Thursday, Jan. 15, the 15th day of 2015

Today is Thursday, Jan. 15, the 15th day of 2015. There are 350 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 15, 1865, during the closing months of the Civil War, the Second Battle of Fort Fisher near Wilmington, North Carolina, ended as Union forces captured the “Gibraltar of the South,” depriving the Confederates of their last major seaport.

On this date:

In 1559, England’s Queen Elizabeth I was crowned in Westminster Abbey.

In 1777, the people of New Connecticut declared their independence. (The republic later became the state of Vermont.)

In 1862, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Abraham Lincoln’s choice of Edwin M. Stanton to be the new Secretary of War, replacing Simon Cameron.

In 1919, in Boston, a tank containing an estimated 2.3 million gallons of molasses burst, sending the dark syrup coursing through the city’s North End, killing 21 people.

In 1929, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta.

In 1943, work was completed on the Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of War (now Defense).

In 1947, the mutilated remains of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short, who came to be known as the “Black Dahlia,” were found in a vacant Los Angeles lot; her slaying remains unsolved.

In 1967, the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League defeated the Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football League 35-10 in the first AFL-NFL World Championship Game, known retroactively as Super Bowl I.

In 1973, President Richard Nixon announced the suspension of all U.S. offensive action in North Vietnam, citing progress in peace negotiations.

In 1989, NATO, the Warsaw Pact and 12 other European countries adopted a human rights and security agreement in Vienna, Austria.

In 1993, a historic disarmament ceremony ended in Paris with the last of 125 countries signing a treaty banning chemical weapons.

In 2009, US Airways Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger ditched his Airbus 320 in the Hudson River after a flock of birds disabled both engines; all 155 people aboard survived.

Ten years ago: Wilbert Rideau, an award-winning black journalist who’d spent nearly 44 years in Louisiana prisons for the 1961 death of a white bank teller, Julia Ferguson, was found guilty of manslaughter in a fourth trial by a racially-mixed jury and set free, his original sentence for murder reduced to time already served. Mahmoud Abbas was sworn in as Palestinian president. Michelle Kwan won her ninth title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Portland, Oregon; Johnny Weir won his second straight men’s title. Actress Ruth Warrick died in New York at age 88. Opera singer Victoria de los Angeles died in Barcelona, Spain, at age 81.

Five years ago: United Nations humanitarian chief John Holmes appealed for more than $560 million to help 3 million victims of the earthquake in Haiti, calling it “a huge and a horrifying catastrophe.” Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas pleaded guilty to carrying a pistol without a license in the District of Columbia, a felony. (Arenas was later sentenced to a month in a halfway house and suspended until the end of the season by the NBA.)

One year ago: In the latest in a series of nuclear stumbles, the U.S. Air Force disclosed that 34 officers entrusted with the world’s deadliest weapons had been removed from launch duty for allegedly cheating – or tolerating cheating by others – on routine proficiency tests. A highly critical and bipartisan Senate report declared that the deadly Sept. 2012 assault on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, could have been prevented; the report spread blame among the State Department, the military and U.S. intelligence. A $1.1 trillion spending bill for operating the government until just before the 2014 election steamed through the battle-weary House over tepid protests from tea party conservatives.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Margaret O’Brien is 77. Actress Andrea Martin is 68. Actor-director Mario Van Peebles is 58. Actor James Nesbitt is 50. Singer Lisa Lisa (Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam) is 48. Actor Chad Lowe is 47. Alt-country singer Will Oldham (aka “Bonnie Prince Billy”) is 45. Actress Regina King is 44. Actor Eddie Cahill is 37. NFL quarterback Drew Brees is 36. Rapper/reggaeton artist Pitbull is 34. Actor Victor Rasuk is 30. Electronic dance musician Skrillex is 27.

Thought for Today: “I refuse to accept the idea that the ‘is-ness’ of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the ‘ought-ness’ that forever confronts him.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968).

(Above Advance for Use Thursday, Jan. 15)

Copyright 2015, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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