updated 1/20/2007 12:08:18 AM ET 2007-01-20T05:08:18

Today is Saturday, Jan. 20, the 20th day of 2007. There are 345 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 20, 1981, Iran released 52 Americans it had held hostage for 444 days, minutes after the presidency had passed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan.

On this date:

In 1801, Secretary of State John Marshall was nominated by President Adams to be chief justice of the United States (he was sworn in on Feb. 4, 1801).

In 1841, the island of Hong Kong was ceded by China to Great Britain. (It returned to Chinese control in July 1997.)

In 1887, the U.S. Senate approved an agreement to lease Pearl Harbor in Hawaii as a naval base.

In 1936, Britain’s King George V died; he was succeeded by Edward VIII.

In 1937, President Roosevelt became the first chief executive to be inaugurated on Jan. 20 instead of March 4.

In 1942, Nazi officials held the notorious Wannsee conference, during which they arrived at their “final solution” that called for exterminating Jews.

In 1945, President Roosevelt was sworn into office for an unprecedented fourth term.

In 1957, President Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon were sworn in for their second terms of office in a private Sunday ceremony (a public ceremony was held the next day).

In 1986, the United States observed the first federal holiday in honor of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

In 1986, Britain and France announced plans to build the Channel Tunnel.

Ten years ago: President Clinton and Vice President Gore were sworn in for second terms of office. In his inaugural address, Clinton called for an end to “the politics of petty bickering and extreme partisanship.”

Five years ago: Two Marines were killed, five injured when a U.S. military helicopter crashed in Afghanistan. “A Beautiful Mind” was named best drama and its star, Russell Crowe, the top dramatic actor at the Golden Globe Awards; Sissy Spacek was named best dramatic actress for “In the Bedroom” while “Moulin Rouge” was awarded the Globe for best musical or comedy.

One year ago: Michael Fortier, the government’s star witness in the Oklahoma City bombing trials, was released from federal prison after serving more than 10 years for failing to warn authorities about the plot. Japan halted all imports of U.S. beef because of mad cow fears.

Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Slim Whitman is 83. Actress Patricia Neal is 81. Comedian Arte Johnson is 78. Former astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin is 77. Actress Dorothy Provine is 70. Singer Eric Stewart is 62. Movie director David Lynch is 61. Actor Daniel Benzali is 57. Rock musician Paul Stanley (KISS) is 55. Rock musician Ian Hill (Judas Priest) is 55. Comedian Bill Maher is 51. Actor Lorenzo Lamas is 49. Actor James Denton (“Desperate Housewives”) is 44. Country singer John Michael Montgomery is 42. Actress Stacey Dash is 40. TV personality Melissa Rivers is 39. Actor Rainn Wilson (“The Office) is 39. Singer Xavier is 39. Singer Edwin McCain is 37. Actor Skeet Ulrich is 37. Rap musician ?uestlove (questlove) (The Roots) is 36. Rock musician Rob Bourdon (Linkin Park) is 28. Actor Evan Peters is 20.

Thought for Today: “To enjoy life one should give up the lure of life.” — Mohandas K. Gandhi, Indian religious leader (1869-1948).

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