Today in History: Meltdown

Today in History

Today is Thursday, March 28, the 87th day of 2019. There are 278 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 28, 1979, America’s worst commercial nuclear accident occurred with a partial meltdown inside the Unit 2 reactor at the Three Mile Island plant near Middletown, Pennsylvania.

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On this date:

In 1797, Nathaniel Briggs of New Hampshire received a patent for a washing machine.

In 1898, the U.S. Supreme Court, in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, ruled 6-2 that Wong, who was born in the United States to Chinese immigrants, was an American citizen.

In 1930, the names of the Turkish cities of Constantinople and Angora were changed to Istanbul and Ankara.

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In 1941, novelist and critic Virginia Woolf, 59, drowned herself near her home in Lewes, East Sussex, England.

In 1942, during World War II, British naval forces staged a successful raid on the Nazi-occupied French port of St. Nazaire in Operation Chariot, destroying the only dry dock on the Atlantic coast capable of repairing the German battleship Tirpitz.

In 1969, the 34th president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, died in Washington D.C. at age 78.

In 1978, in Stump v. Sparkman, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld, 5-3, the judicial immunity of an Indiana judge against a lawsuit brought by a young woman who’d been ordered sterilized by the judge when she was a teenager.

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In 1990, President George H.W. Bush presented the Congressional Gold Medal to the widow of U.S. Olympic legend Jesse Owens.

In 1999, NATO broadened its attacks on Yugoslavia to target Serb military forces in Kosovo in the fifth straight night of airstrikes; thousands of refugees flooded into Albania and Macedonia from Kosovo.

In 2003, American-led forces in Iraq dropped thousand-pound bombs on Republican Guard units guarding the gates to Baghdad and battled for control of the strategic city of Nasiriyah (nah-sih-REE’-uh). President George W. Bush warned of “further sacrifice” ahead in the face of unexpectedly fierce fighting.

In 2005, The Colorado Supreme Court threw out the death penalty in a rape-and-murder case because five of the trial jurors had consulted the Bible and quoted Scripture during deliberations. (The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider reinstating the death sentence of Robert Harlan, who ended up being resentenced to life in prison for the murder of cocktail waitress Rhonda Maloney.)

In 2017, Wells Fargo said it would pay $110 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over as many as 2 million accounts its employees opened for customers without getting their permission.

Ten years ago: Fears in Fargo, N.D., of a catastrophic flood eased with word that the surging Red River had crested at lower-than-expected levels. Nearly 4,000 cities and towns in 88 countries switched off nonessential lights for Earth Hour to highlight the threat of climate change. Thousands of people marched through European cities to demand jobs, economic justice and environmental accountability. Shuttle Discovery and its crew of seven returned to Earth, ending a 13-day voyage to install a pair of solar wings on the international space station. Film composer Maurice Jarre, 84, died in Malibu, Calif.

Five years ago: Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Barack Obama to discuss a solution to the crisis in Ukraine; the leaders agreed that top U.S. and Russian diplomats should work on the details. Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan became the first man in 12 years to win the Olympic and world figure skating titles in the same year. Jeremiah Denton, 89, a former U.S. senator who’d survived 7 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, died in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Ray Rice married Janay Palmer a day after the Baltimore Ravens running back was indicted for aggravated assault for punching his fiancee in an Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino elevator. (Charges against Rice were dropped when he agreed to enter an intervention program.)

One year ago: President Donald Trump fired Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and nominated White House doctor Ronny Jackson to replace him; the move came in the wake of an ethics scandal and a rebellion within the agency. (Jackson withdrew his nomination amid allegations of workplace misconduct.) A judge in New York ordered rapper DMX to prison for a year for tax evasion. The government reported that the U.S. economy had grown at a solid 2.9 percent annual rate in the final three months of 2017, a sharp upward revision.

Today’s Birthdays: Author Mario Vargas Llosa is 83. Country musician Charlie McCoy is 78. Movie director Mike Newell is 77. Actress Conchata Ferrell is 76. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is 74. Actress Dianne Wiest (weest) is 73. Country singer Reba McEntire is 64. Olympic gold medal gymnast Bart Conner is 61. Actress Alexandra Billings (TV: “Transparent”) is 57. Rapper Salt (Salt-N-Pepa) is 53. Actress Tracey Needham is 52. Actor Max Perlich is 51. Movie director Brett Ratner is 50. Country singer Rodney Atkins is 50. Actor Vince Vaughn is 49. Rapper Mr. Cheeks (Lost Boyz) is 48. Actor Ken L. is 46. Singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson is 46. Rock musician Dave Keuning is 43. Actress Annie Wersching is 42. Actress Julia Stiles is 38. Singer Lady Gaga is 33. Electronic musician Clayton Knight (Odesza) is 31.

Thought for Today: “Those who say they give the public what it wants begin by underestimating public taste and end by debauching it.” — T.S. Eliot, American-Anglo poet and critic (1888-1965).