This day in history

► Today is Thursday, Jan. 26, the 26th day of 2012. There are 340 days left in the year. ► Today’s birthdays: Actress Anne Jeffreys is 89. Actress Joan Leslie is 87. Cartoonist Jules Feiffer is 83. Sportscaster-actor Bob Uecker is 77. Actor Scott Glenn is 73. Singer Jean Knight is 69. Activist Angela Davis is 68. Rock musician Corky Laing (Mountain) is 64. Actor David Strathairn is 63. Alt-country singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams is 59. Rock singer-musician Eddie Van Halen is 57. Reggae musician Norman Hassan (UB40) is 54. Comedian-talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is 54. Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky is 51. Musician Andrew Ridgeley is 49. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jazzie B. (Soul II Soul) is 49. Actor Paul Johansson is 48. Gospel singer Kirk Franklin is 42. Actress Jennifer Crystal is 39. Rock musician Chris Hesse (Hoobastank) is 38. Actor Gilles Marini is 36. NBA player Vince Carter is 35. Actress Sarah Rue is 34. Country musician Michael Martin (Marshall Dyllon) is 29. ► In 1788, the first European settlers in Australia, led by Captain Arthur Phillip, landed in present-day Sydney. ► In 1837, Michigan became the 26th state. ► In 1841, Britain formally occupied Hong Kong, which the Chinese had ceded to the British. ► In 1861, Louisiana passed an Ordinance of Secession, becoming the sixth state to break free from the United States. ► In 1870, Virginia rejoined the Union. ► In 1939, during the Spanish Civil War, rebel forces led by General Francisco Franco captured Barcelona. ► In 1942, the first American Expeditionary Force to go to Europe during World War II arrived in Belfast. ► In 1950, India officially proclaimed itself a republic as Rajendra Prasad took the oath of office as president. ► In 1962, the US launched Ranger 3 to land scientific instruments on the moon, but the probe ended up missing its target by 22,000 miles. Charles “Lucky’’ Luciano, a leading Mafia figure in the US, died in Naples at 64. ► In 1979, former Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller died in New York at 70. ► In 1992, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton, appearing with his wife, Hillary, on “60 Minutes,’’ acknowledged “causing pain in my marriage,’’ but said past problems were not relevant to the campaign. ► In 1998, President 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.’’