Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 26, 2020, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed when their helicopter plunged into a steep hillside in dense morning fog in Southern California; the former Lakers star was 41.
On this date:
In 1788, the first European settlers in Australia, led by Capt. Arthur Phillip, landed in present-day Sydney.
In 1907, Congress passed the Tillman Act, which prohibited corporations from making direct campaign contributions to federal election candidates.
In 1960, National Football League team owners chose Pete Rozelle to be the new commissioner, succeeding the late Bert Bell.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Dr. Janet G. Travell to be his personal physician; she was the first woman to hold the job.
In 1962, the United States launched Ranger 3 to land scientific instruments on the moon — but the probe ended up missing its target by more than 22,000 miles.
In 1988, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Phantom of the Opera” opened at Broadway’s Majestic Theater.
In 1992, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton, appearing with his wife, Hillary, on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” acknowledged “causing pain in my marriage,” but said past problems were not relevant to the campaign.
In 1993, Vaclav Havel (VAHTS’-lahv HAH’-vel) was elected president of the newly formed Czech Republic.
In 1994, a scare occurred during a visit to Sydney, Australia, by Britain’s Prince Charles as college student David Kang lunged at the prince, firing two blank shots from a starter’s pistol. (Kang was later sentenced to 500 hours of community service.)
In 1998, President Bill Clinton forcefully denied having an affair with a former White House intern, telling reporters, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”
In 2005, a U.S. Marine helicopter crashed in western Iraq, killing 30 Marines and a Navy medic aboard. A man parked his SUV on railroad tracks in Glendale, California, setting off a crash of two commuter trains that killed 11 people. (The SUV’s driver, Juan Alvarez, was convicted of murder and sentenced to 11 consecutive life terms.)
In 2009, Nadya Suleman gave birth at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center in California to six boys and two girls; criticism came after the public learned that the unemployed, single mother had gotten pregnant with the octuplets and six elder children through in vitro fertilization.
Ten years ago: Speaking in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, President Barack Obama campaigned vigorously for his revamped economic message, warning that other countries were grasping for first place in the global marketplace as the U.S. fell down on the job. Afghan President Hamid Karzai swore in the country’s new parliament, marking the end of a drawn-out battle over whether the lawmakers would be able to start work despite ongoing investigations into electoral fraud.
Five years ago: The FBI arrested the leaders of an armed group that was occupying a national wildlife refuge in Oregon for more than three weeks during a traffic stop that left one man, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, dead. Pope Francis held talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the Vatican, calling on Tehran to play a key role in stopping the spread of terrorism. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced that its symbolic “Doomsday Clock” remained at three minutes to midnight, citing rising tension between Russia and the U.S., North Korea’s recent nuclear test and a lack of aggressive steps to address climate change. Character actor Abe Vigoda, 94, died in Woodland Park, New Jersey.
One year ago: The U.S. consulate in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, said it would evacuate its personnel and some private citizens aboard a charter flight. Five cases of the new coronavirus were now confirmed in the United States, including new cases in California and Arizona; all involved people who had traveled to Wuhan. The New York Times reported that in a draft of an upcoming book, former national security adviser John Bolton said that President Donald Trump had wanted to maintain a freeze on military assistance to Ukraine until it aided political investigations into his Democratic rivals. Eighteen-year-old singer Billie Eilish made history at the Grammy Awards, becoming the youngest to win one of Grammy’s top awards and the first to sweep all four in nearly 40 years.
Today’s Birthdays: Cartoonist Jules Feiffer is 92. Sportscaster-actor Bob Uecker is 86. Actor Scott Glenn is 82. Singer Jean Knight is 78. Activist Angela Davis is 77. Actor Richard Portnow is 74. Rock musician Corky Laing (Mountain) is 73. Actor David Strathairn (streh-THEHRN’) is 72. Producer-director Mimi Leder is 69.
Alt-country singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams is 68. Reggae musician Norman Hassan (UB40) is 63. Actor-comedian-talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is 63. Rock musician Charlie Gillingham (Counting Crows) is 61. Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky is 60. Musician Andrew Ridgeley is 58. R&B singer Jazzie B (Soul II Soul) is 58. Actor Paul Johansson is 57. Director Lenny Abrahamson is 55. Actor Bryan Callen is 54. Gospel singer Kirk Franklin is 51. Actor Nate Mooney is 49. Actor Jennifer Crystal is 48. Rock musician Chris Hesse (Hoobastank) is 47. Actor Matilda Szydagis is 47. Actor Gilles Marini (ZHEEL ma-REE’-nee) is 45. Gospel singer Tye Tribbett is 45. Retired NBA player Vince Carter is 44. Actor Sarah Rue is 43. Actor Colin O’Donoghue is 40.