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Today in history: September 9

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Saturday, Sept. 9, the 252nd day of 2006. There are 113 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Sept, 9, 1776, the second Continental Congress made the term United States official, replacing United Colonies.

On this date:
In 1830, Charles Durant flew a balloon from New York City across the Hudson River to Perth Amboy, N.J.

In 1850, California became the 31st state of the union.

In 1893, Frances Cleveland, wife of President Cleveland, gave birth to a daughter, Esther, in the White House; it was the first time a president’s child was born in the executive mansion.

In 1948, the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) was created.

In 1956, Elvis Presley made the first of three appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

In 1957, President Eisenhower signed into law the first civil rights bill to pass Congress since Reconstruction.

In 1971, prisoners seized control of the maximum-security Attica Correctional Facility near Buffalo, N.Y., beginning a siege that ended up claiming 43 lives.

In 1976, Communist Chinese leader Mao Tse-tung died in Beijing at age 82.

In 1986, Frank Reed, director of a private school in Lebanon, was taken hostage; he was released 44 months later.

In 1997, Sinn Fein, the IRA’s political ally, formally renounced violence as it took its place in talks on Northern Ireland’s future.

Ten years ago: Promising safer skies, President Clinton issued orders to tighten airport security and challenged Congress to support a $1.1 billion anti-terrorism crackdown. Keeping her word not to cooperate with Whitewater prosecutors, Susan McDougal was led away to jail for contempt of court, denying she was trying to protect President Clinton with her silence.

Five years ago: Afghanistan’s military opposition leader Ahmed Shah Massood was fatally wounded in a suicide attack by assassins posing as journalists. Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants hit three home runs against the Colorado Rockies to give him 63 for the season, passing Roger Maris’ once-magical mark and moving him closer to Mark McGwire’s record. Lleyton Hewitt ran down Pete Sampras to earn his first Grand Slam title, 7-6 (4), 6-1, 6-1 at the U.S. Open.

One year ago: Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown, the principal target of harsh criticism of the Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina, was relieved of his onsite command. A Nevada couple pleaded guilty in San Jose, Calif., to all charges related to planting a human fingertip in a bowl of Wendy’s chili in a scheme to extort money from the fast food restaurant chain. Egypt’s elections commission declared Hosni Mubarak winner of the nation’s first contested presidential vote.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Cliff Robertson is 81. Actress Sylvia Miles is 74. Actor Topol is 71. Rhythm-and-blues singer Luther Simmons is 64. Singer Inez Foxx is 64. Singer Dee Dee Sharp is 61. Rock singer-musician Doug Ingle is 60. Country singer Freddy Weller is 59. Football commentator Joe Theismann is 57. Actor Tom Wopat is 55. Actress Angela Cartwright is 54. Musician-producer Dave Stewart is 54. Actor Hugh Grant is 46. Actor Adam Sandler is 40. Actor David Bennent is 40. Rock singer Paul Durham (Black Lab) is 38. Model Rachel Hunter is 37. Rapper Dray (Das EFX) is 36. Actor Goran Visnjic is 34. Pop-jazz singer Michael Buble’ is 31. Actress Michelle Williams is 26.

Thought for Today: “Nothing annoys a man as to hear a woman promising to love him ’forever’ when he merely wanted her to love him for a few weeks.” — Helen Rowland, American writer, journalist and humorist (1876-1950).