updated 1/19/2007 12:10:55 AM ET 2007-01-19T05:10:55

Today is Friday, Jan. 19, the 19th day of 2007. There are 346 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
Two hundred years ago, on Jan. 19, 1807, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was born in Westmoreland County, Va.

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

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 1966, Indira Gandhi was elected prime minister of India.

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 1977, in one of his last acts of office, President Ford pardoned Iva Toguri D’Aquino, an American who’d made wartime broadcasts for Japan.

Ten years ago: Yasser Arafat returned to Hebron for the first time in more than 30 years, joining 60,000 Palestinians in celebrating the handover of the last West Bank city from Israeli control. In Albania, riot police beat demonstrators demanding restitution for money lost in pyramid schemes. “The English Patient” won best picture and “Evita” won in the category of best movie musical or comedy at the Golden Globes.

Five years ago: Israeli troops set off a powerful explosion that gutted the official Palestinian broadcasting building, dealing another retaliatory blow to Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority.

One year ago: Osama bin Laden, in an audiotape that was his first in more than a year, said al-Qaida was preparing for attacks in the United States; at the same time, he offered a “long-term truce” without specifying the conditions. Vice President Cheney defended the administration’s domestic surveillance program, calling it an essential tool in monitoring al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations. An unmanned NASA spacecraft blasted off on a 3 billion-mile journey to Pluto. A fire at a Massey Energy Co. mine in West Virginia killed two workers. Death claimed soul pioneer Wilson Pickett at age 64 and actor Anthony Franciosa at age 77.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Jean Stapleton is 84. Actor Fritz Weaver is 81. Actress Tippi Hedren is 77. Former PBS newsman Robert MacNeil is 76. Movie director Richard Lester is 75. Singer Phil Everly is 68. Actor-singer Michael Crawford is 65. Actress Shelley Fabares is 63. Country singer Dolly Parton is 61. ABC newswoman Ann Compton is 60. TV chef Paula Deen is 60. Rock singer Martha Davis is 56. Singer Dewey Bunnell (America) is 55. Actor Desi Arnaz Jr. is 54. Comedian Paul Rodriguez is 52. Actress Katey Sagal is 50. Reggae musician Mickey Virtue (UB40) is 50. Actor Paul McCrane is 46. Actor William Ragsdale is 46. Tennis player Stefan Edberg is 41. Rock singer Whitfield Crane (Ugly Kid Joe) is 39. Singer Trey Lorenz is 38. Actor Shawn Wayans is 36. Rock singer-musician John Wozniak (Marcy Playground) is 36. Actress Drea de Matteo is 35. Actress Marsha Thomason is 31. Actress Jodie Sweetin is 25. Actor Logan Lerman is 15.

Thought for Today: “Truth is not a diet but a condiment.” — Christopher Darlington Morley, American journalist (1890-1957).

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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