Today in History - Jan. 3

AP News
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Posted: Jan 03, 2010 12:01 AM

Today is Sunday, Jan. 3, the third day of 2010. There are 362 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Jan. 3, 1959, Alaska became the 49th state as President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation.

On this date:

In 1521, Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Leo X.

In 1777, Gen. George Washington's army routed the British in the Battle of Princeton, N.J.

In 1868, the Meiji Restoration re-established the authority of Japan's emperor and heralded the fall of the military rulers known as shoguns.

In 1870, groundbreaking took place for the Brooklyn Bridge.

In 1938, the March of Dimes campaign to fight polio was organized.

In 1949, in a pair of rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court said that states had the right to ban closed shops.

In 1961, the United States severed diplomatic relations with Cuba.

In 1980, conservationist Joy Adamson, author of "Born Free," was killed in northern Kenya by a former employee.

In 1990, ousted Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega surrendered to U.S. forces, 10 days after taking refuge in the Vatican's diplomatic mission.

In 1993, President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed a historic nuclear missile-reduction treaty in Moscow.

Ten years ago: Acting Russian President Vladimir Putin fired Boris Yeltsin's daughter (Tatyana Dyachenko) from her Kremlin post in one of his first official acts, moving quickly to distance himself from Yeltsin's scandal-tinged administration. The last new daily "Peanuts" strip by Charles Schulz ran in 2,600 newspapers.

Five years ago: President George W. Bush tapped his father, former President George H.W. Bush, and former President Bill Clinton to help raise tsunami relief funds. The third-ranked Auburn Tigers limped to a 16-13 victory over No. 9 Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. Craig Ferguson took over as the new host of "The Late Late Show" on CBS-TV. Will Eisner, the artist who revolutionized comic books and helped pioneer the graphic novel, died in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. at age 87.

One year ago: After seven days of pummeling the Gaza Strip from the air, Israel launched a ground offensive; Hamas vowed that Gaza would be a "graveyard" for the Israelis. Veteran actor Pat Hingle died in Carolina Beach, N.C. at age 84.

Today's Birthdays: Record producer Sir George Martin is 84. Actor Robert Loggia is 80. Actor Dabney Coleman is 78. Journalist-author Betty Rollin is 74. Hockey Hall-of-Famer Bobby Hull is 71. Singer-songwriter-producer Van Dyke Parks is 67. Musician Stephen Stills is 65. Rock musician John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) is 64. Actress Victoria Principal is 60. Actor-director Mel Gibson is 54. Actress Shannon Sturges is 42. Jazz musician James Carter is 41. Contemporary Christian singer Nichole Nordeman is 38. Actor Jason Marsden is 35. Actress Danica McKellar is 35. Actor Nicholas Gonzalez is 34. Singer Kimberley Locke ("American Idol") is 32. NFL quarterback Eli Manning is 29. Rhythm-and-blues singer Lloyd is 24. Actor Alex D. Linz is 21.

Thought for Today: "To have reason to get up in the morning, it is necessary to possess a guiding principle. A belief of some kind. A bumper sticker, if you will." _ Judith Guest, American author.