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Today in history: January 10

Find out which $162 billion merger was announced five years ago on this day.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Monday, Jan. 10, the 10th day of 2005. There are 355 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:
On Jan. 10, 1776, Thomas Paine published his influential pamphlet, “Common Sense.”

On this date:
In 1861, Florida seceded from the Union.

In 1863, London’s Metropolitan, the world’s first underground passenger railway, opened to the public.

In 1870, John D. Rockefeller incorporated Standard Oil.

In 1920, the League of Nations was established as the Treaty of Versailles went into effect.

In 1928, the Soviet Union ordered the exile of Leon Trotsky.

In 1946, the first General Assembly of the United Nations convened in London.

In 1957, Harold Macmillan became prime minister of Britain, following the resignation of Anthony Eden.

In 1978, the Soviet Union launched two cosmonauts aboard a Soyuz capsule for a rendezvous with the Salyut 6 space laboratory.

In 1980, former AFL-CIO president George Meany died in Washington, D.C., at age 85.

In 1984, the United States and the Vatican established full diplomatic relations for the first time in more than a century.

Ten years ago: Russia announced a 48-hour truce in breakaway Chechnya, but the cease-fire fell apart after only a few hours. President Clinton declared flood-stricken areas of California major disaster areas.

Five years ago: America Online announced it was buying Time Warner for $162 billion. Peace talks between Israel and Syria recessed in West Virginia without agreement on new borders or any other major elements of a land-for-peace treaty.

One year ago: North Korea said it had shown its “nuclear deterrent” to an unofficial U.S. delegation that visited the disputed Yongbyon nuclear complex. Michelle Kwan won her seventh straight title and eighth overall at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Atlanta; Johnny Weir skated to his first men’s title. Actor-writer Spalding Gray, 62, vanished from his New York apartment (his body was found two months later in the East River). Novelist Alexandra Ripley died in Richmond, Va., at age 70.

Today’s birthdays: Jazz musician Max Roach is 81. Opera singer Sherrill Milnes is 70. Blues artist Eddy Clearwater is 70. Rock singer-musician Ronnie Hawkins is 70. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Willie McCovey is 67. Singer Scott McKenzie is 66. Movie director Walter Hill is 63. Singer Frank Sinatra Jr. is 61. Singer Rod Stewart is 60. Rock singer-musician Donald Fagen (Steely Dan) is 57. Boxer George Foreman is 56. Singer Pat Benatar is 52. Rock musician Michel Schenker is 50. Singer Shawn Colvin is 47. Rock singer-musician Curt Kirkwood (Meat Puppets) is 46. Actor Evan Handler is 44. Rock singer Brad Roberts (Crash Test Dummies) is 41. Actress Trini Alvarado is 38. Rock musician Matt Roberts (3 Doors Down) is 27. Rapper Chris Smith (Kris Kross) is 26.

Thought for today: “Sex is the Tabasco sauce which an adolescent national palate sprinkles on every course in the menu.” — Mary Day Winn, American writer (1888-1965).