By The Associated Press
Today in History
Today is Wednesday, March 18, the 78th day of 2020. There are 288 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 18, 1940, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met at the Brenner Pass, where the Italian dictator agreed to join Germany’s war against France and Britain.
On this date:
In 1766, Britain repealed the Stamp Act of 1765.
In 1922, Mohandas K. Gandhi was sentenced in India to six years’ imprisonment for civil disobedience. (He was released after serving two years.)
In 1925, the Tri-State Tornado struck southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois and southwestern Indiana, resulting in some 700 deaths.
In 1937, in America’s worst school disaster, nearly 300 people, most of them children, were killed in a natural gas explosion at the New London Consolidated School in Rusk County, Texas.
In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order authorizing the War Relocation Authority, which was put in charge of interning Japanese-Americans, with Milton S. Eisenhower (the younger brother of Dwight D. Eisenhower) as its director.
In 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Gideon v. Wainwright, ruled unanimously that state courts were required to provide legal counsel to criminal defendants who could not afford to hire an attorney on their own.
In 1965, the first spacewalk took place as Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov went outside his Voskhod 2 capsule, secured by a tether.
In 1980, Frank Gotti, the 12-year-old youngest son of mobster John Gotti, was struck and killed by a car driven by John Favara, a neighbor in Queens, New York. (The following July, Favara vanished, the apparent victim of a gang hit.)
In 1996, rejecting an insanity defense, a jury in Dedham, Massachusetts, convicted John C. Salvi III of murdering two women in attacks at two Boston-area abortion clinics in December 1994.
In 2002, Brittanie Cecil died two days short of her 14th birthday after being hit in the head by a puck at a game between the host Columbus Blue Jackets and Calgary Flames; it was apparently the first such fan fatality in NHL history.
In 2005, doctors in Florida, acting on orders of a state judge, removed Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube. (Despite the efforts of congressional Republicans to intervene and repeated court appeals by Schiavo’s parents, the brain-damaged woman died on March 31, 2005, at age 41.)
In 2018, Vladimir Putin rolled to a crushing reelection victory for six more years as Russia’s president.
Ten years ago: President Barack Obama signed into law a $38 billion jobs bill containing a modest mix of tax breaks and spending designed to encourage the private sector to start hiring again. Actor Fess Parker, 85, died in Santa Ynez, California. Jerome York, an Apple Inc. board member and a financial wizard credited with turning around Chrysler and IBM, died in Pontiac, Michigan, at age 71.