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Today in history: May 9

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

Today is Monday, May 9, the 129th day of 2005. There are 236 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
Twenty-five years ago, on May 9, 1980, 35 motorists were killed when a Liberian freighter rammed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay in Florida, causing a 1,400-foot section to collapse.

On this date:
In 1502, Christopher Columbus left Cadiz, Spain, on his fourth and final trip to the Western Hemisphere.

In 1754, a cartoon in Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette showed a snake cut into sections, each part representing an American colony; the caption read, “Join or die.”

In 1913, the 17th amendment to the Constitution, providing for the election of U.S. senators by popular vote rather than selection by state legislatures, was ratified.

In 1926, Americans Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett became the first men to fly over the North Pole.

In 1936, Italy annexed Ethiopia.

In 1945, U.S. officials announced that a midnight entertainment curfew was being lifted immediately.

In 1960, the Food and Drug Administration approved a pill as safe for birth control use. (The pill, Enovid, was made by G.D. Searle and Co. of Chicago.)

In 1961, Federal Communications Commission chairman Newton N. Minow condemned television programming as a “vast wasteland” in a speech to the National Association of Broadcasters.

In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee opened hearings on whether to recommend the impeachment of President Nixon.

In 1978, the bullet-riddled body of former Italian prime minister Aldo Moro, who’d been abducted by the Red Brigades, was found in an automobile in the center of Rome.

Ten years ago: President Clinton arrived in Moscow for a summit with Russian President Boris Yeltsin. The city of Kinshasa, Zaire, was placed under quarantine after an outbreak of the Ebola virus. The United States returned 13 Cuban boat people to their homeland, the first refugees to be sent back under a new policy bitterly protested by Cuban-Americans.

Five years ago: Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., endorsed Texas Gov. George W. Bush for president. Former four-term Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards was convicted of extortion schemes to manipulate the licensing of riverboat casinos. (Edwards was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $250,000.)

One year ago: A bomb destroyed the VIP section at a stadium during a Victory Day celebration in the Chechen capital of Grozny, killing 24 people, including the province’s president, Akhmad Kadyrov. Canada rallied to beat Sweden for the second straight year in the gold-medal game at the world hockey championships, 5-3. Comedian Alan King died in New York at age 76.

Today’s Birthdays: CBS News correspondent Mike Wallace is 87. Actor-writer Alan Bennett is 71. Actor Albert Finney is 69. Actress-turned-politician Glenda Jackson is 69. Musician Sonny Curtis (Buddy Holly and the Crickets) is 68. Producer-director James L. Brooks is 65. Singer Tommy Roe is 63. Singer-musician Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield and Poco) is 61. Actress Candice Bergen is 59. Pop singer Clint Holmes is 59. Actor Anthony Higgins is 58. Singer Billy Joel is 56. Rock singer-musician Tom Petersson (Cheap Trick) is 55. Actress Alley Mills is 54. Actor John Corbett is 44. Singer Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode) is 43. Rapper Ghostface Killah is 35. R&B singer Tamia is 30. Rock musician Dan Regan (Reel Big Fish) is 28. Rock singer Pierre Bouvier (Simple Plan) is 26. Actress Rosario Dawson is 26.

Thought for Today: “It is not the fact of liberty but the way in which liberty is exercised that ultimately determines whether liberty itself survives.” — Dorothy Thompson, American journalist and author (1894-1961).