Today in History

Today is Saturday, Jan. 25, the 25th day of 2020. There are 341 days left in the year.

Today is Saturday, Jan. 25, the 25th day of 2020. There are 341 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight:

On Jan. 25, 1915, America’s first official transcontinental telephone call took place as Alexander Graham Bell, who was in New York, spoke to his former assistant, Thomas Watson, who was in San Francisco, over a line set up by American Telephone & Telegraph.

On this date:

In 1863, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln accepted Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside’s resignation as commander of the Army of the Potomac and replaced him with Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker.

In 1924, the first Winter Olympic Games opened in Chamonix, France.

In 1945, the World War II Battle of the Bulge ended as German forces were pushed back to their original positions. Grand Rapids, Michigan, became the first community to add fluoride to its public water supply.

In 1947, gangster Al Capone died in Miami Beach, Florida, at age 48.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy held the first presidential news conference to be carried live on radio and television.

In 1971, Charles Manson and three women followers were convicted in Los Angeles of murder and conspiracy in the 1969 slayings of seven people, including actress Sharon Tate.

In 1981, the 52 Americans held hostage by Iran for 444 days arrived in the United States.

In 1990, an Avianca Boeing 707 ran out of fuel and crashed in Cove Neck, Long Island, New York; 73 of the 158 people aboard were killed. Actress Ava Gardner died in London at age 67.

In 1993, a gunman shot and killed two CIA employees outside agency headquarters in Virginia (Pakistani national Mir Aimal Kansi was later tried and convicted of the shootings, and executed). Sears announced that it would no longer publish its famous century-old catalog.

In 1994, maintaining his innocence, singer Michael Jackson settled a child molestation lawsuit against him; terms were confidential, although the monetary figure was reportedly $22 million.

In 1998, Pope John Paul II ended his historic journey to Cuba.

In 2017, President Donald Trump moved aggressively to tighten the nation’s immigration controls, signing executive actions to jumpstart construction of his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall and cut federal grants for immigrant-protecting “sanctuary cities.” Death claimed actress Mary Tyler Moore at age 80 and actor John Hurt at age 77.

Ten years ago: Iraq hanged Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as “Chemical Ali” for his role in gassing 5,000 people in a Kurdish village. An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 crashed into the Mediterranean after taking off from Beirut in a fierce thunderstorm; all 90 people aboard were killed. Director James Cameron’s sci-fi spectacle “Avatar” overtook his shipwreck saga “Titanic” to become the world’s highest-grossing film.

Five years ago: The radical left-wing Syriza party rode an anti-austerity platform to victory in Greece’s parliamentary elections, setting the stage for a showdown with international creditors. Party leader Alexis Tsipras promised to end the “five years of humiliation and pain” that Greece had endured since an international bailout saved it from bankruptcy in 2010. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered condolences to the family and friends of Haruna Yukawa, a 42-year-old adventurer taken hostage in Syria, and said a video purporting to show that he had been killed was likely authentic. “Birdman” won best ensemble from the Screen Actors Guild, a day after winning the top honor at the Producer Guild Awards.

One year ago: President Donald Trump signed a bill to reopen the government for three weeks, backing down from his demand that Congress first give him money for his border wall. President Trump’s confidant Roger Stone was arrested by the FBI in a pre-dawn raid at his Florida home and charged with lying about his pursuit of Russian-hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election bid. (Stone was convicted in November 2019, on charges including lying to Congress and witness tampering; he is awaiting sentencing in February.) A dam owned by a mining company collapsed in Brazil, unleashing a wave of toxic mud; more than 200 people were killed with dozens of others missing.

Today’s birthdays: Country singer Claude Gray is 88. Actress Leigh Taylor-Young is 76. Actress Jenifer Lewis is 63. Country musician Mike Burch (River Road) is 54. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kina is 51. Actress China Kantner is 49. Actress Ana Ortiz is 49. Drummer Joe Sirois (sih-ROYS’) (Mighty Mighty Bosstones) is 48. Musician Matt Odmark (Jars of Clay) is 46. Actress Mia Kirshner is 45. Actress Christine Lakin is 41. Rhythm-and-blues singer Alicia Keys is 40. Actor Michael Trevino is 35. Pop musician Calum Hood (5 Seconds to Summer) is 24. Actress Olivia Edward is 13.

Thought for today: “A first-rate organizer is never in a hurry. He is never late. He always keeps up his sleeve a margin for the unexpected.” — Arnold Bennett, English poet, author and critic (1867-1931)

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