Today in History

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Posted: Jan 07, 2012 12:00 AM
Today in History

Today is Saturday, Jan. 7, the seventh day of 2012. There are 359 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Jan. 7, 1942, the Japanese siege of Bataan began during World War II. (The fall of Bataan three months later was followed by the notorious Death March.)

On this date:

In 1608, an accidental fire devastated the Jamestown settlement in the Virginia Colony.

In 1610, astronomer Galileo Galilei began observing three of Jupiter's moons (he spotted a fourth moon almost a week later).

In 1789, the first U.S. presidential election was held. Americans voted for electors who, a month later, chose George Washington to be the nation's first president.

In 1800, the 13th president of the United States, Millard Fillmore, was born in Summerhill, N.Y.

In 1894, one of the earliest motion picture experiments took place at the Thomas Edison studio in West Orange, N.J., as Fred Ott was filmed taking a pinch of snuff and sneezing.

In 1912, dark-humored cartoonist Charles Addams was born in Westfield, N.J.

In 1927, commercial transatlantic telephone service was inaugurated between New York and London.

In 1949, George C. Marshall resigned as U.S. Secretary of State; President Harry S. Truman chose Dean Acheson to succeed him.

In 1972, Lewis F. Powell, Jr. and William H. Rehnquist were sworn in as the 99th and 100th members of the U.S. Supreme Court. An Iberia Caravelle jetliner crashed into a mountain while on approach to Ibiza Airport in Spain, killing all 104 people on board.

In 1979, Vietnamese forces captured the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, overthrowing the Khmer Rouge government.

In 1989, Emperor Hirohito of Japan died in Tokyo at age 87; he was succeeded by his son, Crown Prince Akihito.

In 2006, Jill Carroll, a freelance journalist for The Christian Science Monitor, was kidnapped and her translator shot dead in Baghdad. (Carroll was freed almost three months later.)

Ten years ago: British Prime Minister Tony Blair and nine U.S. senators swept into Bargam Air Base in Afghanistan for an unannounced visit and promised Afghan leaders their full support in rebuilding the shattered country. Yves Saint Laurent announced his retirement and closure of the fashion house he'd started 40 years earlier. Comedian Avery Schreiber died in Los Angeles at age 66.

Five years ago: Newly elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, interviewed on CBS' "Face the Nation," said Democrats running Congress would not give President George W. Bush a blank check to wage war in Iraq. NASCAR driver Bobby Hamilton, winner of the 2001 Talladega 500, died at age 49.

One year ago: A package addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano ignited at a Washington postal facility, a day after fiery packages sent to Maryland's governor and state transportation secretary burned the fingers of workers who opened them.

Today's Birthdays: Author William Peter Blatty is 84. Country singer Jack Greene is 82. Pop musician Paul Revere is 74. Magazine publisher Jann Wenner is 66. Singer Kenny Loggins is 64. Singer-songwriter Marshall Chapman is 63. Latin pop singer Juan Gabriel is 62. Actress Erin Gray is 62. Actor Sammo Hung is 60. Actor David Caruso is 56. Katie Couric is 55. Country singer David Lee Murphy is 53. Rock musician Kathy Valentine (The Go-Go's) is 53. Actor David Marciano is 52. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., is 51. Actress Hallie Todd is 50. Actor Nicolas Cage is 48. Singer-songwriter John Ondrasik (on-DRAH'-sik) (Five for Fighting) is 47. Actor Doug E. Doug is 42. Actor Kevin Rahm is 41. Actor Jeremy Renner is 41. Country singer-musician John Rich is 38. Actor Dustin Diamond is 35. Actor Robert Ri'chard is 29. Actress Lyndsy Fonseca is 25. Actor Liam Aiken is 22. Actress Camryn Grimes is 22. Actor Max Morrow is 21.

Thought for Today: "One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present." _ Golda Meir, Israeli prime minister (1898-1978).

(Above Advance for Use Saturday, Jan. 7)

Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.