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This day in history

Today is Monday, March 9, the 69th day of 2020. There are 297 days left in the year.

Birthdays: Former senator James L. Buckley, Conservative of New York, is 97. Actress Joyce Van Patten is 86. Country singer Mickey Gilley is 84. Actress Trish Van Devere is 79. Singer-musician John Cale is 78. Singer Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders is 78. Former ABC anchorman Charles Gibson is 77. Rock guitarist Robin Trower is 75. Singer Jeffrey Osborne is 72. Magazine editor Michael Kinsley is 69. Actress Linda Fiorentino is 62. Actress Juliette Binoche is 56. Ben Folds Five bass guitarist Robert Sledge is 52. Comedian Jordan Klepper is 41. Actor Matthew Gray Gubler is 40. Rapper Bow Wow is 33. Rapper YG is 30.

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In 1841, the US Supreme Court, in United States v. The Amistad, ruled 7-1 in favor of a group of illegally enslaved Africans who were captured off the US coast after seizing control of a Spanish schooner, La Amistad; the justices ruled that the Africans should be set free.

In 1916, more than 400 Mexican raiders led by Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, N.M, killing 18 Americans.

In 1933, Congress, called into special session by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, began its ‘‘hundred days’’ of enacting New Deal legislation.

In 1945, during World War II, US B-29 bombers began dropping incendiary bomb attacks against Tokyo, resulting in an estimated 100,000 deaths.

In 1959, Mattel’s Barbie doll, created by Ruth Handler, made its public debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York.

In 1964, the US Supreme Court, in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, raised the standard for public officials to prove they’d been libeled in their official capacity by news organizations.

In 1976, a cable car in the Italian ski resort of Cavalese fell some 700 feet to the ground when a supporting line snapped, killing 43 people.

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In 1981, Dan Rather made his debut as principal anchorman of ‘‘The CBS Evening News.’’

In 1987, Chrysler Corp. announced it had agreed to buy the financially ailing American Motors Corp.

In 1989, the Senate rejected President George H.W. Bush’s nomination of John Tower to be defense secretary by a vote of 53-47. (The next day, Bush tapped Wyoming Representative Dick Cheney, who went on to win unanimous Senate approval.)

In 1997, gangsta rapper The Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace) was killed in a still-unsolved drive-by shooting in Los Angeles; he was 24.

In 2005, Dan Rather signed off for the last time as principal anchorman of ‘‘The CBS Evening News.’’

In 2010, Vice President Joe Biden, visiting Israel, condemned an Israeli plan to build hundreds of homes in East Jerusalem.

In 2015, in northwestern Argentina, two helicopters collided and burst into flames shortly after taking off near the remote settlement of Villa Castelli, killing both pilots and eight French nationals. (Among the victims were Olympic champion swimmer Camille Muffat, Olympic bronze-medalist boxer Alexis Vastine, and pioneering sailor Florence Arthaud, who were contestants on a European reality TV show that was being shot in the sparsely populated region.) Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the Apple Watch in San Francisco.

Last year, Julia Ruth Stevens, the last surviving daughter of Hall of Fame baseball slugger Babe Ruth, died at an assisted living facility in Nevada at the age of 102; she had been a decades-long champion of Ruth’s legacy.

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