updated 3/9/2006 12:12:28 AM ET 2006-03-09T05:12:28

Today is Thursday, March 9, the 68th day of 2006. There are 297 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 9, 1954, CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow critically reviewed Wisconsin Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy’s anti-Communism campaign on an episode of “See It Now.”

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 France, Napoleon Bonaparte, married Josephine de Beauharnais. The couple divorced in 1809.

In 1860, the first Japanese ambassador to the United States (Niimi Buzennokami) and his staff arrived in San Francisco.

In 1862, during the Civil War, the ironclads Monitor and Virginia (formerly 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 more than a dozen people.

In 1933, Congress, called into special session by President Roosevelt, began its “hundred days” of enacting New Deal legislation.

In 1945, during World War II, U.S. B-29 bombers launched incendiary bomb attacks against Japan.

In 1975, work began on the Alaskan oil pipeline.

In 1977, about a dozen armed Hanafi Muslims invaded three buildings in Washington, 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: Comedian George Burns died in Beverly Hills, Calif., just weeks after turning 100. The space shuttle Columbia landed safely a day late at the Kennedy Space Center, ending a 16-day mission.

Five years ago: A judge in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., sentenced 14-year-old Lionel Tate to life in prison for killing Tiffany Eunick, a six-year old girl. (Tate’s first-degree murder conviction and sentence were later overturned; he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and received a new sentence of probation, but is now accused of violating that probation.) Attorney James St. Clair, who represented President Nixon at the height of the Watergate scandal, died in Westwood, Mass., at age 80.

One year ago: Michael Jackson’s young accuser took the witness stand, saying he once considered the pop star being tried for allegedly molesting him “the coolest guy in the world.” (Jackson was later acquitted.) Dan Rather signed off for the last time as principal anchorman of “The CBS Evening News.”

Today’s Birthdays: Author Mickey Spillane is 88. Singer-actress Keely Smith is 74. Singer Lloyd Price is 73. Actress Joyce Van Patten is 72. Actor-comedian Marty Ingels is 70. Country singer Mickey Gilley is 70. Singer Mark Lindsay (Paul Revere and the Raiders) is 64. “Good Morning America” host Charles Gibson is 63. Chess player Bobby Fischer is 63. Rock musician Robin Trower is 61. Singer Jeffrey Osborne is 58. Country musician Jimmie Fadden (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) is 58. Actress Jaime Lyn Bauer is 57. Magazine editor Michael Kinsley is 55. Newscaster Faith Daniels is 49. Actor-director Lonny Price is 47. Actress Linda Fiorentino is 46. Actress Juliette Binoche is 42. Rock musician Robert Sledge (Ben Folds Five) is 38. Rapper C-Miller (formerly C-Murder) is 35. Actor Emmanuel Lewis is 35. Actress Jean Louisa Kelly is 34. Actor Kerr Smith is 34. Rapper Chingy is 26. Actress Brittany Snow is 20. Rapper Bow Wow is 19. Actor Luis Armand Garcia is 14.

Thought for Today: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” — “Parkinson’s Law,” by C. Northcote Parkinson (1909-1993).

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