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Today in History

March 12, 2022 GMT

Today in History

Today is Saturday, March 12, the 71st day of 2022. There are 294 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On March 12, 2009, disgraced financier Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty in New York to pulling off perhaps the biggest swindle in Wall Street history; he would be sentenced to 150 years behind bars. (Madoff died in prison in April 2021.)

On this date:

In 1864, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant assumed command as General-in-Chief of the Union armies in the Civil War.

In 1912, the Girl Scouts of the USA had its beginnings as Juliette Gordon Low of Savannah, Georgia, founded the first American troop of the Girl Guides.

In 1925, Chinese revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen died in Beijing.

In 1947, President Harry S. Truman announced what became known as the “Truman Doctrine” to help Greece and Turkey resist Communism.

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In 1955, legendary jazz musician Charlie “Bird” Parker died in New York at age 34.

In 1971, Hafez Assad was confirmed as president of Syria in a referendum.

In 1980, a Chicago jury found John Wayne Gacy Jr. guilty of the murders of 33 men and boys. (The next day, Gacy was sentenced to death; he was executed in May 1994.)

In 1987, the musical play “Les Miserables” opened on Broadway.

In 1994, the Church of England ordained its first women priests.

In 2003, Elizabeth Smart, the 15-year-old girl who vanished from her bedroom nine months earlier, was found alive in a Salt Lake City suburb with two drifters, Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee. (Mitchell is serving a life sentence; Barzee was released from prison in September 2018.)

In 2011, fifteen passengers were killed when a tour bus returning from a Connecticut casino scraped along a guard rail on the outskirts of New York City, tipped on its side and slammed into a pole that sheared it nearly end to end. (Driver Ophadell Williams was later acquitted of manslaughter and negligent homicide.)

In 2020, the stock market had its biggest drop since the Black Monday crash of 1987 as fears of economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis deepened; the Dow industrials plunged more than 2,300 points, or 10%. The NCAA canceled its basketball tournaments because of the coronavirus, after earlier planning to play in empty arenas. The NHL joined the NBA in suspending play. Major League Baseball delayed the start of its season by at least two weeks. (An abbreviated 60-game season would begin in July.)

Ten years ago: A day after the massacre of 16 Afghan civilians by a U.S. soldier, President Barack Obama called the episode “absolutely tragic and heartbreaking,” while Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called it “inexplicable.” Greece implemented the biggest debt write-down in history, swapping the bulk of its privately held bonds with new ones worth less than half their original value.

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Five years ago: A bus plowed into people taking part in an early morning street festival in Haiti, killing at least 34 of them. Authorities in Mexico recovered New England quarterback Tom Brady’s Super Bowl jersey more than a month after it had gone missing from the Patriots’ locker room following the game.

One year ago: The city of Minneapolis agreed to pay $27 million to settle a civil lawsuit from George Floyd’s family over the Black man’s death in police custody, as jury selection continued in a former officer’s murder trial. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand called on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign, adding the most powerful Democratic voices yet to calls for the governor to leave office in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment and groping. (Cuomo would resign five months later.)

Today’s Birthdays: Politician, diplomat and civil rights activist Andrew Young is 90. Actor Barbara Feldon is 89. Actor-singer Liza Minnelli is 76. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, is 75. Singer-songwriter James Taylor is 74. Former Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., is 74. Rock singer-musician Bill Payne (Little Feat) is 73. Actor Jon Provost (TV: “Lassie”) is 72. Author Carl Hiaasen (HY’-ah-sihn) is 69. Rock musician Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) is 66. Actor Lesley Manville is 66. Actor Jerry Levine is 65. Singer Marlon Jackson (The Jackson Five) is 65. Actor Jason Beghe is 62. Actor Courtney B. Vance is 62. Actor Titus Welliver is 60. Former MLB All-Star Darryl Strawberry is 60. Actor Julia Campbell is 59. Actor Jake Weber is 59. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., is 54. Actor Aaron Eckhart is 54. CNN reporter Jake Tapper is 53. Rock musician Graham Coxon is 53. Country musician Tommy Bales (Flynnville Train) is 49. Actor Rhys Coiro is 43. Country singer Holly Williams is 41. Actor Samm (cq) Levine is 40. Actor Jaimie Alexander is 38. Actor Tyler Patrick Jones is 28.