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Today in History - Jan. 26

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

Today is Friday, Jan. 26, the 26th day of 2007. There are 339 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 26, 1788, the first European settlers in Australia, led by Capt. Arthur Phillip, landed in present-day Sydney.

On this date:
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 1907, Congress passed the Tillman Act, which prohibited corporations from making direct campaign contributions to federal election candidates.

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 II 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 3 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: The Green Bay Packers beat the New England Patriots 35-21 to win their first Super Bowl in 29 years.

Five years ago: In a preview of his State of the Union address, President Bush pledged in his Saturday radio address to “work to create jobs and renew the strength of our economy.” Jennifer Capriati produced the greatest comeback in a Grand Slam final to overcome Martina Hingis and defend her Australian Open title, 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-2.

One year ago: Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Denmark to protest caricatures of the prophet Muhammad published in a Danish newspaper. (Protests spread across the Muslim world for weeks, and dozens of people were killed.) Confronted by Oprah Winfrey on her syndicated talk show, author James Frey acknowledged lies in his addiction memoir “A Million Little Pieces.”

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Charles Lane is 102. Actress Anne Jeffreys is 84. Actor Paul Newman is 82. Actress Joan Leslie is 82. Cartoonist Jules Feiffer is 78. Sportscaster-actor Bob Uecker is 72. Actor Scott Glenn is 68. Singer Jean Knight is 64. Activist Angela Davis is 63. Rock musician Corky Laing (Mountain) is 59. Actor David Strathairn is 58. Singer Lucinda Williams is 54. Rock singer-musician Eddie Van Halen is 52. Reggae musician Norman Hassan (UB40) is 49. Actress-comedian Ellen DeGeneres is 49. Hockey star Wayne Gretzky is 46. Musician Andrew Ridgeley is 44. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jazzie B. (Soul II Soul) is 44. Actor Paul Johansson is 43. Gospel singer Kirk Franklin is 37. Actress Jennifer Crystal is 34. Rock musician Chris Hesse (Hoobastank) is 33. Actress Sarah Rue is 29. Country musician Michael Martin (Marshall Dyllon) is 24.

Thought for Today: “My experience of the world is that things left to themselves don’t get right.” — T.H. Huxley, English biologist and author (1825-1895).