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Today in History

Today in History

Today is Thursday, Jan. 21, the 21st day of 2021. There are 344 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 21, 2020, the U.S. reported its first known case of the new virus circulating in China, saying a Washington state resident who had returned the previous week from the outbreak’s epicenter was hospitalized near Seattle; U.S. officials stressed that they believed the overall risk of the virus to the American public remained low.

On this date:

In 1793, during the French Revolution, King Louis XVI, condemned for treason, was executed on the guillotine.

In 1915, the first Kiwanis Club, dedicated to community service, was founded in Detroit.

In 1924, Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin died at age 53.

In 1942, pinball machines were banned in New York City after a court ruled they were gambling devices that relied on chance rather than skill (the ban was lifted in 1976).

In 1954, the first atomic submarine, the USS Nautilus, was launched at Groton (GRAH’-tuhn), Connecticut (however, the Nautilus did not make its first nuclear-powered run until nearly a year later).

In 1976, British Airways and Air France inaugurated scheduled passenger service on the supersonic Concorde jet.

In 1977, on his first full day in office, President Jimmy Carter pardoned almost all Vietnam War draft evaders.

In 1997, Speaker Newt Gingrich was reprimanded and fined as the House voted for the first time in history to discipline its leader for ethical misconduct.

In 2003, the Census Bureau announced that Hispanics had surpassed blacks as America’s largest minority group.

In 2007, Lovie Smith became the first Black head coach to make it to the Super Bowl when his Chicago Bears won the NFC championship, beating the New Orleans Saints 39-14; Tony Dungy became the second when his Indianapolis Colts took the AFC title over the New England Patriots, 38-34.

In 2010, a bitterly divided U.S. Supreme Court, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, vastly increased the power of big business and labor unions to influence government decisions by freeing them to spend their millions directly to sway elections for president and Congress. Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards finally admitted fathering a daughter during an affair before his second White House bid.

In 2019, first-term senator and former California attorney general Kamala Harris entered the Democratic presidential race. (Harris would withdraw from the race in December; she would be chosen the following August as the party’s vice presidential nominee.) A light aircraft carrying Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala to his new team in Wales went missing over the English Channel. (Sala’s body was recovered from the wreckage two weeks later.)

Ten years ago: Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, seriously wounded in a shooting rampage, was transferred from the University Medical Center trauma center in Tucson to Texas Medical Center in Houston to undergo months of therapy. President Barack Obama visited Schenectady, New York, the birthplace of the General Electric Co., to declare that his job was “putting our economy into overdrive.” South Korean special forces stormed a hijacked freighter in the Arabian Sea, rescuing all 21 crew members and killing eight Somali pirates. Ed Mauser, the oldest living member of a 101st Airborne Division company that became known as the “Band of Brothers” during World War II, died in Omaha, Nebraska, at age 94.

Five years ago: The Obama administration tightened restrictions on European and other travelers who had visited Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan in the previous five years. Daniel Holtzclaw, a former police officer convicted of raping and sexually victimizing women while on his beat in a low-income Oklahoma City neighborhood, was ordered to spend the rest of his life in prison.

One year ago: A rancorous dispute over rules marked the first full day of President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell added an extra day for opening arguments and agreed that evidence from the House impeachment proceedings would be included in the record. Terry Jones, a founding member of the Monty Python comedy troupe, died at his London home at the age of 77 after suffering from dementia. Derek Jeter came within one vote of being a unanimous pick for baseball’s Hall of Fame, while Larry Walker earned baseball’s highest honor in his last chance on the ballot. Heavy metal music legend Ozzy Osbourne announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Today’s Birthdays: World Golf Hall of Famer Jack Nicklaus is 81. Opera singer-conductor Placido Domingo is 80. Actor Jill Eikenberry is 74. Country musician Jim Ibbotson is 74. Singer-songwriter Billy Ocean is 71. Former U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke is 71. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is 70. Actor-director Robby Benson is 65. Actor Geena Davis is 65. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., is 60. Basketball Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon is 58. Actor Charlotte Ross is 53. Actor John Ducey is 52. Actor Karina Lombard is 52. Actor Ken Leung is 51. Rock musician Mark Trojanowski (Sister Hazel) is 51. Rock singer-songwriter Cat Power is 49. Rock DJ Chris Kilmore (Incubus) is 48. Actor Vincent Laresca is 47. Singer Emma Bunton (Spice Girls) is 45. Actor Jerry Trainor is 44. Country singer Phil Stacey is 43. R&B singer Nokio is 42. Actor Izabella Miko (MEE’-koh) is 40. Actor Luke Grimes is 37. Actor Feliz Ramirez is 29.

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