Today is Wednesday, March 24, the 84th day of 2004 with 282 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Neptune, Uranus and Pluto. The evening stars are Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include financier Andrew Mellon in 1855; magician and escape artist Harry Houdini in 1874; silent film star Fatty Arbuckle in 1887; pioneer film animator Ub Iwerks, whose artistry helped Walt Disney to realize his vision, in 1901; Republican presidential candidate Thomas Dewey in 1902; poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 1919 (age 85); actors Norman Fell in 1925 and Steve McQueen in 1930; dress designer Bob Mackie in 1940 (age 64); and actresses Donna Pescow in 1954 (age 50) and Laura Flynn Boyle in 1970 (age 34).
On this date in history:
In 1934, the United States granted the Philippine Islands independence, effective July 4th, 1946.
In 1965, white civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo of Detroit was shot and killed on a road near Selma, Ala.
In 1975, the beaver became the official symbol of Canada.
In 1976, Argentine President Isabel Peron, widow of strongman ruler Juan Peron, was arrested in a military coup.
In 1989, the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in the Gulf of Alaska, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil in the largest oil tanker spill in U.S. history.
In 1991, 12 people were killed and 29 wounded when South African police fired on ANC supporters at a rally in a black township in Daveytown after ordering the crowd to disperse.
In 1993, the suspected ringleader of the first World Trade Center bombing that killed six people and injured more than 1,000 was arrested in Egypt and extradited to New York.
In 1995, in a vote nearly along party lines, the House approved a bill that would overhaul welfare.
In 1998, four girls and a teacher at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Ark., were killed by bullets fired from a nearby woods. Police arrested two boys, ages 11 and 13, in connection with the slayings.
In 1999, NATO launched attacks on targets in Yugoslavia after the Serbs refused to sign a peace agreement worked out for the future of the rebellious province of Kosovo. The air war lasted almost three months, until Serb forces withdrew from Kosovo.
In 2002, history was made at the Academy Awards as two African-Americans won the top acting awards for the first time. Halle Berry became the first black woman to win the best actress Oscar for her performance in "Monster's Ball" and Denzel Washington won the best actor accolade for his role in "Training Day." "A Beautiful Mind" was the best picture winner.
In 2003, British Prime Minister Tony Blair told the House of Commons that coalition forces were well on their way to Baghdad and victory in Iraq was "certain." But, he conceded the fighting was getting fiercer and that "more difficulties and anxious moments" lay immediately ahead.
Also in 2003, in Iraq, Saddam Hussein appeared on television appealing to Iraqis to hold firm against the U.S.-led coalition. It was not known whether it was a live broadcast.
A thought for the day: Martin Luther King Jr. said, "A man who won't die for something is not fit to live."