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Associated Press

Today is Thursday, May 9, the 129th day of 2002. There are 236 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

Five hundred years ago, on May 9, 1502, Christopher Columbus left Cadiz, Spain, on his fourth and final trip to the Western Hemisphere.

On this date:

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.

In 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.

In 1994, South Africa's newly elected parliament chose Nelson Mandela to be the country's first black president.

Ten years ago: President George H.W. Bush, back in Washington after a visit to riot-torn Los Angeles, promised in a radio speech that he would work with the Democrat-controlled Congress on proposals to help American cities.

Five years ago: During a visit to a rain forest in Costa Rica, President Clinton urged nations not to sacrifice their environment in pursuit of economic gain.

One year ago: China sought U.S. understanding for its refusal to allow a damaged U.S. Navy spy plane to fly home, saying public sentiment would be outraged if the aircraft flew again over Chinese territory. A stampede at a soccer match in Ghana killed 126 people.

Today's Birthdays: CBS News correspondent Mike Wallace is 84. Actor-writer Alan Bennett is 68. Actor Albert Finney is 66. Actress-turned-politician Glenda Jackson is 66. Musician Sonny Curtis (Buddy Holly and the Crickets) is 65. Producer-director James L. Brooks is 62. Singer Tommy Roe is 60. Singer-musician Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield and Poco) is 58. Actress Candice Bergen is 56. Singer Clint Holmes is 56. Actor Anthony Higgins is 55. Singer Billy Joel is 53. Rock singer-musician Tom Petersson (Cheap Trick) is 52. Actress Alley Mills is 51. Singer Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode) is 40. Rapper Ghostface Killah is 32. Singer Tamia is 27. Rock musician Dan Regan (Reel Big Fish) is 25. Actress Rosario Dawson is 23.

Thought for Today: "There can be hope only for a society which acts as one big family, and not as many separate ones." - Anwar Sadat, president of Egypt (1918-1981).

Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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