March 31: Today in history - KMOV.com

March 31: Today in history

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

Today is Thursday, March 31, the 90th day of 2011. There are 275 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On March 31, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson shocked the country by announcing at the conclusion of a broadcast address on Vietnam that he would not seek re-election.

  
On this date:

In 1811, German scientist Robert Bunsen, who helped develop the Bunsen burner, was born.

In 1889, French engineer Gustave Eiffel unfurled the French tricolor from atop the Eiffel Tower, officially marking its completion.

In 1917, the United States took possession of the Virgin Islands from Denmark.

In 1933, Congress approved, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed, the Emergency Conservation Work Act, which created the Civilian Conservation Corps.

In 1943, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Oklahoma!" opened on Broadway.

In 1949, Newfoundland (now called Newfoundland and Labrador) entered confederation as Canada's tenth province.

In 1976, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that Karen Ann Quinlan, who was in a persistent vegetative state, could be disconnected from her respirator. (Quinlan, who remained unconscious, died in 1985.)

In 1991, the Warsaw Pact spent the last day of its existence as a military alliance.

In 1995, Mexican-American singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, 23, was shot to death in Corpus Christi, Texas, by the founder of her fan club, Yolanda Saldivar, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

In 2005, Terri Schiavo, 41, died at a hospice in Pinellas Park, Fla., 13 days after her feeding tube was removed in a wrenching right-to-die dispute.

  
Ten years ago: Riot police laid siege to Slobodan Milosevic's (sloh-BOH'-dahn mee-LOH'-shuh-vich-iz) villa in an attempt to bring the former Yugoslav president to justice. But a defiant Milosevic rejected a warrant, reportedly telling police he wouldn't "go to jail alive." (He was taken into custody the next day.)

  
Five years ago: Auto parts supplier Delphi Corp. unveiled a broad restructuring plan that would cut 8,500 salaried jobs and shut or sell a third of its plants worldwide. Seventy deaths were reported after three strong earthquakes struck western Iran. A Brazilian airliner crashed, killing all 19 people on board.

  
One year ago: President Barack Obama threw open a huge swath of East Coast waters and other protected areas in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska to oil drilling. A Chechen militant claimed responsibility for deadly attacks on the Moscow subway two days earlier that claimed 40 lives; the claim came hours after two more suicide bombers struck in the southern Russian province of Dagestan, killing a dozen people.

  
Today's Birthdays:

Actress Peggy Rea is 90.

Actor William Daniels is 84.

Hockey Hall-of-Famer Gordie Howe is 83.

Actor Richard Chamberlain is 77.

Actress Shirley Jones is 77.

Country singer-songwriter John D. Loudermilk is 77.

Musician Herb Alpert is 76.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is 71.

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., is 71.

Actor Christopher Walken is 68.

Comedian Gabe Kaplan is 66.

Former Vice President Al Gore is 63.

Author David Eisenhower is 63.

Actress Rhea Perlman is 63.

Actor Ed Marinaro is 61.

Rock musician Angus Young (AC/DC) is 56.

Actor Marc McClure is 54.

Actor William McNamara is 46.

Alt-country musician Bob Crawford (The Avett (AY'-veht) Brothers) is 40.

Actor Ewan (YOO'-en) McGregor is 40.

Rapper Tony Yayo is 33.

Jazz musician Christian Scott is 28.

  
Thought for Today: "The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries." -- Rene Descartes (ren-AY' day-KART'), French philosopher and mathematician (born this date in 1596, died in 1650).

  
Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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