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Wednesday, January 1, 1997

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  • "I feel safer knowing someone won't try to murder me."

    -- Boston teen Jerry Pryakhin

    | AllPolitics Campaignland |

    Today's Events

  • Most of the world celebrates the beginning of a new year.

  • Pope John Paul celebrates Mass at the Vatican on the 30th annual World Peace Day.

  • A National Park Service ranger gives an interpretive presentation of the Emancipation Proclamation, issued on January 1, 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln, at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C.

  • College Football's Outback, Gator, Citrus, Fiesta, Cotton and Rose Bowls are held.

  • The Netherlands takes over rotating six-month presidency of the European Union.

  • African-American employees of Texaco receive a 10-percent salary increase as part of that company's response to a recent racial discrimination flap and associated law suits.

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    On the horizon

  • On Thursday, January 2, the Congo begins census of voters in preparation for a July presidential election.

  • On Friday, January 3, the London International Boat Show opens.

  • On Saturday, January 4, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl is due to meet with Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

  • On Sunday, January 5, the African nation of Chad holds parliamentary elections.

  • On Monday, January 6, more than 1,000 scientists gather in Mohe, China, to observe a total eclipse of the sun.

  • On Tuesday, January 7, the 105th session of the U.S. Congress begins.

  • On Wednesday, January 8, Monaco's Grimaldi dynasty celebrates its 700th anniversary of rule.

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    On this day

  • In 1502, Portuguese navigators landed at a harbor on the coast of South America and named the site Rio de Janeiro (River of January).

  • In 1515, Francis, Duke of Angouleme, became Francis I of France on the death of Louis XII.

  • In 1785, the Times newspaper was first published in Britain as the Daily Universal Register.

  • In 1801, the union between Great Britain and Ireland became effective, creating the United Kingdom.

  • In 1804, after helping to lead a rebellion against the French, Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Haiti independent.

  • In 1808, the United Kingdom made Sierra Leone a crown colony.

  • In 1833, the United Kingdom claimed sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.

  • In 1863, the U.S. Emancipation Proclamation became law, formally freeing the enslaved.

  • In 1877, Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India.

  • In 1886, the United Kingdom annexed Upper Burma.

  • In 1895, J. Edgar Hoover, founder and head of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (1924-72), was born.

  • In 1901, the Commonwealth of Australia was established with Edmund Barton as prime minister.

  • In 1912, Harold "Kim" Philby, the British double agent, was born; he defected to Russia in 1963 and died in 1988.

  • In 1914, Britain established a West African colony it called Nigeria.

  • In 1919, the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic was established.

  • In 1923, a confederation of Russia, Byelorussia, Ukraine and Transcaucasia was established; the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics came into effect the following July.

  • In 1925, the capital city of Norway, known as Christiana or Kristiana since 1674, resumed its name of Oslo.

  • In 1942, 26 nations signed the "Declaration of the United Nations," affirming opposition to Axis powers.

  • In 1956, Sudan became an independent republic.

  • In 1958, the European Economic Community, known as the Common Market, came into being.

  • In 1959, Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba after dictator Fulgencio Batista fled to the Dominican Republic.

  • In 1960, Cameroon achieved independence from France.

  • In 1962, the Beatles auditioned for Decca records, only to be rejected because the company felt "groups of guitars are on the way out."

  • In 1972, the popular French singer Maurice Chevalier died.

  • In 1973, Britain, Ireland and Denmark became members of the EEC.

  • In 1975, John Ehrlichman, H.R. Haldeman and John Mitchell were found guilty of obstruction in the Watergate investigation.

  • In 1979, the United States and China established diplomatic relations, 30 years after the foundation of the People's Republic.

  • In 1981, Greece was admitted as the 10th member of the European Economic Community.

  • In 1984, Brunei became an independent state.

  • In 1992, a peace accord to end the El Salvador civil war was reached at the United Nations.

  • In 1992, Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt succeeded Javier Perez de Cuellar of Peru as U.N. secretary-general.

  • In 1993, Czechoslovakia ceased to exist, splitting into separate Czech and Slovak republics.

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    Popular wisdom says that you can't know your future if you don't know your past. So, as the world looks forward to a new year, it might be profitable to also take a look back at what the world has accomplished during its 4-plus billion year history. For such insight, visit the U.N. World Heritage project's home page. And Happy New Year!


    Holidays and more

  • Just about every country on the planet celebrates New Year's Day.

  • Sudan celebrates Independence Day.

  • Actress Valentina Cortese is 72.

  • Musician Milt Jackson is 74.

  • Architect Helmut Jahn is 57.

  • Economist Elliot Janeway is 84

  • Actor Don Novello, a k a Father Guido Sarducci, is 54.

  • Author J.D. Salinger is 78.

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    Sources: Associated Press,
    Chase's Calendar of Events 1996, J.P. Morgan

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