Today in history

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Today is Sunday, Jan. 13, the 13th day of 2013. There are 352 days left in the year.


On Jan. 13, 2012, the Italian luxury liner Costa Concordia ran aground off the Tuscan island of Giglio and flipped onto its side; 32 people were killed. (Ship’s captain Francesco Schettino faces possible trial on charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship before evacuation was complete.)


In 1733, James Oglethorpe and some 120 English colonists arrived at Charleston, S.C., while en route to settle in present-day Georgia.


In 1794, President George Washington approved a measure adding two stars and two stripes to the American flag, following the admission of Vermont and Kentucky to the Union. (The number of stripes was later reduced to the original 13.)


In 1864, composer Stephen Foster died in a New York hospital at age 37. (In his pocket: a note which read, “Dear friends and gentle hearts.”)


In 1898, Emile Zola’s famous defense of Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, “J’accuse,” was published in Paris.


In 1945, during World War II, Soviet forces began a huge, successful offensive against the Germans in Eastern Europe.


In 1962, comedian Ernie Kovacs died in a car crash in west Los Angeles 10 days before his 43rd birthday.


In 1966, Robert C. Weaver was named Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by President Lyndon B. Johnson; Weaver became the first black Cabinet member.


In 1978, former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey died in Waverly, Minn., at age 66.


In 1990, L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia became the nation’s first elected black governor as he took the oath of office in Richmond.


In 1992, Japan apologized for forcing tens of thousands of Korean women to serve as sex slaves for its soldiers during World War II, citing newly uncovered documents that showed the Japanese army had had a role in abducting the so-called “comfort women.”


Ten years ago: Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman jumped into the 2004 race for president. Rock musician Pete Townshend was arrested in London on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children. (Townshend said he was doing research for an autobiography dealing with his own suspected childhood sexual abuse; he was cleared of possible charges.) FAO Schwarz filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. (FAO Inc. emerged from bankruptcy in April 2003, but filed again in Dec. 2003.)


Five years ago: President George W. Bush, visiting the United Arab Emirates, gently urged authoritarian Arab allies to satisfy frustrated desires for democracy in the Mideast and saved his harshest criticism for Iran, branding it “the world’s leading state-sponsor of terror.” The Golden Globes were announced in a dry, news conference-style ceremony, devoid of stars because of the Hollywood writers’ strike; “Atonement” won best motion picture drama, while “Mad Men” was named best dramatic TV series.


One year ago: A Peruvian court sentenced Joran van der Sloot (YOHR’-uhn VAN’-dur-sloht) to 28 years in prison for murdering Stephany Flores, a young woman he’d met at a Lima casino. Myanmar freed some of its most famous political prisoners, sparking jubilation among their supporters. Veteran TV newsman Richard Threlkeld, 74, was killed in a car crash on New York’s Long Island.


Today’s Birthdays: Actress Frances Sternhagen is 83. TV personality Nick Clooney is 79. Comedian Rip Taylor is 79. Actor Billy Gray is 75. Actor Richard Moll is 70. Rock musician Trevor Rabin is 59. Rhythm-and-blues musician Fred White is 58. Rock musician James Lomenzo (Megadeth) is 54. Actor Kevin Anderson is 53. Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus is 52. Rock singer Graham “Suggs” McPherson (Madness) is 52. Country singer Trace Adkins is 51. Actress Penelope Ann Miller is 49. Actor Patrick Dempsey is 47. Actress Traci Bingham is 45. Actor Keith Coogan is 43. Actress Nicole Eggert is 41. Actor Orlando Bloom is 36. Actor Julian Morris is 30.


Thought for Today: “Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor.” — Sholom Aleichem (ah-LAY’-kem), Russian author-humorist (1859-1916).


(Above Advance for Use Sunday, Jan. 13)


Copyright 2013, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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