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Today in History

January 5, 2020 GMT

Today in History

Today is Sunday, Jan. 5, the fifth day of 2020. There are 361 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 5, 1781, a British naval expedition led by Benedict Arnold burned Richmond, Virginia.

On this date:

In 1589, Catherine de Medici (MEHD’-uh-chee) of France died at age 69.

In 1895, French Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, convicted of treason, was publicly stripped of his rank. (He was ultimately vindicated.)

In 1896, an Austrian newspaper, Wiener Presse, reported the discovery by German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen (RENT’-gun) of a type of radiation that came to be known as X-rays.

In 1914, auto industrialist Henry Ford announced he was going to pay workers $5 for an 8-hour day, as opposed to $2.34 for a 9-hour day. (Employees still worked six days a week; the 5-day work week was instituted in 1926.)

In 1925, Democrat Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming took office as America’s first female governor, succeeding her late husband, William, following a special election.

In 1933, the 30th president of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, died in Northampton, Massachusetts, at age 60. Construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge. (Work was completed four years later.)

In 1943, educator and scientist George Washington Carver, who was born into slavery, died in Tuskegee, Alabama, at about age 80.

In 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed assistance to countries to help them resist Communist aggression in what became known as the Eisenhower Doctrine.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan announced he was nominating Elizabeth Dole to succeed Drew Lewis as secretary of transportation; Dole became the first woman to head a Cabinet department in Reagan’s administration, and the first to head the DOT.

In 1994, Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, former speaker of the House of Representatives, died in Boston at age 81.

In 1998, Sonny Bono, the 1960s pop star-turned-politician, was killed when he struck a tree while skiing at the Heavenly Ski Resort on the Nevada-California state line; he was 62.

In 2004, foreigners arriving at U.S. airports were photographed and had their fingerprints scanned in the start of a government effort to keep terrorists out of the country.

Ten years ago: President Barack Obama scolded 20 of his highest-level officials over the thwarted Christmas Day terror attack on an airliner bound for Detroit, taking them jointly to task for “a screw-up that could have been disastrous” and should have been avoided. The U.S. and British embassies in Yemen reopened their doors after a two-day closure prompted by security concerns.

Five years ago: The price of oil plunged again, falling below $50 a barrel for the first time since April 2009. Jury selection began in the trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (Tsarnaev would be convicted of all 30 charges against him and sentenced to death.) Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel presided over Florida’s first legally recognized same-sex marriages hours before the ban on such unions formally expired.

One year ago: Talks between White House officials and congressional aides failed to bring a breakthrough to end a two-week government shutdown. Mourners gathered in California for the funeral of police officer Ronil Singh, an immigrant from Fiji who had been shot to death on the morning after Christmas after pulling over a suspected drunk driver. (A two-day manhunt led to the arrest of a man who authorities said was in the country illegally and was preparing to flee to Mexico.)

Today’s Birthdays: Former Vice President Walter F. Mondale is 92. Actor Robert Duvall is 89. Juan Carlos, former King of Spain, is 82. Singer-musician Athol Guy (The Seekers) is 80. Former talk show host Charlie Rose is 78. Actress-director Diane Keaton is 74. Actor Ted Lange (lanj) is 72. Rhythm-and-blues musician George “Funky” Brown (Kool and the Gang) is 71. Rock musician Chris Stein (Blondie) is 70. Former CIA Director George Tenet is 67. Actress Pamela Sue Martin is 67. Actor Clancy Brown is 61. Singer Iris Dement is 59. Actress Suzy Amis is 58. Actor Ricky Paull (correct) Goldin is 55. Actor Vinnie Jones is 55. Rock musician Kate Schellenbach (Luscious Jackson) is 54. Actor Joe Flanigan is 53. Talk show host/dancer-choreographer Carrie Ann Inaba is 52. Rock musician Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age) is 52. Actress Heather Paige Kent is 51. Rock singer Marilyn Manson is 51. Actor Shea Whigham is 51. Actor Derek Cecil is 47. Actress-comedian Jessica Chaffin is 46. Actor Bradley Cooper is 45. Actress January Jones is 42. Actress Brooklyn Sudano is 39. Actor Franz Drameh is 27.

Thought for Today: “It is easy to be tolerant of the principles of other people if you have none of your own.” — Herbert Samuel, English political leader (1870-1963).

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