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Beware the Ides of March? A look at March 15 in history

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Today is Monday, March 15, the 74th day of 2009. There are 291 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

44 B.C. - Roman dictator Julius Caesar is assassinated by a group of Roman senators including Cassius and his friend Brutus. Caesar had been forewarned of the 'Ides of March.'

1493 - Christopher Columbus returns to Spain, concluding his first voyage to the Western Hemisphere.

1603 - Samuel de Champlain, French navigator and explorer, sails for the New World.

1776 - U.S. Congress resolves that authority of British Crown should be suppressed.

1848 - Hungarian intellectuals stage bloodless revolution in Budapest against Austro-Hungarian empire. It is put down by Russian troops the next year.

1874 - France assumes protectorate over central Indochina region of Annam, which breaks off vassalage to China.

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1875 - The Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York City, John McCloskey, is named the first American cardinal by Pope Pius IX.

1894 - France and Germany agree on boundaries between French Congo and Cameroons.

1903 - British conquest of northern Nigeria is complete.

1913 - U.S. President Woodrow Wilson holds the first open presidential news conference.

1916 - U.S. force of 12,000 soldiers under Gen. John Pershing is ordered to Mexico to capture revolutionary leader Pancho Villa.

1917 - Czar Nicholas II of Russia abdicates after humiliating defeat by the Germans. The Russian state and military begin to dissolve.

1919 - The American Legion is founded in Paris.

1937 - The world's first blood bank is established at Chicago's Cook County Hospital by Dr. Bernard Fantus. It is a breakthrough for surgical procedures and emergency treatments.

1938 - Nazi Germany seizes Czechoslovakia with little resistance, after having annexed the Sudetenland, with its fortifications, the previous year.

1988 - Israeli authorities impose travel ban on Palestinians in occupied territories.

1989 - Soviet Union's President Mikhail S. Gorbachev calls for rapid measures to ease chronic Soviet food shortages.

1990 - Iraq executes London newspaper reporter, Farzad Bazoft, after a closed-trial conviction for spying.

1991 - Serbian President Borisav Jovic resigns after the collective presidency fails to declare a nationwide state of emergency.

1992 - A second earthquake in a short time strikes eastern Turkey, killing an estimated 800 people.

1993 - Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin offers, after a meeting with U.S. President Bill Clinton, to surrender part of the Golan Heights to Syria.

1996 - Taiwan's president tells China to stop "nagging" the island with war games. Within hours, China announces more exercises, this time much closer to Taiwanese territory.

1999 - Rosemary Nelson, a Northern Ireland attorney who represented Catholic clients in several high-profile cases, is killed by a car bomb. The outlawed anti-Catholic group Red Hand Defenders claims responsibility.

2000 - In a forensic first, a grand jury in New York indicts an unidentified man for three rapes based on his DNA genetic profile.

2001 - Armed Chechens hijack a Russian plane carrying 174 people after it takes off from Turkey and force it to land in Medina, Saudi Arabia.

2003 - Rebels led by ousted army chief General Francois Bozize capture the Central African Republic's capital, Bangui, and the international airport while President Ange-Felix Patasse was out of the country. Bozize declared himself president.

2004 - Saudi security forces kill two militants, including one considered al-Qaida's chief of operations on the Arabian Peninsula, in a shootout in the capital Riyadh.

2005 - A French court convicts six men in an alleged plot to send a suicide bomber into the U.S. Embassy in Paris, wrapping up a trial that shed light on the spread of Islamic radicals in Europe.

2006 - A Spanish boat recovers the bodies of 24 people believed to be African migrants floating in waters off the coast of Mauritania, hundreds of miles south of the Canary Islands.

2007 - The Islamic militant Hamas and its Fatah rivals forge a unity Palestinian government to end more than a year of political wrangling, isolation and bloodshed. Israel quickly rejects the new leadership, saying it fails to recognize the Jewish state.

2008 - China orders tourists out of Tibet's capital while troops on foot and in armored vehicles patrol the streets and enforce a strict curfew, a day after riots that a Tibetan exile group says left at least 30 protesters dead.

2009 - Thousands of anti-government protesters led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif head to Islamabad for a planned sit-in at parliament, ramping up a power struggle that risks hobbling a vital Western ally in the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaida.

Today's Birthdays:

Andrew Jackson, U.S. president (1767-1845); Charles de Montalembert, French author (1810-1870); Jules Chevalier, French priest/founder of Sacred Heart Missionaries (1824-1907); Henri Saint Cyr, Swedish equestrian/Olympic gold medalist (1902-1979); Harry James, U.S. band-leader (1916-1983); Judd Hirsch, U.S actor (1935--); Sly Stone, U.S. singer/musician (1943--); will.i.am, U.S. rapper/musician (1975--); Eva Longoria Parker, U.S. actress (1975--).

Thought For Today:
Sometimes it's worse to win a fight than to lose — Billie Holiday, American singer (1915-1959).

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