Today in History


Today is Tuesday, Jan. 17, the 17th day of 2023. There are 348 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 17, 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.”

On this date:

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

In 1944, during World War II, Allied forces launched the first of four battles for Monte Cassino in Italy; the Allies were ultimately successful.

In 1950, the Great Brink’s Robbery took place as seven masked men held up a Brink’s garage in Boston, stealing $1.2 million in cash and $1.5 million in checks and money orders. (Although the entire gang was caught, only part of the loot was recovered.)

In 1955, the submarine USS Nautilus made its first nuclear-powered test run from its berth in Groton (GRAH’-tuhn), Connecticut.

In 1966, the Simon & Garfunkel album “Sounds of Silence” was released by Columbia Records.

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 1994, the 6.7 magnitude Northridge earthquake struck Southern California, killing at least 60 people, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

In 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.

In 2016, Iran released three Americans, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and pastor Saeed Abedini, as part of a prisoner swap that also netted Tehran some $100 billion in sanctions relief.

In 2020, U.S. health officials announced that they would begin screening airline passengers from central China for the new coronavirus; people traveling from Wuhan, China, would have their temperature checked and be asked about symptoms.

Ten years ago: Algerian helicopters and special forces stormed a gas plant in the stony plains of the Sahara to wipe out Islamist militants and free hostages from at least 10 countries. Nearly all the militants were killed; at least 40 hostages died in the standoff. Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network broadcast the first of a two-part interview with Lance Armstrong, in which the disgraced cyclist told Winfrey he had started doping in the mid-1990s.

Five years ago: Snow, ice and record-breaking cold closed runways, highways, schools and government offices across the South; at least 15 people died. A broad rally propelled the Dow Jones industrial average to close above 26,000 points for the first time. The rival Koreas agreed to form their first unified Olympic team and have their athletes parade together for the first time in 11 years during the opening ceremony of the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea.

One year ago: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov angrily rejected U.S. allegations that Moscow was preparing a pretext to invade Ukraine, as Russian troops who were stationed near Ukraine’s border launched more drills. Organizers of the Winter Olympics in Beijing said they would offer event tickets only to “selected” spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Today’s birthdays:

Former FCC chairman Newton N. Minow is 97. Actor James Earl Jones is 92. Talk show host Maury Povich is 84. Pop singer Chris Montez is 81. Actor Joanna David is 76. Actor Jane Elliot (“General Hospital”) is 76. Rock musician Mick Taylor is 75. Singer Steve Earle is 68. Singer Paul Young is 67. Actor-comedian Steve Harvey is 66. Singer Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles) is 64. Movie director-screenwriter Brian Helgeland is 62. Actor-comedian Jim Carrey is 61. Actor Denis O’Hare is 61. Former first lady Michelle Obama is 59. Actor Joshua Malina is 57. Singer Shabba Ranks is 57. Actor Naveen Andrews is 54. Electronic music DJ Tiesto is 54. Rapper Kid Rock is 52. Actor Freddy Rodriguez is 48. Actor-writer Leigh Whannell is 46. Actor-singer Zooey Deschanel is 43. Dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy (TV: “Dancing with the Stars”) is 43. Singer Ray J is 42. Actor Diogo Morgado is 42. Country singer Amanda Wilkinson is 41. Former NBA player Dwyane Wade is 41. Actor Ryan Gage is 40. DJ-singer Calvin Harris is 39. Folk-rock musician Jeremiah Fraites is 37. Actor Jonathan Keltz is 35. Actor Kelly Marie Tran (Film: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”) is 34. Actor Kathrine Herzer is 26.

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