Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, Jan. 19, the 19th day of 2016. There are 347 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 19, 1966, Indira Gandhi was chosen to be prime minister of India by the National Congress party. (Gandhi, a powerful as well as polarizing figure, served as India’s prime minister from 1966 to 1977, and again beginning in 1980 until she was assassinated in 1984.)

On this date:

In 1807, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia.

In 1853, Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Il Trovatore” premiered in Rome.

In 1861, Georgia became the fifth state to secede from the Union.

In 1915, Germany carried out its first air raid on Britain during World War I as a pair of Zeppelins dropped bombs onto Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn in England.

In 1937, millionaire Howard Hughes set a transcontinental air record by flying his monoplane from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, in 7 hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds.

In 1942, during World War II, Japan invaded Burma (Myanmar).

In 1955, a presidential news conference was filmed for television and newsreels for the first time, with the permission of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In 1960, the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States of America was signed by both countries in Washington, D.C.

In 1970, President Richard M. Nixon nominated G. Harrold Carswell to the Supreme Court; however, the nomination was defeated because of controversy over Carswell’s past racial views.

In 1977, in one of his last acts of office, President Gerald R. Ford pardoned Iva Toguri D’Aquino, an American convicted of treason for making wartime broadcasts for Japan.

In 1981, the United States and Iran signed an accord paving the way for the release of 52 Americans held hostage for more than 14 months.

In 1992, German government and Jewish officials dedicated a Holocaust memorial at the villa on the outskirts of Berlin where the notorious Wannsee Conference had taken place.

Ten years ago: Osama bin Laden, in an audiotape that was his first in more than a year, said al-Qaida was preparing for attacks in the United States; at the same time, he offered a “long-term truce” without specifying the conditions. Vice President Dick Cheney defended the administration’s domestic surveillance program, calling it an essential tool in monitoring al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations. An unmanned NASA spacecraft, New Horizons, blasted off on a 3-billion-mile journey toward Pluto (the spacecraft flew by Pluto in the summer of 2015). A fire at a Massey Energy Co. mine in West Virginia killed two workers. Death claimed soul pioneer Wilson Pickett at age 64 and actor Anthony Franciosa at age 77.

Five years ago: Chinese President Hu Jintao, visiting the White House, declared “a lot still needs to be done” to improve his country’s record on human rights; the exchange with President Barack Obama over human rights was balanced by U.S. delight over newly announced Chinese business deals expected to generate about $45 billion in new export sales for the U.S.

One year ago: As he headed home from a week-long trip to Asia, Pope Francis upheld church teaching banning contraception, but said Catholics didn’t have to breed “like rabbits” and should instead practice responsible parenting. The NFL confirmed to The Associated Press a report by WTHR-TV Indianapolis that it was investigating whether the New England Patriots deflated footballs that were used in their AFC championship game victory over the Colts. (After an investigation, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was suspended for four games of the upcoming regular season for his alleged role in the controversy, but had that sanction overturned by a federal court.)

Today’s Birthdays: Former U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar is 96. Actor Fritz Weaver is 90. Actress Tippi Hedren is 86. Former PBS newsman Robert MacNeil is 85. Movie director Richard Lester is 84. Actor-singer Michael Crawford is 74. Actress Shelley Fabares (fab-RAY’) is 72. Country singer Dolly Parton is 70. Former ABC newswoman Ann Compton is 69. TV chef Paula Deen is 69. Rock singer Martha Davis is 65. Singer Dewey Bunnell (America) is 64. Actor Desi Arnaz Jr. is 63. Actress Katey Sagal is 62. Comedian Paul Rodriguez is 61. Conductor Sir Simon Rattle is 61. Reggae musician Mickey Virtue (UB40) is 59. Rock musician Jeff Pilson (Foreigner) is 58. Actor Paul McCrane is 55. Actor William Ragsdale is 55. Basketball coach Jeff Van Gundy is 54. International Tennis Hall of Famer Stefan Edberg is 50. Rock singer Whitfield Crane (Ugly Kid Joe) is 48. Singer Trey Lorenz is 47. Actor Shawn Wayans is 45. Rock singer-musician John Wozniak (Marcy Playground) is 45. Actress Drea (DRAY-uh’) de Matteo is 44. Comedian-impressionist Frank Caliendo is 42. Actor Drew Powell is 40. Actress Marsha Thomason is 40. Actress Bitsie Tulloch is 35. Actress Jodie Sweetin is 34. Actor Logan Lerman is 24. Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson is 24. Rapper Mac Miller is 24.

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