GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

January 17, 2013

Today in History

The Associated Press
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — 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.

In 1994, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck Southern California, killing at least 72 people.

In 1995, more than 6,000 people were killed when an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 devastated the city of Kobe, Japan.

Ten years ago: On the 12th anniversary of the Gulf War, a defiant Saddam Hussein called on his people to rise up and defend the nation against a new U.S.-led attack. Tom Ridge sailed through Senate confirmation hearings on his way to becoming the nation’s first Homeland Security Department chief.

Five years ago: Bobby Fischer, the chess grandmaster who became a Cold War icon when he dethroned the Soviet Union’s Boris Spassky as world champion in 1972, died in Reykjavik, Iceland, at age 64.

One year ago: Italian officials released a recording of a furious Coast Guard officer, Capt. Gregorio De Falco, demanding that Capt. Francesco Schettino, commander of the grounded Costa Concordia, re-board the ship to direct its evacuation after the vessel rammed into a reef on Jan. 13 (Schettino resists the order, making excuses that it’s dark and that the ship is listing).

Today’s birthdays: Actress Betty White is 91. Former FCC chairman Newton N. Minow is 87. Actor James Earl Jones is 82. Talk show host Maury Povich is 74. International Boxing Hall of Famer Muhammad Ali and pop singer Chris Montez are 71. Rhythm-and-blues singer William Hart (The Delfonics) is 68. Rock musician Mick Taylor is 65. Rhythm-and-blues singer Sheila Hutchinson (The Emotions) is 60. Singer Steve Earle is 58. Singer Paul Young is 57. Actor-comedian Steve Harvey is 56. Singer Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles) is 54. Actora Jim Carrey and Denis O’Hare are 51. First Lady Michelle Obama is 49. Actor Joshua Malina and singer Shabba Ranks are 47. Rock musician Jon Wysocki is 45. Actor Naveen Andrews is 44. Rapper Kid Rock is 42. Actor Freddy Rodriguez is 38. Actress Zooey Deschanel is 33. Singer Ray J is 32. Country singer Amanda Wilkinson is 31. DJ/singer Calvin Harris is 29.

Thought for today: “A politician is a person with whose politics you don’t agree; if you agree with him he’s a statesman.” — David Lloyd George (1863-1945).