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Today in history: November 9

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

Today is Thursday, Nov. 9, the 313th day of 2006. There are 52 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Nov. 9, 1965, the great Northeast blackout occurred as a series of power failures lasting up to 13.5 hours left 30 million people in seven states and two Canadian provinces without electricity.

On this date:
In 1872, fire destroyed nearly 1,000 buildings in Boston.

In 1918, it was announced that Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II would abdicate. He then fled to the Netherlands.

In 1935, United Mine Workers president John L. Lewis and other labor leaders formed the Committee for Industrial Organization (later Congress of Industrial Organizations).

In 1938, Nazis looted and burned synagogues as well as Jewish-owned stores and houses in Germany and Austria in what became known as “Kristallnacht.”

In 1953, author-poet Dylan Thomas died in New York at age 39.

In 1963, twin disasters struck Japan as some 450 miners were killed in a coal-dust explosion, and about 160 people died in a train crash.

In 1967, a Saturn V rocket carrying an unmanned Apollo spacecraft blasted off from Cape Kennedy, Fla., on a successful test flight.

In 1976, the U.N. General Assembly approved 10 resolutions condemning apartheid in South Africa, including one characterizing the white-ruled government as “illegitimate.”

In 1986, Israel revealed it was holding Mordechai Vanunu, a former nuclear technician who’d vanished after providing information to a British newspaper about Israel’s nuclear weapons program. (Vanunu was convicted of treason and served 18 years in prison.)

In 1989, communist East Germany threw open its borders, allowing citizens to travel freely to the West; joyous Germans danced atop the Berlin Wall.

Ten years ago: President Clinton used his weekly radio address to condemn the decision of the nation’s distillers to end their voluntary ban on airing hard-liquor ads, calling it “simply irresponsible.” Evander Holyfield upset Mike Tyson to win the WBA heavyweight title in an 11-round fight in Las Vegas.

Five years ago: The northern alliance proclaimed victory over the Taliban in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, the most significant prize in northern Afghanistan.

One year ago: Three suicide bombers carried out nearly simultaneous attacks on three U.S.-based hotels in Amman, Jordan, killing 60 victims, and wounding hundreds. Oil executives testified before Congress that their huge profits were justified, but got a skeptical reaction from lawmakers. Carolina’s Erik Cole became the first player in NHL history to be awarded two penalty shots in one game. (Cole scored on the first, helping the Hurricanes defeat Buffalo 5-3.)

Today’s Birthdays: Sportscaster Charlie Jones is 76. Baseball executive Whitey Herzog is 75. Former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., is 70. Singer Mary Travers is 70. Actor Charlie Robinson (“Night Court”) is 61. Movie director Bille August is 58. Actor Robert David Hall (“CSI”) is 58. Actor Lou Ferrigno is 54. Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin is 47. Rock musician Dee Plakas (L7) is 46. Rapper Pepa (Salt-N-Pepa) is 37. Rapper Scarface (Geto Boys) is 37. Blues singer Susan Tedeschi is 36. Actor Eric Dane is 34. Singer Nick Lachey (98 Degrees) is 33. Rhythm-and-blues singer Sisqo (Dru Hill) is 28.

Thought for Today: “Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.” — Robert Frost, American poet (1874-1963).