Today is Friday, March 19, the 78th day of 2021. There are 287 days left in the year.

On this date in history

On March 19, 2013, Pope Francis officially began his ministry as the 266th pope, receiving the ring symbolizing the papacy and a wool stole exemplifying his role as shepherd of his 1.2-billion strong flock during a Mass at the Vatican.

1931 — Nevada Gov. Fred B. Balzar signed a measure legalizing casino gambling.

1942 — During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered men between the ages of 45 and 64, inclusive, to register for non-military duty.

1945 — During World War II, 724 people were killed when a Japanese dive bomber attacked the carrier USS Franklin off Japan. (The ship was saved.)

1966 — The Texas Western Miners defeated the heavily favored Kentucky Wildcats, 72-65, to win the NCAA Championship played in College Park, Maryland; making the contest especially noteworthy was that Texas Western became the first basketball team to start five Black players in a national title game as it faced an all-white Kentucky squad.

1979 — The US House of Representatives began televising its floor proceedings; the live feed was carried by C-SPAN (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network), which was making its debut.

1987 — Televangelist Jim Bakker resigned as chairman of his PTL ministry organization amid a sex and money scandal involving Jessica Hahn, a former church secretary.

1993 — Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White announced plans to retire. (White’s departure paved the way for Ruth Bader Ginsburg to become the court’s second female justice.)

2003 — President George W. Bush ordered the start of war against Iraq. (Because of the time difference, it was early March 20 in Iraq.)

Ten years ago — The US fired more than 100 cruise missiles from the sea while French fighter jets targeted Moammar Gadhafi’s forces from the air, launching the broadest international military effort since the Iraq war in support of an uprising.

Five years ago — A FlyDubai Boeing 737 plunged into the ground near the airport in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, killing all 62 people on board.

One year ago — Italy’s Coronavirus death toll surged past 3,400, surpassing China’s; worldwide deaths topped 10,000. President Donald Trump focused attention on a malaria drug, chloroquine, as a possible virus treatment; the FDA issued a statement saying that there were “no FDA-approved therapeutics” to treat COVID-19. In a conference call, governors told Trump that their states were in immediate need of federal help to contain the virus. Trump called on states to do more to acquire masks, ventilators and testing supplies, saying that the federal government is not a “shipping clerk.”

Today’s birthdays

Actor Renee Taylor is 88. Actor Ursula Andress is 85. Singer Clarence “Frogman” Henry is 84. Singer Ruth Pointer (The Pointer Sisters) is 75. Actor Glenn Close is 74. Actor Bruce Willis is 66. Actor-comedian Mary Scheer is 58. Playwright Neil LaBute is 58. Actor Connor Trinneer is 52. Rock musician Gert Bettens (K’s Choice) is 51. Rapper Bun B is 48. Actor Virginia Williams is 43. Actor Abby Brammell is 42. MLB pitcher Clayton Kershaw is 33. Actor Craig Lamar Traylor is 32. Actor Philip Bolden is 26

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