Today in History

Today is Thursday, Jan. 21, the 21st day of 2016. There are 345 days left in the year.

 Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 21, 1976, British Airways and Air France inaugurated scheduled passenger service on the supersonic Concorde jet.

On this date:

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

In 1861, Jefferson Davis of Mississippi and four other Southerners whose states had seceded from the Union resigned from the U.S. Senate.

In 1908, New York City’s Board of Aldermen passed an ordinance prohibiting women from smoking in public establishments (the measure was vetoed by Mayor George B. McClellan Jr., but not before one woman, Katie Mulcahey, was jailed overnight for refusing to pay a fine).

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 1937, Count Basie and his band recorded “One O’Clock Jump” for Decca Records (on this date in 1942, they re-recorded the song for Okeh Records).

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

In 1968, the Battle of Khe Sanh began during the Vietnam War. An American B-52 bomber carrying four hydrogen bombs crashed in Greenland, killing one crew member and scattering radioactive material.

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter pardoned almost all Vietnam War draft evaders.

In 1982, convict-turned-author Jack Henry Abbott was found guilty in New York of first-degree manslaughter in the stabbing death of waiter Richard Adan in 1981. (Abbott was later sentenced to 15 years to life in prison; he committed suicide in 2002.)

In 1994, a jury in Manassas, Va., found Lorena Bobbitt not guilty by reason of temporary insanity of maliciously wounding her husband John, whom she’d accused of sexually assaulting her.

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.

Ten years ago: Rescuers in West Virginia found the bodies of two miners who’d disappeared after a conveyor belt caught fire deep inside a coal mine. A Red Cross-chartered helicopter used for earthquake relief in Pakistan went missing (the wreckage of the copter and the bodies of the seven people on board were found in June 2006).

Five years ago: Arizona Congresswoman 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, N.Y., 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. Keith Olbermann abruptly announced on his MSNBC program “Countdown” that it was his last broadcast for the network. 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, Neb., at age 94.

One year ago: Defying President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner announced that he’d invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stand before Congress and push for new sanctions against its archenemy Iran. (Netanyahu addressed Congress on March 3, 2015.) In an embarrassing setback, House Republicans abruptly decided to drop planned debate of a bill criminalizing virtually all late-term abortions after objections from GOP women and other lawmakers left them short of votes.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Ann Wedgeworth is 82. World Golf Hall of Famer Jack Nicklaus is 76. Opera singer-conductor Placido Domingo is 75. Singer Mac Davis is 74. Actress Jill Eikenberry is 69. Country musician Jim Ibbotson is 69. Singer-songwriter Billy Ocean is 66. Former U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke is 66. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is 65. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is 63. Actor-director Robby Benson is 60. Actress Geena Davis is 60. Basketball Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon is 53. Actress Charlotte Ross is 48. Actor John Ducey is 47. Actress Karina Lombard is 47. Rapper Levirt (B-Rock and the Bizz) is 46. Rock musician Mark Trojanowski (Sister Hazel) is 46. Rock singer-songwriter Cat Power is 44. Rock DJ Chris Kilmore (Incubus) is 43. Actor Vincent Laresca is 42. Singer Emma Bunton (Spice Girls) is 40. Actor Jerry Trainor is 39. Country singer Phil Stacey is 38. Rhythm-and-blues singer Nokio (Dru Hill) is 37. Actress Izabella Miko is 35.

Thought for Today: “I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.” €” George Burns, American comedian (1896-1996).

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