MOMENTS IN TIME The History Channel

• On March 15, 44 B.C., Julius Caesar, the “dictator for life” of the Roman Empire, is murdered by his own senators at a meeting in a hall next to Pompey’s Theatre. The conspiracy against Caesar encompassed as many as 60 noblemen, including Caesar’s own protege, Marcus Brutus.

• On March 13, 1781, English astronomer William Hershel discovers Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun. Herschel’s discovery was the first to be made by use of a telescope, which allowed Herschel to distinguish Uranus as a planet, not a star, as previous astronomers believed.

• On March 12, 1933, eight days after his inauguration, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gives his first national radio address, or “fireside chat,” broadcast directly from the White House. Roosevelt went on to deliver 30 more of these broadcasts between March 1933 and June 1944.

• On March 9, 1945, US warplanes launch a new bombing offensive against Japan, dropping 2,000 tons of incendiary bombs on Tokyo and igniting the worst single firestorm in recorded history. Almost 16 square miles were incinerated, and between 80,000 and 130,000 Japanese civilians were killed.

• On March 14, 1950, the Federal Bureau of Investigation institutes the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list in an effort to publicize particularly dangerous fugitives. The creation of the program arose out of a wireservice news story in 1949 about the “toughest guys” the FBI wanted to capture.

• On March 10, 1969, James Earl Ray pleads guilty to the assassination of civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and is sentenced to 99 years in prison. During the 1990s, King’s widow and children spoke publicly in support of Ray and speculated about an assassination conspiracy involving the US government and military.

• On March 11, 1997, Paul McCartney, a former member of the Beatles, is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his “services to music.” The 54-yearold lad from Liverpool became Sir Paul in a centuries-old ceremony of pomp and solemnity at Buckingham Palace in central London.

(c) 2009 King Features Syndicate