Today is Sunday, Jan. 19, the 19th day of 2014. There are 346 days left in the year.
On Jan. 19, 1807, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was born in Westmoreland County, Va.
On this date:
In 1764, John Wilkes was expelled from the British Parliament for seditious libel and obscenity (the former charge was for criticizing a speech delivered by King George III; the latter, for penning a pornographic parody of Alexander Pope’s “Essay on Man”).
In 1853, Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Il Trovatore” premiered in Rome.
In 1861, Georgia became the fifth state to secede from the Union.
In 1937, millionaire Howard Hughes set a transcontinental air record by flying his monoplane from Los Angeles to Newark, N.J., in 7 hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds.
In 1942, during World War II, Japan invaded Burma (Myanmar).
In 1944, the federal government relinquished control of the nation’s railroads to their owners following settlement of a wage dispute.
In 1955, a presidential news conference was filmed for television for the first time, with the permission of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
In 1966, Indira Gandhi was elected prime minister of India.
In 1970, President Richard M. Nixon nominated G. Harrold Carswell to the Supreme Court; however, the nomination was defeated because of controversy over Carswell’s past racial views.
In 1977, in one of his last acts of office, President Gerald R. Ford pardoned Iva Toguri D’Aquino, an American convicted of treason for making wartime broadcasts for Japan.
In 1981, the United States and Iran signed an accord paving the way for the release of 52 Americans held hostage for more than 14 months.
In 1992, German government and Jewish officials dedicated a Holocaust memorial at the villa on the outskirts of Berlin where the notorious Wannsee Conference had taken place.
Ten years ago: John Kerry won Iowa’s Democratic caucuses, while John Edwards placed second; Howard Dean, who finished third, delivered a fist-pumping, bellowing concession speech that was viewed as politically damaging. A freighter capsized near the western Norwegian port of Bergen, killing 18.
Five years ago: Russia and Ukraine signed a deal restoring natural gas shipments to Ukraine and paving the way for an end to the nearly two-week cutoff of most Russian gas to a freezing Europe.
One year ago: President Barack Obama said the U.S. stood ready to provide whatever assistance Algerian officials needed in the aftermath of a deadly terrorist attack at a natural gas complex in the Sahara, a siege which finally came to an end with a second assault by special forces. Thousands of gun advocates gathered peacefully at state capitals around the U.S. to rally against stricter limits on firearms. Minister Greg Griego, his wife, Sara, and three of their children were shot to death in their home near Albuquerque, N.M.; the couple’s teenage son, Nehemiah, is charged with murder. Death claimed baseball Hall-of-Famers Stan Musial at age 92 and Earl Weaver at age 82.
Today’s birthdays: Former U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar is 94. Actor Fritz Weaver is 88. Actress Tippi Hedren is 84. Former PBS newsman Robert MacNeil is 83. Movie director Richard Lester is 82. Actor-singer Michael Crawford is 72. Actress Shelley Fabares is 70. Country singer Dolly Parton is 68. ABC newswoman Ann Compton is 67. TV chef Paula Deen is 67. Rock singer Martha Davis is 63. Singer Dewey Bunnell (America) is 62. Actor Desi Arnaz Jr. is 61. Actress Katey Sagal is 60. Comedian Paul Rodriguez is 59. Conductor Sir Simon Rattle is 59. Reggae musician Mickey Virtue (UB40) is 57. Rock musician Jeff Pilson (Foreigner) is 56. Actor Paul McCrane is 53. Actor William Ragsdale is 53. International Tennis Hall of Famer Stefan Edberg is 48. Rock singer Whitfield Crane (Ugly Kid Joe) is 46. Singer Trey Lorenz is 45. Actor Shawn Wayans is 43. Rock singer-musician John Wozniak (Marcy Playground) is 43. Actress Drea de Matteo is 42. Comedian-impressionist Frank Caliendo is 40. Actress Marsha Thomason is 38. Actress Bitsie Tulloch is 33. Actress Jodie Sweetin is 32. Actor Logan Lerman is 22. Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson is 22. Rapper Mac Miller is 22.
Thought for today: “America is woven of many strands. I would recognise them and let it so remain. Our fate is to become one, and yet many. This is not prophecy, but description.” — Ralph Ellison, American author (1913-1994).