Today In History
On Jan. 17, 1994, the 6.7 magnitude Northridge earthquake struck Southern California, killing at least 60 people, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
On this date:
In 1562, French Protestants were recognized under the Edict of St. Germain.
In 1893, the 19th president of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes, died in Fremont, Ohio, at age 70. Hawaii’s monarchy was overthrown as a group of businessmen and sugar planters forced Queen Lili’uokalani to abdicate.
In 1917, the United States paid Denmark $25 million for the Virgin Islands.
In 1929, the cartoon character Popeye the Sailor made his debut in the “Thimble Theatre” comic strip.
In 1944, during World War II, Allied forces launched the first of four battles for Monte Cassino in Italy; the Allies were ultimately successful.
In 1945, Soviet and Polish forces liberated Warsaw during World War II; Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, credited with saving tens of thousands of Jews, disappeared in Hungary while in Soviet custody.
In 1950, the Great Brink’s Robbery took place as seven masked men held up a Brink’s garage in Boston, stealing $1.2 million in cash and $1.5 million in checks and money orders. (Although the entire gang was caught, only part of the loot was recovered.)
In 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his farewell address in which he warned against “the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”
In 1977, convicted murderer Gary Gilmore, 36, was shot by a firing squad at Utah State Prison in the first U.S. execution in a decade.
In 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., ruled 5-4 that the use of home video cassette recorders to tape television programs for private viewing did not violate federal copyright laws.
In 1989, five children were shot to death at the Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, Calif., by a drifter, Patrick Purdy, who then killed himself.
In 1995, more than 6,000 people were killed when an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 devastated the city of Kobe, Japan.
Ten years ago: Three U.S. soldiers were killed north of Baghdad, pushing the U.S. death toll in the Iraq conflict to 500. Hollywood producer Ray Stark died at age 88.
Five years ago: Israel declared a unilateral cease-fire in its 22-day Gaza offensive. President-elect Barack Obama arrived in the nation’s capital after a daylong rail trip that began in Philadelphia, retracing the path Abraham Lincoln took in 1861. Salvage crews hoisted a downed US Airways jetliner from the Hudson River, two days after a dramatic water landing survived by everyone on board.
One year ago: Algerian helicopters and special forces stormed a gas plant in the stony plains of the Sahara to wipe out Islamist militants and free hostages from at least 10 countries. Nearly all the militants were killed; at least 40 hostages died in the standoff. Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network broadcast the first of a two-part interview with Lance Armstrong, in which the disgraced cyclist told Winfrey he had started doping in the mid-1990s.
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