Today in History

AP News
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Posted: Mar 09, 2011 12:00 AM
Today in History

Today is Ash Wednesday, March 9, the 68th day of 2011. There are 297 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On March 9, 1861, the Confederate Congress, meeting in Montgomery, Ala., authorized the issuing of paper currency, in the form of interest-bearing notes, which were initially printed by a New York firm, the National Bank Note Co.

On this date:

In 1661, Cardinal Jules Mazarin, the chief minister of France, died, leaving King Louis XIV in full control.

In 1796, the future emperor of the French, Napoleon Bonaparte, married Josephine de Beauharnais (boh-ahr-NAY'). (The couple later divorced.)

In 1862, during the Civil War, the ironclads USS Monitor and CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimac) clashed for five hours to a draw at Hampton Roads, Va.

In 1916, Mexican raiders led by Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, N.M., killing 18 Americans.

In 1932, Eamon de Valera was appointed head of government of the Irish Free State.

In 1945, during World War II, U.S. B-29 bombers launched incendiary bomb attacks against Japan, resulting in an estimated 100,000 deaths.

In 1954, CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow critically reviewed Wisconsin Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy's anti-Communism campaign on "See It Now."

In 1964, the Supreme Court, in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, ruled that public officials who charged they'd been libeled by news reports could not recover damages unless they proved actual malice on the part of the news organization.

In 1977, about a dozen armed Hanafi Muslims invaded three buildings in Washington, D.C., killing one person and taking more than 130 hostages. (The siege ended two days later.)

In 1981, Dan Rather made his debut as principal anchorman of "The CBS Evening News."

Ten years ago: A judge in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., sentenced 14-year-old Lionel Tate to life in prison for killing 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick. (Tate's first-degree murder conviction and sentence were overturned; he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and received a new sentence of probation, but later pleaded no contest to robbing a pizza delivery man, receiving concurrent 10-year sentences for the robbery and parole violation.) Attorney James St. Clair, who'd represented President Richard M. Nixon at the height of the Watergate scandal, died in Westwood, Mass., at age 80.

Five years ago: Bowing to ferocious opposition in Congress, a Dubai-owned company, DP World, relinquished its quest to take over operations at U.S. ports. John Profumo, the former British Cabinet minister whose affair with a prostitute rocked Britain in 1963, died in London at age 91.

One year ago: Vice President Joe Biden, visiting Israel, condemned an Israeli plan to build hundreds of homes in east Jerusalem. Former television producer Robert "Joe" Halderman pleaded guilty in New York to attempted grand larceny for trying to blackmail talk show host David Letterman. (Halderman was sentenced to six months in jail; he actually served four months.) Doris "Granny D" Haddock, a New Hampshire woman who'd walked across the country at age 89 to promote campaign finance reform, died at age 100.

Today's Birthdays: Former Sen. James L. Buckley, Conservative-N.Y., is 88. Singer-actress Keely Smith is 79. Singer Lloyd Price is 78. Actress Joyce Van Patten is 77. Actor-comedian Marty Ingels is 75. Country singer Mickey Gilley is 75. Actress Trish Van Devere is 70. Singer Mark Lindsay (Paul Revere and the Raiders) is 69. Former ABC anchorman Charles Gibson is 68. Rock musician Robin Trower is 66. Singer Jeffrey Osborne is 63. Country musician Jimmie Fadden (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) is 63. Actress Jaime Lyn Bauer is 62. Magazine editor Michael Kinsley is 60. TV newscaster Faith Daniels is 54. Actor Tom Amandes is 52. Actor-director Lonny Price is 52. Actress Linda Fiorentino is 51. Country musician Rusty Hendrix (Confederate Railroad) is 51. Actress Juliette Binoche is 47. Rock musician Robert Sledge (Ben Folds Five) is 43. Rapper C-Murder is 40. Actor Emmanuel Lewis is 40. Actress Jean Louisa Kelly is 39. Actor Kerr Smith is 39. Rapper Chingy is 31. Actor Matthew Gray Gubler is 31. Actress Brittany Snow is 25. Rapper Bow Wow is 24. Actor Luis Armand Garcia is 19.

Thought for Today: "It is the nature of man to rise to greatness if greatness is expected of him." _ John Steinbeck, American author (1902-1968).

(Above Advance for Use Wednesday, March 9)

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