This Day in History — January 16

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

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Today is the 16th day of 2018. There are 349 days left in the year.


1978: NASA names 35 candidates to fly on the space shuttle, including Sally K Ride, who became America's first woman in space, and Guion S Bluford Jr, who became America's first black astronaut in space.


27 BC: Caesar Augustus is declared the first Emperor of the Roman Empire by the Senate.

1547: Ivan the Terrible is crowned Russia's first czar.

1666: France, allied with Holland, declares war on England.

1761: British take Pondicherry after siege, marking end of French dominion in India.

1778: France recognises US independence.

1816: Portugal's South American colony, Brazil, becomes a kingdom.

1865: Union Major General William T Sherman decrees that 400,000 acres of land in the south would be divided into 40-acre lots and given to former slaves. (The order, later revoked by President Andrew Johnson, is believed to have inspired the expression, “Forty acres and a mule”.)

1883: The US Civil Service Commission is established.

1917: Germans propose in a telegram that Mexico become Germany's ally with a view to recovering Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. The telegram is intercepted, hastening the US entry into World War I.

1920: Prohibition, the legal prevention of the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcoholic drinks, begins as the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution takes effect. It is later repealed.

1925: Leon Trotsky is dismissed from chairmanship of Russia's Revolutionary Council.

1935: Fugitive gangster Fred Barker and his mother, Kate “Ma” Barker, are killed in a shoot-out with the FBI at Lake Weir, Florida.

1942: Actress Carole Lombard, 33, her mother, Elizabeth, and 20 other people are killed when their plane crashes near Las Vegas, Nevada, while en route to California from a war-bond promotion tour.

1957: Three B-52's take off from Castle Air Force Base in California on the first non-stop, round-the-world flight by jet planes, which lasted 45 hours and 19 minutes. Classical music conductor Arturo Toscanini dies in New York at age 89.

1966: Major General Aguiyi Ironsi takes over power in Nigeria after announcing that an attempted coup has been smashed.

1969: Soviet cosmonauts achieve first link-up of two manned spaceships while in orbit around Earth.

1971: Swiss ambassador to Brazil, Giovanni Enrico Bucher, is freed in Rio de Janeiro after being held by kidnappers for 40 days.

1973: United States and South Vietnam declare ceasefire in Vietnam War in hopes of full peace pact.

1979: In the face of growing unrest, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi flees Iran, never to return.

1987: Hu Yaobang resigns as head of China's Communist Party, accepting blame for policy mistakes stemming from student turmoil.

1988: Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder is fired as a CBS television sports commentator one day after telling a TV station in Washington, DC, that, during the era of slavery, blacks had been bred to produce stronger offspring.

1989: Three days of rioting erupt in Miami when a police officer fatally shoots a black motorcyclist, causing a crash that also claimed the life of a passenger.

1990: Bulgarian Government grants opposition right to publish newspapers, but continues to deny their access to radio and television.

1991: US and allied fighters and heavy bombers start pounding targets in Iraq and Kuwait after Iraq fails to meet a deadline on withdrawal from Kuwait (Operation Desert Storm).

1992: A special high court in Greece acquits former Socialist Premier Andreas Papandreou of involvement in a $210-million bank embezzlement scheme; officials of the government of El Salvador and rebel leaders sign a pact in Mexico City ending 12 years of civil war that left at least 75,000 people dead.

1993: Somali civilians lead US troops to bunkers overflowing with more than 1,000 tons of arms and ammunition. A marine spokesman calls the find “the mother lode of arms caches”.

1995: Five-hundred motorists are stranded in the Jawahar tunnel in northern India by a snow slide that killed at least 183 people.

1996: Sierra Leone's military ruler, Captain Valentine Strasser, is ousted in a coup.

1997: In the West Bank city of Hebron, Palestinians dance and sing outside Israeli army headquarters as troops begin departing after 30 years of military rule.

1998: Turkey's high court outlaws the Islamic-oriented Welfare Party. NASA announces that John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, would fly aboard the space shuttle later in the year.

2000: Ricardo Lagos is elected Chile's first socialist president since Salvador Allende, whose Government was toppled in a bloody 1973 military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet.

2001: Laurent Kabila, president of Congo, is killed in a shooting at his home.

2003: The space shuttle Columbia blasts off for what turned out to be its last flight; on board was Israel's first astronaut, Ilan Ramon. The mission ended in tragedy on February 1, when the shuttle broke up during its return descent, killing all seven crew members.

2004: Spain's Constitutional Court, acting on a suit filed by the Government under a law outlawing parties that incite terrorism, upholds the banning of Batasuna, a party long considered to be the political wing of the armed Basque independence group ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna).

2005: Massive protests against social benefit cuts paralyse traffic in cities across Russia in the most serious outburst of public discontent since President Vladimir Putin took office.

2006: Ernest Johnson Jr, 55, who deserted the US Marine Corps during the Vietnam War is arrested in Texas after more than 36 years on the run.

2007: Pakistani helicopter gunships attack a suspected al-Qaeda hide-out in a forest near the Afghan border, killing up to 10 people and sparking anger among tribesmen who say the dead are woodcutters, not terrorists.

2008: Sri Lanka's ceasefire deal ends in a spasm of violence, as suspected Tamil Tiger rebels bomb a bus, shoot the fleeing passengers and attack farmers as they retreat into the bush, killing 27 people. Archbishop Earl Paulk, the 80-year-old leader of a megachurch, pleads guilty in Atlanta to lying under oath about his sexual affairs and was sentenced to 10 years' probation. (Paulk died in March 2009.)

2009: A wealthy US businessman with a passion for books about the Middle East is sentenced to two years in jail for stealing pages from rare texts at two of Britain's most venerable libraries.

2010: Egypt's largest opposition movement, the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, announces it has chosen a new leader, Mohammed Badie, a conservative academic who looks unlikely to challenge the government's relentless crackdown on the group.

2011: An Egyptian court convicts and sentences to death a Muslim man for killing six Christians and a Muslim guard last year — the latest in a series of moves by authorities seeking to calm religious tensions after a massive suicide bombing outside a church two weeks ago.

2012: The political crisis engulfing Pakistan deepens when the nation's top court clashes with a beleaguered Government already under attack from the powerful army — a combined assault that could bring down the US-backed Administration.

2013: US President Barack Obama unveils the most sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence in two decades, pressing a reluctant Congress to pass universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting. Pauline Friedman Phillips, better known as advice columnist Dear Abby, dies in Minneapolis at age 94.

2014: A suicide bomber kills four people and injures 26 in the Lebanese town of Hermel, a Hezbollah stronghold near the Syrian border.

2017: Turkish authorities capture an Uzbek national suspected of killing 39 people during an attack on an Istanbul nightclub during New Year's celebrations. A shooting attack at an electronic music festival in Mexico's Caribbean coastal resort of Playa del Carmen leaves five people dead, including three foreigners. President Barack Obama, his days in office dwindling, celebrates the World Series champion Chicago Cubs at the White House. Former NASA astronaut Eugene Cernan, to date the last man to walk on the moon, dies in Houston at age 82.


Richard Savage, English author (1697-1743); Niccolo Piccinni, Italian musician (1728-
1800); John Carpenter, US film director (1948- ); Debbie Allen, US actress/dancer/
choreographer (1950- ); Sade, US singer (1959- ); Maxine Jones, US R&B singer (En
Vogue) (1966- ); Kate Moss, English model (1974- )

— AP




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