Today in History
Jan. 23 is the 23rd day of 2021. There are 342 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 23, 2020, Chinese state media said the city of Wuhan would be shutting down outbound flights and trains, trying to halt the spread of a new virus that had sickened hundreds of people and killed at least 17. The World Health Organization said the viral illness in China was not yet a global health emergency, though the head of the U.N. health agency added that “it may yet become one.”
On this date:
In 1812, the second New Madrid Earthquake struck, with an estimated magnitude of 7.5, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
In 1845, Congress decided all national elections would be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
In 1937, 17 people went on trial in Moscow during Josef Stalin’s “Great Purge.” (All were convicted of conspiracy; all but four were executed.)
In 1950, the Israeli Knesset approved a resolution affirming Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In 1962, Jackie Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Tony Bennett recorded “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” in New York for Columbia Records.
In 1964, the 24th Amendment to the United States Constitution, eliminating the poll tax in federal elections, was ratified as South Dakota became the 38th state to endorse it.
In 1968, North Korea seized the U.S. Navy intelligence ship USS Pueblo, commanded by Lloyd “Pete” Bucher, charging its crew with being on a spying mission; one sailor was killed and 82 were taken prisoner. (Cmdr. Bucher and his crew were released the following December after enduring 11 months of brutal captivity at the hands of the North Koreans.)
In 1973, President Richard Nixon announced an accord had been reached to end the Vietnam War and would be formally signed four days later in Paris.
In 1977, the TV mini-series “Roots,” based on the Alex Haley novel, began airing on ABC.
In 1998, a judge in Fairfax, Va., sentenced Aimal Khan Kasi to death for an assault rifle attack outside CIA headquarters in 1993 that killed two men and wounded three other people. (Kasi was executed in November 2002.)
In 2002, John Walker Lindh, a U.S.-born Taliban fighter, was returned to the United States to face criminal charges that he’d conspired to kill fellow Americans. (Lindh was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to providing support for the Taliban; he was released in May 2019, after serving more than 17 years.)
In 2009, President Barack Obama quietly ended the Bush administration’s ban on giving federal money to international groups that performed abortions or provided information on the option. New York Gov. David Paterson chose Democratic Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to fill the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Ten years ago: Allies and adversaries of President Hugo Chavez took to the streets of Caracas by the thousands, staging rival demonstrations to commemorate the 53rd anniversary of Venezuela’s democracy. Fitness guru Jack LaLanne died in Morro Bay, Calif., at age 96.
Five years ago: A blizzard with hurricane-force winds brought much of the East Coast to a standstill, dumping as much as 3 feet of snow, stranding tens of thousands of travelers and shutting down Washington D.C. and New York City. Gracie Gold bounced back from a shaky short program with a flawless free skate to win her second U.S. Figure Skating title at the championship in St. Paul, Minn.
One year ago: In a second day of opening arguments at President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, Democratic prosecutors made the case that Trump had abused power like no other president in history, swept up by a “completely bogus” theory about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. “Sopranos” actor Annabella Sciorra confronted Harvey Weinstein from the witness stand at his New York trial, testifying that Weinstein had overpowered and raped her; she was the first of Weinstein’s accusers to testify at his sexual assault trial. PBS announced that Jim Lehrer, the longtime host of the nightly “NewsHour” and the moderator of 11 presidential debates, had died at the age of 85. Three American flying firefighters were killed when their C-130 Hercules tanker crashed after dumping fire retardant on an out-of-control blaze in southeastern Australia.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Chita Rivera is 88. Actor-director Lou Antonio is 87. Jazz musician Gary Burton is 78. Actor Gil Gerard is 78. Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., is 74. Singer Anita Pointer is 73. Actor Richard Dean Anderson is 71. Rock musician Bill Cunningham is 71. Rock singer Robin Zander (Cheap Trick) is 68. Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is 68. Princess Caroline of Monaco is 64. Singer Anita Baker is 63. Reggae musician Earl Falconer (UB40) is 62. Actor Peter Mackenzie is 60. Actor Boris McGiver is 59. Actor Gail O’Grady is 58. Actor Mariska Hargitay is 57. R&B singer Marc Nelson is 50. CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell is 47. Actor Tiffani Thiessen is 47. Rock musician Nick Harmer (Death Cab for Cutie) is 46. Actor Lindsey Kraft is 41. Singer-actor Rachel Crow is 23.
Jan. 24 is the 24th day of 2021. There are 341 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 24, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered a gold nugget at Sutter’s Mill in northern California, a discovery that led to the gold rush of ’49.
On this date:
In 1908, the Boy Scouts movement began in England under the aegis of Robert Baden-Powell.
In 1924, the Russian city of Petrograd (formerly St. Petersburg) was renamed Leningrad in honor of the late revolutionary leader. (However, it has since been renamed St. Petersburg.)
In 1939, at least 28,000 people were killed by an earthquake that devastated the city of Chillan in Chile.
In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill concluded a wartime conference in Casablanca, Morocco.
In 1945, Associated Press war correspondent Joseph Morton was among a group of captives executed by the Germans at the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in Austria.
In 1965, British statesman Winston Churchill died in London at age 90.
In 1978, a nuclear-powered Soviet satellite, Cosmos 954, plunged through Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrated, scattering radioactive debris over parts of northern Canada.
In 1984, Apple Computer began selling its first Macintosh model, which boasted a built-in 9-inch monochrome display, a clock rate of 8 megahertz and 128k of RAM.
In 1987, gunmen in Lebanon kidnapped educators Alann Steen, Jesse Turner, Robert Polhill and Mitheleshwar Singh. (All were eventually released.)
In 1989, confessed serial killer Theodore Bundy was executed in Florida’s electric chair.
In 1993, retired Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall died in Bethesda, Md., at age 84.
In 2003, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge was sworn as the first secretary of the new Department of Homeland Security.
Ten years ago: A suicide bomber attacked Moscow’s busiest airport, killing 37 people; Chechen separatists claimed responsibility. In his second court appearance, Jared Lee Loughner pleaded not guilty in Phoenix to federal charges he’d tried to kill U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and two of her aides in a Tucson shooting rampage that had claimed six lives. An emotional Oprah Winfrey publicly introduced her newly found sibling, a half-sister identified only as “Patricia” who was given up for adoption by Winfrey’s mother nearly 50 years earlier, when the talk show host was 8 years old.
Five years ago: A magnitude-7.1 quake knocked items off shelves and walls in Alaska, jolting the nerves of residents in the earthquake-prone region.
One year ago: Concluding their opening arguments at President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, House Democrats warned that Trump would persist in abusing his power and endangering democracy unless Congress acted to remove him before the 2020 election. After the Chinese city of Wuhan halted outbound flights, trains, buses and ferries in an effort to stop the spread of a deadly new virus, 12 other cities in the province followed suit, bringing more than 36 million people under lockdown. Health officials in Chicago said a woman in her 60s had become the second U.S. patient diagnosed with the new virus; she’d returned from China in mid-January. President Donald Trump became the first sitting president to address abortion opponents at the annual March for Life. The Pentagon said 34 U.S. troops suffered traumatic brain injuries in Iran’s missile strike on an Iraqi air base earlier in the month.
Today’s Birthdays: Cajun musician Doug Kershaw is 85. Singer-songwriter Ray Stevens is 82. Singer-songwriter Neil Diamond is 80. Singer Aaron Neville is 80. Actor Michael Ontkean is 75. Actor Daniel Auteuil is 71. Country singer-songwriter Becky Hobbs is 71. Comedian Yakov Smirnoff is 70. South Korean President Moon Jae-in is 68. Actor William Allen Young is 67. Bandleader-musician Jools Holland is 63. Actor Nastassja Kinski is 60. R&B singer Theo Peoples is 60. Country musician Keech Rainwater (Lonestar) is 58. Comedian Phil LaMarr is 54. Olympic gold medal gymnast Mary Lou Retton is 53. Actor Matthew Lillard is 51. Actor Merrilee McCommas is 50. Blues/rock singer Beth Hart is 49. Actor Ed Helms is 47. Actor Mark Hildreth is 43. Actor Christina Moses is 43. Actor Carrie Coon is 40. Actor Daveed Diggs is 39. Actor Mischa Barton is 35.