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Today in History
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Today in History

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Today is Thursday, Jan. 16, the 16th day of 2020. There are 350 days left in the year.

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 1547, Ivan IV of Russia (popularly known as "Ivan the Terrible") was crowned Czar.

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 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 (It was later repealed by the 21st Amendment.)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 1978, NASA named 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.

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. (The mission ended in tragedy on Feb. 1, when the shuttle broke up during its return descent, killing all seven crew members.)

In 2004, pop star Michael Jackson pleaded not guilty to child molestation charges during a court appearance in Santa Maria, Calif.; the judge scolded Jackson for being 21 minutes late. (Jackson was eventually acquitted.)

In 2007, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., launched his successful bid for the White House.

Ten years ago: As precious water and food began reaching parched and hungry earthquake survivors on the streets of Haiti's ruined capital Port-au-Prince, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Haitian President Rene Preval and promised that U.S. quake relief efforts would be closely coordinated with local officials.

Five years ago: Anti-terrorism raids across Europe netted dozens of suspects as authorities rushed to thwart more attacks by people with links to Mideast Islamic extremists.

One year ago: As she battled to keep Brexit on track, British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament.

Today's Birthdays: Author William Kennedy is 92. Author-editor Norman Podhoretz is 90. Opera singer Marilyn Horne is 86. Hall of Fame auto racer A.J. Foyt is 85. Country singer Ronnie Milsap is 77. Singer Katherine Anderson Schaffner (The Marvelettes) is 76. Country singer Jim Stafford is 76. Talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger is 73. Actress-dancer-choreographer Debbie Allen is 70. Rhythm-and-blues singer Maxine Jones (En Vogue) is 61. Singer Sade is 61. Former Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is 51. Actor Richard T. Jones is 48. Model Kate Moss is 46. Actor-playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda is 40. Country musician James Young (The Eli Young Band) is 40. Actress Renee Felice Smith is 35. NFL quaterback Joe Flacco is 35. Actress Yvonne Zima is 31.

Thought for Today: "I have noticed that the people who are late are often so much jollier than the people who have to wait for them." — E.V. Lucas, English writer and publisher (1868-1938).

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