Sunday, January 18, 2009

What a Species

By The Associated Press 58 mins ago Today is Sunday, Jan. 18, the 18th day of 2009. There are 347 days left in the year. Today's Highlight in History: On Jan. 18, 1919, the Paris Peace Conference, held to negotiate peace treaties ending World War I, opened in Versailles, France. On this date: In 1778, English navigator Captain James Cook reached the Hawaiian Islands, which he dubbed the "Sandwich Islands." [Big ups to the Earl of Sandwich, who invented the Big Mac™ & financed Cook's voyage to Hawai'i. —  Ed.] In 1862, the 10th president of the United States, John Tyler, died in Richmond, Va., at age 71. In 1892, comedian Oliver Hardy was born in Harlem, Ga. In 1904, actor Cary Grant was born Archibald Leach in Bristol, England. In 1911, the first landing of an aircraft on a ship took place as pilot Eugene B. Ely brought his Curtiss biplane in for a safe landing on the deck of the USS Pennsylvania in San Francisco Harbor. In 1943, during World War II, the Soviets announced they'd broken through the long Nazi siege of Leningrad. (It was another year before the siege was fully lifted.) A wartime ban on the sale of pre-sliced bread in the U.S. — aimed at reducing bakeries' demand for metal replacement parts — went into effect. Sixty years ago, in 1949, Charles Ponzi, engineer of one of the most spectacular swindles in history, died destitute in the charity ward of a hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at age 66. In 1957, a trio of B-52s completed the first nonstop, round-the-world flight by jet planes, landing at March Air Force Base in California after more than 45 hours aloft. In 1967, Albert DeSalvo, who claimed to be the "Boston Strangler," was convicted in Cambridge, Mass., of armed robbery, assault and sex offenses. (Sentenced to life, DeSalvo was killed in prison in 1973.) In 1990, a jury in Los Angeles acquitted former preschool operators Raymond Buckey and his mother, Peggy McMartin Buckey, of 52 child molestation charges. Ten years ago: Defying global outrage over the massacre of 45 ethnic Albanian civilians in Kosovo, Serb forces pounded villages with artillery. The Yugoslav government also ordered the American head of the Kosovo peace mission to leave the country and barred a U.N. investigator who was looking into the massacre. Five years ago: A suicide truck bombing outside the headquarters of the U.S.-led coalition in Baghdad killed at least 31 people. A 15-day hostage drama began at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis near Buckeye, where two inmates attempting to escape took two correctional officers hostage. (One guard was released midway through the ordeal; the other, Lois Fraley, was held the entire time, during which she was raped and beaten.) The New England Patriots earned their second trip to the Super Bowl in three seasons by defeating the Indianapolis Colts 24-14 in the AFC championship game; the Carolina Panthers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 14-3, in the NFC championship game. One year ago: With recession fears rising and the stock market tumbling, President George W. Bush called for up to $150 billion in tax relief for consumers and business, saying there was no time to waste. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon designated George Clooney a U.N. "messenger of peace" to promote the world body's activities. Actress Lois Nettleton died in Woodland Hills, Calif., at age 80. Thought for Today: " Look for a long time at what pleases you, and for a longer time at what pains you." — Colette, French author (1873-1954). Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. And from the alternate universe where Yahoo! isn't censoring the AP: In 1782, Lawyer and statesman Daniel Webster was born in Salisbury, N.H. In 1788, The first English settlers arrived in Australia's Botany Bay to establish a penal colony. In 1871, William I of Prussia was proclaimed German Emperor in Versailles, France. In 1892, Oliver Hardy of the comedy team Laurel and Hardy was born Norvell Hardy in Harlem, Ga. In 1936, Author Rudyard Kipling died in Burwash, England, at age 70. In 1990, Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry was arrested for drug possession in an FBI sting. (He was later convicted of a misdemeanor.) In 1991, Financially strapped Eastern Airlines shut down after 62 years in business. In 1993, The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was observed in all 50 states for the first time. In 2005,The world's largest commercial jet, an Airbus A380 that can carry 800 passengers, was unveiled in Toulouse, France. And here's this date in pictures.

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