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January 17, 2013

Today in History

Today is Thursday, Jan. 17, the 17th day of 2013. There are 348 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On Jan. 17, 1963, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, appearing as amicus curiae (friend of the court) before the U.S. Supreme Court, told the justices in Gray v. Sanders that Georgia’s county unit voting system in Democratic primaries discriminated against urban voters. (The court later struck down the county unit system, citing the concept of “one person, one vote.”)

On this date:

In 1562, French Protestants were recognized under the Edict of St. Germain.

In 1863, British politician and statesman David Lloyd George was born in Manchester, England.

In 1893, the 19th president of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes, died in Fremont, Ohio, at age 70. Hawaii’s monarchy was overthrown as a group of businessmen and sugar planters forced Queen Lili’uokalani to abdicate.

In 1917, the United States paid Denmark $25 million for the Virgin Islands.

In 1929, the cartoon character Popeye the Sailor made his debut in the “Thimble Theatre” comic strip.

In 1945, Soviet and Polish forces liberated Warsaw during World War II; Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, credited with saving tens of thousands of Jews, disappeared in Hungary while in Soviet custody.

In 1950, the Great Brink’s Robbery took place as seven masked men held up a Brink’s garage in Boston, stealing $1.2 million in cash and $1.5 million in checks and money orders. (Although the entire gang was caught, only part of the loot was recovered.)

In 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his farewell address in which he warned against “the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

In 1977, convicted murderer Gary Gilmore, 36, was shot by a firing squad at Utah State Prison in the first U.S. execution in a decade.

In 1989, five children were shot to death at the Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, Calif., by a drifter, Patrick Purdy, who then killed himself.

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