Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 16, 1991, the White House announced the start of Operation Desert Storm to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. (Allied forces prevailed on Feb. 28, 1991.)
On this date:
In 27 B.C., Caesar Augustus was declared the first Emperor of the Roman Empire by the Senate.
In 1865, Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman decreed 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.”)
In 1912, a day before reaching the South Pole, British explorer Robert Scott and his expedition found evidence that Roald Amundsen of Norway and his team had gotten there ahead of them.
In 1919, pianist and statesman Ignacy Jan Paderewski (pah-dehr-EHF’-skee) became the first premier of the newly created Republic of Poland.
In 1920, Prohibition began in the United States as the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution took effect, one year to the day after its ratification. (It was later repealed by the 21st Amendment.)
In 1942, actor Carole Lombard, 33, her mother, Elizabeth, and 20 other people were killed when their plane crashed near Las Vegas, Nevada, while en route to California from a war-bond promotion tour.
In 1987, Hu Yaobang resigned as head of China’s Communist Party, declaring he’d made mistakes in dealing with student turmoil and intellectual challenges to the system.
In 1989, three days of rioting began in Miami when a police officer fatally shot Clement Lloyd, a Black motorcyclist, causing a crash that also claimed the life of Lloyd’s passenger, Allan Blanchard. (The officer, William Lozano, was convicted of manslaughter, but then was acquitted in a retrial.)
In 2002, Richard Reid was indicted in Boston on federal charges alleging he’d tried to blow up a U.S.-bound jetliner with explosives hidden in his shoes. (Reid later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.)
In 2003, the space shuttle Columbia blasted off for what turned out to be its last flight; on board was Israel’s first astronaut, Ilan Ramon (ee-LAHN’ rah-MOHN’). (The mission ended in tragedy on Feb. 1, when the shuttle broke up during its return descent, killing all seven crew members.)
In 2007, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois launched his successful bid for the White House.
In 2020, the first impeachment trial of President Donald Trump opened in the Senate, with senators standing and swearing an oath of “impartial justice.” Trump again denounced the proceedings as a “hoax,” while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said new evidence reinforced the need to call additional witnesses. (Trump would be acquitted on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.)
Ten years ago: Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney fended off attacks from rivals during a debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; hours before the debate, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman withdrew from the race and announced his support for Romney despite their differences.
Five years ago: Turkish authorities captured an Uzbek national suspected of killing 39 people during an attack on an Istanbul nightclub during New Year’s celebrations. Former NASA astronaut Eugene Cernan, to date the last man to walk on the moon, died in Houston at age 82.
One year ago: By the busload and planeload, National Guard troops poured into the nation’s capital, as governors answered the urgent pleas of U.S. defense officials for more troops to help safeguard Washington in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, even as they kept anxious eyes on possible violent protests in their own states. Biden introduced his team of scientific advisers, saying they would lead with “science and truth.” Phil Spector, the eccentric and revolutionary music producer who transformed rock music with his “Wall of Sound” method, died in California at 81 while serving a prison sentence for killing actor Lana Clarkson in 2003 at his mansion.
Today’s Birthdays: Author William Kennedy is 94. Author-editor Norman Podhoretz is 92. Opera singer Marilyn Horne is 88. Hall of Fame auto racer A.J. Foyt is 87. Singer Barbara Lynn is 80. Country singer Ronnie Milsap is 79. Singer Katherine Anderson Schaffner (The Marvelettes) is 78. Country singer Jim Stafford is 78. Talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger is 75. Movie director John Carpenter is 74. Actor-dancer-choreographer Debbie Allen is 72. R&B singer Maxine Jones (En Vogue) is 63.
Singer Sade is 63. Pop/rock singer-songwriter Jill Sobule is 63. Rock musician Paul Webb (Talk Talk) is 60. Actor David Chokachi (CHOH’-kuh-chee) is 54. Former Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is 53. Actor-writer-director Josh Evans is 51. Actor-comedian Jonathan Mangum is 51. Actor Richard T. Jones is 50. Actor Josie Davis is 49. Model Kate Moss is 48. Actor-playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda is 42. Country musician James Young (The Eli Young Band) is 42. Rock musician Nick Valensi (The Strokes) is 41. Actor Renee Felice Smith is 37. NFL quarterback Joe Flacco is 37. Actor Yvonne Zima is 33.