Today in History

Today is Saturday, Jan. 11, the 11th day of 2014. There are 354 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight:

On Jan. 11, 1964, U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry issued “Smoking and Health,” a report by an advisory committee which concluded that “cigarette smoking contributes substantially to mortality from certain specific diseases and to the overall death rate.”

On this date:

In 1759, the first American life insurance corporation, for “poor and distressed” Presbyterian ministers and their widows and children, was chartered in Philadelphia.

In 1805, the Michigan Territory was created by an act of Congress.

In 1861, Alabama became the fourth state to withdraw from the Union.

In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed the Grand Canyon National Monument (it became a national park in 1919).

In 1913, the first enclosed sedan-type automobile, a Hudson, went on display at the 13th National Automobile Show in New York.

In 1927, the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was proposed during a dinner of Hollywood luminaries at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

In 1935, aviator Amelia Earhart began an 18-hour trip from Honolulu to Oakland, Calif., that made her the first person to fly solo across any part of the Pacific Ocean.

In 1939, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax, the British foreign secretary, met with Italian leader Benito Mussolini in Rome.

In 1942, Japan declared war against the Netherlands, the same day that Imperial Japanese forces invaded the Dutch East Indies.

In 1963, the Beatles’ single “Please Please Me” (B side “Ask Me Why”) was released in Britain by Parlophone.

In 1977, France set off an international uproar by releasing Abu Daoud, a PLO official behind the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

In 1989, nine days before leaving the White House, President Ronald Reagan bade the nation farewell in a prime-time address, asserting he had forged “a satisfying new closeness” with the Soviet Union and saying overall of his eight years in office: “We meant to change a nation and instead we changed a world.”

Ten years ago: Democrat Howard Dean defended his record on race in the last debate before the Iowa caucuses, as he was forced to acknowledge that no blacks or Hispanics had served in his cabinet during his 12 years as governor of Vermont.

Five years ago: In a rare Sunday session, the Senate advanced legislation that would set aside more than 2 million acres in nine states as wilderness. A passenger ferry sank in a storm off Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, killing at least 230 people. The movie “Slumdog Millionaire” won four Golden Globes, including best drama; the late Heath Ledger won best supporting actor for “The Dark Knight” while Kate Winslet received two acting awards for “Revolutionary Road” and “The Reader.” Theater and movie director Tom O’Horgan died in Venice, Fla., at age 84.

One year ago: President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai met at the White House, where they agreed to speed up slightly the schedule for moving Afghanistan’s security forces into the lead across the country. The video game industry, blamed by some for fostering a culture of violence, defended its practices at a White House meeting hosted by Vice President Joe Biden on how to prevent horrific shootings like the Connecticut elementary school massacre. The government assured the public that Boeing’s new 787 “Dreamliner” was safe to fly, even as it launched a review to find out what caused a fire, a fuel leak and other recent incidents. Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment, a suicide; he was 26. Italian actress Mariangela Melato (“Swept Away”), 71, died in Rome.

Associated Press

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