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Today is Thursday, March 26, the 86th day of 2020. There are 280 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On March 26, 1945, during World War II, Iwo Jima was fully secured by U.S. forces following a final, desperate attack by Japanese soldiers.

On this date:

 In 1812, an earthquake devastated Caracas, Venezuela, causing an estimated 26,000 deaths, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

 In 1827, composer Ludwig van Beethoven died in Vienna.

 In 1911, American playwright Tennessee Williams ("The Glass Menagerie," "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof") was born in Columbus, Miss.

 In 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Baker v. Carr, gave federal courts the power to order reapportionment of states' legislative districts.

 In 1964, the musical play "Funny Girl," starring Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice, opened on Broadway.

 In 1979, a peace treaty was signed by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin (men-AH'-kem BAY'-gihn) and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and witnessed by President Jimmy Carter at the White House.

 In 1982, groundbreaking ceremonies took place in Washington, D.C., for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

 In 1988, Jesse Jackson stunned fellow Democrats by soundly defeating Michael S. Dukakis in Michigan's Democratic presidential caucuses.

 In 1992, a judge in Indianapolis sentenced former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson to six years in prison for raping a Miss Black America contestant. (Tyson ended up serving three years.)

 In 1997, the bodies of 39 members of the Heaven's Gate techno-religious cult who committed suicide were found inside a rented mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, California.

 In 2013, Italy's top criminal court overturned the acquittal of American Amanda Knox in the grisly murder of British roommate Meredith Kercher  and ordered Knox to stand trial again. (Although convicted in absentia, Knox was exonerated by the Italian Supreme Court in 2015.)

 In 2018, a toxicology report obtained by The Associated Press revealed that the late pop music superstar Prince had levels of fentanyl in his body that multiple experts described as "exceedingly high."

Ten years ago: The U.S. and Russia sealed the first major nuclear weapons treaty in nearly two decades, agreeing to slash the former Cold War rivals' warhead arsenals by nearly one-third. A South Korean warship exploded and sank near a disputed maritime border with North Korea, killing 46 sailors. (South Korea blamed North Korea, which denied involvement.) A truck collided with a van on I-65 in Kentucky, killing 10 Mennonites in the van and the truck driver. NBA player Gilbert Arenas was sentenced to 30 days in a halfway house for bringing guns into the Washington Wizards locker room.

Five years ago: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a measure prohibiting state and local laws that "substantially burden" the ability of people to follow their religious beliefs; opponents charged the new law could legalize discrimination against gay people.

One year ago: The House failed to override President Donald Trump's first veto, allowing him to steer billions of extra dollars to construct border barriers. The Senate defeated a motion to take up the Green New Deal, rejecting an opportunity to debate a comprehensive climate change plan offered by Democrats. Prosecutors in Chicago abruptly dropped all charges against Jussie Smollett, the "Empire" actor who was accused of faking a racist, anti-gay attack on himself; they said they still believed that Smollett had concocted the assault. (A grand jury revived the criminal case with new charges against Smollett in February 2020.) Rockland County in New York City's northern suburbs declared a state of emergency over a measles outbreak that had infected more than 150 people; the action included a ban against unvaccinated children in public places.

Thought for Today: "Life's like a play; it's not the length but the excellence of the acting that matters." — Seneca the Younger, Roman statesman and philosopher (3 B.C.-A.D. 65).

 

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