.

1992 – U.N. General Assembly welcomes nine new members: eight former Soviet Republics and San Marino.

1993 – A gangway collapses when passengers board a ferry on the Congo River, drowning at least 147 in the Republic of Congo.

1994 – Israeli soldiers kill two Palestinian youths as rage over a massacre of Palestinians in a Hebron mosque spreads to Jericho.

1995 – Former Italian Premier Giulio Andreotti is indicted for consorting with the Mafia.

1996 – Voters slam the brakes on plans to sever links with the British monarchy when they hand one of Australia’s biggest-ever election victories to John Howard’s conservative coalition.

1997 – In Lueneburg, Germany, hundreds of farmers riding flower-decorated tractors join about 10,000 people demonstrating against the storage of nuclear waste.

1998 – Serbian police use water cannons and tear gas to break up demonstrations of tens of thousands of ethnic Albanians in troubled Kosovo province, following a weekend that claimed 24 lives.

2000 – Britain’s top law enforcement official rules that former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet should not be extradited to Spain to stand trial on charges alleging human rights abuses. Pinochet returns to Chile the next day.

2003 – French President Jacques Chirac visits Algeria in an effort to improve relations between the two countries. It is the first official state visit by a French president since Algeria won independence from France in 1962 after a brutal eight-year war.

2004 – Suicide bombers set off simultaneous attacks on Shiite Muslim shrines crowded with pilgrims in two Iraqi cities, killing at least 143 people and turning the holiest day on the Shiite calendar into the bloodiest since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

2005 – Britain’s Court of Appeals rules that a high school violated a teenage student’s human rights by banning her from wearing a traditional form of Muslim dress to class.

2006 – Reversing decades of U.S. policy, President Bush ushers India into the world’s exclusive nuclear club with a landmark agreement to share nuclear reactors, fuel and expertise with the energy-starved nation in return for its acceptance of international safeguards.

2007 – The Bush administration selects a design, developed by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, for a new generation of atomic warheads, taking a major step toward building the first new nuclear weapon since the end of the Cold War.

2008 – Dmitry Medvedev, the man Vladimir Putin hand-picked to be his successor, scores a crushing victory in Russia’s presidential election.

2009 — President Raul Castro abruptly ousts some of Cuba’s most powerful officials, remaking the government in the biggest shake-up since he took power from his brother Fidel Castro in 2008.

2010 – The right-hand man of a Hamas leader assassinated in Dubai confirms Israeli claims that his boss supplied weapons to Palestinian militants.

2011 – Pope Benedict XVI makes a sweeping exoneration of the Jewish people for the death of Jesus Christ, tackling one of the most controversial issues in Christianity in a new book.

2012 – Rebel forces rout troops loyal to Moammar Gadhafi in a fierce battle over an oil port, scrambling over the dunes of a Mediterranean beach through shelling and an airstrike to corner their attackers. Opposition leaders still plead for outside airstrikes to help them oust the longtime leader.

Today’s Birthdays:

Bedrich Smetana, Bohemian composer (1824-1884); Paul Doumer, French statesman (1857-1932); Kurt Weill, German-born American composer (1900-1950); Desi Arnez, Cuban-born television producer (1917-1986); Mikhail Gorbachev, last president of the Soviet Union (1931–); Lou Reed, U.S. singer (1942–); Jay Osmond, U.S. singer w/pop group The Osmonds (1955–); Jon Bon Jovi, U.S. singer/actor (1962–); Chris Martin, British singer w/rock group Coldplay (1977–); Daniel Craig, British actor (1968–).

Thought For Today:

Every one can master a grief but he that has it — William Shakespeare (1564-1616), “Much Ado About Nothing.”

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