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This Day in History - March 26

Wednesday, March 26, 2014    

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Today is the 85th day of 2014. There are 280 days left in the year.

TODAY'S HIGHLIGHT

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

OTHER EVENTS

1793: Holy Roman Empire declares war on France.

1885: The Eastman Dry Plate and Film Co. of Rochester, New York, forerunner of Eastman Kodak, manufactures the first commercial motion picture film.

1913: More than 1,400 people perish in floods in US states of Ohio, Indiana and Texas.

1953: American Dr Jonas E Salk announces new vaccine to immunise against polio.

1971: East Pakistan proclaims its independence, taking the name Bangladesh.

1975: South Vietnamese Government announces arrest of several people for plotting to overthrow President Nguyen

van Thieu.

1979: Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat sign the Camp David peace treaty at the White House.

1991: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay sign Treaty of Asuncion in the Paraguayan capital, launching the Southern Cone Common Market.

1993: UN Security Council votes to set up the largest and most expensive peacekeeping operation so far -- 30,000 troops and civilians are to go to Somalia.

1998: US President Bill Clinton becomes the first American head of state to visit South Africa.

2000: Pope John Paul II crowns his Holy Land sojourn with a stunning gesture to Jews at their holiest site: he places a plea for forgiveness in a nook in the Western Wall in Jerusalem, expressing sorrow for past errors of his church.

2006: Somali radical Islamic militiamen and rivals bury their dead and bring in more fighters during a lull after four days of combat on Mogadishu's outskirts that witnesses say killed at least 93 people and wounded

nearly 200.

2007: Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams, the leaders of Northern Ireland's major Protestant and Catholic parties, open face-to-face relations after four decades of conflict and announce a stunning deal to create a power-sharing administration.

2008: Italy temporarily shuts down production at more than 80 cow farms after detecting higher-than-permitted levels of dioxin -- a dangerous toxin -- in 25 mozzarella-making facilities out of the 130 it checked.

2009: The prime minister of the Czech Republic, Mirek Topolanek, formally resigns, two days after his three-party coalition government lost a vote of confidence in parliament.

2011: More than 250,000 people take to London's streets to protest the toughest spending cuts since World War II -- one of the largest demonstrations since the Iraq war -- as riot police clash with small groups. More than 200 people are arrested.

2012: Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Cuba in the footsteps of his more famous predecessor, saying he holds great affection for Cubans on both sides of the Florida Straits and heartfelt hopes for reconciliation.

2013: A year and a half after being freed from an Italian prison, American Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend face the prospect of another trial as Italy's highest court overturns their acquittals in the gruesome 2007 slaying of her British roommate.

TODAY'S BIRTHDAY

Robert Frost, US poet (1874-1963); Syngman Rhee, South Korea's founding president (1875-1965); Chips Rafferty, Australian actor (1909-1971); Tennessee Williams, US playwright (1911-1983); Leonard Nimoy, US actor (1931-); Erica Jong, US writer (1942- ); Diana Ross, US singer

(1944- ); Steven Tyler, US singer (1948- ); Keira Knightley, British actress (1985- )

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