updated 1/26/2005 12:13:28 AM ET 2005-01-26T05:13:28

Today is Wednesday, January 26th, the 26th day of 2005. There are 339 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:
On January 26th, 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 Two 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 Three” 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: A little more than three weeks after Republicans had taken control of Congress, the House endorsed a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution designed to eliminate chronic federal deficits.

Five years ago: The grandmothers of Elian Gonzalez hugged and kissed the six-year-old boy during a tense, 90-minute meeting in Miami Beach, Florida, that had been arranged by the U.S. government. Tennis great Don Budge, who in 1938 became the first Grand Slam winner, died in Scranton, Pennsylvania, at age 84.

One year ago: The White House retreated from its once-confident claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction; Democrats swiftly sought to turn the about-face into an election-year issue. Lionel Tate, the Florida teen who’d killed a six-year-old playmate and became the youngest defendant in the nation to be locked away for life, was released after three years behind bars. At least 16 people were killed in the collapse of a building in Nasr City, Egypt.

Today’s birthdays: Actress Anne Jeffreys is 82. Actor Paul Newman is 80. Actress Joan Leslie is 80. Cartoonist Jules Feiffer is 76. Sportscaster-actor Bob Uecker is 70. Actor Scott Glenn is 63. Singer Jean Knight is 62. Activist Angela Davis is 61. Rock musician Corky Laing (Mountain) is 57. Actor David Strathairn is 56. Singer Lucinda Williams is 52. Rock singer-musician Eddie Van Halen is 50. Reggae musician Norman Hassan (UB40) is 47. Actress-comedian Ellen DeGeneres is 47. Hockey star Wayne Gretzky is 44. Musician Andrew Ridgeley is 42. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jazzie B. (Soul II Soul) is 42. Gospel singer Kirk Franklin is 35. Actress Jennifer Crystal is 32. Rock musician Chris Hesse (Hoobastank) is 31. Actress Sarah Rue is 27. Country musician Michael Martin (Marshall Dyllon) is 22.

Thought for today: “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18.” -- Albert Einstein, German-born physicist (1879-1955).

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