Today in History

The Associated Press Published:

Today is Tuesday, March 20, the 80th day of 2012. There are 286 days left in the year. Spring arrives at 1:14 a.m. Eastern time.

Today's Highlight in History:

On March 20, 1912, a coal mine explosion in McCurtain, Okla., claimed the lives of 73 workers.

On this date:

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 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe's influential novel about slavery, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," was first published in book form after being serialized.

In 1933, the state of Florida executed Giuseppe Zangara for the shooting death of Chicago Mayor Anton J. Cermak at a Miami event attended by President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, the presumed target.

In 1952, the U.S. Senate ratified, 66-10, the Treaty of Peace with Japan. At the Academy Awards, "An American in Paris" was named best picture of 1951; Humphrey Bogart best actor for "The African Queen"; Vivien Leigh best actress for "A Streetcar Named Desire"; and George Stevens best director for "A Place in the Sun."

In 1969, John Lennon married Yoko Ono in Gibraltar.

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 1987, the Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of AZT, a drug shown to prolong the lives of some AIDS patients.

In 1995, in Tokyo, 12 people were killed, more than 5,500 others sickened when packages containing the poisonous gas sarin were leaked on five separate subway trains by Aum Shinrikyo (ohm shin-ree-kyoh) cult members.

In 1999, Bertrand Piccard of Switzerland and Brian Jones of Britain became the first aviators to fly a hot-air balloon around the world nonstop.

Ten years ago: Three days ahead of a visit by President George W. Bush, a car bomb exploded outside the U.S. Embassy in Lima, killing 10 people. Seven Israelis died when an Islamic militant blew himself up in a packed bus. Congress approved the most far-reaching changes to the nation's campaign finance system since the Watergate era. Accounting firm Arthur Andersen pleaded not guilty to charges it had shredded documents and deleted computer files related to Enron. (Andersen was later found guilty of obstruction of justice, but the verdict was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.)

Five years ago: Saddam Hussein's former deputy, Taha Yassin Ramadan, was hanged in Baghdad, the fourth man to be executed in the killings of 148 Shiites. Rescuers found Michael Auberry, a 12-year-old Boy Scout, who was dehydrated and disoriented after four days in the wooded mountains of North Carolina.

One year 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).

Today's Birthdays: British songstress Dame Vera Lynn is 95. Producer-director-comedian Carl Reiner is 90. Actor Hal Linden is 81. Former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney (muhl-ROO'-nee) is 73. Country singer Don Edwards is 73. TV producer Paul Junger Witt is 69. Country singer-musician Ranger Doug (Riders in the Sky) is 66. Hockey Hall-of-Famer Bobby Orr is 64. Blues singer-musician Marcia Ball is 63. Actor William Hurt is 62. Rock musician Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) is 62. Rock musician Jimmie Vaughan is 61. Country musician Jimmy Seales (Shenandoah) is 58. Actress Amy Aquino (ah-KEE'-noh) is 55. Movie director Spike Lee is 55. Actress Theresa Russell is 55. Actress Vanessa Bell Calloway is 55. Actress Holly Hunter is 54. Rock musician Slim Jim Phantom (The Stray Cats) is 51. Actress-model-designer Kathy Ireland is 49. Actor David Thewlis is 49. Rock musician Adrian Oxaal (James) is 47. Actress Liza Snyder is 44. Actor Michael Rapaport is 42. Actor Alexander Chaplin is 41. Rock singer Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) is 36. Actor Michael Genadry is 34. Actress Bianca Lawson is 33. Rock musician Nick Wheeler (The All-American Rejects) is 30. Actress-singer Christy Carlson Romano is 28.

Thought for Today: "Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, American writer and poet (1803-1882).

(Above Advance for Use Tuesday, March 20)

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