Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Friday, Jan. 8, the eighth day of 2016. There are 358 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On Jan. 8, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson outlined his Fourteen Points for lasting peace after World War I. Mississippi became the first state to ratify the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which established Prohibition.

On this date:

In 1642, astronomer Galileo Galilei died in Arcetri, Italy.

In 1790, President George Washington delivered his first State of the Union address to Congress in New York.

In 1815, the last major engagement of the War of 1812 came to an end as U.S. forces defeated the British in the Battle of New Orleans, not having gotten word of the signing of a peace treaty.

In 1863, America’s First Transcontinental Railroad had its beginnings as California Gov. Leland Stanford broke ground for the Central Pacific Railroad in Sacramento. (The transcontinental railroad was completed in Promontory, Utah, in May 1869.)

In 1912, the African National Congress was founded in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

In 1935, rock-and-roll legend Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi.

In 1959, Charles de Gaulle was inaugurated as president of France’s Fifth Republic.

In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson, in his State of the Union address, declared an “unconditional war on poverty in America.”

In 1975, Judge John J. Sirica ordered the early release from prison of Watergate figures John W. Dean III, Herbert W. Kalmbach and Jeb Stuart Magruder. Democrat Ella Grasso was sworn in as Connecticut’s first female governor. Opera singer Richard Tucker, 61, died in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

In 1976, Chinese premier Zhou Enlai, 77, died in Beijing.

In 1982, American Telephone and Telegraph settled the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against it by agreeing to divest itself of the 22 Bell System companies.

In 1996, former French president Francois Mitterrand (frahn-SWAH’ mee-teh-RAHN’) died at age 79.

Ten years ago: The first funerals were held in West Virginia for the 12 miners who’d died in the Sago (SAY’-goh) Mine disaster six days earlier.

Five years ago: U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot and critically wounded when a gunman opened fire as the congresswoman met with constituents in Tucson; six other people were killed, 12 others also injured. (Gunman Jared Lee Loughner (LAWF’-nur) was sentenced in Nov. 2012 to seven consecutive life sentences, plus 140 years.) Both Super Bowl teams from 2010 lost on the first day of the NFL playoffs; the Seattle Seahawks stunned the defending champion New Orleans Saints 41-36 while the New York Jets ended the night with a last-second 17-16 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

One year ago: Three dissidents were abruptly released in what a leading human rights advocate said was part of Cuba’s deal with Washington to release 53 members of the island’s political opposition. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., a tenacious liberal whose election to the Senate in 1992 heralded a new era for women at the upper reaches of political power, announced she would not seek re-election. During a daylong meeting at the Denver airport, U.S. Olympic Committee board members chose Boston over Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, to bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Gospel singer Andrae Crouch, 72, died in Los Angeles.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor-comedian Larry Storch is 93. Broadcast journalist Sander Vanocur is 88. CBS newsman Charles Osgood is 83. Singer Shirley Bassey is 79. Game show host Bob Eubanks is 78. Country-gospel singer Cristy Lane is 76. Rhythm-and-blues singer Anthony Gourdine (Little Anthony and the Imperials) is 75. Actress Yvette Mimieux is 74. Physicist Stephen Hawking is 74. Singer Juanita Cowart Motley (The Marvelettes) is 72. Actress Kathleen Noone is 71. Rock musician Robby Krieger (The Doors) is 70. Rock singer David Bowie is 69. Movie director John McTiernan is 65. Actress Harriet Sansom Harris is 61. Singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith is 52. Actress Maria Pitillo (pih-TIHL’-loh) is 51. Actress Michelle Forbes is 51. Singer R. Kelly is 49. Rock musician Jeff Abercrombie (Fuel) is 47. Actress Ami Dolenz is 47. Reggae singer Sean Paul is 43. Country singer Tift Merritt is 41. Actress-rock singer Jenny Lewis is 40. Actress Amber Benson is 39. Actor Scott Whyte is 38. Singer-songwriter Erin McCarley is 37. Actress Sarah Polley is 37. Actress Rachel Nichols is 36. Actress Gaby Hoffman is 34. Rock musician Disashi Lumumbo-Kasongo (dih-SAH’-shee LUHM’-uhm-boh kuh-SAHN’-goh) (Gym Class Heroes) is 33. Actor Freddie Stroma is 29.

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