TODAY IN HISTORY
Today is Saturday, Jan. 26, the 26th day of 2013. There are 339 days left in the year.
On Jan. 26, 1788, the first European settlers in Australia, led by Capt. Arthur Phillip, landed in present-day Sydney.
On this date:
In 1784, in a letter to his daughter Sally, Benjamin Franklin expressed unhappiness over the choice of the eagle as the symbol of America, and stated his own preference: the turkey.
In 1837, Michigan became the 26th state.
In 1870, Virginia rejoined the Union.
In 1939, during the Spanish Civil War, rebel forces led by Gen. Francisco Franco captured Barcelona.
In 1942, the first American Expeditionary Force to go to Europe during World War II arrived in Belfast, 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 ended up missing its target by more than 22,000 miles. Charles "Lucky" Luciano, a leading Mafia figure in the U.S., died in Naples, Italy, at age 64.
In 1979, former Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller died in New York at age 70.
In 1988, Australians celebrated the 200th anniversary of their country as a grand parade of tall ships re-enacted the voyage of the first European settlers. The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "Phantom of the Opera" opened at Broadway's Majestic Theater.
In 1993, Vaclav Havel was elected president of the newly formed Czech Republic.
In 1998, President Bill Clinton forcefully denied having an affair with a former White House intern, telling reporters, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."
Ten years ago: Secretary of State Colin Powell, citing Iraq's lack of cooperation with U.N. inspectors, said he'd lost faith in the inspectors' ability to conduct a definitive search for banned weapons programs.
Five years ago: Barack Obama routed Hillary Rodham Clinton in the South Carolina primary.
One year ago: The Pentagon outlined a plan for slowing the growth of military spending, including cutting the size of the Army and Marine Corps, retiring older planes and trimming war costs. Capping three days of mourning, some 12,000 people -- including Penn State students, fans and football stars -- paid tribute to the late Joe Paterno in a campus memorial service that exposed a strong undercurrent of anger over his firing.
Today's birthdays: Actress Anne Jeffreys is 90. Actress Joan Leslie is 88. Sportscaster-actor Bob Uecker is 78. Activist Angela Davis is 69. 64. Alt-country singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams is 60. Rock singer-musician Eddie Van Halen is 58. Actress-comedian-talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is 55. Hockey Hall-of-Famer Wayne Gretzky is 52. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jazzie B. (Soul II Soul) is 50. Gospel singer Kirk Franklin is 43. NBA player Vince Carter is 36.
Thought for Today: "Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world." -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet, dramatist and author (1749-1832)