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This Day in History - March 23

Saturday, March 23, 2013    

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Today is the 82rd day of 2013. There are 283 days left in the year.

TODAY'S HIGHLIGHT

1956: Pakistan becomes an independent republic within the British Commonwealth.

OTHER EVENTS

1861: Italy institutes its first government under Count Camillo di Cavour.

1918: Lithuania proclaims its independence.

1919: Benito Mussolini founds fascist movement in Italy.

1933: German Reichstag grants Adolf Hitler dictatorial powers until April 1937.

1935: Soviet Union sells its interest in Chinese Eastern railway to Japan.

1992: Tens of thousands of jubilant Albanians celebrate a crushing election victory by the Democratic party, marking the end of Communist power.

1995: After months of political wrangling, Renato Ruggiero is named the first head of the World Trade Organisation.

1998: President Boris Yeltsin fires his prime minister and the entire Cabinet in Russia's biggest government shake-up since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

2001: The Mir space station returns to Earth, ending its 15-year, 3.5 billion-kilometre odyssey with a fiery plunge into the South Pacific.

2003: Slovenia votes to support its 2004 induction into the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

2004: Former chief weapons inspector Hans Blix says UN inspectors would have been able to determine that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction had the US and Britain allowed more time for them to work before going to war.

2008: A man sets himself on fire at Yangon's most famous landmark, the Shwedagon pagoda, in a political protest against Myanmar's military junta.

2010: In a major triumph for his presidency, a jubilant Barack Obama signs a massive, nearly $1 trillion health care overhaul that will for the first time cement insurance coverage as the right of every US citizen and begin to reshape the way virtually all Americans receive and pay for treatment.

2011: Egypt's public prosecutor makes an unprecedented sweep against the top security brass, charging the former interior minister and other officials with aiding the killing and the attempted killing of hundreds of protesters during the uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

2012: Tens of thousands of Syrians brave tear gas and gunfire to protest across the Country, vowing to storm the capital Damascus to oust President Bashar Assad as the European Union ramps up pressure on the regime by imposing sanctions on his wife and other close relatives.

TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS

Erich Fromm, German-born US psychoanalyst (1900-1980); Joan Crawford, US actress (1908-1977); Akira Kurosawa, Japanese film director (1910-1998); Wernher von Braun, German-born rocket expert (1912-1977); Ric Ocasek, British rock singer/producer (1949-); Chaka Khan, US singer (1953-); Keri Russell, US actress (1976-).

— AP

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