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This Day in History – March 31, 2011

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1796 Johann Wolfgang von Goethes “Egmont” premieres in Weimar 1831 Québec & Montréal incorporated 1861 Confederacy takes over mint at New Orleans 1870 Thomas P Mundy became 1st black to vote in US (Perth Amboy NJ) 1880 1st town completely illuminated by electric lighting (Wabash IN) 1889 300 meter Eiffel Tower officially opens (commemorates French Revolution) 1896 Whitcomb Judson, Chicago IL, patents a hookless fastening (zipper) 1903 Richard Pearse flies monoplane several hundred yards (New Zealand) 1909 Baseball rules players who jump contracts are suspended for 5 years 1917 US purchases Danish West Indies for $25M & renames them Virgin Islands 1918 1st daylight savings time in US goes into effect 1921 Albert Einstein lectures in New York on his new theory of relativity 1932 150 wild swans die in Niagara waterfall 1932 Ford publicly unveils its V-8 engine 1933 1st newspaper published on pine pulp paper, “Soperton News” (Georgia) 1933 Congress authorizes Civilian Conservation Corps 1933 German Republic gives power to Hitler 1943 Rodgers & Hammerstein musical “Oklahoma!” opens on Broadway 1953 Department of Health, Education & Welfare established 1954 US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs CO, established 1965 US ordered the 1st combat troops to Vietnam 1966 25,000 anti war demonstrators march in New York NY 1967 Jimi Hendrix begins his tradition of burning his guitar 1968 LBJ announces he will not seek re-election 1972 Official Beatles Fan Club closes down 1976 New Jersey Court rules Karen Anne Quinlan may be disconnected from respirator 1980 President Jimmy Carter deregulates banking industry 1982 Arkas tanker at Montz LA, spills 1.47 million gallons of oil 1982 Rock group Doobie Brothers split up 1983 Earthquake in Colombia kills some 5,000 people 1983 Marsha Norman’s “‘night, Mother” premieres in New York NY 1985 Wrestlemania I at Madison Square Garden New York, Hogan & Mr T beat Piper & Orndorf 1990 Riots began in London over the new poll tax laws 1991 Danny Bonaduce attacks a transvestite prostitute in Phoenix AZ 1995 Federal judge orders injunction to end baseball strike 1996 Wrestlemania XII: Shawn Michaels beats Brett Hart for WWF title 2000 – In Uganda, officials set the number of deaths linked to a doomsday religious cult, the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments, at more than 900. In Kanungu, a March 17 fire at the cult’s church killed more than 530 and authorities subsequently found mass graves at various sites linked to the cult. 2000 The German ministry of justice determines that drunkenness will no longer be an excuse. It had been a tradition that crimes committed while under the influence of alcohol were sentenced more mildly than in other circumstances. 2002 A Belize-registered cargo ship collides with a fishing boat and sinks, leaving a 10km long oil slick. 2003 In Hong Kong, police cordon off Block E of the Amoy Gardens housing estate, placing those inside under quarantine, to contain SARS. 2003 Japan’s Mizuho bank, the world’s largest, posts a net loss of 2 trillion yen (US$16.7 billion) in the past twelve months, the largest loss in Japanese corporate history. 2004 Four American private military contractors working for Blackwater USA are killed, and their bodies mutilated, after being ambushed in Fallujah, Iraq. 2005 Death of Terri Schiavo, American right-to-die cause célèbre (born 1963). 2007 Sydney, Australia, turns off its lights for one hour between 7:30PM and 8:30PM as a political statement for Global Climate Change. 2009 In Moscow, Russia, six volunteer “astronauts” are locked inside a mock spacecraft, to see if they can stand the simulated conditions of a manned flight to Mars, which would take over 100 days. Those who last more than 100 days experiencing the same isolation and claustrophobia as astronauts will earn a US$20,000 reward.]]]]> ]]>

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