Today is Friday, March 9, the 68th day of 2018. There are 297 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On March 9, 1862, during the Civil War, the ironclads USS Monitor and CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimac) clashed for five hours to a draw at Hampton Roads, Virginia.

On this date:

In 1661, Cardinal Jules Mazarin, the chief minister of France, died, leaving King Louis XIV in full control.

In 1796, the future emperor of the French, Napoleon Bonaparte, married Josephine de Beauharnais. (The couple later divorced.)

In 1841, the U.S. 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 U.S. 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, New Mexico, killing 18 Americans. During the First World War, Germany declared war on Portugal.

In 1918, writer Mickey Spillane, famous for his pulp detective novels, was born Frank Morrison Spillane in Brooklyn, New York.

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

In 1954, CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow critically reviewed Wisconsin Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy's anti-communism campaign on "See It Now."

In 1964, the U.S. 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 1983, Margaret Heckler was sworn in as secretary of Health and Human Services, the same day Anne M. Burford resigned as head of the embattled Environmental Protection Agency.

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.

Ten years ago: Highway and utility crews worked overtime to recover from a huge storm that buried Ohio and other parts of the Midwest in snow and tore down power lines elsewhere.

Five years ago: During U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's first trip to Afghanistan as defense chief, two suicide bombings, one outside the Afghan Defense Ministry and the other near a police checkpoint in eastern Khost province, killed at least 19 people; a Taliban spokesman said the blast outside the defense ministry was a message to the visiting Pentagon chief.

One year ago: Fox News Channel's parent company announced it had settled a sexual assault complaint made by Tamara Holder, a former network contributor; The New York Times said the company had fired an executive, Francisco Cortes, and paid more than $2.5 million.

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