Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 15, 44 B.C., Roman dictator Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of nobles that included Brutus and Cassius.
On this date:
In 1493, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus arrived back in the Spanish harbor of Palos de la Frontera, two months after concluding his first voyage to the Western Hemisphere.
In 1820, Maine became the 23rd state.
In 1917, Czar Nicholas II abdicated in favor of his brother, Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich, who declined the crown, marking the end of imperial rule in Russia.
In 1919, members of the American Expeditionary Force from World War I convened in Paris for a three-day meeting to found the American Legion.
In 1944, during World War II, Allied bombers again raided German-held Monte Cassino.
In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson, addressing a joint session of Congress, called for new legislation to guarantee every American’s right to vote; the result was passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
In 1972, “The Godfather,” Francis Ford Coppola’s epic gangster movie based on the Mario Puzo novel and starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, premiered in New York.
In 1977, the situation comedy “Three’s Company,” starring John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt and Suzanne Somers, premiered on ABC-TV.
In 2005, former WorldCom chief Bernard Ebbers was convicted in New York of engineering the largest corporate fraud in U.S. history. (He was later sentenced to 25 years in prison.)
In 2011, the Syrian civil war had its beginnings with Arab Spring protests across the region that turned into an armed insurgency and eventually became a full-blown conflict.
In 2019, a gunman killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, streaming the massacre live on Facebook. (Brenton Tarrant, an Australian white supremacist, was sentenced to life in prison without parole after pleading guilty to 51 counts of murder and other charges.)
In 2020, the Federal Reserve took massive emergency action to help the economy withstand the coronavirus by slashing its benchmark interest rate to near zero and saying it would buy $700 billion in treasury and mortgage bonds. After initially trying to keep schools open, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the nation’s largest public school system would close in hopes of curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
Ten years ago: Convicted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (blah-GOY’-uh-vich) walked into a federal prison in Colorado, where the 55-year-old Democrat began serving a 14-year sentence for corruption. (He was released in February 2020 after President Donald Trump commuted his sentence.) The American campaign in Afghanistan suffered a double blow as the Taliban broke off talks with the U.S., and President Hamid Karzai said NATO should pull out of rural areas and speed up the transfer of security responsibilities to Afghan forces nationwide.
Five years ago: President Donald Trump, speaking in Ypsilanti, Michigan, announced that his administration would re-examine federal requirements governing the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks, moving forcefully against Obama-era environmental regulations that Trump said were stifling economic growth; Trump then flew to Nashville to lay a wreath at the tomb of President Andrew Jackson. For the second time, a federal court blocked Trump’s efforts to freeze immigration by refugees and citizens of some predominantly Muslim nations.
One year ago: A poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 42% of Republicans said they probably or definitely would not be vaccinated against COVID, compared with 17% of Democrats. The Senate confirmed New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland as interior secretary, making her the first Native American to lead a Cabinet department. Academy Award nominees included two female directors for the first time, Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman” and Chloé Zhao (the eventual winner) for “Nomadland.” Actor Yaphet Kotto, whose films included “Midnight Run,” the James Bond movie “Live and Let Die” and “Alien,” died in the Philippines at 81.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Judd Hirsch is 87. Jazz musician Charles Lloyd is 84. Rock musician Phil Lesh is 82. Singer Mike Love (The Beach Boys) is 81. Rock singer-musician Sly Stone is 79.
Rock singer-musician Howard Scott (War; Lowrider Band) is 76. Rock singer Ry Cooder is 75. Actor Frances Conroy is 69. Actor Craig Wasson is 68. Rock singer Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) is 67. Actor Joaquim de Almeida is 65. Actor Park Overall is 65. Movie director Renny Harlin is 63. Model Fabio is 61. Singer Terence Trent D’Arby (AKA Sananda Maitreya) is 60. Rock singer Bret Michaels (Poison) is 59. R&B singer Rockwell is 58. Actor Chris Bruno is 56. Actor Kim Raver is 55. Rock singer Mark McGrath (Sugar Ray) is 54. Rock musician Mark Hoppus is 50. Country singer-musician Matt Thomas (Parmalee) is 48. Actor Eva Longoria is 47. Rapper-musician will.i.am (Black Eyed Peas) is 47. Rock DJ Joseph Hahn (Linkin Park) is 45. Rapper Young Buck is 41. Actor Sean Biggerstaff is 39. Actor Kellan Lutz is 37. Actor Caitlin Wachs is 33.