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Today is the 78th day of 2014. There are 287 days left in the year.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014    

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TODAY'S HIGHLIGHT

1987: US television evangelist Jim Bakker resigns as chairman of his PTL ministry organisation amid a sex-and-money scandal involving Jessica Hahn, a former church secretary.

OTHER EVENTS

1799: Napoleon Bonaparte begins siege of Acre -- now Akko, Israel -- which was defended by Turks.

1812: Spanish Cortes passes liberal constitution under a hereditary monarch.

1932: Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia officially opens.

1933: Italy's dictator Benito Mussolini proposes a pact with Britain, France and Germany.

1944: Nazi German soldiers occupy Hungary.

1962: Relative calm returns to Algeria after ceasefire, ending seven years of warfare between French and Algerian nationalists.

1970: Heads of government of West and East Germany, Willy Brandt and Willi Stoph, meet for the first time in Erfurt.

1971: At least 160 people perish in landslides north of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

1977: The president of the Republic of Congo, Marien Ngouabi, is assassinated at his official residence in Brazzaville.

1979: US House of Representatives begins televising its day-to-day business.

1988: Two British soldiers are shot to death after they were dragged from a car and beaten by mourners attending an Irish Republican Army funeral in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

1990: Latvia's political opposition claims victory in the republic's first free elections in 50 years.

1993: Georgia shoots down a Russian warplane over the separatist Abkhazia region, killing its pilot and heightening tensions between the two countries.

1994: Cambodian government seizes control of Pailin, the Khmer Rouge's main stronghold.

1995: Finnish voters throw out the centre-right coalition government and give the opposition Social Democratic Party its biggest election victory since World War II; after giving up an attempt to become a major league baseball player, Michael Jordan returns to pro basketball with his former team, the Chicago Bulls.

1996: A discotheque fire kills at least 150 people in Manila, Philippines.

1997: Police fire tear gas and warning shots in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, to quell a protest against the government's plan to use foreign mercenaries to crush a separatist rebellion.

1998: Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic agrees to international demands to pull back special police from the troubled province of Kosovo.

1999: A bomb shatters a packed outdoor food market in southern Russia, killing at least 56 people.

2000: A mob storms the Nationalist Party's headquarters in Taiwan, forcing Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui to quit as party leader, after a humiliating election defeat.

2003: The US launches an attack against Iraq after a deadline for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to go into exile expires.

2004: A federal judge in Argentina declares unconstitutional a presidential decree that pardoned several high-ranking military officers accused of human rights abuses during Argentina's Dirty War. The ruling makes it possible for the officers to be tried for atrocities committed during the 1976-83 military dictatorship.

2005: Tens of thousands of anti-war protesters demonstrate across Europe to mark the second anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq, with 45,000 marching from London's Hyde Park past the American Embassy.

2006: Thousands of protesters throng the main square of the Belarusian capital of Minsk, refusing to recognise a presidential vote that appears all but certain to give President Alexander Lukashenko a third term.

2007: Five judges resign and hundreds of lawyers demonstrate to protest Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf's March 9 removal of Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, deepening a political crisis for the military leader.

2008: Belgium's political parties announce a deal to form a new national government, ending a nine-month political stalemate that had threatened to split the country along linguistic lines.

2009: Five nations bordering the Arctic Sea say the survival of polar bears depends on how well humans fight climate change, the biggest threat facing the giant carnivores.

2011: The US fires more than 100 cruise missiles from the sea while French fighter jets target Moammar Gadhafi's forces from the air, launching the broadest international military effort since the Iraq war in support of an uprising that had seemed on the verge of defeat.

2012: A motorbike assailant opens fire with two handguns in front of a Jewish school in the French city of Toulouse, killing a rabbi, his two young sons and a girl.

2013: Iraqi insurgents send a bloody message on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the US-led invasion, carrying out a wave of bombings across the country that killed at least 65 people in the deadliest day in Iraq this year.

TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS

David Livingstone, British explorer-missionary (1813-1873); Sergei Diaghilev, Russian choreographer (1872-1929); Max Reger, German composer (1873-1916); Paul Atkinson, US guitarist/music producer (1947-2004); Ursula Andress, Swiss-born actress (1936-); Glenn Close, US actress (1947-); Bruce Willis, German-born US actor (1955-); Harvey Weinstein, US film producer (1952-)

--AP

Bakker cries.jpg

Jim Bakker

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