Today in History – 1/19/20

Published 8:50 am Monday, January 20, 2020

Today is Saturday, Jan. 18, the 18th day of 2020. There are 348 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 18, 1993, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was observed in all 50 states for the first time.

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On this date:

In 1778, English navigator Captain James Cook reached the present-day Hawaiian Islands, which he named the “Sandwich Islands.”

In 1911, the first landing of an aircraft on a ship took place as pilot Eugene B. Ely brought his Curtiss biplane in for a safe landing on the deck of the armored cruiser USS Pennsylvania in San Francisco Harbor.

In 1919, the Paris Peace Conference, held to negotiate peace treaties ending the First World War, opened in Versailles, France.

In 1936, Nobel Prize-winning author Rudyard Kipling, 70, died in London.

In 1943, during World War II, Jewish insurgents in the Warsaw Ghetto launched their initial armed resistance against Nazi troops, who eventually succeeded in crushing the rebellion. The Soviets announced they’d broken through the long Nazi siege of Leningrad (it was another year before the siege was fully lifted). A U.S. ban on the sale of pre-sliced bread — aimed at reducing bakeries’ demand for metal replacement parts — went into effect.

In 1949, Charles Ponzi, engineer of one of the most spectacular mass swindles in history, died destitute at a hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at age 66.

In 1957, a trio of B-52’s completed the first non-stop, round-the-world flight by jet planes, landing at March Air Force Base in California after more than 45 hours aloft.

In 1967, Albert DeSalvo, who claimed to be the “Boston Strangler,” was convicted of armed robbery, assault and sex offenses. (Sentenced to life, DeSalvo was killed in prison in 1973.)

In 1990, Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry was arrested in an FBI sting on drug-possession charges (he was later convicted of a misdemeanor).

In 1991, financially strapped Eastern Airlines shut down after more than six decades in business.

In 1996, Lisa Marie Presley-Jackson filed for divorce from Michael Jackson.

In 2005, the world’s largest commercial jet, the Airbus A380 “superjumbo” capable of flying up to 800 passengers, was unveiled in Toulouse, France.

Ten years ago: Taliban militants wearing explosive vests launched a brazen daylight assault on the center of Kabul with suicide bombings and gunbattles that paralyzed the Afghan capital for hours. Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who shot and seriously wounded Pope John Paul II in 1981, emerged from a prison on the outskirts of Ankara, Turkey, after more than 29 years behind bars. Crime novelist Robert B. Parker died in Cambridge, Mass., at age 77.

Five years ago: Pope Francis ended his Asian pilgrimage with an appeal for the future of the Catholic Church, urging an estimated 3 million rain-soaked Filipinos to protect their young from sin and vice so they can instead become missionaries of the faith. Russell Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse for a 35-yard touchdown 3:19 into overtime to lift the Seattle Seahawks to an improbable 28-22 victory over Green Bay in the NFC championship game. In the AFC, Tom Brady threw for three touchdowns and LeGarrette Blount ran in three more to lead the New England Patriots into the Super Bowl with a 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

One year ago: The White House announced that President Donald Trump would hold a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in February to try to coax the North to give up its nuclear program. (The talks collapsed, with both sides pointing to U.S. sanctions as a sticking point.) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi canceled plans to travel by commercial plane to visit U.S. troops in Afghanistan, saying Trump had caused a security risk by talking about the trip. Jason Van Dyke, the white Chicago police officer who gunned down black teenager Laquan McDonald in 2014, was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison. An explosion occurred as a crowd of people in a town north of Mexico City filled containers with gasoline leaking from an illegally-tapped pipeline; at least 130 people were killed.

Today’s Birthdays: Movie director John Boorman is 87. Former Sen. Paul Kirk, D-Mass., is 82. Singer-songwriter Bobby Goldsboro is 79. Comedian-singer-musician Brett Hudson is 67. Actor-director Kevin Costner is 65. Country singer-actor Mark Collie is 64. Actor Mark Rylance is 60. Actress Alison Arngrim (TV: “Little House on the Prairie”) is 58. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is 57. Actress Jane Horrocks is 56. Comedian Dave Attell is 55. Actor Jesse L. Martin is 51. Rapper DJ Quik is 50. Rock singer Jonathan Davis (Korn) is 49. Former NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous is 47. Singer Christian Burns (BBMak) is 46. Actor Derek Richardson is 44. Actor Jason Segel is 40. Actress Samantha Mumba is 37. Country singer Kristy Lee Cook (TV: “American Idol”) is 36. Actress Devin Kelley is 34. Actress Ashleigh Murray (TV: “Riverdale”) is 32. Actor Zeeko Zaki is 30. Tennis player Angelique Kerber is 32. Actor Mateus Ward is 21.

Thought for Today: “None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license.” — John Milton, English poet (1608-1674).