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Today in history: January 27

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Friday, Jan. 27, the 27th day of 2006. There are 338 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
Two hundred and fifty years ago, on Jan. 27, 1756, composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria.

On this date:
In 1880, Thomas Edison received a patent for his electric incandescent lamp.

In 1901, opera composer Giuseppe Verdi died in Milan, Italy, at age 87.

In 1943, some 50 bombers struck Wilhelmshaven in the first all-American air raid against Germany during World War II.

In 1944, the Soviet Union announced the end of the deadly German siege of Leningrad, which had lasted for more than two years.

In 1945, Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration camps Auschwitz and Birkenau in Poland.

In 1951, an era of atomic testing in the Nevada desert began as an Air Force plane dropped a one-kiloton bomb on Frenchman Flats.

In 1967, astronauts Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger B. Chaffee died in a flash fire during a test aboard their Apollo 1 spacecraft at Cape Kennedy, Fla.

In 1967, more than 60 nations signed a treaty banning the orbiting of nuclear weapons.

In 1973, the Vietnam peace accords were signed in Paris.

In 1981, President Reagan greeted the 52 former American hostages released by Iran.

Ten years ago: A man invaded a convent in Waterville, Maine, stabbing and beating four nuns, killing two of them (Mark Bechard was later found not criminally responsible because of mental illness). Soldiers seized control of Niger’s government.

Five years ago: Two Darmouth College professors, Half and Susanne Zantop, were murdered at their Hanover, N.H., home by two teens. (Robert Tulloch later pleaded guilty to murder and conspiracy and is serving a sentence of life without parole; James Parker pleaded guilty to being an accomplice to second-degree murder and is serving a sentence of 25 years to life.) Ten people were killed when a plane bringing people home from Oklahoma State University’s basketball game against Colorado crashed in a field outside Denver.

One year ago: Condoleezza Rice, in her first day as Secretary of State, reached out to European allies and partners in the war on terrorism and echoed President Bush’s inaugural charge to promote liberty across the globe. Frail survivors and humbled world leaders remembered the victims of the Holocaust as they marked the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer Bobby “Blue” Bland is 76. Actor James Cromwell is 66. Actor John Witherspoon is 64. Rock musician Nick Mason (Pink Floyd) is 61. Rhythm-and-blues singer Nedra Talley (The Ronettes) is 60. Ballet star Mikhail Baryshnikov is 58. Country singer Cheryl White is 51. Country singer-musician Richard Young (The Kentucky Headhunters) is 51. Actress Mimi Rogers is 50. Rock musician Janick Gers (Iron Maiden) is 49. Rock singer Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) is 45. Rock musician Gillian Gilbert is 45. Actress Bridget Fonda is 42. Actor Alan Cumming is 41. Country singer Tracy Lawrence is 38. Rock singer Mike Patton is 38. Rapper Tricky is 38. Rock musician Michael Kulas (James) is 37. Actor Josh Randall is 34. Country singer Kevin Denney is 30.

Thought for Today: “Who never doubted, never half believed. Where doubt is, there truth is — it is her shadow.” — Gamaliel Bailey, American abolitionist (1807-1859).