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January 18, 2014

Today in History for Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014

-- — Highlight in History

On Jan. 18, 1911, the first landing of an aircraft on a ship took place as pilot Eugene B. Ely brought his Curtiss biplane in for a safe landing on the deck of the armored cruiser USS Pennsylvania in San Francisco Harbor.

On this date

In 1778, English navigator Captain James Cook reached the present-day Hawaiian Islands, which he named the “Sandwich Islands.”

In 1943, during World War II, Jewish insurgents in the Warsaw Ghetto launched their initial armed resistance against Nazi troops, who eventually succeeded in crushing the rebellion. A U.S. ban on the sale of pre-sliced bread — aimed at reducing bakeries’ demand for metal replacement parts — went into effect.

In 1949, Charles Ponzi, engineer of one of the most spectacular mass swindles in history, died destitute at a hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at age 66.

In 1957, a trio of B-52’s completed the first non-stop, round-the-world flight by jet planes, landing at March Air Force Base in California after more than 45 hours aloft.

In 1967, Albert DeSalvo, who claimed to be the “Boston Strangler,” was convicted in Cambridge, Mass., of armed robbery, assault and sex offenses. (Sentenced to life, DeSalvo was killed in prison in 1973.)

In 1993, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was observed in all 50 states for the first time.

In 1994, Iran-Contra prosecutor Lawrence Walsh released his final report in which he said former President Ronald Reagan had acquiesced in a cover-up of the scandal, an accusation Reagan called “baseless.”

Ten years ago

A suicide truck bombing outside the headquarters of the U.S.-led coalition in Baghdad killed at least 31 people. A 15-day hostage drama began at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis near Buckeye, where two inmates attempting to escape took two correctional officers hostage. (One guard was released midway through the ordeal; the other, a woman, was held the entire time, during which she was raped and beaten.) The New England Patriots earned their second trip to the Super Bowl in three seasons by defeating the Indianapolis Colts 24-14 in the AFC championship game; the Carolina Panthers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 14-3, in the NFC championship game.

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