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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 Wednesday, Nov. 9, the 313th day of 2005. There are 52 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
Forty years ago, on Nov. 9, 1965, the great Northeast blackout occurred as a series of power failures lasting up to 13½ hours left 30 million people in seven states and two Canadian provinces without electricity.

On this date:
In 1872, fire destroyed nearly a thousand buildings in Boston.

In 1918, Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II announced he 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.

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 160 people died in a train crash.

In 1967, a Saturn 5 rocket carrying an unmanned Apollo spacecraft blasted off from Cape Kennedy on a successful test flight.

In 1970, former French president Charles De Gaulle died at age 79.

In 1988, former Attorney General John N. Mitchell, a major figure in the Watergate scandal, died in Washington at age 75.

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: In a pair of telephone interviews, O.J. Simpson told Associated Press reporter Linda Deutsch that people have supported rather than shunned him since his acquittal, and that he has learned that fame and wealth are illusions. Said Simpson: “The only thing that endures is character.”

Five years ago: George W. Bush’s lead over Al Gore in all-or-nothing Florida slipped beneath 300 votes in a suspense-filled recount, as Democrats threw the presidential election to the courts, claiming “an injustice unparalleled in our history.” Hussein Abayat, a West Bank militia commander, was killed by a missile from an Israeli helicopter gunship.

One year ago: Attorney General John Ashcroft and Commerce Secretary Don Evans resigned; they were the first members of the Cabinet to leave as President Bush headed from re-election into his second term. Kenny Chesney won the Country Music Association album of the year award for “When The Sun Goes Down” as well as entertainer of the year. Roger Clemens won his record seventh Cy Young Award.

Today’s Birthdays: Sportscaster Charlie Jones is 75. Baseball executive Whitey Herzog is 74. Former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., is 69. Actor Charlie Robinson (“Night Court”) is 60. Movie director Bille August is 57. Actor Robert David Hall (“CSI”) is 57. Actor Lou Ferrigno is 53. Rock musician Dee Plakas (L7) is 45. Rapper Pepa (Salt-N-Pepa) is 36. Rapper Scarface (Geto Boys) is 36. Blues singer Susan Tedeschi is 35. Rhythm-and-blues singer Nick Lachey (98 Degrees) is 32. Rhythm-and-blues singer Sisqo (Dru Hill) is 27.

Thought for Today: “I think charm is the ability to be truly interested in other people.” — Richard Avedon, American fashion photographer (1923-2004).