Today in History

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Today is Saturday, Jan. 14, the 14th day of 2012. There are 352 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Jan. 14, 1952, NBC's "Today" show premiered, with Dave Garroway as the host, or "communicator," as he was called.

On this date:

In 1639, the first constitution of Connecticut -- the Fundamental Orders -- was adopted.

In 1784, the United States ratified a peace treaty with England, ending the Revolutionary War.

In 1858, Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, and his wife, Empress Eugenie, escaped an assassination attempt led by Italian revolutionary Felice Orsini, who was later captured and executed.

In 1900, Puccini's opera "Tosca" had its world premiere in Rome.

In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and French General Charles de Gaulle opened a wartime conference in Casablanca.

In 1953, Josip Broz Tito was elected president of Yugoslavia by the country's Parliament.

In 1963, George C. Wallace was sworn in as governor of Alabama with a pledge of "segregation forever."

In 1968, the Green Bay Packers of the NFL defeated the AFL's Oakland Raiders, 33-14, in Super Bowl II.

In 1969, 27 people aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, off Hawaii, were killed when a rocket warhead exploded, setting off a fire and additional explosions.

In 1972, the situation comedy "Sanford and Son," starring Redd Foxx and Demond Wilson, premiered on NBC-TV.

In 1986, Vinicio Cerezo was inaugurated as Guatemala's first civilian president in 16 years in a ceremony attended by Vice President George H.W. Bush.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed an accord to stop aiming missiles at any nation; the leaders joined Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk in signing an accord to dismantle the nuclear arsenal of Ukraine.

Ten years ago: Two members of Congress released excerpts of a letter sent to Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay the previous August in which company executive Sherron Watkins warned of the reckless practices that eventually brought down the energy-trading giant. The World Trade Organization decided the European Union could ask for punitive tariffs on U.S. imports. NBC's "Today" show celebrated its golden anniversary.

Five years ago: President George W. Bush, facing opposition from both parties over his plan to send more troops to Iraq, said on CBS' "60 Minutes" that he had the authority to act no matter what Congress wanted. On "Fox News Sunday," Vice President Dick Cheney asserted that lawmakers' criticism would not influence Bush's plans, and he dismissed any effort to "run a war by committee." Actress Darlene Conley, feisty fashion mogul Sally Spectra on "The Bold and the Beautiful," died in Los Angeles at age 72.

One year ago: In an unprecedented popular uprising, Tunisian protesters enraged over soaring unemployment and corruption drove President Zine El Abdine Ben Ali from power after 23 years of iron-fisted rule. A funeral was held for U.S. District Judge John Roll, who was killed in the Tucson, Ariz., shooting rampage. The national Republican Party ousted chairman Michael Steele and chose Wisconsin party chief Reince Priebus to lead in the run-up to the 2012 presidential race. Mississippi Winn, a former domestic worker believed to be the oldest living African-American in the U.S. and the seventh oldest person in the world, died in Shreveport, La., at age 113.

Today's Birthdays: Blues singer Clarence Carter is 76. Singer Jack Jones is 74. Singer-songwriter Allen Toussaint is 74. Former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond is 72. Actress Faye Dunaway is 71. Actress Holland Taylor is 69. Actor Carl Weathers is 64. Singer-producer T-Bone Burnett is 64. Movie writer-director Lawrence Kasdan is 63. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Maureen Dowd is 60. Rock singer Geoff Tate (Queensryche) is 53. Movie writer-director Steven Soderbergh is 49. Actor Mark Addy is 48. Fox News Channel anchorman Shepard Smith is 48. Rapper Slick Rick is 47. Actor Dan Schneider is 46. Actress Emily Watson is 45. Actor-comedian Tom Rhodes is 45. Rock musician Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne Band) is 45. Rapper-actor LL Cool J is 44. Actor Jason Bateman is 43. Rock singer-musician Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) is 43. Actress Jordan Ladd is 37. Retro-soul singer-songwriter Marc Broussard is 30. Rock singer-musician Caleb Followill (Kings of Leon) is 30. Rock musician Joe Guese (The Click Five) is 29. Actor Jonathan Osser is 23.

Thought for Today: "If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind." -- John Stuart Mill, English philosopher (1806-1873).

Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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