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Nixon signs legislation limiting highway speeds to 55 mph

By The Associated Press

Today is Saturday, Jan. 2, the second day of 2021. There are 363 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 2, 1974, President Richard Nixon signed legislation requiring states to limit highway speeds to 55 miles an hour as a way of conserving gasoline in the face of an OPEC oil embargo. (The 55 mph limit was effectively phased out in 1987; federal speed limits were abolished in 1995.)

On this date:

In 1811, Sen. Timothy Pickering, a Federalist from Massachusetts, became the first member of the U.S. Senate to be censured after he’d improperly revealed the contents of an executive document.

In 1959, the Soviet Union launched its space probe Luna 1, the first manmade object to fly past the moon, its apparent intended target.

In 1960, Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts launched his successful bid for the presidency.

In 1967, Republican Ronald Reagan took the oath of office as the new governor of California in a ceremony that took place in Sacramento shortly just after midnight.

In 1981, police in Sheffield, England, arrested Peter Sutcliffe, who confessed to being the “Yorkshire Ripper,” the serial killer of 13 women.

In 2007, the state funeral for former President Gerald R. Ford began with an elaborate service at Washington National Cathedral, then moved to Grand Rapids.

In 2015, Little Jimmy Dickens, a diminutive singer-songwriter who was the oldest cast member of the Grand Ole Opry, died at age 94.

In 2018, Sen. Al Franken formally resigned from the Senate a month after the Minnesota Democrat announced his plan to leave Congress amid a series of sexual misconduct allegations. NBC News announced that Hoda Kotb would be the co-anchor of the first two hours of the “Today” show, replacing Matt Lauer following his firing due to sexual misconduct allegations.

Ten years ago: The U.S. Navy said it would investigate raunchy videos broadcast to the crew of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. (Capt. Owen P. Honors, who’d produced the videos as the ship’s executive officer, was removed as the Enterprise’s commander but was later allowed to remain in the Navy.) A magnitude 7.1 earthquake shook southern Chile, sending tens of thousands of people fearing a tsunami to higher ground. Maj. Richard “Dick” Winters, who’d fought in several major battles in World War II and whose quiet leadership was chronicled in the book and television miniseries “Band of Brothers,” died in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, at age 92.

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