Today in History

Published 12:01 am Saturday, January 26, 2019

Today is Saturday, Jan. 26, the 26th day of 2019. There are 339 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 26, 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.”

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On this date:

In 1784, in a letter to his daughter Sarah, Benjamin Franklin expressed unhappiness over the choice of the bald eagle as the symbol of America, and stated his own preference: the turkey.

In 1788, the first European settlers in Australia, led by Capt. Arthur Phillip, landed in present-day Sydney.

In 1837, Michigan became the 26th state.

In 1870, Virginia rejoined the Union.

In 1939, principal photography began for David O. Selznick’s movie version of “Gone with the Wind.”

In 1942, the first American Expeditionary Force to head to Europe during World War II arrived in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

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.

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 1992, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton, appearing with his wife, Hillary, on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” acknowledged “causing pain in my marriage,” but said past problems were not relevant to the campaign.

In 1993, Vaclav Havel was elected president of the newly formed Czech Republic.

In 2003, 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.

In 2005, A U.S. Marine helicopter crashed in western Iraq, killing 30 Marines and a Navy medic aboard. A man parked his SUV on railroad tracks in Glendale, California, setting off a crash of two commuter trains that killed 11 people. (The SUV’s driver, Juan Alvarez, was convicted of murder and sentenced to 11 consecutive life terms.)

Ten years ago: Timothy Geithner was sworn in as the nation’s 75th treasury secretary, less than an hour after winning Senate confirmation. The impeachment trial of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich opened in Springfield, with Blagojevich refusing to take part, saying the rules were biased against him. Nadya Suleman gave birth at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center in California to six boys and two girls, the world’s longest-surviving set of octuplets.

Five years ago: A brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman’s body was removed from life support as the hospital keeping Marlise Munoz on machines against her family’s wishes acceded to a judge’s ruling that it was misapplying state law. Stan Wawrinka held off an injured Rafael Nadal to win his first Grand Slam title with a 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory in the Australian Open final. At the Grammy Awards, Daft Punk won album of the year for “Random Access Memories,” while record of the year went to Daft Punk with Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers for “Get Lucky.”

One year ago: President Donald Trump told an annual gathering of political and business elites in Switzerland that economic growth in the U.S. under his “America first” agenda could benefit the globe. A jury in suburban New Orleans found Ronald Gasser guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of NFL running back Joe McKnight in a December 2016 road-rage confrontation. (Gasser, 56, was later sentenced to 30 years in prison.) Michigan State University Athletic Director Mark Hollis retired, two days after the university’s president resigned over the school’s handling of sexual abuse allegations against disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar. A fire raced through a small South Korean hospital with no sprinkler system, killing 37 people.

Today’s Birthdays: Cartoonist Jules Feiffer is 90. Sportscaster-actor Bob Uecker is 84. Actor Scott Glenn is 80. Singer Jean Knight is 76. Activist Angela Davis is 75. Actor Richard Portnow is 72. Rock musician Corky Laing (Mountain) is 71. Actor David Strathairn is 70. Producer-director Mimi Leder is 67. Alt-country singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams is 66. Rock singer-musician Eddie Van Halen is 64. Reggae musician Norman Hassan (UB40) is 61. Actress-comedian-talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is 61. Rock musician Charlie Gillingham (Counting Crows) is 59. Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky is 58. Musician Andrew Ridgeley is 56. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jazzie B. (Soul II Soul) is 56. Actor Paul Johansson is 55. Director Lenny Abrahamson is 53. Actor Bryan Callen is 52. Gospel singer Kirk Franklin is 49. Actor Nate Mooney is 47. Actress Jennifer Crystal is 46. Rock musician Chris Hesse (Hoobastank) is 45. Actor Gilles Marini is 43. Gospel singer Tye Tribbett is 43. NBA player Vince Carter is 42. Actress Sarah Rue is 41. Actor Colin O’Donoghue is 38. Country musician Michael Martin (Marshall Dyllon) is 36.