Today in History

Today is Saturday, Jan. 2, the second day of 2021. There are 363 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 2, 1974, President Richard Nixon signed legislation requiring states to limit highway speeds to 55 miles an hour as a way of conserving gasoline in the face of an OPEC oil embargo. (The 55 mph limit was effectively phased out in 1987; federal speed limits were abolished in 1995.)

On this date:

In 1788, Georgia became the fourth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1811, Sen. Timothy Pickering, a Federalist from Massachusetts, became the first member of the U.S. Senate to be censured after he’d improperly revealed the contents of an executive document.

In 1921, religious services were broadcast on radio for the first time as KDKA in Pittsburgh aired the regular Sunday service of the city’s Calvary Episcopal Church.

In 1959, the Soviet Union launched its space probe Luna 1, the first manmade object to fly past the moon, its apparent intended target.

In 1960, Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts launched his successful bid for the presidency.

In 1967, Republican Ronald Reagan took the oath of office as the new governor of California in a ceremony that took place in Sacramento shortly just after midnight.

In 1971, 66 people were killed in a pileup of spectators leaving a soccer match at Ibrox (EYE’-brox) Stadium in Glasgow, Scotland.

In 1981, police in Sheffield, England, arrested Peter Sutcliffe, who confessed to being the “Yorkshire Ripper,” the serial killer of 13 women.

In 1983, the original Broadway production of the musical “Annie” closed after a run of 2,377 performances.

In 2007, the state funeral for former President Gerald R. Ford began with an elaborate service at Washington National Cathedral, then moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In 2015, California began issuing driver’s licenses to immigrants who were in the country illegally. Little Jimmy Dickens, a diminutive singer-songwriter who was the oldest cast member of the Grand Ole Opry, died at age 94.

In 2018, Sen. Al Franken formally resigned from the Senate a month after the Minnesota Democrat announced his plan to leave Congress amid a series of sexual misconduct allegations. NBC News announced that Hoda Kotb (HOH’-duh KAHT’-bee) would be the co-anchor of the first two hours of the “Today” show, replacing Matt Lauer following his firing due to sexual misconduct allegations.

Ten years ago: The U.S. Navy said it would investigate raunchy videos broadcast to the crew of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. (Capt. Owen P. Honors, who’d produced the videos as the ship’s executive officer, was removed as the Enterprise’s commander but was later allowed to remain in the Navy.) A magnitude 7.1 earthquake shook southern Chile, sending tens of thousands of people fearing a tsunami to higher ground. Maj. Richard “Dick” Winters, who’d fought in several major battles in World War II and whose quiet leadership was chronicled in the book and television miniseries “Band of Brothers,” died in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, at age 92. Actor Anne Francis, 80, died in Santa Barbara, California.

Five years ago: A heavily armed group led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, beginning a 41-day standoff to protest the imprisonment of two ranchers convicted of setting fires on public land and to demand the federal government turn over public lands to local control. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign said it had raised more than $33 million during the previous three months in his bid to win the Democratic nomination, just short of the amount brought in by rival Hillary Clinton during the same period. The mayor of Temixco, Mexico, Gisela Mota, was assassinated a day after being sworn into office; two suspects were killed in a clash with police and three others arrested. Saudi Arabia executed 47 prisoners, including a prominent Shiite cleric; Shiite leaders in Iran and elsewhere across the Middle East swiftly condemned Riyadh and warned of a sectarian backlash.

One year ago: Former Obama housing secretary Julian Castro, the only Latino candidate in the 2020 Democratic presidential race, announced that he was ending his bid, saying he had determined “that it simply isn’t our time.” The Trump administration announced that it would begin cracking down on most flavored e-cigarettes that were popular with underage teenagers; the plan included exceptions benefitting vaping manufacturers, retailers and adults who used the nicotine-delivery devices.

Today’s Birthdays: Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert is 79. TV host Jack Hanna is 74. Actor Wendy Phillips is 69. Actor Cynthia Sikes is 67. Actor Gabrielle Carteris is 60. Movie director Todd Haynes is 60. Retired MLB All-Star pitcher David Cone is 58. Baseball Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez is 58. Actor Tia Carrere is 54. Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. is 53. Model Christy Turlington is 52. Actor Taye Diggs is 50. Actor Renée Elise Goldsberry is 50. Rock singer Doug Robb (Hoobastank) is 46. Actor Dax Shepard is 46. Actor Paz Vega is 45. Ballroom dancer Karina Smirnoff (TV: “Dancing with the Stars”) is 43. Rock musician Jerry DePizzo Jr. (O.A.R.) is 42. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kelton Kessee (IMX) is 40. Pop singer-musician Ryan Merchant (Capital Cities) is 40. Actor Kate Bosworth is 38. Actor Anthony Carrigan is 38. Actor Peter Gadiot is 36. Jazz singer-musician Trombone Shorty is 35. Singer-songwriter Mandy Harvey (TV: “America’s Got Talent”) is 33. Rhythm-and-blues singer-rapper Bryson Tiller is 28.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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