Today in history


Today is Monday, Jan. 16, the 16th day of 2017. There are 349 days left in the year. This is the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 16, 1942, actress Carole Lombard, 33, her mother, Elizabeth, and 20 other people were killed when their plane crashed near Las Vegas, Nevada, while en route to California from a war-bond promotion tour.

On this date:

In 27 B.C., Caesar Augustus was declared the first Emperor of the Roman Empire by the Senate.

In 1547, Ivan IV of Russia (popularly known as “Ivan the Terrible”) was crowned Czar.

In 1865, Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman decreed that 400,000 acres of land in the South would be divided into 40-acre lots and given to former slaves. (The order, later revoked by President Andrew Johnson, is believed to have inspired the expression, “Forty acres and a mule.”)

In 1920, Prohibition began in the United States as the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution took effect, one year to the day after its ratification. (It was later repealed by the 21st Amendment.)

In 1935, fugitive gangster Fred Barker and his mother, Kate “Ma” Barker, were killed in a shootout with the FBI at Lake Weir, Florida.

In 1957, three B-52’s took off from Castle Air Force Base in California on the first non-stop, round-the-world flight by jet planes, which lasted 45 hours and 19 minutes. Classical music conductor Arturo Toscanini died in New York at age 89.

In 1967, Alan S. Boyd was sworn in as the first U.S. secretary of transportation.

In 1978, NASA named 35 candidates to fly on the space shuttle, including Sally K. Ride, who became America’s first woman in space, and Guion S. Bluford Jr., who became America’s first black astronaut in space.

In 1987, Hu Yaobang resigned as head of China’s Communist Party, declaring he’d made mistakes in dealing with student turmoil and intellectual challenges to the system. Broadway columnist Earl Wilson died in Yonkers, New York, at age 79.

In 1991, the White House announced the start of Operation Desert Storm to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. (Allied forces prevailed on Feb. 28, 1991.)

In 1992, officials of the government of El Salvador and rebel leaders signed a pact in Mexico City ending 12 years of civil war that had left at least 75,000 people dead.

In 1997, entertainer Bill Cosby’s only son, Ennis, was shot to death in Los Angeles during an apparent roadside robbery attempt. (Mikhail Markhasev was later convicted of Ennis Cosby’s killing, and sentenced to life in prison.) Two bomb blasts an hour apart rocked a building in Sandy Springs, Georgia, containing an abortion clinic (serial bomber Eric Rudolph later admitted responsibility).

Ten years ago: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., launched his successful bid for the White House. Jury selection began in the CIA leak trial of former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. (Libby was later convicted of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI; President George W. Bush ended up commuting Libby’s 30-month prison term.) Two car bombs exploded outside Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, killing at least 70 people. Pookie Hudson, lead singer for the Spaniels doo-wop group, died in Capitol Heights, Maryland, at age 72. Actor Ron Carey (TV: “Barney Miller”) died in Los Angeles at age 71.

Five years ago: Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney fended off attacks from rivals during a debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; hours before the debate, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman withdrew from the race and announced his support for Romney despite their differences. Jimmy Castor, funk and soul saxophonist, singer and songwriter whose tune, “It’s Just Begun,” morphed into an anthem for generations of musical acts, died in Las Vegas at age 71.

One year ago: The U.N. nuclear agency certified that Iran had met all of its commitments under a landmark deal, prompting the West to lift economic sanctions that had been in place for years. Taiwan elected Tsai Ing-wen as its first female president, handing her pro-independence party its first majority in the national legislature. Former NFL coach Ted Marchibroda, 84, died in Weems, Virginia.

Today’s Birthdays: Author William Kennedy is 89. Author-editor Norman Podhoretz is 87. Opera singer Marilyn Horne is 83. Hall of Fame auto racer A.J. Foyt is 82. Singer Barbara Lynn is 75. Country singer Ronnie Milsap is 74. Singer Katherine Anderson Schaffner (The Marvelettes) is 73. Country singer Jim Stafford is 73. Talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger is 70. Movie director John Carpenter is 69. Actress-dancer-choreographer Debbie Allen is 67. Rhythm-and-blues singer Maxine Jones (En Vogue) is 58. Singer Sade (shah-DAY’) is 58. Rock musician Paul Webb (Talk Talk) is 55. Actor David Chokachi (CHOH’-kuh-chee) is 49. Actor-writer-director Josh Evans is 46. Actor-comedian Jonathan Mangum is 46. Actor Richard T. Jones is 45. Actress Josie Davis is 44. Model Kate Moss is 43. Actor/playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda (Stage: “Hamilton”) is 37. Country musician James Young (The Eli Young Band) is 37. Rock musician Nick Valensi (The Strokes) is 36. Actress Renee Felice Smith is 32. NFL quaterback Joe Flacco is 32. Actress Yvonne Zima is 28.

Thought for Today: “There are three ingredients to the good life: learning, earning, and yearning.” — Christopher Morley, American journalist (1890-1957).

By The Associated Press

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