Today In History

  • Wednesday, January 15, 2014 12:54pm
  • Life

Today is Thursday, Jan. 16, the 16th day of 2014. There are 349 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight:

On Jan. 16, 1944, during World War II, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower formally assumed command of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in London.

On this date:

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

In 1883, the U.S. Civil Service Commission was established.

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 (It was later repealed by the 21st Amendment.)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, Fla.

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

In 1957, three B-52’s took off from Castle Air Force Base in California on the first nonstop, round-the-world flight by jet planes, which lasted 45 hours and 19 minutes.

In 1964, the musical “Hello, Dolly!” opened on Broadway, beginning a run of 2,844 performances.

In 1969, two manned Soviet Soyuz spaceships became the first vehicles to dock in space and transfer personnel.

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 1989, three days of rioting began in Miami when a police officer fatally shot Clement Lloyd, a black motorcyclist, causing a crash that also claimed the life of Lloyd’s passenger, Allan Blanchard. (The officer, William Lozano, was convicted of manslaughter, but then was acquitted in a retrial.)

In 1991, the White House announced the start of Operation Desert Storm to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait.

In 2003, the space shuttle Columbia blasted off for what turned out to be its last flight; on board was Israel’s first astronaut, Ilan Ramon. (The mission ended in tragedy Feb. 1, when the shuttle broke up during its return descent, killing all seven crew members.)

Ten years ago: Pop star Michael Jackson pleaded not guilty to child molestation charges during a court appearance in Santa Maria, Calif.; the judge scolded Jackson for being 21 minutes late. (Jackson was eventually acquitted.) NASA announced that the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope would be allowed to degrade and eventually become useless. Freddy Adu, the 14-year-old phenom, was selected by D.C. United as the first pick in the Major League Soccer draft.

Five years ago: President-elect Barack Obama made a pitch for his massive economic stimulus plan at a factory in Bedford Heights, Ohio, saying his proposal would make smart investments in the country’s future and create solid jobs in up-and-coming industries. Painter Andrew Wyeth died in Chadds Ford, Pa., at 91. John Mortimer, the British lawyer-writer who’d created the curmudgeonly criminal lawyer Rumpole of the Bailey, died in the Chiltern Hills, England, at 85.

One year ago: Braced for a fight, President Barack Obama unveiled the most sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence in two decades, pressing a reluctant Congress to pass universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. The federal government grounded Boeing’s newest and most technologically advanced jetliner, declaring that U.S. airlines could not fly the 787 again until the risk of battery fires was addressed. Pauline Friedman Phillips, better known as advice columnist Dear Abby, died in Minneapolis at 94.

Associated Press

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