Category Archives: Today in History

Today in History – January 19

1419 – Rouen surrendered to Henry V, completing his conquest of Normandy.

1764 – John Wilkes was expelled from the British House of Commons for seditious libel.

1793 – King Louis XVI was tried by the French Convention, found guilty of treason and sentenced to the guillotine.

1825 – Ezra Daggett and Thomas Kensett of New York City patented a canning process to preserve salmon, oysters and lobsters.

1861 – Georgia seceded from the Union.

1883 – Thomas Edison’s first village electric lighting system using overhead wires began operation in Roselle, NJ.

1907 – The first film reviews appeared in “Variety” magazine.

1915 – George Claude, of Paris, France, patented the neon discharge tube for use in advertising signs.

1915 – More than 20 people were killed when German zeppelins bombed England for the first time. The bombs were dropped on Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn.

1937 – Howard Hughes set a transcontinental air record. He flew from Los Angeles to New York City in 7 hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds.

1942 – The Japanese invaded Burma (later Myanmar).

1944 – The U.S. federal government relinquished control of the nation’s railroads after the settlement of a wage dispute.

1949 – The salary of the President of the United States was increased from $75,000 to $100,000 with an additional $50,000 expense allowance for each year in office.

1952 – The National Football League (NFL) bought the franchise of the New York Yankees from Ted Collins. The franchise was then awarded to a group in Dallas on January 24.

1953 – Sixty-eight percent of all TV sets in the U.S. were tuned to CBS-TV, as Lucy Ricardo, of “I Love Lucy,” gave birth to a baby boy.

1955 – U.S. President Eisenhower allowed a filmed news conference to be used on television (and in movie newsreels) for the first time.

1957 – Philadelphia comedian, Ernie Kovacs, did a half-hour TV show without saying a single word of dialogue.

1966 – Indira Gandhi was elected prime minister of India.

1969 – In protest against the Russian invasion of 1968, Czech student Jan Palach set himself on fire in Prague’s Wenceslas Square.

1971 – At the Charles Manson murder trial, the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” was played. At the scene of one of his gruesome murders, the words “helter skelter” were written on a mirror.

1971 – “No, No Nanette” opened at the 46th Street Theatre in New York City.

1977 – U.S. President Ford pardoned Iva Toguri D’Aquino (the “Tokyo Rose”).

1979 – Former U.S. Attorney General John N. Mitchell was released on parole after serving 19 months at a federal prison in Alabama.

1981 – The U.S. and Iran signed an agreement paving the way for the release of 52 Americans held hostage for more than 14 months and for arrangements to unfreeze Iranian assets and to resolve all claims against Iran.

1983 – China announced that it was bannning 1983 purchases of cotton, soybeans and chemical fibers from the United States.

1993 – IBM announced a loss of $4.97 billion for 1992. It was the largest single-year loss in U.S. corporate history.

1995 – Russian forces overwhelmed the resistance forces in Chechnya.

1996 – U.S. first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton was subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury. The investigation was concerning the discovery of billing records related to the Whitewater real estate investment venture.

1997 – Yasser Arafat returned to Hebron for the first time in more than 30 years. He joined 60,000 Palestinians in celebration over the handover of the last West Bank city in Israeli control.

2000 – In New York’s Time Square, the first WWF restaurant opened.

2001 – Texas officials demoted a warden and suspended three other prison workers in the wake of the escape of the “Texas 7.”

2006 – NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft was launched. The mission was the first to investigate Pluto.

2013 – In Scottsdale, AZ, the original Batmobile for the TV series “Batman” sold at auction for $4.6 million. It was the first of six Batmobiles produced for the show.


Today in History – January 18

1803 – Thomas Jefferson, in secret communication with Congress, sought authorization for the first official exploration by the U.S. government.

1778 – English navigator Captain James Cook discovered the Hawaiian Islands, which he called the “Sandwich Islands.”

1788 – The first English settlers arrived in Australia’s Botany Bay to establish a penal colony. The group moved north eight days later and settled at Port Jackson.

1871 – Wilhelm, King of Prussia from 1861, was proclaimed the first German Emperor.

1886 – The Hockey Association was formed in England. This date is the birthday of modern field hockey.

1896 – The x-ray machine was exhibited for the first time.

1911 – For the first time an aircraft landed on a ship. Pilot Eugene B. Ely flew onto the deck of the USS Pennsylvania in San Francisco harbor.

1919 – The World War I Peace Congress opened in Versailles, France.

1929 – Walter Winchell made his debut on radio.

1937 – CBS radio debuted “Aunt Jenny’s Real Life Stories”.

1939 – Louis Armstrong and his orchestra recorded “Jeepers Creepers.”

1943 – During World War II, the Soviets announced that they had broken the Nazi siege of Leningrad, which had began in September of 1941.

1943 – U.S. commercial bakers stopped selling sliced bread. Only whole loaves were sold during the ban until the end of World War II.

1948 – “The Original Amateur Hour” debuted. The show was on the air for 22 years.

1950 – The federal tax on oleomargarine was repealed.

1951 – Joan Blondell made her TV debut on “Pot of Gold” episode of “Airflyte Theatre” on CBS-TV.

1957 – The first, non-stop, around-the-world, jet flight came to an end at Riverside, CA. The plane was refueled in mid-flight by huge aerial tankers.

1958 – Willie O’Ree made his NHL debut with the Boston Bruins. He was the first black player to enter the league.

1964 – The plans for the original World Trade Center in New York were unveiled to the public.

1967 – Albert DeSalvo, who claimed to be the “Boston Strangler,” was convicted in Cambridge, MA, of armed robbery, assault and sex offenses. He was sentenced to life in prison. Desalvo was killed in 1973 by a fellow inmate.

1972 – Former Rhodesian prime minister Garfield Todd and his daughter were placed under house arrest for campaigning against Rhodesian independence.

1975 – “The Jeffersons” debuted on CBS-TV.

1978 – The European Court of Human Rights cleared the British government of torture but found it guilty of inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners in Northern Ireland.

1985 – Mary Decker broke a world, indoor record when she ran the women’s, 2,000-meter race in 5:34.2. She also ran the outdoor mile in 4:16.7.

1987 – For the first time in history the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) was seen by over 100 million viewers. The audience was measured during the week of January 12-18.

1990 – A jury in Los Angeles, CA, acquitted former preschool operators Raymond Buckey and his mother, Peggy McMartin Buckey, of 52 child molestation charges.

1990 – In an FBI sting, Washington, DC, Mayor Marion Barry was arrested for drug possession. He was later convicted of a misdemeanor.

1991 – Eastern Airlines shut down after 62 years in business due to financial problems.

1993 – The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was observed in all 50 U.S. states for the first time.

1995 – The “yahoo.com” domain was created.

1995 – A network of caves were discovered near the town of Vallon-Pont-d’Arc in southern France. The caves contained paintings and engravings that were 17,000 to 20,000 years old.

1997 – Hutu militiamen killed three Spanish aid workers and three soldiers and seriously wound an American in a night attack in NW Rwanda.

2000 – The Chinese web services company Baidu, Inc. was incorporated in Beijing.

2002 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of a saliva-based ovulation test.

2012 – Wikipedia began a 24-hour “blackout” in protest against proposed anti-piracy legislation (S. 968 and H.R. 3261) known as the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House. Many websites, including Reddit, Google, Facebook, Amazon and others, contended would make it challenging if not impossible for them to operate.


Today in History – January 17

1377 – The Papal See was transferred from Avignon in France back to Rome.

1562 – French Protestants were recognized under the Edict of St. Germain.

1773 – Captain Cook’s Resolution became the first ship to cross the Antarctic Circle.

1795 – The Dudingston Curling Society was organized in Edinburgh, Scotland.

1806 – James Madison Randolph, grandson of U.S. President Thomas Jefferson, was the first child born in the White House.

1852 – The independence of the Transvaal Boers was recognized by Britain.

1871 – Andrew S. Hallidie received a patent for a cable car system.

1882 – Thomas Edison’s exhibit opened the Crystal Palace Exhibition in London.

1893 – The Kingdom of Hawaii’s monarchy was overthrown when a group of businessmen and sugar planters forced Queen Liliuokalani to abdicate.

1900 – The U.S. took Wake Island where there was in important cable link between Hawaii and Manila.

1900 – Yaqui Indians in Texas proclaimed their independence from Mexico.

1900 – Mormon Brigham Roberts was denied a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives for his practicing of polygamy.

1905 – Punchboards were patented by a manufacturing firm in Chicago, IL.

1912 – English explorer Robert Falcon Scott reached the South Pole. Norwegian Roald Amundsen had beaten him there by one month. Scott and his party died during the return trip.

1913 – All partner interests in 36 Golden Rule Stores were consolidated and incorporated in Utah into one company. The new corporation was the J.C. Penney Company.

1916 – The Professional Golfers Association was formed in New York City.

1928 – The fully automatic, film-developing machine was patented by A.M. Josepho.

1934 – Ferdinand Porsche submitted a design for a people’s car, a “Volkswagen,” to the new German Reich government.

1938 – “Stepmother” debuted on CBS radio.

1945 – Soviet and Polish forces liberated Warsaw during World War II.

1945 – Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg disappeared in Hungary while in Soviet custody. Wallenberg was credited with saving tens of thousands of Jews.

1946 – The United Nations Security Council held its first meeting.

1949 – “The Goldbergs” debuted on CBS-TV. The program had been on radio since 1931. The TV version lasted for four years.

1959 – Senegal and the French Sudan joined to form the Federal State of Mali.

1961 – In his farewell address, U.S. President Eisenhower warned against the rise of “the military-industrial complex.”

1966 – A B-52 carrying four H-bombs collided with a refuelling tanker. The bombs were released and eight crewmembers were killed.

1977 – Double murderer Gary Gilmore became the first to be executed in the U.S. in a decade. The firing squad took place at Utah State Prison.

1985 – Leonard Nimoy got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1991 – Coalition airstrikes began against Iraq after negotiations failed to get Iraq to retreat from the country of Kuwait.

1992 – An IRA bomb, placed next to a remote country road in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, killed seven building workers and injured seven others.

1994 – The Northridge earthquake rocked Los Angeles, CA, registering a 6.7 on the Richter Scale. At least 61 people were killed and about $20 billion in damage was caused.

1995 – More than 6,000 people were killed when an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 devastated the city of Kobe, Japan.

1997 – A court in Ireland granted the first divorce in the Roman Catholic country’s history.

1997 – Israel gave over 80% of Hebron to Palestinian rule, but held the remainder where several hundred Jewish settlers lived among 20,000 Palestinians.

1998 – U.S. President Clinton gave his deposition in the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit against him. He was the first U.S. President to testify as a defendant in a criminal or civil lawsuit.

2000 – British pharmaceutical companies Glaxo Wellcome PLC and SmithKline Beecham PLC agreed to a merger that created the world’s largest drugmaker.

2001 – Congo’s President Laurent Kabila was shot and killed during a coup attempt. Congolese officials temporarily placed Kabila’s son in charge of the government.

2001 – The director of Palestinian TV, Hisham Miki, was killed at a restaurant when three masked gunmen walked up to his table and shot him more than 10 times.

2002 – It was announced that Microsoft had signed a joint venture agreement to produce software with two partners in China. The two partners were Beijin Centergate Technologies (Holding) Co. and the Stone Group.


Today in History – January 15

1559 – England’s Queen Elizabeth I (Elizabeth Tudor) was crowned in Westminster Abbey.

1624 – Many riots occurred in Mexico when it was announced that all churches were to be closed.

1777 – The people of New Connecticut (now the state of Vermont) declared their independence.

1844 – The University of Notre Dame received its charter from the state of Indiana.

1863 – “The Boston Morning Journal” became the first paper in the U.S. to be published on wood pulp paper.

1870 – A cartoon by Thomas Nast titled “A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion” appeared in “Harper’s Weekly.” The cartoon used the donkey to symbolize the Democratic Party for the first time.

1892 – “Triangle” magazine in Springfield, MA, published the rules for a brand new game. The original rules involved attaching a peach baskets to a suspended board. It is now known as basketball.

1899 – Edwin Markham’s poem, “The Man With a Hoe,” was published for the first time.

1906 – Willie Hoppe won the billiard championship of the world in Paris, France.

1908 – Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority became America’s first Greek-letter organization established by African-American college women.

1913 – The first telephone line between Berlin and New York was inaugurated.

1936 – The first, all glass, windowless building was completed in Toledo, OH. The building was the new home of the Owens-Illinois Glass Company Laboratory.

1943 – The Pentagon was dedicated as the world’s largest office building just outside Washington, DC, in Arlington, VA. The structure covers 34 acres of land and has 17 miles of corridors.

1945 – CBS Radio debuted “House Party”. The show was on the air for 22 years.

1953 – Harry S Truman became the first U.S. President to use radio and television to give his farewell as he left office.

1955 – The first solar-heated, radiation-cooled house was built by Raymond Bliss in Tucson, AZ.

1967 – The first National Football League Super Bowl was played. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football League. The final score was 35-10.

1973 – U.S. President Nixon announced the suspension of all U.S. offensive action in North Vietnam. He cited progress in peace negotiations as the reason.

1974 – “Happy Days” premiered on ABC-TV.

1986 – President Reagan signed legislation making Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday a national holiday to be celebrated on the third Monday of January.

1987 – Paramount Home Video reported that it would place a commercial at the front of one of its video releases for the first time. It was a 30-second Diet Pepsi ad at the beginning of “Top Gun.”

2001 – Wikipedia was launched.

2003 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Congress had permission to repeatedly extend copyright protection.

2006 – NASA’s Stardust space probe mission was completed when it’s sample return capsule returned to Earth with comet dust from comet Wild 2.


Back from Sabbatical….Today in History – January 14

1639 – Connecticut’s first constitution, the “Fundamental Orders,” was adopted.

1784 – The United States ratified a peace treaty with England ending the Revolutionary War.

1858 – French emperor Napoleon III escaped an attempt on his life.

1873 – John Hyatt’s 1869 invention ‘Celluloid’ was registered as a trademark.

1878 – Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated the telephone for Britain’s Queen Victoria.

1882 – The Myopia Hunt Club, in Winchester, MA, became the first country club in the United States.

1907 – An earthquake killed over 1,000 people in Kingston, Jamaica.

1939 – “Honolulu Bound” was heard on CBS radio for the first time.

1943 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to fly in an airplane while in office. He flew from Miami, FL, to French Morocco where he met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to discuss World War II.

1951 – The first National Football League Pro Bowl All-Star Game was played in Los Angeles, CA.

1952 – NBC’s “Today” show premiered.

1953 – Josip Broz Tito was elected president of Yugoslavia by the country’s Parliament.

1954 – Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were married. The marriage only lasted nine months.

1954 – The Hudson Motor Car Company merged with Nash-Kelvinator. The new company was called the American Motors Corporation.

1963 – George C. Wallace was sworn in as governor of Alabama.

1969 – An explosion aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier Enterprise off Hawaii killed 25 crew members.

1972 – NBC-TV debuted “Sanford & Son.”

1973 – The Miami Dolphins defeated the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII and became the first NFL team to go undefeated in a season.

1985 – Martina Navratilova won her 100th tournament. She joined Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert Lloyd as the only professional tennis players to win 100 tournaments.

1985 – Former Miss America, Phyllis George, joined Bill Kurtis as host of “The CBS Morning News”.

1986 – “Rambo: First Blood, Part II” arrived at video stores. It broke the record set by “Ghostbusters”, for first day orders. 435,000 copies of the video were sold.

1993 – Television talk show host David Letterman announced he was moving from NBC to CBS.

1993 – The British government pledged to introduce legislation to criminalize invasions of privacy by the press.

1994 – U.S. President Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed Kremlin accords to stop aiming missiles at any nation and to dismantle the nuclear arsenal of Ukraine.

1996 – Jorge Sampaio was elected president of Portugal.

1996 – Juan Garcia Abrego was arrested by Mexican agents. The alleged drug lord was handed over to the FBI the next day.

1998 – Whitewater prosecutors questioned Hillary Rodham Clinton at the White House for 10 minutes about the gathering of FBI background files on past Republican political appointees.

1998 – In Dallas, researchers report an enzyme that slows the aging process and cell death.

1999 – The impeachment trial of U.S. President Clinton began in Washington, DC.

1999 – The U.S. proposed the lifting of the U.N. ceilings on the sale of oil in Iraq. The restriction being that the money be used to buy medicine and food for the Iraqi people.

2000 – A U.N. tribunal sentenced five Bosnian Croats to up to 25 years for the 1993 massacre of over 100 Muslims in a Bosnian village.

2000 – The Dow Jones industrial average hit a new high when it closed at 11,722.98. Earlier in the session, the Dow had risen to 11,750.98. Both records stood until October 3, 2006.

2002 – NBC’s “Today” celebrated its 50th anniversary on television.

2002 – Actor Brad Renfro, 19, was arrested after being stopped on a traffic violation. He was charged with public intoxication and driving without a license.

2004 – In St. Louis, a Lewis and Clark Exhibition opened at the Missouri History Museum. The exhibit featured 500 rare and priceless objects used by the Corps of Discovery.

2005 – A probe, from the Cassini-Huygens mission, sent back pictures during and after landing on Saturn’s moon Titan. The mission was launched on October 15, 1997.


Today in History – November 1

1512 – Michelangelo’s paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel were first exhibited to the public.

1604 – “Othello,” the tragedy by William Shakespeare, was first presented at Whitehall Palace in London.

1611 – “The Tempest,” Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, was first presented at Whitehall Palace in London.

1755 – At least 60,000 people were killed in Lisbon, Portugal by an earthquake, its aftershocks and the ensuing tsunami.

1765 – The British Parliament enacted The Stamp Act in the American colonies. The act was repealed in March of 1766 on the same day that the Parliament passed the Declaratory Acts which asserted that the British government had free and total legislative power of the colonies.

1800 – U.S. President John Adams became the first president to live in the White House when he moved in.

1848 – The first medical school for women, founded by Samuel Gregory, opened in Boston, MA. The Boston Female Medical School later merged with Boston University School of Medicine.

1856 – The first photography magazine, Daguerreian Journal, was published in New York City, NY.

1861 – Gen. George B. McClellan was made the general-in-chief of the American Union armies.

1864 – The U.S. Post Office started selling money orders. The money orders provided a safe way to payments by mail.

1870 – The U.S. Weather Bureau made its first meteorological observations using 24 locations that provided reports via telegraph.

1879 – Thomas Edison executed his first patent application for a high-resistance carbon filament (U.S. Pat. 223,898).

1894 – “Billboard Advertising” was published for the first time. It later became known as “Billboard.”

1894 – Russian Emperor Alexander III died.

1904 – The Army War College in Washington, DC, enrolled the first class.

1911 – Italy used planes to drop bombs on the Tanguira oasis in Libya. It was the first aerial bombing.

1936 – Benito Mussolini made a speech in Milan, Italy, in which he described the alliance between Italy and Nazi Germany as an “axis” running between Berlin and Rome.

1937 – “Hilltop House” was aired for the first time on CBS Radio.

1937 – “Terry and the Pirates” debuted on NBC Radio.

1940 – “A Night in the Tropics” was released. It was the first movie for Abbott and Costello.

1944 – “Harvey,” by Mary Chase, opened on Broadway.

1947 – The famous racehorse Man o’ War died.

1949 – In Washington, 55 people were killed when a fighter plane hit an airliner.

1950 – Two Puerto Rican nationalists tried to assassinate U.S. President Harry Truman. One of the men was killed when they tried to force their way into Blair House in Washington, DC.

1952 – The United States exploded the first hydrogen bomb on Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

1954 – Algeria began to rebel against French rule.

1959 – Jacques Plante, of the Montreal Canadiens, became the first goalie in the NHL to wear a mask.

1963 – The USSR launched Polyot I. It was the first satellite capable of maneuvering in all directions and able to change its orbit.

1968 – The movie rating system of G, M, R, X, followed by PG-13 and NC-17 went into effect.

1973 – Leon Jaworski was appointed the new Watergate special prosecutor in the Watergate case.

1979 – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini urged all Iranians to demonstrate on November 4 and to expand their attacks against the U.S. and Israel. On November 4, Iranian militants seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took 63 Americans hostage.

1981 – The U.S. Postal Service raised the first-class letter rate to 20 cents.

1985 – In the village of Ignacio Aldama, 22 members of a Mexican anti-narcotics squad were killed by alleged drug traffickers.

1987 – Deng Xiaoping retired from China’s Communist Party’s Central Committee.

1989 – Tens of thousands of refugees to fled to the West when East Germany reopened its border with Czechoslovakia.

1989 – Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega announced the end of a cease-fire with the Contra rebels.

1993 – The European Community’s treaty on European unity took effect.

1994 – The Amazon.com domain name was registered.

1995 – In Dayton, OH, the Bosnian peace talks opened with the leaders of Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia present.

1998 – Nicaraguan Vice President Enrique Bolanos announced that between 1,000 and 1,500 people were buried in a 32-square mile area below the slopes of the Casita volcano in northern Nicaragua by a mudslide caused by Hurricane Mitch.

1998 – Iridium inaugurated the first handheld, global satellite phone and paging system.


Today in History – October 26

1774 – The First Continental Congress of the U.S. adjourned in Philadelphia.

1825 – The Erie Canal opened in upstate New York. The 363-mile canal connected Lake Erie and the Hudson River at a cost of $7,602,000.

1854 – Charles William Post was born. He was the inventor of “Grape Nuts,” “Postum” and “Post Toasties.”

1858 – H.E. Smith patented the rotary-motion washing machine.

1881 – The “Gunfight at the OK Corral” took place in Tombstone, AZ. The fight was between Wyatt Earp, his two brothers and Doc Holiday and the Ike Clanton Gang.

1905 – Norway gained independence from Sweden.

1942 – The U.S. ship Hornet was sunk in the Battle of Santa Cruz during World War II.

1944 – During World War II, the Battle of Leyte Gulf ended. The battle was won by American forces and brought the end of the Pacific phase of World War II into sight.

1949 – U.S. President Harry Truman raised the minimum wage from 40 to 75 cents an hour.

1951 – Winston Churchill became the prime minister of Great Britain.

1955 – New York City’s “The Village Voice” was first published.

1957 – The Soviet Union announced that defense minister Marchal Georgi Zhukov had been relieved of his duties.

1958 – Pan American Airways flew its first Boeing 707 jetliner from New York City to Paris.

1962 – The Soviet Union made an offer to end the Cuban Missile Crisis by taking their missile bases out of Cuba if the U.S. agreed to not invade Cuba and would remove Jupiter missiles in Turkey.

1967 – The Shah of Iran crowned himself and his Queen after 26 years on the Peacock Throne.

1970 – “Doonesbury,” the comic strip by Gary Trudeau, premiered in 28 newspapers across the U.S.

1972 – U.S. National security adviser Henry Kissinger declared, “Peace is at hand” in Vietnam.

1975 – Anwar Sadat became the first Egyptian president to officially visit to the United States.

1977 – The experimental space shuttle Enterprise successfully landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

1979 – South Korean President Park Chung-hee was shot to death by Kim Jae-kyu, the head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency.

1980 – Israeli President Yitzhak Navon became the first Israeli head of state to visit Egypt.

1984 – “Baby Fae” was given the heart of baboon after being born with a severe heart defect. She lived for 21 days with the animal heart.

1985 – Approximately 110,000 people marched past the U.S. and Soviet embassies in London to pressure the two countries to end their arms race.

1988 – Roussel Uclaf, a French pharmaceutical company, announced it was halting the worldwide distribution of RU-486. The pill is used to induce abortions. The French government made the company reverse itself two days later.

1988 – Two whales were freed by Soviet and American icebreakers. The whales had been trapped for nearly 3 weeks in an Arctic ice pack.

1990 – The U.S. State Department issued a warning that terrorists could be planning an attack on a passenger ship or aircraft.

1990 – Wayne Gretzky became the first NHL player to reach 2,000 points.

1991 – Former Washington Mayor Marion Barry arrived at a federal correctional institution in Petersburg, VA, to begin serving a six-month sentence for cocaine possession.

1992 – General Motors Corp. Chairman Robert Stempel resigned after the company recorded its highest losses in history.

1992 – In Canada, voters rejected the Charlottetown accord, which was designed to unify the country.

1993 – Deborah Gore Dean was convicted of 12 felony counts of defrauding the U.S. government and lying to the U.S. Congress. Dean was a central figure in the Reagan-era HUD scandal.

1994 – Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel and Prime Minister Abdel Salam Majali of Jordan signed a peace treaty.

1995 – Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguins) scored his 500th National Hockey League (NHL) career goal against the New York Islanders in his 605th game. He became the second-fastest player to attain the plateau. Wayne Gretzky had reached 600 goals by his 575th NHL game.

1996 – Federal prosecutors cleared Richard Jewell as a suspect in the Olympic park bombing.

1998 – A French lab found a nerve agent on an Iraqi missile warhead.

2001 – It was announced that Fort Worth’s Lockheed Martin won a defense contract for $200 billion over 40 years. The contract, for the “joint strike fighter,” was the largest defense contract in history.

2002 – Russian authorities pumped a gas into a theater where separatist rebels held over 800 hostages. The gas killed 116 hostages and all 50 hostage-takers were killed by the gas or gunshot wounds.