updated 1/12/2007 12:20:00 AM ET 2007-01-12T05:20:00

Today is Friday, Jan. 12, the 12th day of 2007. There are 353 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 12, 1945, during World War II, Soviet forces began a huge offensive against the Germans in Eastern Europe.

On this date:

In 1519, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I died.

In 1773, the first public museum in America was established, in Charleston, S.C.

In 1915, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected a proposal to give women the right to vote.

In 1932, Hattie W. Caraway became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate.

In 1942, President Roosevelt re-established the National War Labor Board.

In 1948, the Supreme Court ruled that states could not discriminate against law-school applicants because of race.

In 1966, President Johnson said in his State of the Union address that the U.S. should stay in South Vietnam until Communist aggression there was ended.

In 1976, mystery writer Dame Agatha Christie died in Wallingford, England, at age 85.

In 1986, the shuttle Columbia blasted off with a crew that included the first Hispanic-American in space, Dr. Franklin R. Chang-Diaz.

In 1987, Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite arrived in Lebanon on his latest mission to win the release of Western hostages; however, Waite ended up being taken captive himself.

Ten years ago: Two recently enrolled female cadets at The Citadel announced they were not returning for the spring semester, citing harassment by male cadets. The shuttle Atlantis blasted off on a mission to pick up American astronaut John Blaha from the Russian space station Mir. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Carolina Panthers, 30-13, to win the NFC Championship while the New England Patriots beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20-6, to claim the AFC Championship.

Five years ago: The United States intensified its anti-terror campaign in eastern Afghanistan, dropping bombs on suspected al-Qaida and Taliban hideouts. Michelle Kwan won her fifth successive U.S. Figure Skating Championships crown and sixth overall. Former Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance died in New York at age 84.

One year ago: Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who’d shot Pope John Paul II in 1981, was released from an Istanbul prison after serving more than 25 years in Italy and Turkey for the plot against the pontiff and the slaying of a Turkish journalist. A stampede broke out during the Islamic hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, killing 363 people. Supreme Court nominee Joseph Alito completed four days of testimony at his Senate confirmation hearing.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Luise Rainer is 97. Country singer Ray Price is 81. Singer Glenn Yarborough is 77. The Amazing Kreskin is 72. Country singer William Lee Golden (The Oak Ridge Boys) is

68. Former heavyweight boxing champion Joe Frazier is 63. Singer-musician George Duke is 61. Rock musician Cynthia Robinson (Sly and the Family Stone) is 61. Actor Anthony Andrews is 59. Movie director Wayne Wang is 58. Radio commentator Rush Limbaugh is

56. Actress Kirstie Alley is 56. Writer Walter Mosley is 55. Country singer Ricky Van Shelton is 55. Radio personality Howard Stern is 53. Rock musician Tom Ardolino (NRBQ) is 50. Broadcast journalist Christiane Amanpour is 49. Rock musician Charlie Gillingham (Counting Crows) is 47. Actor Oliver Platt is 47. Actor Olivier Martinez is 41. Rock singer Rob Zombie is 41. Rapper TBird (B-Rock and the Bizz) is 40. Model Vendela is 40. Actress Farrah Forke is 39. Rock singer Zack de la Rocha is 37. Rapper Raekwon (Wu Tang Clan) is 37. Singer Dan Haseltine (Jars of Clay) is 34. Rock musician Matt Wong (Reel Big Fish) is 34. Singer Melanie Chisholm (Spice Girls) is 33. Rhythm-and-blues singer Amerie is 27. Actor Will Rothhaar is 20. Actor Andrew Lawrence is 19.

Thought for Today: “Being young is a fault which improves daily.” — Swedish proverb.

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