Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 26, 2020, 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.
On this date:
In 1861, Louisiana passed an Ordinance of Secession, becoming the sixth state to break free from the United States.
In 1911, the Richard Strauss opera “Der Rosenkavalier” (The Cavalier of the Rose) premiered in Dresden, Germany.
In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Rocky Mountain National Park Act, which created America’s 10th national park.
In 1962, the United States launched Ranger 3 to land scientific instruments on the moon. (The probe ended up missing its target by more than 22,000 miles.)
In 1979, “The Dukes of Hazzard” premieres on US TV network CBS.
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.
In 2016, 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. Character actor Abe Vigoda, 94, died in Woodland Park, New Jersey.
In 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. 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.
Ten years ago: The Pentagon outlined a plan for slowing the growth of military spending, including cutting the size of the Army and Marine Corps, retiring older planes and trimming war costs. Capping three days of mourning, some 12,000 people — including Penn State students, fans and football stars — paid tribute to the late Joe Paterno in a campus memorial service that exposed a strong undercurrent of anger over his firing.
Five years ago: Tensions flared between President Donald Trump and Mexico, with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (PAYN’-yuh nee-EH’-toh) scrapping a planned visit to Washington and the White House threatening a 20 percent tax on imports to pay for Trump’s proposed wall along the southern border. Actor Mike Connors, 91, who starred as TV’s hard-hitting private eye “Mannix,” died in Los Angeles. Actor Barbara Hale, 94, who played steadfast secretary Della Street on “Perry Mason,” died at her home in Sherman Oaks, California.
One year ago: The interim chief of the Capitol Police, in prepared testimony to lawmakers, apologized for failing to prepare for what became a violent insurrection on Jan. 6 despite warnings that white supremacists and far-right groups would target Congress. President Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin held their first phone conversation as counterparts; Biden raised concerns about the arrest of opposition figure Alexei Navalny and other issues. The Biden administration said it was restoring relations with the Palestinians and renewing aid to Palestinian refugees, a reversal of the Trump administration’s cutoff. The Justice Department rescinded a Trump-era memo that established a “zero tolerance” enforcement policy for migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, which resulted in thousands of family separations. The San Francisco school board voted to remove the names of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and others from public schools after officials deemed them unworthy of the honor. (The plan was later suspended.)
Today’s Birthdays: Cartoonist Jules Feiffer is 93. Sportscaster-actor Bob Uecker is 87. Actor Scott Glenn is 83. Singer Jean Knight is 79. Activist Angela Davis is 78. Actor Richard Portnow is 75. Rock musician Corky Laing (Mountain) is 74. Actor David Strathairn (streh-THEHRN’) is 73. Producer-director Mimi Leder is 70. Alt-country singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams is 69. Reggae musician Norman Hassan (UB40) is 64. Actor-comedian-talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is 64. Rock musician Charlie Gillingham (Counting Crows) is 62. Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky is 61.
Musician Andrew Ridgeley (Wham!) is 59. R&B singer Jazzie B (Soul II Soul) is 59. Actor Paul Johansson is 58. Director Lenny Abrahamson is 56. Actor Bryan Callen is 55. Gospel singer Kirk Franklin is 52. Actor Nate Mooney is 50. Actor Jennifer Crystal is 49. Rock musician Chris Hesse (Hoobastank) is 48. Actor Matilda Szydagis is 48. Actor Gilles Marini (ZHEEL ma-REE’-nee) is 46. Gospel singer Tye Tribbett is 46. Retired NBA player Vince Carter is 45. Actor Sarah Rue is 44. Actor Colin O’Donoghue is 41.