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Today in History

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Received by Newsfinder from AP

Jan 20 2011, 00:01 Eastern Time

Today is Thursday, Jan. 20, the 20th day of 2011. There are 345 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the 35th President of the United States; in his inaugural address, Kennedy declared, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

On this date:

In 1801, Secretary of State John Marshall was nominated by President John Adams to be chief justice of the United States (he was sworn in on Feb. 4, 1801).

In 1841, the island of Hong Kong was ceded by China to Great Britain. (It returned to Chinese control in July 1997.)

In 1936, Britain’s King George V died; he was succeeded by Edward VIII.

In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first chief executive to be inaugurated on Jan. 20 instead of March 4.

In 1942, Nazi officials held the notorious Wannsee conference, during which they arrived at their “final solution” that called for exterminating Jews.

In 1949, President Harry S. Truman was sworn in for a second term of office.

In 1969, Richard M. Nixon was sworn in as the 37th president of the United States; Spiro Agnew took the oath of vice president.

In 1981, Iran released 52 Americans it had held hostage for 444 days, minutes after the presidency had passed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan.

In 1986, the United States observed the first federal holiday in honor of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

In 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as the nation’s 44th, as well as first African-American, president.

Ten years ago: George Walker Bush became America’s 43rd president after one of the most turbulent elections in U.S. history. Hundreds of thousands of protesting Filipinos forced President Joseph Estrada to step down; Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was sworn in as the new president. Michelle Kwan won her fourth straight U.S. Figure Skating Championship title while Timothy Goebel (GAY’-bul) won his first men’s title.

Five years ago: Michael Fortier (FOHR’-tee-ur), the government’s star witness in the Oklahoma City bombing trials, was released from federal prison after serving more than 10 years for failing to warn authorities about the plot. Japan halted all imports of U.S. beef because of mad cow fears. (Shipments resumed six months later.)

One year ago: National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair conceded missteps in the government’s handling of the Christmas Day 2009 airline bombing attempt in testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

(Stations: “?uestlove” is correct)

Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Slim Whitman is 87. Comedian Arte Johnson is 82. Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin is 81. Olympic gold medal figure skater Carol Heiss is 71. Singer Eric Stewart is 66. Movie director David Lynch is 65. Country-rock musician George Grantham (Poco) is 64. Actor Daniel Benzali is 61. Rock musician Paul Stanley (KISS) is 59. Rock musician Ian Hill (Judas Priest) is 59. Comedian Bill Maher (MAHR) is 55. Actor Lorenzo Lamas is 53. Actor James Denton is 48. Rock musician Greg K. (The Offspring) is 46. Country singer John Michael Montgomery is 46. Sophie, Countess of Wessex, is 46. Actor Rainn Wilson (TV: “The Office) is 45. Actress Stacey Dash is 44. TV personality Melissa Rivers is 43. Singer Xavier is 43. Actor Reno Wilson is 42. Singer Edwin McCain is 41. Actor Skeet Ulrich is 41. Rap musician ?uestlove (questlove) (The Roots) is 40. Rock musician Rob Bourdon (Linkin Park) is 32. Actor Evan Peters is 24.

Thought for Today: “To enjoy life one should give up the lure of life.” _ Mohandas K. Gandhi, Indian religious leader (1869-1948).

(Above Advance for Use Thursday, Jan. 20)

Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

AP-ES-01-20-11 0001EST

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