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Today in History

Today in History

Today is Sunday, Jan. 17, the 17th day of 2021. There are 348 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 17, 1996, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman and nine followers were handed long prison sentences for plotting to blow up New York-area landmarks.

On this date:

In 1806, Thomas Jefferson’s daughter, Martha, gave birth to James Madison Randolph, the first child born in the White House.

In 1916, the Professional Golfers’ Association of America had its beginnings as department store magnate Rodman Wanamaker hosted a luncheon of pro and amateur golfers in New York City. (The PGA of America was formally established on April 10, 1916.)

In 1944, during World War II, Allied forces launched the first of four battles for Monte Cassino in Italy; the Allies were ultimately successful.

In 1953, a prototype of the Chevrolet Corvette was unveiled during the General Motors Motorama at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.

In 1955, the submarine USS Nautilus made its first nuclear-powered test run from its berth in Groton (GRAH’-tuhn), Connecticut.

In 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his farewell address in which he warned against “the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

In 1977, convicted murderer Gary Gilmore, 36, was shot by a firing squad at Utah State Prison in the first U.S. execution in a decade.

In 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., ruled 5-4 that the use of home video cassette recorders to tape television programs for private viewing did not violate federal copyright laws.

In 1994, the 6.7 magnitude Northridge earthquake struck Southern California, killing at least 60 people, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

In 1995, more than 6,000 people were killed when an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 devastated the city of Kobe (koh-bay), Japan.

In 1997, a court in Ireland granted the first divorce in the Roman Catholic country’s history.

In 2008, Bobby Fischer, the chess grandmaster who became a Cold War icon when he dethroned the Soviet Union’s Boris Spassky as world champion in 1972, died in Reykjavik, Iceland, at age 64.

Ten years ago: Apple Inc. announced that its CEO, Steve Jobs, was taking his second medical leave of absence in two years. (Jobs died nine months later.) Rock promoter Don Kirshner, 76, died in Boca Raton, Florida.

Five years ago: Ahead of the Iowa caucuses, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders engaged in their most contentious debate to date, tangling repeatedly in Charleston, South Carolina, over who was tougher on gun control and Wall Street and how to shape the future of health care in America. Iran released three Americans, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and pastor Saeed Abedini, as part of a prisoner swap that also netted Tehran some $100 billion in sanctions relief.

One year ago: U.S. health officials announced that they would begin screening airline passengers from central China for the new coronavirus; people traveling from Wuhan, China, would have their temperature checked and be asked about symptoms. With the Lunar New Year approaching, Chinese travelers flocked to train stations and airports to take part in the annual Spring Festival travel rush; officials estimated that some 3 billion trips would be made in the world’s biggest annual human migration. President Donald Trump added to his legal team for his impeachment trial retired law professor Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr, the independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Betty White is 99. Former FCC chairman Newton N. Minow is 95. Actor James Earl Jones is 90. Talk show host Maury Povich is 82. Pop singer Chris Montez is 79. R&B singer William Hart (The Delfonics) is 76. Actor Joanna David is 74. Actor Jane Elliot is 74. Rock musician Mick Taylor is 73. R&B singer Sheila Hutchinson (The Emotions) is 68. Singer Steve Earle is 66. Singer Paul Young is 65. Actor-comedian Steve Harvey is 64. Singer Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles) is 62. Movie director-screenwriter Brian Helgeland is 60. Actor-comedian Jim Carrey is 59. Actor Denis O’Hare is 59. Former first lady Michelle Obama is 57. Actor Joshua Malina is 55. Singer Shabba Ranks is 55. Actor Naveen Andrews is 52. Electronic music DJ Tiesto is 52. Rapper Kid Rock is 50. Actor Freddy Rodriguez is 46. Actor-writer Leigh Whannel is 44. Actor-singer Zooey Deschanel is 41. Dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy (TV: “Dancing with the Stars”) is 41. Singer Ray J is 40. Actor Diogo Morgado is 40. Country singer Amanda Wilkinson is 39. Former NBA player Dwyane Wade is 39. Actor Ryan Gage is 38. DJ-singer Calvin Harris is 37. Folk-rock musician Jeremiah Fraites is 35. Actor Jonathan Keltz is 33. Actor Kelly Marie Tran (Film: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”) is 32. Actor Kathrine Herzer is 24.

By The Associated Press

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