Today is Saturday, March 21, the 80th day of 2009. There are 285 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On March 21, 1685, composer Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany.

On this date:

In 1804, the French civil code, or the "Code Napoleon" as it was later called, was adopted.

In 1806, Mexican statesman Benito Juarez was born in Oaxaca.

In 1907, U.S. Marines arrived in Honduras to protect American lives and interests in the wake of political violence.

In 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan began a four-day conference in Bermuda.

In 1960, some 70 people were killed in Sharpeville, South Africa, when police fired on demonstrators.

In 1963, the Alcatraz federal prison island in San Francisco Bay was emptied of its last inmates at the order of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.

In 1965, more than 3,000 civil rights demonstrators led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. began their march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.

In 1972, the Supreme Court, in Dunn v. Blumstein, ruled that states may not require at least a year's residency for voting eligibility.

In 1985, police in Langa, South Africa, opened fire on blacks marching to mark the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville shootings; the reported death toll varies between 29 and 43.

In 1990, Namibia became an independent nation as the former colony marked the end of 75 years of South African rule.

Ten years ago: Israel's Supreme Court rejected a final effort to have American teenager Samuel Sheinbein returned to the United States to face murder charges. (Under a plea agreement with Israeli prosecutors, Sheinbein was later sentenced to 24 years in prison for the murder of Alfred Tello Jr.) At the Academy Awards, "Shakespeare in Love" won seven Oscars, including best picture and best actress for Gwyneth Paltrow; Roberto Benigni won best actor for "Life is Beautiful," while Steven Spielberg won best director for "Saving Private Ryan."

Five years ago: The White House disputed assertions by President George W. Bush's former counterterrorism coordinator, Richard A. Clarke, that the administration had failed to recognize the risk of an attack by al-Qaida in the months leading up to 9/11. (Clarke's assertions were contained in a new book, "Against All Enemies," that went on sale the next day.) Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid won the prestigious 2004 Pritzker Architecture Prize, becoming the first woman to receive the profession's highest honor.

One year ago: Officials admitted that at least four State Department workers had pried into the supposedly secure passport files of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain, prompting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to personally apologize to the presidential contenders.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Al Freeman Jr. is 78. Violinist-conductor Joseph Silverstein is 77. Actress Kathleen Widdoes is 70. Singer Solomon Burke is 69. Actress Marie-Christine Barrault is 65. Singer-musician Rose Stone (Sly and the Family Stone) is 64. Actor Timothy Dalton is 63. Singer Eddie Money is 60. Rock singer-musician Roger Hodgson (Supertramp) is 59. Rock musician Conrad Lozano (Los Lobos) is 58. Rhythm-and-blues singer Russell Thompkins Jr. (The Stylistics) is 58. Comedy writer-performer Brad Hall is 51. Actress Sabrina LeBeauf is 51. Actor Gary Oldman is 51. Actor Matthew Broderick is 47. Comedian-talk show host Rosie O'Donnell is 47. Rock musician Jonas "Joker" Berggren (Ace of Base) is 42. Rock MC Maxim (Prodigy) is 42. Rock musician Andrew Copeland (Sister Hazel) is 41. Hip-hop DJ Premier (Gang Starr) is 40. Actress Laura Allen is 35. Rapper-TV personality Kevin Federline is 31.

Thought for Today: "One friend in a lifetime is much; two are many; three are hardly possible." _ Henry Brooks Adams, American historian and author (1838-1918).

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