There are 361 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
- Two hundred years ago, on Jan. 4, 1809, Louis Braille, inventor of the Braille raised-dot reading system for the blind, was born in Coupvray, France.
On this date:
- In 1821, the first native-born American saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, died in Emmitsburg, Md.
- In 1896, Utah was admitted as the 45th state.
- In 1904, the Supreme Court, in Gonzalez v. Williams, ruled that Puerto Ricans were not aliens and could enter the United States freely; however, the court stopped short of declaring them U.S. citizens.
- In 1948, Burma (now called Myanmar) became independent of British rule.
- In 1951, during the Korean War, North Korean and Communist Chinese forces recaptured the city of Seoul.
- In 1960, Nobel Prize-winning French author Albert Camus died in an automobile accident at age 46.
- In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson outlined the goals of his "Great Society" in his State of the Union Address.
- Poet T.S. Eliot died in London at age 76.
- In 1974, President Richard M. Nixon refused to hand over tape recordings and documents subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee.
- In 1987, 16 people were killed when an Amtrak train bound from Washington to Boston collided with Conrail locomotives that had crossed into its path from a side track in Chase, Md.
- In 2007, Nancy Pelosi was elected the first female speaker of the House as Democrats took control of Congress.
Ten years ago:
- Europe's new currency, the euro, got off to a strong start on its first trading day, rising against the dollar on world currency markets.
- Former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura took the oath of office as Minnesota's governor.
Five years ago:
- In Iowa, seven of the nine Democratic presidential hopefuls participated in a feisty, first debate of the election year.
- Afghans approved a new constitution.
- Georgians overwhelmingly elected Mikhail Saakashvili president, two months after he'd led protests that forced Eduard Shevardnadze to step down.
- Louisiana State University won college football's Sugar Bowl, defeating Oklahoma 21-14.
One year ago:
- The government reported that the nation's jobless rate hit 5 percent in December 2007, a two-year high, fanning recession fears.
- Howling winds, pelting rain and heavy snow pummeled California.
- Britney Spears lost custody of her two sons to ex-husband Kevin Federline a day after police and paramedics were called to her home.
- Actress Barbara Rush is 82.
- Football Hall-of-Fame coach Don Shula is 79.
- Actress Dyan Cannon is 72.
- Opera singer Grace Bumbry is 72.
- Author-historian Doris Kearns Goodwin is 66.
- Country singer Kathy Forester (The Forester Sisters) is 54.
- Actress Ann Magnuson is 53.
- Rock musician Bernard Sumner (New Order, Joy Division) is 53.
- Country singer Patty Loveless is 52.
- Rock singer Michael Stipe (R.E.M.) is 49.
- Actor Patrick Cassidy is 47.
- Actor Dave Foley is 46.
- Singer-musician Cait O'Riordan is 44.
- Actress Julia Ormond is 44.
- Tennis player Guy Forget is 44.
- Country singer Deana Carter is 43.
- Rock musician Benjamin Darvill (Crash Test Dummies) is 42.
- Actor Jeremy Licht is 38.
- Actress-singer Jill Marie Jones is 34.
- Christian rock singer Spencer Chamberlain (Underoath) is 26.
Thought for Today:
"Sometimes history takes things into its own hands."
Thurgood Marshall, U.S. Supreme Court justice (1908-1993).
"Let's all be careful out there!"