Today is Wednesday, Jan. 18, the 18th day of 2012. There are 348 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Jan. 18, 1862, the 10th president of the United States, John Tyler, died in Richmond, Va., at age 71, shortly before he could take his seat as an elected member of the Confederate Congress.
On this date:
In 1778, English navigator James Cook reached the present-day Hawaiian Islands, which he named the "Sandwich Islands."
In 1871, William I of Prussia was proclaimed German emperor in Versailles (vehr-SY'), France.
In 1911, the first landing of an aircraft on a ship took place as pilot Eugene B. Ely brought his Curtiss biplane in for a safe landing on the deck of the armored cruiser USS Pennsylvania in San Francisco Harbor.
In 1919, the Paris Peace Conference, held to negotiate peace treaties ending World War I, opened in Versailles, France.
In 1943, during World War II, the Soviets announced they'd broken through the long Nazi siege of Leningrad. (It was another year before the siege was fully lifted.) A wartime ban on the sale of pre-sliced bread in the U.S. -- aimed at reducing bakeries' demand for metal replacement parts -- went into effect.
In 1949, Charles Ponzi, engineer of one of the most spectacular swindles in history, died destitute at a hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at age 66.
In 1952, Jerome "Curly" Howard of Three Stooges fame died in San Gabriel, Calif., at age 48.
In 1957, a trio of B-52's completed the first non-stop, round-the-world flight by jet planes, landing at March Air Force Base in California after more than 45 hours aloft.
In 1967, Albert DeSalvo, who claimed to be the "Boston Strangler," was convicted in Cambridge, Mass., of armed robbery, assault and sex offenses. (Sentenced to life, DeSalvo was killed in prison in 1973.)
In 1970, David Oman McKay, the ninth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died at the age of 96.
In 1988, a China Southwest Airlines Ilyushin 18 crashed while on approach to Chongqing Airport, killing all 108 people on board.
In 1991, financially strapped Eastern Airlines shut down after more than six decades in business. Former New York congressman Hamilton Fish Sr. died in Cold Spring, N.Y., at age 102.
Ten years ago: 1970's radical-turned-suburban mother Sara Jane Olson (formerly Kathleen Soliah) was sentenced in Los Angeles to 20 years to life in prison for plotting to blow up a pair of police cars 27 years earlier. (Olson was paroled in March 2009.) Two Israeli tanks and an armored personnel carrier parked outside Yasser Arafat's headquarters, confining the Palestinian leader to his office complex a day after a Palestinian gunman burst into a banquet hall and gunned down six Israelis. Talk magazine announced it was shutting down, less than three years after its highly publicized launch.
Five years ago: Truck driver Tyrone Williams was spared the death penalty and sentenced by a federal court in Houston to life in prison for his role in the deaths of 19 illegal immigrants crammed in a sweltering tractor-trailer. The heated controversy at the ABC show "Grey's Anatomy" boiled over as the network rebuked co-star Isaiah Washington for an anti-gay comment and Washington issued a lengthy apology.
One year ago: Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington for a four-day state visit; President Barack Obama welcomed him with a private dinner in the White House residence. The first director of the Peace Corps, R. Sargent Shriver, died in Bethesda, Md., at age 95.
Today's Birthdays: Movie director John Boorman is 79. Former Sen. Paul Kirk, D-Mass., is 74. Singer-songwriter Bobby Goldsboro is 71. Comedian-singer-musician Brett Hudson is 59. Actor-director Kevin Costner is 57. Country singer Mark Collie is 56. Actress Jane Horrocks is 48. Comedian Dave Attell is 47. Actor Jesse L. Martin is 43. Rapper DJ Quik is 42. Rock singer Jonathan Davis (Korn) is 41. Singer Christian Burns (BBMak) is 39. NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous is 39. Actor Derek Richardson is 36. Actor Jason Segel is 32. Actress Samantha Mumba is 29. Country singer Kristy Lee Cook (TV: "American Idol") is 28.
Thought for Today: "Borrow trouble for yourself, if that's your nature, but don't lend it to your neighbours." -- Rudyard Kipling, British author and poet (born 1865, died this date in 1936).