This Day in History — January 16

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

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Today is the 16th day of 2019. There are 349 days left in the year.

TODAY'S HIGHLIGHT

1978: NASA names 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.

OTHER EVENTS

27 BC: Caesar Augustus is declared the first Emperor of the Roman Empire by the Senate.

1547: Ivan the Terrible is crowned Russia's first czar.

1666: France, allied with Holland, declares war on England.

1761: British take Pondicherry after siege, marking end of French dominion in India.

1778: France recognises US independence.

1816: Portugal's South American colony, Brazil, becomes a kingdom.

1883: The US Civil Service Commission is established.

1917: Germans propose in a telegram that Mexico become Germany's ally with a view to recovering Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. The telegram is intercepted, hastening the US entry into World War I.

1920: Prohibition, the legal prevention of the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcoholic drinks, begins as the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution takes effect. It is later repealed.

1935: Fugitive gangster Fred Barker and his mother, Kate “Ma” Barker, are killed in a shoot-out with the FBI at Lake Weir, Florida.

1942: Actress Carole Lombard, 33, her mother, Elizabeth, and 20 other people are killed when their plane crashes near Las Vegas, Nevada, while en route to California from a war-bond promotion tour.

1957: Three B-52's take off from Castle Air Force Base in California on the first non-stop, round-the-world flight by jet planes, which lasted 45 hours and 19 minutes. Classical music conductor Arturo Toscanini dies in New York at age 89.

1969: Soviet cosmonauts achieve first link-up of two manned spaceships while in orbit around Earth.

1971: Swiss ambassador to Brazil, Giovanni Enrico Bucher, is freed in Rio de Janeiro after being held by kidnappers for 40 days.

1973: United States and South Vietnam declare ceasefire in Vietnam War in hopes of full peace pact.

1988: Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder is fired as a CBS television sports commentator one day after telling a TV station in Washington, DC, that, during the era of slavery, blacks had been bred to produce stronger offspring.

1989: Three days of rioting erupt in Miami when a police officer fatally shoots a black motorcyclist, causing a crash that also claimed the life of a passenger.

1990: Bulgarian Government grants opposition right to publish newspapers, but continues to deny their access to radio and television.

1991: US and allied fighters and heavy bombers start pounding targets in Iraq and Kuwait after Iraq fails to meet a deadline on withdrawal from Kuwait (Operation Desert Storm).

1992: A special high court in Greece acquits former Socialist Premier Andreas Papandreou of involvement in a $210-million bank embezzlement scheme; officials of the government of El Salvador and rebel leaders sign a pact in Mexico City ending 12 years of civil war that left at least 75,000 people dead.

1993: Somali civilians lead US troops to bunkers overflowing with more than 1,000 tons of arms and ammunition. A marine spokesman calls the find “the mother lode of arms caches”.

1995: Five-hundred motorists are stranded in the Jawahar tunnel in northern India by a snow slide that killed at least 183 people.

1997: In the West Bank city of Hebron, Palestinians dance and sing outside Israeli army headquarters as troops begin departing after 30 years of military rule.

1998: Turkey's high court outlaws the Islamic-oriented Welfare Party. NASA announces that John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, would fly aboard the space shuttle later in the year.

2001: Laurent Kabila, president of Congo, is killed in a shooting at his home.

2003: The space shuttle Columbia blasts off for what turned out to be its last flight; on board was Israel's first astronaut, Ilan Ramon. The mission ended in tragedy on February 1, when the shuttle broke up during its return descent, killing all seven crew members.

2005: Massive protests against social benefit cuts paralyse traffic in cities across Russia in the most serious outburst of public discontent since President Vladimir Putin took office.

2007: Pakistani helicopter gunships attack a suspected al-Qaeda hide-out in a forest near the Afghan border, killing up to 10 people and sparking anger among tribesmen who say the dead are woodcutters, not terrorists.

2008: Sri Lanka's ceasefire deal ends in a spasm of violence, as suspected Tamil Tiger rebels bomb a bus, shoot the fleeing passengers and attack farmers as they retreat into the bush, killing 27 people. Archbishop Earl Paulk, the 80-year-old leader of a megachurch, pleads guilty in Atlanta to lying under oath about his sexual affairs and was sentenced to 10 years' probation. (Paulk died in March 2009.)

2012: The political crisis engulfing Pakistan deepens when the nation's top court clashes with a beleaguered Government already under attack from the powerful army — a combined assault that could bring down the US-backed Administration.

2013: US President Barack Obama unveils the most sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence in two decades, pressing a reluctant Congress to pass universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting. Pauline Friedman Phillips, better known as advice columnist Dear Abby, dies in Minneapolis at age 94.

2014: A suicide bomber kills four people and injures 26 in the Lebanese town of Hermel, a Hezbollah stronghold near the Syrian border.

TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS

Richard Savage, English author (1697-1743); Niccolo Piccinni, Italian musician (1728-1800); John Carpenter, US film director (1948- ); Debbie Allen, US actress/dancer/choreographer (1950- ); Sade, US singer (1959- ); Maxine Jones, US R&B singer (En Vogue) (1966- ); Kate Moss, English model (1974- )

— AP


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