Today's Highlight in History:
On January 20th, 1981, Iran released 52 Americans it had held hostage for 444 days, minutes after the presidency had passed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan.
On this date:
In 1801, John Marshall was appointed chief justice of the United States.
In 1841, the island of Hong Kong was ceded to Great Britain. (It returned to Chinese control in July 1997.)
In 1887, the US Senate approved an agreement to lease Pearl Harbor in Hawaii as a naval base.
In 1896, comedian George Burns was born Nathan Birnbaum in New York City.
In 1920, movie director Federico Fellini was born in Rimini, Italy.
In 1936, Britain's King George the Fifth died; he was succeeded by Edward the Eighth.
In 1942, Nazi officials held the notorious Wannsee conference, during which they arrived at their "final solution" that called for exterminating Jews.
In 1986, the United States observed the first federal holiday in honor of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior.
In 1986, Britain and France announced plans to build the Channel Tunnel.
In 1993, actress Audrey Hepburn died of color cancer in Tolochenaz, Switzerland.
In 1994, Shannon Faulkner became the first woman to attend classes at The Citadel in South Carolina. (Faulkner joined the cadet corps in August 1995 under court order but soon dropped out.)
Ten years ago: Soviet troops stormed the capital of the republic of Azerbaijan, the scene of ethnic unrest, leaving dozens dead and wounded. The space shuttle "Columbia" returned from an eleven-day mission. Actress Barbara Stanwyck died in Santa Monica, California, at age 82.
Five years ago: The Japanese government, criticized for being slow to respond to Kobe's devastating earthquake, admitted its initial reaction might have been "confused." The US State Department announced a partial lifting of economic sanctions against communist North Korea.
One year ago: For a second day, President Clinton's legal team argued its case before the Senate, saying that House-passed articles of impeachment were "flawed and unfair."
"Too bad all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair."
-- George Burns, American comedian (1896-1996).