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January 13, 2013

Today in History for Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013

-- — Highlight in History

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.)

On this date

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 1982, an Air Florida 737 crashed into Washington, D.C.’s 14th Street Bridge and fell into the Potomac River after taking off during a snowstorm, killing a total of 78 people; four passengers and a flight attendant survived.

In 1987, West German police arrested Mohammed Ali Hamadi, a suspect in the 1985 hijacking of a TWA jetliner. (Although convicted and sentenced to life, Hamadi was paroled by Germany in Dec. 2005; he is on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list.)

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.”

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