Today in History

Today is Wednesday, Jan. 1, the first day of 2014. There are 364 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight:

On Jan. 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed and issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that slaves in rebel states shall be “forever free.”

On this date:

In 1660, Englishman Samuel Pepys wrote the first entry of his famous diary.

In 1785, The Daily Universal Register — which later became the Times of London — published its first issue.

In 1892, the Ellis Island Immigrant Station in New York formally opened.

In 1913, the U.S. Parcel Post system went into operation.

In 1939, the technology company Hewlett-Packard was founded by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard in a garage in Palo Alto, Calif.

In 1942, 26 countries, including the United States, signed the Declaration of the United Nations, pledging “not to make a separate armistice or peace” with members of the Axis.

In 1953, country singer Hank Williams Sr., 29, was discovered dead in the back seat of his car during a stop in Oak Hill, W.Va., while he was being driven to a concert date in Canton, Ohio.

In 1954, NBC broadcast the first coast-to-coast color TV program as it presented live coverage of the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.

In 1959, Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries overthrew Cuban leader Fulgencio Batista, who fled to the Dominican Republic.

In 1984, the breakup of AT&T took place as the telecommunications giant was divested of its 22 Bell System companies under terms of an antitrust agreement.

In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect.

Ten years ago: Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the military ruler of Pakistan, won a vote of confidence from both houses of parliament and the country’s four provincial assemblies validating his five-year term as president. The University of Southern California defeated the University of Michigan, 28-14, in the Rose Bowl.

Five years ago: An Israeli warplane dropped a 2,000-pound bomb on the home of one of Hamas’ top five decision-makers, instantly killing him and 18 others. The U.S. formally transferred control of the Green Zone to Iraqi authorities in a pair of ceremonies that also handed back Saddam Hussein’s former palace. Russia made good on its threat to cut off all natural gas supplies to Ukraine. Six-term Rhode Island Sen. Claiborne Pell died at 90. The Detroit Red Wings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-4 in the Winter Classic at chilly Wrigley Field. No. 5 Southern California defeated No. 6 Penn State 38-24 in the 95th Rose Bowl.

Associated Press

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