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Almanac

By The Associated Press

Today in History

Today is Saturday, Jan. 4, the fourth day of 2020. There are 362 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 4, 1964, Pope Paul VI began a visit to the Holy Land, the first papal pilgrimage of its kind.

On this date:

In 1809, Louis Braille (LOOí-wee brayl), inventor of the Braille raised-dot reading system for the blind, was born in Coupvray, France.

In 1896, Utah was admitted as the 45th state.

In 1861, Alabama seized a federal arsenal at Mount Vernon near Mobile.

In 1904, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Gonzalez v. Williams, ruled that Puerto Ricans were not aliens and could enter the United States freely; however, the court stopped short of declaring them citizens. (Puerto Ricans received U.S. citizenship in March 1917.)

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his State of the Union address, called for legislation to provide assistance for the jobless, elderly, impoverished children and the handicapped.

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered his State of the Union address in which he outlined the goals of his “Great Society.”

In 1974, President Richard Nixon refused to hand over tape recordings and documents subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee.

In 1987, 16 people were killed when an Amtrak train bound from Washington, D.C., to Boston collided with Conrail locomotives that had crossed into its path from a side track in Chase, Maryland.

In 1999, Europe’s new currency, the euro, got off to a strong start on its first trading day, rising against the dollar on world currency markets. Former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura took the oath of office as Minnesota’s governor.

In 2002, Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Ross Chapman, a U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, was killed by small-arms fire during an ambush in eastern Afghanistan; he was the first American military death from enemy fire in the war against terrorism.

In 2006, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a significant stroke; his official powers were transferred to his deputy, Ehud Olmert (EH’-hood OHL’-murt). (Sharon remained in a coma until his death in Jan. 2014.)

In 2018, the Trump administration moved to vastly expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic oceans with a five-year plan that would open up federal waters off of California for the first time in decades and possibly open new areas of oil and gas exploration along the East Coast. The Dow Jones Industrial Average burst through the 25,000 mark, closing at 25,075.13 just five weeks after its first close above 24,000.

Ten years ago: Dubai opened the world’s tallest skyscraper, and in a surprise move renamed the 2,717-foot gleaming glass-and-metal tower Burj Khalifa in a nod to the leader of neighboring Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich sheikdom that had come to its financial rescue. The Secret Service said a third uninvited guest had made his way into the White House state dinner for India’s prime minister in Nov. 2009. (For his part, Washington businessman Carlos Allen insisted that he had received an invitation, and did not crash the event.) Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only person recognized by the Japanese government as a survivor of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings, died at age 93 in Nagasaki.

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