Today is Wednesday, Jan. 1, the first day of leap year 2020. There are 365 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that slaves in rebel states shall be “forever free.”
On this date:
In 1785, The Daily Universal Register — which later became the Times of London — published its first issue.
In 1892, the Ellis Island Immigrant Station in New York formally opened.
In 1953, country singer Hank Williams Sr., 29, was discovered dead in the back seat of his car during a stop in Oak Hill, West Virginia, while he was being driven to a concert date in Canton, Ohio.
In 1959, Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries overthrew Cuban leader Fulgencio Batista, who fled to the Dominican Republic.
In 1975, a jury in Washington found Nixon administration officials John N. Mitchell, H.R. Haldeman, John D. Ehrlichman and Robert C. Mardian guilty of charges related to the Watergate cover-up (Mardian’s conviction for conspiracy was later overturned on appeal).
In 1979, the United States and China held celebrations in Washington and Beijing to mark the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
In 1984, the breakup of AT&T took place as the telecommunications giant was divested of its 22 Bell System companies under terms of an antitrust agreement.
In 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully split into two new countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
In 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) came into being, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Sweden, Finland and Austria joined the European Union.
In 2005, desperate, homeless villagers on the tsunami-ravaged island of Sumatra mobbed American helicopters carrying aid as the U.S. military launched its largest operation in the region since the Vietnam War. Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress, died near Daytona Beach, Florida, at age 80.
In 2009, an Israeli warplane dropped a 2,000-pound bomb on the home of one of Hamas’ top five decision-makers, instantly killing him and 18 others. The U.S. formally transferred control of the Green Zone to Iraqi authorities in a pair of ceremonies that also handed back Saddam Hussein’s former palace.
In 2014, the nation’s first legal recreational pot shops opened in Colorado at 8 a.m. Mountain time.
Today’s Birthdays: Documentary maker Frederick Wiseman is 90. Actor Frank Langella is 82. Rock singer-musician Country Joe McDonald is 78. Writer-comedian Don Novello is 77. Actor Rick Hurst is 74. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., is 66. The former head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, is 64. Rapper Grandmaster Flash is 62. Actress Renn Woods is 62. Actress Dedee Pfeiffer is 56. Country singer Brian Flynn (Flynnville Train) is 54. Actor Morris Chestnut is 51. Rhythm and blues singer Tank is 44. Model Elin Nordegren is 40. Actor Jonas Armstrong is 39. Actress Eden Riegel is 39. Olympic gold medal ice dancer Meryl Davis is 33. Rock musician Noah Sierota (Echosmith) is 24.
Thought for Today: “If you asked me for my New Year Resolution, it would be to find out who I am.” — Cyril Cusack, Irish actor (1910-1993).