updated 1/19/2006 12:16:47 PM ET 2006-01-19T17:16:47

Today is Thursday, Jan. 19, the 19th day of 2006. There are 346 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 19, 1966, Indira Gandhi was elected prime minister of India.

On this date:
In 1736, James Watt, inventor of the steam engine, was born in Scotland.

In 1807, Robert E. Lee, the commander-in-chief of the Confederate armies, was born in Stratford, Va.

In 1809, author Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston.

In 1853, Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Il Trovatore” premiered in Rome.

In 1861, Georgia seceded from the Union.

In 1937, millionaire Howard Hughes set a transcontinental air record by flying his monoplane from Los Angeles to Newark, N.J., in seven hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds.

In 1944, the federal government relinquished control of the nation’s railroads following settlement of a wage dispute.

In 1955, a presidential news conference was filmed for television for the first time, with the permission of President Eisenhower.

In 1970, President Nixon nominated G. Harrold Carswell to the Supreme Court; however, the nomination was defeated because of controversy over Carswell’s past racial views.

In 1981, the United States and Iran signed an agreement paving the way for the release of 52 Americans held hostage for more than 14 months.

Ten years ago: The Bosnian peace agreement suffered its first setback as a planned nationwide prisoner release fell far short of its goal.

Five years ago: In a deal sparing himself possible indictment, President Clinton acknowledged for the first time making false statements under oath about Monica Lewinsky; he also surrendered his law license for five years. Former NFL player Rae Carruth was acquitted of first-degree murder but convicted of conspiracy and two other charges in the fatal shooting of his pregnant girlfriend. (Carruth was later sentenced to a minimum of 18 years, eleven months in prison and a maximum of 24 years, four months.)

One year ago: Previewing his second inauguration, President Bush pledged to seek unity in a nation divided by political differences, saying, “I am eager and ready for the work ahead.” Condoleezza Rice won strong but not unanimous endorsement as secretary of state from a Senate panel. The American Cancer Society reported that cancer had passed heart disease as the top killer of Americans age 85 and younger. Former chairman and chief executive of Citicorp Walter B. Wriston died in New York at age 85.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Jean Stapleton is 83. Actor Fritz Weaver is 80. Actress Tippi Hedren is 76. Former PBS newsman Robert MacNeil is 75. Movie director Richard Lester is 74. Singer Phil Everly is 67. Actor-singer Michael Crawford is 64. Actress Shelley Fabares is 62. Country singer Dolly Parton is 60. ABC newswoman Ann Compton is 59. Singer Harry McGilberry is 55. Singer Dewey Bunnell (America) is 54. Actor Desi Arnaz Jr. is 53. Comedian Paul Rodriguez is 51. Actress Katey Sagal is 49. Reggae musician Mickey Virtue (UB40) is 49. Actor Paul McCrane is 45. Actor William Ragsdale is 45. Tennis player Stefan Edberg is 40. Rock singer Whitfield Crane (Ugly Kid Joe) is 38. Singer Trey Lorenz is 37. Actor Shawn Wayans is 35. Rock singer-musician John Wozniak (Marcy Playground) is 35. Actress Drea de Matteo is 34. Actress Marsha Thomason is 30. Actress Jodie Sweetin is 24. Actor Logan Lerman is 14.

Thought for Today: “When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered.” — Dorothy Thompson, American newspaper columnist (1894-1961).

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