By The Associated Press
Today in History
Today is Friday, March 31, the 90th day of 2023. There are 275 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History: On March 31, 1991, the Warsaw Pact military alliance came to an end.
On this date:
In 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain issued an edict expelling Jews from Spanish soil, except those willing to convert to Christianity.
In 1814, Paris was occupied by a coalition of Russian, Prussian and Austrian forces; the surrender of the French capital forced the abdication of Emperor Napoleon.
In 1917, the United States took formal possession of the Virgin Islands from Denmark.
In 1931, Notre Dame college football coach Knute Rockne (noot RAHK’-nee), 43, was killed in the crash of a TWA plane in Bazaar, Kansas.
In 1968, at the conclusion of a nationally broadcast address on Vietnam, President Lyndon B. Johnson stunned listeners by declaring, “I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.”
In 1993, actor Brandon Lee, 28, was accidentally shot to death during the filming of a movie in Wilmington, North Carolina, when he was hit by a bullet fragment that had become lodged inside a prop gun.
In 1995, baseball players agreed to end their 232-day strike after a judge granted a preliminary injunction against club owners.
In 2004, four American civilian contractors were killed in Fallujah, Iraq; frenzied crowds dragged the burned, mutilated bodies and strung two of them from a bridge.
In 2005, Terri Schiavo (SHY’-voh), 41, died at a hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida, 13 days after her feeding tube was removed in a wrenching right-to-die court fight.
In 2009, Benjamin Netanyahu took office as Israel’s new prime minister after the Knesset approved his government.
In 2019, rapper Nipsey Hussle was fatally shot outside the clothing store he had founded to help rebuild his troubled South Los Angeles neighborhood; he was 33.
In 2020, Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan officially stepped down from duties as members of the royal family.
Ten years ago: Pope Francis marked Christianity’s most joyous day at the Vatican with a passionate plea for world peace as he celebrated his first Easter Sunday as pontiff. The Houston Astros, coming off consecutive 100-loss seasons in the National League, made an impressive debut in the American League, trouncing the Texas Rangers 8-2 on opening night.
Five years ago: Amid tight security, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and her family returned to her hometown in Pakistan for the first time since she was shot in the head in 2012 for her work as an advocate for young women’s education. The Mormon church injected some diversity into what had been an all-white leadership panel by selecting the first-ever Latin American apostle and the first-ever apostle of Asian ancestry. Hundreds of well-wishers lined the streets of Cambridge, England, as a hearse carried the remains of physicist and author Stephen Hawking to a private funeral.
One year ago: Russian troops began leaving the Chernobyl nuclear plant after soldiers got “significant doses” of radiation from digging trenches at the highly contaminated site, Ukraine’s state power company said. President Joe Biden ordered the release of 1 million barrels of oil per day from the nation’s strategic petroleum reserve for six months in a bid to control spiking energy prices. Scientists announced they had finally finished deciphering the full genetic blueprint for human life.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor William Daniels is 96. Actor Richard Chamberlain is 89. Actor Shirley Jones is 89. Musician Herb Alpert is 88. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is 83. Former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., is 83. Actor Christopher Walken is 80. Comedian Gabe Kaplan is 79. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, is 79. Rock musician Mick Ralphs (Bad Company; Mott the Hoople) is 79. Former Vice President Al Gore is 76. Author David Eisenhower is 75. Actor Rhea Perlman is 75. Actor Ed Marinaro is 73. Rock musician Angus Young (AC/DC) is 68. Actor Marc McClure is 66. Actor William McNamara is 58. Alt-country musician Bob Crawford (The Avett Brothers) is 52. Actor Ewan McGregor is 52. Actor Erica Tazel is 48. Actor Judi Shekoni is 45. Rapper Tony Yayo is 45. Actor Kate Micucci is 43. Actor Brian Tyree Henry is 41. Actor Melissa Ordway is 40. Musician and producer Jack Antonoff (Fun, Taylor Swift) is 39. Actor Jessica Szohr is 38.