updated 3/9/2005 12:01:00 AM ET 2005-03-09T05:01:00

Today is Wednesday, March 9, the 68th day of 2005. There are 297 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:
On March 9, 1945, during World War II, U.S. B-29 bombers launched incendiary bomb attacks against Japan.

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 “100 days” of enacting New Deal legislation.

In 1954, CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow critically reviewed Wisconsin Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy’s anti-Communism campaign on an episode of “See It Now.”

In 1975, work began on the Alaskan oil pipeline.

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: House Republicans unveiled their long-promised tax cut for families, businesses and investors. President Clinton sharply eased travel restrictions on Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and invited him to the White House for St. Patrick’s Day. Los Angeles police detective Mark Fuhrman took the stand at the O.J. Simpson murder trial, denying ever meeting a woman who’d accused him of making racist remarks.

Five years ago: John McCain suspended his presidential campaign, conceding the Republican nomination to George W. Bush. Bill Bradley ended his presidential bid, conceding the Democratic nomination to Vice President Al Gore.

One year ago: Convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad was sentenced to death in Virginia. Former United Nations official Gerard Latortue was named Haiti’s new prime minister.

Today’s birthdays: Author Mickey Spillane is 87. Singer-actress Keely Smith is 73. Singer Lloyd Price is 72. Actress Joyce Van Patten is 71. Actor-comedian Marty Ingels is 69. Country singer Mickey Gilley is 69. Singer Mark Lindsay (Paul Revere and the Raiders) is 63. TV personality Charles Gibson is 62. Chess player Bobby Fischer is 62. Actress Trish Van Devere is 60. Rock musician Robin Trower is 60. Singer Jeffrey Osborne is 57. Country musician Jimmie Fadden (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) is 57. Actress Jaime Lyn Bauer is 56. Magazine editor Michael Kinsley is 54. Newscaster Faith Daniels is 48. Actor-director Lonny Price is 46. Actress Linda Fiorentino is 45. Actress Juliette Binoche is 41. Rock musician Robert Sledge (Ben Folds Five) is 37. Rapper C-Murder is 34. Actor Emmanuel Lewis is 34. Actress Jean Louisa Kelly is 33. Actor Kerr Smith is 33. Rapper Chingy is 25. Actress Brittany Snow is 19. Rapper Bow Wow is 18. Actor Luis Armand Garcia is 13.

Thought for today: “Conscience is the perfect interpreter of life.” — Karl Barth, Swiss theologian (1886-1966).

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