Today is Thursday, Jan. 16, the 16th day of 2020. There are 350 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 16, 1991, the White House announced the start of Operation Desert Storm to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. (Allied forces prevailed on Feb. 28, 1991.)
On this date:
In 1547, Ivan IV of Russia (popularly known as “Ivan the Terrible”) was crowned Czar.
In 1865, Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman decreed that 400,000 acres of land in the South would be divided into 40-acre lots and given to former slaves. (The order, later revoked by President Andrew Johnson, is believed to have inspired the expression, “Forty acres and a mule.”)
In 1912, a day before reaching the South Pole, British explorer Robert Scott and his expedition found evidence that Roald Amundsen of Norway and his team had gotten there ahead of them.
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 (It was later repealed by the 21st Amendment.)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 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.
In 1989, three days of rioting began in Miami when a police officer fatally shot Clement Lloyd, a black motorcyclist, causing a crash that also claimed the life of Lloyd’s passenger, Allan Blanchard. (The officer, William Lozano, was convicted of manslaughter, but then was acquitted in a retrial.)
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.
In 2003, the space shuttle Columbia blasted off for what turned out to be its last flight; on board was Israel’s first astronaut, Ilan Ramon (ee-LAHN’ rah-MOHN’). (The mission ended in tragedy on Feb. 1, when the shuttle broke up during its return descent, killing all seven crew members.)
In 2004, pop star Michael Jackson pleaded not guilty to child molestation charges during a court appearance in Santa Maria, Calif.; the judge scolded Jackson for being 21 minutes late. (Jackson was eventually acquitted.)
In 2007, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., launched his successful bid for the White House.
Ten years ago: As precious water and food began reaching parched and hungry earthquake survivors on the streets of Haiti’s ruined capital Port-au-Prince, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Haitian President Rene Preval (reh-NAY’ preh-VAHL’) and promised that U.S. quake relief efforts would be closely coordinated with local officials. Glen W. Bell Jr., 86, founder of the Taco Bell chain, died in Rancho Santa Fe, California.
Five years ago: Anti-terrorism raids across Europe netted dozens of suspects as authorities rushed to thwart more attacks by people with links to Mideast Islamic extremists. The NCAA agreed to restore 112 football wins it had stripped from Penn State and Joe Paterno in the Jerry Sandusky child-molestation scandal and to reinstate the venerated late coach as the winningest in major college football history.
One year ago: As she battled to keep Brexit on track, British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked President Donald Trump to postpone his scheduled Jan. 29 State of the Union speech, citing concerns about whether the partially-shuttered government could provide adequate security; Republicans said the move was a ploy to deny Trump the stage. (Trump delivered the speech a week later than scheduled.) A suicide bombing claimed by Islamic State militants killed at least 16 people in northern Syria, including two U.S. service members and two American civilians.
Today’s Birthdays: Author William Kennedy is 92. Author-editor Norman Podhoretz is 90. Opera singer Marilyn Horne is 86. Hall of Fame auto racer A.J. Foyt is 85. Singer Barbara Lynn is 78. Country singer Ronnie Milsap is 77. Singer Katherine Anderson Schaffner (The Marvelettes) is 76. Country singer Jim Stafford is 76. Talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger is 73. Movie director John Carpenter is 72. Actress-dancer-choreographer Debbie Allen is 70. Rhythm-and-blues singer Maxine Jones (En Vogue) is 61. Singer Sade (shah-DAY’) is 61. Pop/rock singer-songwriter Jill Sobule is 61. Rock musician Paul Webb (Talk Talk) is 58. Actor David Chokachi (CHOH’-kuh-chee) is 52. Former Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is 51. Actor-writer-director Josh Evans is 49. Actor-comedian Jonathan Mangum is 49. Actor Richard T. Jones is 48. Actress Josie Davis is 47. Model Kate Moss is 46. Actor-playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda is 40. Country musician James Young (The Eli Young Band) is 40. Rock musician Nick Valensi (The Strokes) is 39. Actress Renee Felice Smith is 35. NFL quaterback Joe Flacco is 35. Actress Yvonne Zima is 31.
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).