updated 1/28/2006 12:00:31 AM ET 2006-01-28T05:00:31

Today is Saturday, Jan. 28, the 28th day of 2006. There are 337 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
Twenty years ago, on Jan. 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, killing all seven of its crew members: flight commander Francis R. “Dick” Scobee; pilot Michael J. Smith; Ronald E. McNair; Ellison S. Onizuka; Judith A. Resnik; Gregory B. Jarvis; and schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe.

On this date:
In 1853, Cuban revolutionary Jose Marti was born in Havana.

In 1878, the first commercial telephone switchboard went into operation, in New Haven, Conn.

In 1878, the first daily college newspaper, the Yale News, began publication in New Haven, Conn.

In 1909, the United States ended direct control over Cuba.

In 1915, the Coast Guard was created by an act of Congress.

In 1916, Louis D. Brandeis was appointed by President Wilson to the Supreme Court, becoming its first Jewish member.

In 1945, during World War II, Allied supplies began reaching China over the newly reopened Burma Road.

In 1973, a cease-fire officially went into effect in the Vietnam War.

In 1980, six U.S. diplomats who had avoided being taken hostage at their embassy in Tehran flew out of Iran with the help of Canadian diplomats.

In 1982, Italian anti-terrorism forces rescued U.S. Brig. Gen. James L. Dozier, 42, days after he had been kidnapped by the Red Brigades.

Ten years ago: The Dallas Cowboys captured their third Super Bowl victory in four years, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17. France set off a sixth underground nuclear blast in the South Pacific, the last in a series of atomic tests that generated protests worldwide.

Five years ago: Only a week after naming a record-setting 37 new cardinals, Pope John Paul II announced five more cardinals — two Germans, one each from South Africa, Bolivia and Ukraine. The Baltimore Ravens’ brazen defense backed up its bragging, beating the New York Giants 34-7 in the Super Bowl.

One year ago: Iraqis overseas began three days of voting in 14 nations. Senate Democrats criticized President Bush’s plan to add personal accounts to Social Security and accused his administration of improperly using the Social Security Administration to promote the idea. Consumer products giant Procter & Gamble Co. and Gillette Co. announced a $57 billion merger.

Today’s Birthdays: Musician-composer Acker Bilk is 77. Actor Nicholas Pryor is 71. Actor Alan Alda is 70. Actress Susan Howard is 64. Actress Marthe Keller is 61. Actress-singer Barbi Benton is 56. Actress Harley Jane Kozak is 49. Movie director Frank Darabont is 47. Rock musician Dave Sharp is 47. Rock singer Sam Phillips is 44. Rock musician Dan Spitz (Anthrax) is 43. Country musician Greg Cook (Ricochet) is 41. Singer Sarah McLachlan is 38. Rapper Rakim is 38. DJ Muggs (Cypress Hill) is 38. Actress Kathryn Morris (“Cold Case”) is 37. Singer Joey Fatone Jr. (’N Sync) is 29. Singer Nick Carter (Backstreet Boys) is 26. Actor Elijah Wood is 25.

Thought for Today: “I touch the future. I teach.” — Christa McAuliffe, American schoolteacher (1948-1986).

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