GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

March 20, 2013

Today in History

The Associated Press
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Today is Wednesday, March 20, the 79th day of 2013. There are 286 days left in the year. Spring arrives at 7:02 a.m. EDT.

Today’s highlight in history:

On March 20, 1933, the state of Florida electrocuted 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, the previous February.

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

In 1952, the U.S. Senate ratified, 66-10, the Treaty of Peace with Japan.

In 1985, Libby Riddles of Teller, Alaska, became the first woman to win the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race.

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 cult members.

Ten years ago: On the first day of the Iraq War, a subdued Saddam Hussein appeared on state-run television after the initial American air strike on Baghdad, accusing the United States of a “shameful crime” and urging his people to “draw your sword” against the invaders. American combat units rumbled across the desert into Iraq from the south and U.S. and British forces bombed limited targets in Baghdad. The start of war in Iraq triggered one of the heaviest days of anti-government protesting in years, leading to thousands of arrests across the United States and prompting pro-war counter-demonstrations.

Five years ago: In a setback for Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, a drive for a second Michigan presidential primary collapsed as the state Senate adjourned without taking up a measure calling for a do-over contest. (Michigan had held an early primary in January 2008 in violation of Democratic Party rules, and was stripped of its delegates as a result.) Mao Asada of Japan won the women’s title at the World Figure Skating Championships in Goteborg, Sweden.

One year ago: Front-runner Mitt Romney won the Illinois Republican primary with ease, routing Rick Santorum for his third big-state win in a row. A 7.4-magnitude earthquake in Mexico damaged hundreds of homes and killed at least two people near the border between Guerrero and Oaxaca states. Army linebacker Andrew Rodriguez won the James E. Sullivan Award, given by the Amateur Athletic Union to the top amateur athlete in the United States.

Today’s birthdays: Singer Dame Vera Lynn is 96. Producer-director-comedian Carl Reiner is 91. Actor Hal Linden is 82. Former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney and country singer Don Edwards are 74. TV producer Paul Junger Witt is 70. Country singer-musician Ranger Doug (Riders in the Sky) is 67. Hockey Hall-of-Famer Bobby Orr is 65. Blues singer-musician Marcia Ball is 64. Actor William Hurt and musician Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) are 63. Rock musician Jimmie Vaughan is 62. Country musician Jimmy Seales (Shenandoah) is 59. Movie director Spike Lee and actresses Amy Aquino, Theresa Russell and Vanessa Bell Calloway are 56. Actress Holly Hunter is 55. Rock musician Slim Jim Phantom (The Stray Cats) is 52. Actress-model-designer Kathy Ireland and actor David Thewlis are 50. Thought for today: “I am I plus my circumstances.” — Jose Ortega y Gasset, Spanish philosopher (1883-1955).