The Almanac, Celebrity Birthdays, Today in History, March 15 –

Today is Thursday, March 15, the 74th day of 2012 with 292 to follow.

The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mercury, Jupiter and Uranus. The evening stars are Neptune, Saturn, Mars and Venus.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States, in 1767; German immunologist Emil von Behring in 1854; actor Macdonald Carey in 1913; actor Joe E. Ross in 1915; trumpet virtuoso and bandleader Harry James in 1916; football Hall of Fame member Norm Van Brocklin in 1926; astronaut Alan Bean in 1932 (age 80); U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1933 (age 79); actor Judd Hirsch and televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, both in 1935 (age 77); Grateful Dead musician Phil Lesh in 1940 (age 72); singers Mike Love of the Beach Boys in 1941 (age 71) and Sly Stone of Sly and the Family Stone in 1944 (age 68); musician Ry Cooder in 1947 (age 65); musician Dee Snider in 1955 (age 57); actor Park Overall in 1957 (age 55); model Fabio, born Fabio Lanzoni, in 1959 (age 53); singers Terence Trent D’Arby in 1962 (age 50) and Bret Michaels in 1963 (age 49); and actor Eva Longoria and singer, both in 1975 (age 37).

On this date in history:

In 44 B.C., Julius Caesar was assassinated by Brutus and other Roman nobles in Rome.

In 1493, Christopher Columbus returned to Spain after his first voyage to the New World.

In 1820, as part of the Missouri Compromise between the North and the South, Maine was admitted into the Union as the 23rd state. It had been administered as a province of Massachusetts since 1647.

In 1916, U.S. Army General John “Black Jack” Pershing marched into Mexico to capture revolutionary leader Pancho Villa, who had staged several cross-border raids. The two-year expedition was unsuccessful.

In 1984, the acquittal of a Miami police officer on charges of negligently killing a youth sparked a rampage by angry African-Americans in Miami. Some 550 people were arrested.

In 1985, two decades of military rule in Brazil ended with the installation of a civilian government.

In 1990, the Israeli Knesset brought down Yitzhak Shamir‘s government on a no-confidence motion after the Likud Party leader refused to accept a U.S. peace proposal.

In 1991, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic declared Serbia’s secession from the Yugoslav federation.

In 1993, the New York Post filed for bankruptcy protection hours after the newspaper’s new owner fired 72 employees, throwing the future of the 192-year-old tabloid into doubt.

In 2003, a strange new illness with pneumonia-like symptoms called severe acute respiratory syndrome — SARS — spread from Asia to Europe to North America.

In 2004, astronomers reported finding an object with a diameter of 800 to 1,100 miles circling the sun far beyond the orbit of any known planet. It was dubbed a “planetoid.”

In 2006, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein testified for the first time in his massacre trial, calling the judicial proceedings a comedy and urging his fellow Iraqis to stop fighting each other and focus on the United States.

Also in 2006, the United Nations approved a new human rights council aimed at banning countries that abuse human rights from membership.

In 2007, Palestinian leaders of Hamas and Fatah agreed to a coalition government but their platform didn’t recognize Israel or renounce violence.

In 2008, a 19-story industrial crane collapsed on the East Side of New York’s Manhattan, demolishing an apartment building and other structures. Four construction workers were killed and 13 others injured.

In 2009, Venezuelan voters abolished presidential term limits, which had restricted a president to two six-year terms. The new constitutional provision permitted Hugo Chavez to seek re-election in 2012.

In 2010, the U.S. Defense Department was reported to be investigating an agency official who allegedly used private contractors in Afghanistan and Pakistan to help track down and sometimes kill suspected Afghan militants.

In 2010, the U.S. Federal Reserve said the American economic recovery had gained strength and showed labor market improvements as the fed planned a $600 billion securities purchasing program while keeping its lending rate at zero to 0.25 percent to stay the course.

Also in 2011, Israeli navy commandos seized a freighter carrying tons of weapons reportedly slated for Palestinian forces in Gaza. The Jerusalem Post said the weapons were from Iran.

A thought for the day: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told an interviewer, “The emphasis must be not on the right to abortion but on the right to privacy and reproductive control.”

The Almanac, Celebrity Birthdays, Today in History, March 15 –

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