Today in History

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Posted: Jan 16, 2012 12:00 AM
Today in History

Today is Monday, Jan. 16, the 16th day of 2012. There are 350 days left in the year. This is the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Jan. 16, 1912, a day before reaching the South Pole, British explorer Robert Scott and his expedition were bitterly disappointed to find evidence in the form of a rock cairn and dog sled tracks showing that Roald Amundsen of Norway and his team had gotten there ahead of them. (Scott and his party perished during the return trip.)

On this date:

In 1547, Ivan IV of Russia (popularly known as "Ivan the Terrible") was crowned czar.

In 1883, the U.S. Civil Service Commission was established.

In 1919, pianist and statesman Ignacy Jan Paderewski (pah-dehr-EHF'-skee) became the first premier of the newly created Republic of Poland.

In 1920, Prohibition began in the United States as the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution took effect, one year to the day after its ratification. (It was later repealed by the 21st Amendment.)

In 1935, fugitive gangster Fred Barker and his mother, Kate "Ma" Barker, were killed in a shootout with the FBI at Lake Weir, Fla.

In 1942, actress Carole Lombard, 33, her mother Elizabeth and 20 other people were killed when their plane crashed near Las Vegas, Nev., while en route to California from a war-bond promotion tour.

In 1944, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower took command of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in London.

In 1969, two manned Soviet Soyuz spaceships became the first vehicles to dock in space and transfer personnel.

In 1978, NASA named 35 candidates to fly on the space shuttle, including Sally K. Ride, who became America's first woman in space, and Guion S. Bluford Jr., who became America's first black astronaut in space.

In 1987, Hu Yaobang resigned as head of China's Communist Party, declaring he'd made mistakes in dealing with student turmoil and intellectual challenges to the system. Broadway columnist Earl Wilson died in Yonkers, N.Y., at age 79.

In 1991, the White House announced the start of Operation Desert Storm to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait.

In 1992, officials of the government of El Salvador and rebel leaders signed a pact in Mexico City ending 12 years of civil war that had left at least 75,000 people dead.

Ten years ago: Richard Reid was indicted in Boston on federal charges alleging he'd tried to blow up a U.S.-bound jetliner with explosives hidden in his shoes. (Reid later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.) A gunman went on a shooting rampage at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va., killing the dean, a professor and a student; former student Peter Odighizuwa (ah-dig-uh-ZOO'-wuh) later pleaded guilty to capital murder and was sentenced to life in prison.

Five years ago: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., launched his successful bid for the White House. Jury selection began in the CIA leak trial of former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. (Libby was later convicted of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI; President George W. Bush ended up commuting Libby's 30-month prison term.) Two car bombs exploded outside Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, killing at least 70 people. Pookie Hudson, lead singer for the Spaniels doo-wop group, died in Capitol Heights, Md., at age 72. Actor Ron Carey ("Barney Miller") died in Los Angeles at age 71.

One year ago: Former Haitian strongman Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, who'd been living in exile in France, made a surprise return to Haiti as the country wrestled with a political crisis, cholera outbreak and stalled reconstruction from a devastating earthquake. "The Social Network" won top movie honors at the Golden Globes with four prizes, including best drama and director; "The Kids Are All Right" won for best musical or comedy. Top TV honors went to "Boardwalk Empire" and "Glee."

Today's Birthdays: Author William Kennedy is 84. Author-editor Norman Podhoretz is 82. Opera singer Marilyn Horne is 78. Hall of Fame auto racer A.J. Foyt is 77. Singer Barbara Lynn is 70. Country singer Ronnie Milsap is 69. Country singer Jim Stafford is 68. Talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger is 65. Movie director John Carpenter is 64. Actress-dancer-choreographer Debbie Allen is 62. Singer Sade (shah-DAY') is 53. Rock musician Paul Webb (Talk Talk) is 50. Rhythm-and-blues singer Maxine Jones (En Vogue) is 46. Actor David Chokachi (CHOH'-kuh-chee) is 44. Actor Richard T. Jones is 40. Actress Josie Davis is 39. Model Kate Moss is 38. Rock musician Nick Valensi (The Strokes) is 31. Actress Yvonne Zima is 23.

Thought for Today: "I have noticed that the people who are late are often so much jollier than the people who have to wait for them." _ E.V. Lucas, English writer and publisher (1868-1938).

(Above Advance for Use Monday, Jan. 16)

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