Today in History – Friday, Jan. 29, 2016

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Today is Friday, Jan. 29, the 29th day of 2016. There are 337 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1676 – Theodore III becomes Czar of Russia on death of his father Alexis.

1801 – France and Spain issue ultimatum to Portugal to break allegiance to Britain.

1819 – Sir Stamford Raffles lands on Singapore and concludes a treaty with a local ruler to set up a British trading post.

1820 – Britain’s King George III dies insane at Windsor Castle, ending a reign that saw both the American and French revolutions.

1845 – Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven” is first published in the New York Evening Mirror.

1850 – Henry Clay introduces in the U.S. Senate a compromise bill on slavery that includes the admission of California into the Union as a free state.

1900 – The American League, consisting of eight baseball teams, is organized in Philadelphia.

1916 – Germans stage first Zeppelin raid on Paris in World War I.

1919 – Czechoslovak forces defeat Poles at Galicia, Poland.

1947 – United States abandons its mediation role in China.

1949 – Britain grants de facto recognition to new state of Israel.

1950 – First series of riots occur in Johannesburg, provoked by South Africa’s racial apartheid policy.

1959 – The Danish passenger ship Hans Hedtoft, sailing along Greenland’s coast, hits an iceberg and sinks, killing 95 people.

1963 – Britain is refused entry into European Common Market by French veto.

1989 – Syrian and Iranian foreign ministers reach agreement on peace formula to end fighting between their Shiite surrogates in Lebanon.

1990 – Ousted East German Communist Party leader Erich Honecker is arrested and ordered to stand trial for high treason.

1991 – South African political rivals Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Nelson Mandela meet for first time in 30 years and call for cease-fire between their supporters.

1996 – La Fenice, the 204-year-old opera house, burns down in Venice, Italy.

1998 – British Prime Minister Tony Blair announces a new inquiry into the 1972 “Bloody Sunday” violence, in which British troops killed Catholic protesters in Northern Ireland.

2002 – In a direct defiance of South Africa’s patent laws, Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian organization, begins importing a cheap, genetic version of patented AIDS drugs into South Africa.

2003 – U.S. President George W. Bush announces an initiative to spend $15 billion over five years for AIDS treatment and prevention in 12 African countries and two Caribbean nations.

2009 – Zimbabwe’s government admits defeat in a fight against dizzying inflation, allowing business to be conducted in U.S. dollars and bank notes of neighboring countries.

2011 – With protests raging, Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak names his intelligence chief as his first-ever vice president, setting the stage for a successor as chaos engulfs Cairo. The death toll from five days of anti-government fury rises sharply to 74.

2012 – Europe’s crippling debt crisis dominates the world’s foremost gathering of business and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland, but for the first time the growing inequality between the planet’s haves and have-nots becomes an issue.

2013 – BP PLC closes the book on the Justice Department’s criminal probe of its role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico when a federal judge agreed to let the London-based oil giant plead guilty to manslaughter charges for the deaths of 11 rig workers and pay a record $4 billion in penalties.

2014 — The Top U.S. intelligence official says the Syrian militant group tied to al-Qaida , the al Nusra Front, wants to attack the United States and is training a growing cadre of fighters from Europe, the Middle East and even the U.S.

2015 — Cuban President Raul Castro demands Washington return the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, lift its half-century trade embargo on Cuba and compensate his country for damages before the two nations re-establish normal relations.

Today’s Birthdays:

Emanuel Swedenborg, Swedish philosopher (1688-1772); Thomas Paine, American patriot-author (1737-1809); Daniel Huber, French composer (1782-1871); Frederick Delius, English composer (1863-1934); Germaine Greer, Australian born feminist (1939–); Oprah Winfrey, U.S. actress/television personality (1954–).

Thought For Today:

Misquotations are the only quotations that are never misquoted — Hesketh Pearson, British biographer (1887-1964).

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