Today's Highlights in History:
On Jan. 17, 1917, Denmark ceded the Virgin Islands to the United States for $25 million.
On this date:
In 1893, the 19th president of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes, died in Fremont, Ohio, at age 70. Hawaii's monarchy was overthrown as a group of businessmen and sugar planters forced Queen Lili'uokalani to abdicate.
In 1929, the cartoon character Popeye the Sailor made his debut in the "Thimble Theatre" comic strip.
In 1945, Soviet and Polish forces liberated Warsaw during World War II; Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, credited with saving tens of thousands of Jews, disappeared in Hungary while in Soviet custody.
In 1946, the United Nations Security Council held its first meeting, in London.
In 1950, the Great Brink's Robbery took place as seven masked men held up a Brink's garage in Boston, stealing $1.2 million in cash and $1.5 million in checks and money orders. (Although the entire gang was caught, only part of the loot was recovered.)
In 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his farewell address in which he warned against "the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex."
In 1966, a U.S. Air Force B-52 carrying four unarmed hydrogen bombs crashed on the Spanish coast. (Three of the bombs were quickly recovered, but the fourth wasn't recovered until April.) The Simon & Garfunkel album "Sounds of Silence" was released by Columbia Records.
In 1977, convicted murderer Gary Gilmore, 36, was shot by a firing squad at Utah State Prison in the first U.S. execution in a decade.
In 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., ruled 5-4 that the use of home video cassette recorders to tape television programs for private viewing did not violate federal copyright laws.
In 1987, hundreds of Ku Klux Klan members and supporters disrupted a "brotherhood anti-intimidation march" through all-white Forsyth County, Georgia.
In 1995, more than 6,000 people were killed when an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 devastated the city of Kobe, Japan.
In 1997, a court in Ireland granted the first divorce in the Roman Catholic country's history.
Ten years ago: A year after disclosure of a domestic spying program that President George W. Bush maintained was within his authority to operate, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced the administration had shifted its position and would seek the approval of an independent panel of federal judges. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, saying the world was nudging closer to nuclear or environmental apocalypse, moved the hands of its symbolic Doomsday Clock two minutes nearer to midnight, from 11:53 to 11:55 p.m. Pulitzer Prize-winning satirist Art Buchwald died in Washington, D.C., at age 81.
Five years ago: Italian officials released a recording of a furious Coast Guard officer, Capt. Gregorio De Falco, demanding that Capt. Francesco Schettino, commander of the grounded Costa Concordia, re-board the ship to direct its evacuation after the vessel rammed into a reef on Jan. 13. (Schettino can be heard resisting the order, making excuses that it was dark and that the ship was listing.) Johnny Otis, the "godfather of rhythm and blues" who wrote and recorded the R&B classic "Willie and the Hand Jive," died in Los Angeles at age 90.
One year ago: Ahead of the Iowa caucuses, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders engaged in their most contentious debate to date, tangling repeatedly in Charleston, South Carolina, over who was tougher on gun control and Wall Street and how to shape the future of health care in America. Iran released three Americans, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and pastor Saeed Abedini, as part of a prisoner swap which also netted Tehran some $100 billion in sanctions relief.
Today's Birthdays: Actress Betty White is 95. Former FCC chairman Newton N. Minow is 91. Actor James Earl Jones is 86. Talk show host Maury Povich is 78. Pop singer Chris Montez is 75. Rhythm-and-blues singer William Hart (The Delfonics) is 72. Actress Joanna David is 70. Actress Jane Elliot is 70. Rock musician Mick Taylor is 69. Rhythm-and-blues singer Sheila Hutchinson (The Emotions) is 64. Singer Steve Earle is 62. Singer Paul Young is 61. Actor-comedian Steve Harvey is 60. Singer Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles) is 58. Movie director/screenwriter Brian Helgeland is 56. Actor-comedian Jim Carrey is 55. Actor Denis O'Hare is 55. First lady Michelle Obama is 53. Actor Joshua Malina is 51. Singer Shabba Ranks is 51. Rock musician Jon Wysocki is 49. Actor Naveen Andrews is 48. Electronic music DJ Tiesto is 48. Rapper Kid Rock is 46. Actor Freddy Rodriguez is 42. Actor-writer Leigh Whannel is 40. Actress-singer Zooey Deschanel is 37. Professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy (TV: "Dancing with the Stars") is 37. Singer Ray J is 36. Actor Diogo Morgado is 36. Country singer Amanda Wilkinson is 35. NBA player Dwyane Wade is 35. DJ/singer Calvin Harris is 33. Folk-rock musician Jeremiah Fraites is 31. Actor Jonathan Keltz is 29. Actress Kathrine Herzer is 20.
Thought for Today: "Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, it is the only time we have." — Art Buchwald (1925-2007).