Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Today in History.....March 15

On this day in …

* 1493, Christopher Columbus returned to Spain, concluding his first voyage to the Western Hemisphere

* 1867, Michigan becomes first state to tax property to support a university

* 1892, first escalator patented by inventor Jesse W. Reno

* 1913, Cleveland establishes first small claims court. ALSO:
President Wilson held the first open presidential news conference

* 1919, the American Legion was founded in Paris

* 1922, first southern radio station (WSB, Atlanta) begins broadcasting

* 1937, first blood bank forms (Chicago)

* 1944, during World War II, Allied bombers again raided German-held Monte Cassino

* 1964, actress Elizabeth Taylor married actor Richard Burton in Montreal; it was her fifth marriage, his second

* 1977, the U.S. House of Representatives began a 90-day test to determine the feasibility of showing its sessions on television

* 1996, the Liggett Group agreed to repay more than $10 million in Medicaid bills for treatment of smokers, settling lawsuits with five states. (The settlement came two days after Liggett, the nation's fifth-largest tobacco company, made history by settling a private class-action lawsuit alleging cigarette makers manipulated nicotine to hook smokers.)

* 2001, Federal authorities confirmed that remains found on a Texas ranch were those of missing atheist leader Madalyn Murray O'Hair and two of her relatives. (David Waters, the key suspect in the slayings, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on a federal extortion charge in connection with the case.) ALSO: Chechens hijacked a Russian plane after it left Turkey and forced it to land in Saudi Arabia. (Saudi special forces stormed the plane the following day; a flight attendant, a passenger and a hijacker were killed.)

* 2005, former WorldCom chief Bernard Ebbers was convicted in New York of engineering the largest corporate fraud in U.S. history. (He was later sentenced to 25 years in prison.)

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