On this day: US Congress elects Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi flexes her muscles after being elected the first female Speaker in the US House of Representatives in 2007. Picture: Getty
Nancy Pelosi flexes her muscles after being elected the first female Speaker in the US House of Representatives in 2007. Picture: Getty
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 4 January

4 January

National day of Burma.

1493: Christopher Columbus sailed from America back to Spain in the ship Nina.

1856: Faculty of Actuaries in Scotland was constituted.

1884: The Fabian Society was born. A gradual-reform socialist organisation, it took its name from the Roman Quintus Fabius Maximus, who fought the Second Punic War with delaying tactics. Its members included George Bernard Shaw and Beatrice and Sydney Webb.

1885: The first successful appendix operation was performed by Doctor William West Grant, in Iowa.

1910: Six juvenile courts opened for business in London. Among the crimes were stone-throwing and playing pitch-and-toss.

1929: Australian cricketer Don Bradman made his first Test century, playing against England in Melbourne.

1932: Gandhi’s National Congress of India was declared illegal by the British administration, and he was arrested.

1936: First pop music chart compiled, based on record sales published in New York.

1944: Assault on Monte Cassino launched by British Fifth Army.

1958: Sputnik 1 disintegrated after completing 1,367 circuits of the earth and travelling 43 million miles on its 92-day flight.

1981: Broadway show Frankenstein opened and closed on same night, losing an estimated $2million.

1985: Mrs Kim Cotton, believed to be first commercial surrogate mother in Britain, gave birth to a girl.

1990: Manfred Rommel, son of Field Marshal Rommel, awarded honorary CBE for services to British-German relations.

1999: Gunmen opened fire on Shiite Muslims worshipping in an Islamabad mosque, killing 16 people and injuring 25.

2004: Spirit, a Nasa Mars Rover, landed successfully on Mars.

2006: Prime minister Ariel Sharon of Israel suffered a second, more serious stroke. His authority was transferred to acting prime minister Ehud Olmert.

2007: The 110th US Congress convened, electing Nancy Pelosi as the first female Speaker of the House in US history.

2010: The world’s tallest building was opened in a dramatic fireworks ceremony in the Gulf emirate of Dubai. The Burj Khalifa was revealed to be 828 metres (2,716ft) high.


Rick Stein, chef and broadcaster, 67; Alexander Chancellor CBE, journalist, 74; Dyan Cannon, actress, 77; Beth Gibbons, singer (Portishead), 49; Alan McLaren, Scottish footballer, 43; John McLaughlin, jazz guitarist, 72; Margaret Marshall OBE, Stirling-born opera and concert singer, 65; Julia Ormond, actress, 49; Michael Stipe, singer (REM), 54; Bernard Sumner, musician (Joy Division and New Order), 58.


Births: 1771 Sir William Hillary, founder, Royal National Lifeboat Institution; 1809 Louis Braille, blind musician and inventor of braille reading and writing system for the blind; 1813 Sir Isaac Pitman, pioneer of phonetic shorthand; 1930 Iain Cuthbertson, Glasgow-born actor; 1935 Floyd Patterson, world boxing champion.

Deaths: 1957 Albert Camus, novelist; 1958 Vaughan Williams, composer; 1965 TS Eliot, poet and playwright; 1986 Christopher Isherwood, novelist and playwright; 2011 Gerry Rafferty, Paisley-born singer and songwriter.