updated 9/8/2006 12:07:22 AM ET 2006-09-08T04:07:22

Today is Friday, Sept. 8, the 251st day of 2006. There are 114 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Sept. 8, 1900, Galveston, Texas, was struck by a hurricane that killed an estimated 8,000 or more people.

On this date:
In 1664, the Dutch surrendered New Amsterdam to the British, who renamed it New York.

In 1930, the comic strip “Blondie,” created by Chic Young, was first published.

In 1934, 134 people lost their lives in a fire aboard the liner Morro Castle off the New Jersey coast.

In 1941, the 900-day Siege of Leningrad by German forces began during World War II.

In 1951, a peace treaty with Japan was signed by 48 other nations in San Francisco.

In 1966, the science-fiction TV series “Star Trek” premiered on NBC; the situation comedy “That Girl,” starring Marlo Thomas, premiered on ABC.

In 1971, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts opened in Washington, D.C., with a performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass.”

In 1974, President Ford granted an unconditional pardon to former President Nixon.

In 1981, civil rights activist Roy Wilkins, former head of the NAACP, died in New York at age 80.

In 1994, a USAir Boeing 737 crashed into a ravine as it was approaching Pittsburgh International Airport, killing all 132 people on board.

Ten years ago: Okinawans voted more than 10-1 in favor of a reduction of U.S. military bases on their islands, in a referendum aimed at pressuring Washington to pull out its troops. At the U.S. Open, Pete Sampras defeated Michael Chang and Steffi Graf beat Monica Seles to win the top prizes. NBC’s “Frasier” won its third consecutive Emmy for best TV comedy; “ER” was named best drama.

Five years ago: The World Conference Against Racism ended in South Africa as tumultuously as it began, with organizers calling it a success. Venus Williams won her second consecutive U.S. Open title by beating her sister Serena 6-2, 6-4 in the first prime-time women’s Grand Slam final.

One year ago: Congress hastened to provide an additional $51.8 billion for relief and recovery from Hurricane Katrina; President Bush pledged to make it “easy and simple as possible” for uncounted, uprooted storm victims to collect food stamps and other government benefits. Tropical Storm Ophelia strengthened into a hurricane as it stalled 70 miles off the northeast Florida coast.

Today’s Birthdays: Comedian Sid Caesar is 84. Ventriloquist Willie Tyler is 66. Actor Alan Feinstein is 65. Author Ann Beattie is 59. Cajun singer Zachary Richard is 56. Musician Will Lee (“Late Show with David Letterman”) is 54. Actress Heather Thomas is 49. Singer Aimee Mann is 46. Pop musician David Steele (Fine Young Cannibals) is 46. Rhythm-and-blues singer Marc Gordon (Levert) is 42. Alternative country singer Neko Case is 36. TV personality Brooke Burke is 35. Actor Martin Freeman is 35. Actor Henry Thomas is 35. Actor David Arquette is 35. Rock musician Richard Hughes (Keane) is 31. Actor Larenz Tate is 31. Rhythm-and-blues singer Pink is 27. Actor Jonathan Taylor Thomas is 25.

Thought for Today: “It is more important that a proposition be interesting than that it be true.” — Alfred North Whitehead, English philosopher and mathematician (1861-1947).

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