Today in history


By the Associated Press



Today is Friday, Jan. 17, the 17th day of 2020. There are 349 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On Jan. 17, 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.

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 1917, Denmark ceded the Virgin Islands to the United States for $25 million.

In 1945, Soviet and Polish forces liberated Warsaw during World War II; Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, credited with saving tens of thousands of Jews, disappeared in Hungary while in Soviet custody.

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

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

In 2001, faced with an electricity crisis, California used rolling blackouts to cut off power to hundreds of thousands of people; Gov. Gray Davis signed an emergency order authorizing the state to buy power.

Ten years ago: Pope Benedict XVI paid a visit to a Rome synagogue, where he and Jewish leaders sparred over the World War II-era record of Pope Pius XII. Erich Segal, author of the best-selling novel “Love Story,” died in London at age 72. At the Golden Globes, top honors went to James Cameron’s “Avatar” as well as the TV series “Glee” and “Mad Men.”

Five years ago: Pope Francis braved an approaching tropical storm to travel to the far eastern Philippines to comfort survivors of the deadly Typhoon Haiyan. Bill Cosby performed to a welcoming Denver audience, despite a protest by some 100 people chanting “Rape is not a joke!” and “No means no!” outside the Buell Theatre.

One year ago: As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers were set to depart on a previously undisclosed trip to Afghanistan and Brussels, President Donald Trump denied use of a military plane for the trip, calling it a “public relations event” and saying it would be best if Pelosi stayed in Washington to negotiate an end to the government shutdown; the move came a day after Pelosi called on Trump to postpone his State of the Union address due to the shutdown. A judge in Chicago acquitted three police officers of trying to cover up the fatal 2014 police shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver, known for her rapturous odes to nature and animal life, died at her Florida home; she was 83.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Betty White is 98. Former FCC chairman Newton N. Minow is 94. Actor James Earl Jones is 89. Talk show host Maury Povich is 81. Pop singer Chris Montez is 78. Rhythm-and-blues singer William Hart (The Delfonics) is 75. Actress Joanna David is 73. Actress Jane Elliot is 73. Rock musician Mick Taylor is 72. Rhythm-and-blues singer Sheila Hutchinson (The Emotions) is 67. Singer Steve Earle is 65. Singer Paul Young is 64. Actor-comedian Steve Harvey is 63. Singer Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles) is 61. Movie director-screenwriter Brian Helgeland is 59. Actor-comedian Jim Carrey is 58. Actor Denis O’Hare is 58. Former first lady Michelle Obama is 56. Actor Joshua Malina is 54. Singer Shabba Ranks is 54. Rock musician Jon Wysocki is 52. Actor Naveen Andrews is 51. Electronic music DJ Tiesto is 51. Rapper Kid Rock is 49. Actor Freddy Rodriguez is 45. Actor-writer Leigh Whannel is 43. Actress-singer Zooey Deschanel is 40. Dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy (TV: “Dancing with the Stars”) is 40. Singer Ray J is 39. Actor Diogo Morgado is 39. Country singer Amanda Wilkinson is 38. Former NBA player Dwyane Wade is 38. Actor Ryan Gage is 37. DJ-singer Calvin Harris is 36. Folk-rock musician Jeremiah Fraites is 34. Actor Jonathan Keltz is 32. Actress Kelly Marie Tran (Film: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”) is 31. Actress Kathrine (cq) Herzer is 23.

Thought for Today: “The only thing wrong with immortality is that it tends to go on forever.” — Herb Caen, American newspaper columnist (1916-1997).

By the Associated Press