The Almanac, Celebrity Birthdays, Today in History, March 24 –

Today is Saturday, March 24, the 84th day of 2012 with 282 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include financier Andrew Mellon in 1855; magician and escape artist Harry Houdini in 1874; silent film star Fatty Arbuckle in 1887; baseball Hall of Fame member George Sisler in 1893; pioneer Disney film animator Ub Iwerks in 1901; Republican U.S. presidential candidate Thomas Dewey in 1902; notorious bank robber Clyde Barrow in 1909; poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 1919 (age 93); actors Norman Fell in 1924 and Steve McQueen in 1930; dress designer Bob Mackie in 1940 (age 72); British musician Nick Lowe in 1949 (age 63); fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger in 1951 (age 61); comedian Louie Anderson in 1953 (age 59); actors Robert Carradine and Donna Pescow, both in 1954 (age 58), Kelly LeBrock in 1960 (age 52), Lara Flynn Boyle in 1970 (age 42) and Megyn Price in 1971 (age 41); television personality Star Jones in 1962 (age 50); and pro football star Peyton Manning in 1976 (age 36).

On this date in history:

In 1603, after 44 years of rule, Queen Elizabeth I of England died. She was succeeded by King James VI of Scotland, uniting England and Scotland under a single British monarch.

In 1934, the United States granted the Philippine Islands its independence, effective July 4, 1946.

In 1965, white civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo of Detroit was killed on a road near Selma, Ala.

In 1975, the beaver became the official symbol of Canada.

In 1976, Argentine President Isabel Peron, wife of the late strongman ruler Juan Peron, was arrested in a military coup.

In 1989, the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in the Gulf of Alaska, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil in the largest oil tanker spill in U.S. history.

In 1991, 12 people were killed and 29 wounded when South African police fired on ANC supporters at a rally in a black township in Daveytown after ordering the crowd to disperse.

In 1993, the suspected ringleader of the first World Trade Center bombing that killed six people and injured more than 1,000 was arrested in Egypt and extradited to New York.

In 1998, four girls and a teacher at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Ark., were killed by bullets fired from a nearby wooded area. Police arrested two boys, ages 11 and 13, in connection with the slayings.

In 1999, NATO launched attacks on targets in Yugoslavia after the Serbs refused to sign a peace agreement worked out for the future of the rebellious province of Kosovo.

Also in 1999, 39 people died when a Belgian transport truck caught fire in the Mont Blanc Tunnel.

In 2003, British Prime Minister Tony Blair told the House of Commons that coalition forces were well on their way to Baghdad and victory in Iraq was “certain” despite some “anxious moments” ahead.

Also in 2003, in Iraq, Saddam Hussein appeared on television appealing to Iraqis to hold firm against the U.S.-led coalition.

In 2004, the European Commission fined software giant Microsoft $613 million for EU antitrust violations.

In 2005, the Philippine army broke a plot by Muslim extremists to detonate bombs throughout Manila on Easter.

Also in 2005, the president of Kyrgyzstan fled his palace in the face of a popular uprising. President Askar Akayev said organized crime elements were behind widespread protests.

In 2006, the American Red Cross investigated New Orleans reports of massive losses of cash and supplies in Hurricane Katrina‘s aftermath. The Red Cross got roughly 60 percent of the $3.6 billion Americans donated for hurricane relief.

In 2007, the U.N. Security Council unanimously voted to ban Iranian arms exports over the government’s refusal to abandon its nuclear program. Also approved was the freezing of assets of 28 individuals and agencies involved in Iranian nuclear research.

Also in 2007, at least 41 people were killed and dozens more wounded in a string of explosions and fighting across Iraq.

In 2008, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was indicted on eight felony charges reportedly related to an affair with his former chief of staff who also was indicted.

Also in 2008, the remote Himalayan monarchy of Bhutan had its first parliamentary elections and attracted nearly 80 percent of its eligible voters.

In 2009, amid dire economic warnings in Eastern and Central Europe, financial turmoil was blamed for toppling governments in Turkey, the Czech Republic and Latvia.

Also in 2009, the World Trade Organization forecast a 21 percent decline in international trade for the United States for the year. Globally, the prediction was for at least a 9 percent drop.

In 2010, several members of Congress reported receiving threats, and one said somebody shot through his window, after their votes on the controversial healthcare reform bill.

In 2011, pro-democracy activists in Syria said some 80 people were killed in an attack by Syrian security forces on a mosque in the southwestern city of Daraa.

Also in 2011, a former Egyptian interior minister, four of his aides and 16 senior police officers were charged with murder and attempted murder, stemming from the 18-day uprising earlier this year that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

And, Hispanic and Asian populations in the United States grew 43 percent from 2000-10, the decade’s fastest growing groups, the U.S. Census announced.

A thought for the day: Martin Luther King Jr. said, “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”

The Almanac, Celebrity Birthdays, Today in History, March 24 –

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