Today is Saturday, Jan. 4, the fourth day of 2020. There are 362 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 4, 1964, Pope Paul VI began a visit to the Holy Land, the first papal pilgrimage of its kind.
On this date:
In 1809, Louis Braille (LOO’-wee brayl), inventor of the Braille raised-dot reading system for the blind, was born in Coupvray, France.
In 1896, Utah was admitted as the 45th state.
In 1861, Alabama seized a federal arsenal at Mount Vernon near Mobile.
In 1904, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Gonzalez v. Williams, ruled that Puerto Ricans were not aliens and could enter the United States freely; however, the court stopped short of declaring them citizens. (Puerto Ricans received U.S. citizenship in March 1917.)
In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his State of the Union address, called for legislation to provide assistance for the jobless, elderly, impoverished children and the handicapped.
In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered his State of the Union address in which he outlined the goals of his “Great Society.”
In 1974, President Richard Nixon refused to hand over tape recordings and documents subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee.
In 1987, 16 people were killed when an Amtrak train bound from Washington, D.C., to Boston collided with Conrail locomotives that had crossed into its path from a side track in Chase, Maryland.
In 1999, Europe’s new currency, the euro, got off to a strong start on its first trading day, rising against the dollar on world currency markets. Former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura took the oath of office as Minnesota’s governor.
In 2002, Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Ross Chapman, a U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, was killed by small-arms fire during an ambush in eastern Afghanistan; he was the first American military death from enemy fire in the war against terrorism.
In 2006, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a significant stroke; his official powers were transferred to his deputy, Ehud Olmert (EH’-hood OHL’-murt). (Sharon remained in a coma until his death in Jan. 2014.)
In 2018, the Trump administration moved to vastly expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic oceans with a five-year plan that would open up federal waters off of California for the first time in decades and possibly open new areas of oil and gas exploration along the East Coast. The Dow Jones Industrial Average burst through the 25,000 mark, closing at 25,075.13 just five weeks after its first close above 24,000.
Ten years ago: Dubai opened the world’s tallest skyscraper, and in a surprise move renamed the 2,717-foot gleaming glass-and-metal tower Burj Khalifa in a nod to the leader of neighboring Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich sheikdom that had come to its financial rescue. The Secret Service said a third uninvited guest had made his way into the White House state dinner for India’s prime minister in Nov. 2009. (For his part, Washington businessman Carlos Allen insisted that he had received an invitation, and did not crash the event.) Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only person recognized by the Japanese government as a survivor of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings, died at age 93 in Nagasaki.
Five years ago: Pope Francis named 156 new cardinals, selecting them from 14 countries, including far-flung corners of the world, to reflect the diversity of the Roman Catholic church and its growth in places like Asia and Africa. North Korea criticized the United States for slapping sanctions on Pyongyang officials and organizations for a cyberattack on Sony Pictures.
One year ago: President Donald Trump declared that he could keep parts of the government shut down for “months or even years” after he and Democratic leaders again failed to resolve his demand for billions of dollars for a border wall with Mexico. The Transportation Security Administration said there had been an increase in the number of its employees calling off work during the partial government shutdown; TSA employees had been expected to work without pay during the shutdown because their jobs are considered essential. Five teenage girls died from inhaling carbon monoxide after a fire broke out next to a locked “escape room” in Poland.
Today’s Birthdays: Actress Barbara Rush is 93. Football Hall of Fame coach Don Shula is 90. Opera singer Grace Bumbry is 83. Actress Dyan Cannon is 81. Author-historian Doris Kearns Goodwin is 77. Country singer Kathy Forester (The Forester Sisters) is 65. Actress Ann Magnuson is 64. Rock musician Bernard Sumner (New Order, Joy Division) is 64. Country singer Patty Loveless is 63. Actor Julian Sands is 62. Rock singer Michael Stipe is 60. Actor Patrick Cassidy is 58. Actor Dave Foley is 57. Actress Dot Jones is 56. Actor Rick Hearst is 55. Singer-musician Cait O’Riordan is 55. Actress Julia Ormond is 55. Tennis player Guy Forget (ghee fohr-ZHAY’) is 55. Country singer Deana Carter is 54. Rock musician Benjamin Darvill (Crash Test Dummies) is 53. Actor Josh Stamberg is 50. Actor Jeremy Licht is 49. Actor Damon Gupton is 47. Actress-singer Jill Marie Jones is 45. Actress D’Arcy Carden is 40. Alt-country singer Justin Townes Earle is 38. Christian rock singer Spencer Chamberlain (Underoath) is 37. Actress Lenora Crichlow is 35. Comedian-actress Charlyne Yi is 34. MLB All-Star Kris Bryant is 28. Actress-singer Coco Jones is 22.
Thought for Today: “The last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right deed for the wrong reason.” — T.S. Eliot, American-born English poet (born in 1888, died this date in 1965).