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Today in History for Jan. 8, 2013

Today is Tuesday, Jan. 8, the eighth day of 2013. There are 357 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight:

On Jan. 8, 1963, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” on loan to the United States from the Louvre Museum in Paris, went on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., with President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, in attendance.

On this date:

In 1790, President George Washington delivered his first State of the Union address to Congress in New York.

In 1815, U.S. forces led by Gen. Andrew Jackson defeated the British in the Battle of New Orleans – the closing engagement of the War of 1812.

In 1863, America’s First Transcontinental Railroad had its beginnings as California Gov. Leland Stanford broke ground for the Central Pacific Railroad in Sacramento. (The transcontinental railroad was completed in Promontory, Utah, in May 1869.)

In 1912, the African National Congress was founded in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson outlined his Fourteen Points for lasting peace after World War I. Mississippi became the first state to ratify the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which established Prohibition.

In 1935, rock-and-roll legend Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Miss.

In 1959, Charles de Gaulle was inaugurated as president of France’s Fifth Republic.

In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a “War on Poverty” in his State of the Union address.

In 1973, the Paris peace talks between the United States and North Vietnam resumed.

In 1982, American Telephone and Telegraph settled the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against it by agreeing to divest itself of the 22 Bell System companies.

In 1989, 47 people were killed when a British Midland Boeing 737-400 carrying 126 people crashed in central England.

In 2011, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot and critically wounded when a gunman opened fire as the congresswoman met with constituents in Tucson; six other people were killed, 12 others also injured. (Jared Lee Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges in connection with the shooting.)

Ten years ago: A commuter plane crashed after takeoff from Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, killing all 21 people on board. A Turkish Airlines jet crashed in Turkey, killing 75 people (five passengers survived). President George W. Bush signed hastily passed legislation extending unemployment benefits for 2½ million victims of a weak economy. A federal appeals court ruled that President Bush could order U.S. citizens captured overseas indefinitely detained as enemy combatants without the rights normally afforded citizens charged in criminal cases.

Five years ago: Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican John McCain won the New Hampshire primaries. U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan, the only officer charged in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, was cleared of criminal wrongdoing. A quick-thinking Boy Scout foiled an assassination attempt against the president of the Maldives, grabbing an attacker’s knife as the man leapt from a crowd. Paintings by Pablo Picasso and Brazilian painter Candido Portinari, stolen from Brazil’s Sao Paulo Museum in Dec. 2007, were recovered.

One year ago: Bells rang in Tucson, Ariz., as residents paused to remember the six people killed in the shooting rampage a year earlier that left Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords severely wounded; Giffords led a crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance during an evening vigil. Mitt Romney’s Republican presidential rivals piled on the criticism during a morning debate, two days before the New Hampshire primary. The New York Giants ran all over Atlanta in a 24-2 rout of the Falcons in an NFC wild-card game. The Denver Broncos stunned the Pittsburgh Steelers 29-23 in overtime in the AFC wild-card game.

Today’s birthdays: Former Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh is 101. Actor-comedian Larry Storch is 90. Actor Ron Moody is 89. Broadcast journalist Sander Vanocur is 85. CBS newsman Charles Osgood is 80. Singer Shirley Bassey is 76. Game show host Bob Eubanks is 75. Country-gospel singer Cristy Lane is 73. Rhythm-and-blues singer Anthony Gourdine (Little Anthony and the Imperials) is 72. Actress Yvette Mimieux is 71. Physicist Stephen Hawking is 71. Rock musician Robby Krieger (The Doors) is 67. Rock singer David Bowie is 66. Movie director John McTiernan is 62. Actress Harriet Sansom Harris is 58. Singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith is 49. Actress Maria Pitillo is 48. Actress Michelle Forbes is 48. Singer R. Kelly is 46. Rock musician Jeff Abercrombie (Fuel) is 44. Actress Ami Dolenz is 44. Reggae singer Sean Paul is 40. Country singer Tift Merritt is 38. Actress-rock singer Jenny Lewis is 37. Actress Amber Benson is 36. Actor Scott Whyte is 35. Singer-songwriter Erin McCarley is 34. Actress Sarah Polley is 34. Actor Windell D. Middlebrooks is 34. Actress Rachel Nichols is 33. Actress Gaby Hoffman is 31. Rock musician Disashi Lumumbo-Kasongo (Gym Class Heroes) is 30.

Thought for today: “No written law has ever been more binding than unwritten custom supported by popular opinion.” — Carrie Chapman Catt, American suffrage leader (1859-1947).

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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