The Associated Press
Today is Thursday, March 21, the 80th day of 2013. There are 285 days left in the year.
Highlight in History
On March 21, 1963, the Alcatraz federal prison island in San Francisco Bay was emptied of its last inmates and closed at the order of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.
On this date
In 1556, Thomas Cranmer, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, was burned at the stake for heresy.
In 1685, composer Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany.
In 1804, the French civil code, or the “Code Napoleon” as it was later called, was adopted.
In 1871, journalist Henry M. Stanley began his famous expedition in Africa to locate the missing Scottish missionary David Livingstone.
In 1907, U.S. Marines arrived in Honduras to protect American lives and interests in the wake of political violence.
In 1940, a new government was formed in France by Paul Reynaud (ray-NOH’), who became prime minister, succeeding Edouard Daladier (dah-lah-DYAY’).
In 1944, Charles Chaplin went on trial in Los Angeles, accused of transporting former protegee Joan Barry across state lines for immoral purposes. (Chaplin was acquitted, but later lost a paternity suit despite tests showing he wasn’t the father of Barry’s child.)
In 1960, about 70 people were killed in Sharpeville, South Africa, when police fired on black protesters.
In 1965, civil rights demonstrators led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. began their third, successful march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.
In 1972, the Supreme Court, in Dunn v. Blumstein, ruled that states may not require at least a year’s residency for voting eligibility.
In 1985, police in Langa, South Africa, opened fire on blacks marching to mark the 25th anniversary of Sharpeville; the reported death toll varied between 29 and 43.
In 1990, Namibia became an independent nation as the former colony marked the end of 75 years of South African rule.
Ten years ago
The United States launched a ferocious, around-the-clock aerial assault on military targets in Baghdad and other cities. The House approved a $2.2 trillion budget embracing President George W. Bush’s tax-cutting plan.
Five years ago
Officials admitted that at least four State Department workers had pried into the supposedly secure passport files of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain, prompting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to personally apologize to the presidential contenders.
One year ago
A previously divided U.N. Security Council sent a strong and united message to the Syrian government and opposition to immediately implement proposals by international envoy Kofi Annan to end Syria’s yearlong bloodshed. Meting out unprecedented punishment for a bounty system that targeted key opposing players, the NFL suspended New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton without pay for the coming season and indefinitely banned the team’s former defensive coordinator; in addition to other sanctions, Commissioner Roger Goodell fined the Saints $500,000 and took away their second-round draft picks for the current year and the next.