Today is Thursday, March 15, the 74th day of 2018. There are 291 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History: On March 15, 1493, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus arrived back in the Spanish harbor of Palos de la Frontera, two months after concluding his first voyage to the Western Hemisphere.
On this date:
In 44 B.C., Roman dictator Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of nobles that included Brutus and Cassius.
In 1767, the seventh president of the United States, Andrew Jackson, was born in the Waxhaw settlement along the North Carolina-South Carolina border.
In 1820, Maine became the 23rd state.
In 1917, Czar Nicholas II abdicated in favor of his brother, Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich, who declined the crown, marking the end of imperial rule in Russia.
In 1922, Sultan Fuad I proclaimed himself the first king of modern Egypt.
In 1937, America's first hospital blood bank was opened at Cook County Hospital in Illinois.
In 1944, during World War II, Allied bombers again raided German-held Monte Cassino.
In 1956, the Lerner and Loewe musical play "My Fair Lady," based on Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion," opened on Broadway.
In 1964, actress Elizabeth Taylor married actor Richard Burton in Montreal; it was her fifth marriage, his second. (They divorced in 1974, remarried in 1975, then divorced again in 1976.)
In 1977, the U.S. House of Representatives began a 90-day closed-circuit test to determine the feasibility of showing its sessions on television. The situation comedy "Three's Company," starring John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt and Suzanne Somers, premiered on ABC-TV.
In 1985, the first internet domain name, symbolics.com, was registered by the Symbolics Computer Corp. of Massachusetts.
In 1998, CBS' "60 Minutes" aired an interview with former White House employee Kathleen Willey, who said President Bill Clinton had made unwelcome sexual advances toward her in the Oval Office in 1993, a charge denied by the president. Dr. Benjamin Spock, whose child care guidance spanned half a century, died in San Diego at 94.
Ten years ago: A construction crane, 19 stories tall and attached to an apartment tower under construction on Manhattan's East Side, broke away and toppled like a tree onto buildings as far as a block away, killing seven people. China's legislature re-appointed Hu Jintao (hoo jin-tow) as president, giving him a second five-year term.
Five years ago: The Pentagon announced it would spend $1 billion to add 14 interceptors to an Alaska-based missile defense system, responding to what it called faster-than-anticipated North Korean progress on nuclear weapons and missiles. The chief of Syria's main, Western-backed rebel group marked the second anniversary of the start of the uprising against President Bashar Assad by pledging to fight until the "criminal" regime was gone. Canadian Patrick Chan won his third title at the World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario.
One year ago: President Donald Trump, speaking in Ypsilanti, Michigan, announced that his administration would re-examine federal requirements governing the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks, moving forcefully against Obama-era environmental regulations that Trump said were stifling economic growth; Trump then flew to Nashville to lay a wreath at the tomb of President Andrew Jackson. For the second time, a federal court blocked President Trump's efforts to freeze immigration by refugees and citizens of some predominantly Muslim nations. The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate for the second time in three months, increasing its key short-term rate by a quarter-point to a still-low range of 0.75 percent to 1 percent.
Today's Birthdays: Musician DJ Fontana is 87. Former astronaut Alan L. Bean is 86. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85. Actor Judd Hirsch is 83. Jazz musician Charles Lloyd is 80. Rock musician Phil Lesh is 78. Singer Mike Love (The Beach Boys) is 77. Rock singer-musician Sly Stone is 75. Rock singer-musician Howard Scott (War; Lowrider Band) is 72. Rock singer Ry Cooder is 71. Actor Craig Wasson is 64. Rock singer Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) is 63. Actor Joaquim de Almeida is 61. Actress Park Overall is 61. Movie director Renny Harlin is 59. Model Fabio is 57. Singer Terence Trent D'Arby (AKA Sananda Maitreya) is 56. Rock singer Bret Michaels (Poison) is 55. Rhythm-and-blues singer Rockwell is 54. Actor Chris Bruno is 52. Rock singer Mark McGrath (Sugar Ray) is 50. Actress Kim Raver is 49. Rock musician Mark Hoppus is 46. Country singer-musician Matt Thomas (Parmalee) is 44. Actress Eva Longoria is 43. Rapper-musician will.i.am (Black Eyed Peas) is 43. Rock DJ Joseph Hahn (Linkin Park) is 41. Rapper Young Buck is 37. Actor Sean Biggerstaff is 35. Rock musician Ethan Mentzer is 35. Actor Kellan Lutz is 33. Actress Caitlin Wachs is 29.
Thought for Today: "Life's meaning has always eluded me and I guess it always will. But I love it just the same." — E.B. White, American author and humorist (1899-1985).