This Day in History: March 18

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On this day, March 18 …

2005: Doctors in Florida, acting on orders of a state judge, remove Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube. (Despite the efforts of congressional Republicans to intervene and repeated court appeals by Schiavo’s parents, the brain-damaged woman would die on March 31 at age 41.)

Also on this day:

  • 1766: Britain repeals the Stamp Act of 1765.
  • 1925: “The Tri-State Tornado” strikes southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois and southwestern Indiana, resulting in some 700 deaths.
  • 1937: Nearly 300 people, most of them children, are killed in a natural gas explosion at the New London Consolidated School in Rusk County, Texas.
  • 1938: Mexican President Lázaro Cárdenas nationalizes his country’s petroleum reserves and takes control of foreign-owned oil facilities.
  • 1940: Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini meet at the Brenner Pass, where the Italian dictator agrees to join Germany’s war against France and Britain.
  • 1942: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs an executive order authorizing the War Relocation Authority, which is put in charge of interning Japanese-Americans, with Milton S. Eisenhower (the younger brother of Dwight D. Eisenhower) as its director.
  • 1959: President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Hawaii statehood bill. (Hawaii would become a state that August.)
  • 1963: The U.S. Supreme Court, in Gideon v. Wainwright, rules unanimously that state courts are required to provide legal counsel to criminal defendants who cannot afford to hire an attorney on their own.
  • 1965: The first spacewalk takes place as Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov goes outside his Voskhod 2 capsule, secured by a tether.
  • 1980: Frank Gotti, the 12-year-old youngest son of mobster John Gotti, is struck and killed by a car driven by John Favara, a neighbor in Queens, N.Y. (The following July, Favara would vanish.)
  • 2009: Under intense pressure from the Obama administration and Congress, the head of bailed-out insurance giant AIG, Edward Liddy, tells Congress that some of the firm’s executives began returning all or part of bonuses totaling $165 million.

2018: A self-driving Uber SUV strikes and kills a pedestrian in suburban Phoenix in the first death involving a fully autonomous test vehicle; Uber suspends its autonomous vehicle testing program in Arizona, California, Pittsburgh and Toronto after the crash.

2019: Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., files a lawsuit against Twitter and a handful of users seeking $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages, accusing the site of “shadow-banning conservatives,” systematically censoring opposing viewpoints and “ignoring” complaints of repeated abusive behavior.

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