Today in History

AP News
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Posted: Jan 01, 2010 12:00 AM

Today is Friday, Jan. 1, the 1st day of 2010. There are 364 days left in the year. Today is New Year's Day.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Jan. 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that slaves in rebel states were free.

On this date:

In 1760, the first two volumes of Laurence Sterne's novel "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman" were published in London.

In 1808, a law prohibiting the importation of slaves into the United States went into effect.

In 1890, the first Tournament of Roses was held in Pasadena, Calif.

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

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

In 1960, French Cameroun became an independent 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.

In 1999, the euro, the new single currency of 11 European countries (later 16), officially came into existence with the start of the New Year. (The euro became legal tender on this date in 2002.)

Ten years ago: The arrival of 2000 saw no terrorist attacks, Y2K meltdowns or mass suicides among doomsday cults, but did see seven continents stepping joyously and peacefully into the New Year. On his first full day as acting president, Vladimir Putin assured Russians there would be no "vacuum of power" after Boris Yeltsin's surprise resignation. Wisconsin beat Stanford 17-9 to become the first Big Ten team to win consecutive Rose Bowls.

Five years ago: Desperate, homeless villagers on the tsunami-ravaged island of Sumatra mobbed American helicopters carrying aid as the U.S. military launched its largest operation in the region since the Vietnam War. Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress, died near Daytona Beach, Fla., at age 80. California Congressman Robert T. Matsui died in Bethesda, Md., at age 63.

One year 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 age 90. The Detroit Red Wings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-4 in the Winter Classic at venerable Wrigley Field. No. 5 Southern California defeated No. 6 Penn State 38-24 in the 95th Rose Bowl.

Today's Birthdays: Author J.D. Salinger is 91. Former Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., is 88. Actor Ty Hardin is 80. Documentary maker Frederick Wiseman is 80. Actor Frank Langella is 72. Rock singer-musician Country Joe McDonald is 68. Writer-comedian Don Novello is 67. Actor Rick Hurst is 64. Outgoing New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine is 63. Country singer Steve Ripley (The Tractors) is 60. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., is 56. Rapper Grandmaster Flash is 52. Actress Ren Woods is 52. Actress Dedee Pfeiffer is 46. Actress Embeth Davidtz is 44. Country singer Brian Flynn (Flynnville Train) is 44. Actor Morris Chestnut is 41. Actor Verne Troyer is 41.

Thought for Today: "And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been, full of work that has never been done, full of tasks, claims, and demands; and let us see that we learn to take it without letting fall too much of what it has to bestow upon those who demand of it necessary, serious and great things." _ Rainer Maria Rilke, German poet (1876-1926).