This Day in History — January 17

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Actress Betty White is 97 years old today.


2012: Scientists confirm that 15 pounds (7 kilogrammes) of rock collected recently in Morocco fell to Earth from Mars during a meteorite shower last July.


1595: France’s King Henry IV declares war on Spain.

1759: Holy Roman Empire declares war on Prussia.

1852: Sand River Convention establishes South African Republic of Transvaal.

1871: Determined to improve public transportation in San Francisco, wire manufacturer Andrew Hallidie patents the cable car.

1893: Hawaii’s monarchy is overthrown as a group of businessmen and sugar planters force Queen Liliuokalani to abdicate.

1945: Soviet troops and Polish forces liberate Warsaw, more than five years after it fell to Nazi Germany; Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, credited with saving tens of thousands of Jews, disappears in Hungary while in Soviet custody.

1948: Netherlands and Republic of Indonesia sign truce.

1959: Federal State of Mali is formed by Union of Republics of Senegal and French Sudan.

1961: In his farewell address, US President Dwight Eisenhower warns against the rise of “the military-industrial complex”.

1977: Convicted murderer Gary Gilmore, 36, is shot by a firing squad at Utah State Prison in the first US execution in a decade.

1990: The Colombian Medellin cartel says it has lost the drug war and offers sceptical US and Colombian authorities an end to terror in exchange for a pardon.

1991: Second and third air strikes against targets in Iraq and Kuwait are launched. At least six Iraqi Scud missiles are launched at Tel Aviv, Israel. Three hit civilian areas, slightly injuring 12 people.

1992: Israel begins enforcing a sweeping curfew on Palestinians from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip.

1993: The United States unleashes a shower of Tomahawk cruise missiles against a nuclear fabricating plant 13 kilometres (8 miles) from Baghdad, delivering the point that Iraq must comply with UN resolutions.

1994: An earthquake devastates suburbs in the San Fernando Valley, California, killing 61 people and injuring over 10,000.

1995: Japan’s deadliest earthquake in 70 years slams Kobe and other western cities, killing more than 5,000 people.

1997: In Dublin, with little fanfare, a court grants the first divorce in Ireland’s history.

1999: Fighting erupts near a village in Kosovo, Yugoslavia, where 45 ethnic Albanians were massacred a few days earlier, forcing mourners to halt funeral services for the slain and flee.

2001: Faced with an electricity crisis, California uses rolling blackouts to cut off power to hundreds of thousands of people. Governor Gray Davis signs an emergency order authorising the state to buy power.

2003: Rescue workers digging into thick mud find the bodies of three children in southeastern Brazil, bringing the death toll from mudslides to 36.

2004: About 10,000 Muslim women march through Paris to protest against France’s plan to ban head coverings from public schools.

2006: In his first statement since becoming Israel’s acting prime minister, Ehud Olmert says he wants to resume final peace talks with the Palestinians and take harsh action against Israeli squatters in the West Bank.

2007: Jainal Antel Sali Jr, a top leader of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf rebel group in the Philippines who was accused of kidnapping three Americans in 2001 and of masterminding one of south-east Asia’s worst terror attacks three years later, is killed by Filipino army forces.

2009: Timmy, the oldest male gorilla in a North American zoo, celebrates his 50th birthday at the Louisville Zoo in Kentucky.

2010: In a synagogue visit haunted by history, Pope Benedict XVI and Jewish leaders spar over the record of the World War II-era pope during the Holocaust and agree on the need to strengthen Catholic-Jewish relations.

2013: Algerian special forces launch a rescue operation at a natural gas plant in the Sahara desert and free foreign hostages held by al-Qaeda-linked militants, but estimates for the number of dead vary widely.



Leonhard Fuchs, German physician (1501-1566); Benjamin Franklin, US statesman and scientist (1706-1790); Anton Chekhov, Russian dramatist (1860-1904); Alphonse Capone, US gangster (1899-1947); Betty White, US actress, (1922- ); James Earl Jones, US actor (1931- ); Muhammad Ali, US boxer (1947-2016); Jim Carrey, Canadian actor (1962- )


— AP

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