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Today in History

Today is Saturday, Jan. 7, the seventh day of 2023. There are 358 days left in the year.

Birthdays: Magazine publisher Jann Wenner is 77. Singer Kenny Loggins is 75. Actor David Caruso is 67. Talk show host Katie Couric is 66. Country singer David Lee Murphy is 64. Rock musician Kathy Valentine is 64. Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, is 62. Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, is 60. Actor Nicolas Cage is 59. Actor Jeremy Renner is 52. Singer-rapper Aloe Blacc is 44. Actor Lauren Cohan is 41.

In 1608, an accidental fire devastated the Jamestown settlement in the Virginia Colony.

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In 1789, America held its first presidential election as voters chose electors who, a month later, selected George Washington to be the nation’s first chief executive.

In 1927, commercial transatlantic telephone service was inaugurated between New York and London.

In 1953, President Truman announced in his State of the Union message to Congress that the United States had developed a hydrogen bomb.

In 1955, singer Marian Anderson made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, in Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera.”

In 1959, the United States recognized the new government of Cuba, six days after Fidel Castro led the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista.

In 1963, the US Post Office raised the cost of a first-class stamp from 4 to 5 cents.

In 1979, Vietnamese forces captured the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, overthrowing the Khmer Rouge government.

In 1989, Emperor Hirohito of Japan died in Tokyo at age 87; he was succeeded by his son, Crown Prince Akihito.

In 1999, for the second time in history, an impeached American president went on trial before the Senate. President Bill Clinton faced charges of perjury and obstruction of justice; he was acquitted.

In 2004, President George W. Bush proposed legal status, at least temporarily, for millions of immigrants improperly working in the United States.

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In 2012, President Barack Obama announced he would nominate former GOP Senator Chuck Hagel as his next defense secretary, calling him “the leader our troops deserve”; Obama also chose White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency. The No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide rolled top-ranked Notre Dame 42-14 for the BCS championship.

In 2015, masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French newspaper that had caricatured the Prophet Mohammad, methodically killing 12 people, including the editor, before escaping in a car. (Two suspects were killed two days later.)

In 2017, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” was the top film at the Golden Globe Awards, winning as best drama and taking home awards for stars Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell and for writer-director Martin McDonagh. The Golden Globes ceremony became an expression of female empowerment in the post-Harvey Weinstein era, capped by a speech in which Cecil B. DeMille Award winner Oprah Winfrey said of men who use their power to abuse women, “Their time is up!” The arctic air that engulfed parts of the East Coast broke cold temperature records from Maine to West Virginia.

In 2019, Amazon eclipsed Microsoft as the most valuable publicly traded company in the U.S. For the first time in more than 25 years, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was absent from oral arguments as she recuperated from cancer surgery.

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Last year, three white men who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery were sentenced to life in prison; a judge in Georgia denied any chance of parole for the father and son who armed themselves and initiated the deadly pursuit of the 25-year-old Black man after spotting him running in their neighborhood. In a first for medical science, doctors at the University of Maryland transplanted a heart from a pig that had undergone gene-editing into a human patient in a last-ditch effort to save his life. (The patient, 57-year-old David Bennett, died two months later; he’d been considered too sick to get a human heart.)