updated 1/26/2006 12:00:48 AM ET 2006-01-26T05:00:48

Today is Thursday, Jan. 26, the 26th day of 2006. There are 339 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 26, 1788, the first European settlers in Australia, led by Captain Arthur Phillip, landed in present-day Sydney.

On this date:
In 1802, Congress passed an act calling for a library to be established within the U.S. Capitol.

In 1837, Michigan became the 26th state.

In 1841, Britain formally occupied Hong Kong, which the Chinese had ceded to the British.

In 1861, Louisiana seceded from the Union.

In 1870, Virginia rejoined the Union.

In 1911, the Richard Strauss opera “Der Rosenkavalier” premiered in Dresden, Germany.

In 1942, the first American expeditionary force to go to Europe during World War II went ashore in Northern Ireland.

In 1950, India officially proclaimed itself a republic as Rajendra Prasad took the oath of office as president.

In 1962, the United States launched Ranger 3 to land scientific instruments on the moon — but the probe missed its target by some 22,000 miles.

In 1979, former Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller died in New York at age 70.

Ten years ago: First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton testified before a grand jury connected to the Whitewater probe. Hours before a midnight deadline, a confrontation-weary Congress voted to avert a third federal shutdown and finance dozens of agencies for seven more weeks. Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz was fatally shot at the suburban Philadelphia estate of John E. du Pont; du Pont surrendered 48 hours later. (Du Pont was later convicted of third-degree murder but mentally ill; he’s serving a 13- to 30-year sentence.)

Five years ago: Lacrosse coach Diane Whipple was attacked and killed by two huge dogs outside her apartment in San Francisco (the dogs’ owners were later convicted of murder and manslaughter in connection with the death). A devastating earthquake hit the Indian subcontinent, killing more than 13,000 people. Joseph Kabila was sworn in as Congo’s president, following the assassination of his father, Laurent Kabila.

One year ago: A U.S. Marine helicopter crashed in western Iraq, killing 30 Marines and a Navy medic aboard. A man parked his SUV on railroad tracks in Glendale, Calif., setting off a crash of two commuter trains that killed 11 people. (Juan Manuel Alvarez, accused of being the SUV’s driver, has pleaded innocent to murder and arson charges.) Condoleezza Rice was sworn in as secretary of state, following her confirmation by the Senate.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Charles Lane is 101. Actress Anne Jeffreys is 83. Actor Paul Newman is 81. Actress Joan Leslie is 81. Cartoonist Jules Feiffer is 77. Sportscaster-actor Bob Uecker is 71. Actor Scott Glenn is 67. Singer Jean Knight is 63. Activist Angela Davis is 62. Rock musician Corky Laing (Mountain) is 58. Actor David Strathairn is 57. Singer Lucinda Williams is 53. Rock singer-musician Eddie Van Halen is 51. Reggae musician Norman Hassan (UB40) is 48. Actress-comedian Ellen DeGeneres is 48. Hockey star Wayne Gretzky is 45. Musician Andrew Ridgeley is 43. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jazzie B. (Soul II Soul) is 43. Actor Paul Johansson is 42. Gospel singer Kirk Franklin is 36. Actress Jennifer Crystal is 33. Rock musician Chris Hesse (Hoobastank) is 32. Actress Sarah Rue is 28. Country musician Michael Martin (Marshall Dyllon) is 23.

Thought for Today: “As long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost, and science can never regress.” — J. Robert Oppenheimer, American physicist (1904-1967).

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