Today in History: Jan. 3

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Today is Thursday, Jan. 3, the third day of 2013. There are 362 days left in the year.


On Jan. 3, 1938, the March of Dimes campaign to fight polio was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who himself had been afflicted with the crippling disease.


In 1521, Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Leo X.


In 1777, Gen. George Washington’s army routed the British in the Battle of Princeton, N.J.


In 1861, more than two weeks before Georgia seceded from the Union, the state militia seized Fort Pulaski at the order of Gov. Joseph E. Brown. The Delaware House and Senate voted to oppose secession from the Union.


In 1868, the Meiji Restoration re-established the authority of Japan’s emperor and heralded the fall of the military rulers known as shoguns.


In 1911, the first postal savings banks were opened by the U.S. Post Office. (The banks were abolished in 1966.)


In 1949, in a pair of rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court said that states had the right to ban closed shops.


In 1959, Alaska became the 49th state as President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation.


In 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced the United States was formally terminating diplomatic and consular relations with Cuba.


In 1967, Jack Ruby, the man who shot and killed accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, died in a Dallas hospital.


In 1980, conservationist Joy Adamson, author of “Born Free,” was killed in northern Kenya by a former employee.


In 1990, ousted Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega surrendered to U.S. forces, 10 days after taking refuge in the Vatican’s diplomatic mission.


In 1993, President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed the START II missile-reduction treaty in Moscow. (However, the agreement ultimately fell apart.)


Ten years ago: Taking a brief timeout from his two-week vacation, President George W. Bush visited Fort Hood in Texas, where he rallied Army troops as the nation faced the prospect of war with Iraq. David Westerfield, the man who’d kidnapped and murdered 7-year-old neighbor Danielle van Dam, was sentenced to death by a judge in San Diego. No. 2 Ohio State won its first championship in 34 years, beating No. 1 Miami 31-24 in the Fiesta Bowl.


Five years ago: Sen. Barack Obama won Democratic caucuses in Iowa, while Mike Huckabee won Republican caucuses. After nearly 27 years in prison, Texas inmate Charles Chatman was set free by a judge because of new DNA evidence showing he’d been wrongly convicted of rape. Pop star Britney Spears was hospitalized after a child custody dispute with ex-husband Kevin Federline resulted in an hours-long standoff with police. The No. 8 Kansas Jayhawks won the Orange Bowl by defeating No. 5 Virginia Tech 24-21.


One year ago: The Iowa Republican Party held its caucuses; although Mitt Romney was originally considered the winner by an extremely narrow eight-vote margin, officials later said that Rick Santorum had in fact beaten Romney by 34 votes; however, the party refused to declare a winner, saying that eight precincts had never turned in certified results. In the Democratic caucuses, President Barack Obama ran unopposed.


(Stations: Lloyd, single name, is correct)


Today’s Birthdays: Record producer Sir George Martin is 87. Actor Robert Loggia is 83. Actor Dabney Coleman is 81. Journalist-author Betty Rollin is 77. Hockey Hall-of-Famer Bobby Hull is 74. Singer-songwriter-producer Van Dyke Parks is 70. Musician Stephen Stills is 68. Rock musician John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) is 67. Actress Victoria Principal is 63. Actor-director Mel Gibson is 57. Actress Shannon Sturges is 45. Jazz musician James Carter is 44. Contemporary Christian singer Nichole Nordeman is 41. Actor Jason Marsden is 38. Actress Danica McKellar is 38. Actor Nicholas Gonzalez is 37. Singer Kimberley Locke (“American Idol”) is 35. NFL quarterback Eli Manning is 32. Pop musician Mark Pontius (Foster the People) is 28. Rhythm-and-blues singer Lloyd is 27. Pop-rock musician Nash Overstreet (Hot Chelle (shel) Rae) is 27. Actor Alex D. Linz is 24.


Thought for Today: “If people never did silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein, Austrian philosopher (1889-1951).


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