Today is Friday, Jan. 9, the ninth day of 2015. There are 356 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Jan. 9, 1945, during World War II, American forces began landing on the shores of Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines as the Battle of Luzon got underway, resulting in an Allied victory over Imperial Japanese forces.
On this date:
In 1788, Connecticut became the fifth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
In 1793, Frenchman Jean Pierre Blanchard, using a hot-air balloon, flew between Philadelphia and Woodbury, New Jersey.
In 1861, Mississippi became the second state to secede from the Union, the same day the Star of the West, a merchant vessel bringing reinforcements and supplies to Federal troops at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, retreated because of artillery fire.
In 1913, Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th president of the United States, was born in Yorba Linda, California.
In 1914, the County of Los Angeles opened the country's first public defender's office. The fraternity Phi Beta Sigma was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
In 1931, Bobbi Trout and Edna May Cooper broke an endurance record for female aviators as they returned to Mines Field in Los Angeles after flying a Curtiss Robin monoplane continuously for 122 hours and 50 minutes.
In 1957, Anthony Eden resigned as British prime minister for health reasons; he was succeeded by Harold Macmillan.
In 1968, the Surveyor 7 space probe made a soft landing on the moon, marking the end of the American series of unmanned explorations of the lunar surface.
In 1972, reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, speaking by telephone from the Bahamas to reporters in Hollywood, said a purported autobiography of him by Clifford Irving was a fake.
In 1987, the White House released a Jan. 1986 memorandum prepared for President Ronald Reagan by Lt. Col. Oliver L. North showing a link between U.S. arms sales to Iran and the release of American hostages in Lebanon.
In 1995, in New York, the trial of Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman and 11 other defendants accused of conspiring to wage holy war against the United States began. (All the defendants were convicted of seditious conspiracy, except for two who reached plea agreements with the government.) British actor-comedian Peter Cook died in London at age 57. "The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder" premiered on CBS.
In 1997, a Comair commuter plane crashed 18 miles short of the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, killing all 29 people on board.
Ten years ago: Mahmoud Abbas, the No. 2 man in the Palestinian hierarchy during Yasser Arafat's rule, was elected president of the Palestinian Authority by a landslide. Sudan's vice president (Ali Osman Mohammed Taha) and the country's main rebel leader (John Garang) signed a comprehensive peace agreement, concluding an eight-year process to stop a civil war in the south.
Five years ago: In a video broadcast posthumously, the Jordanian doctor who'd killed seven CIA employees in a suicide attack in Afghanistan on Dec. 30, 2009, called on all jihadists to attack U.S. targets to avenge the death of Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud (BEH'-tuh-luh mah-SOOD'). Peyton Manning became the first player to win The Associated Press' NFL Most Valuable Player award four times.
One year ago: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie fired one of his top aides, Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly, and apologized repeatedly for his staff's "stupid" behavior, insisting during a news conference that he had no idea anyone around him had engineered traffic jams as part of a political vendetta against a Democratic mayor. A chemical plant spill into West Virginia's Elk River contaminated the water supply for Charleston, forcing more than 300,000 water customers in nine counties to stop using tap water. Activist poet-playwright Amiri Baraka, 79, died at a hospital in Newark, New Jersey.
Today's Birthdays: Author Judith Krantz is 87. Football Hall-of-Famer Bart Starr is 81. Sportscaster Dick Enberg is 80. Actress K. Callan is 79. Folk singer Joan Baez is 74. Rockabilly singer Roy Head is 74. Rock musician Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) is 71. Singer David Johansen (aka Buster Poindexter) is 65. Singer Crystal Gayle is 64. Actor J.K. Simmons is 60. Actress Imelda Staunton is 59. Nobel Peace laureate Rigoberto Menchu is 56. Rock musician Eric Erlandson is 52. Actress Joely Richardson is 50. Rock musician Carl Bell (Fuel) is 48. Rock singer Steve Harwell (Smash Mouth) is 48. Rock singer-musician Dave Matthews is 48. Actress-director Joey Lauren Adams is 47. Actress Angela Bettis is 42. Roots singer-songwriter Hayes Carll is 39. Singer A.J. McLean (Backstreet Boys) is 37. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is 33. Pop-rock musician Drew Brown (OneRepublic) is 31. Rock-soul singer Paolo Nutini is 28. Actress Nina Dobrev is 26. Actor Tyree Brown is 11.
Thought for Today: "One's lifework, I have learned, grows with the working and the living. Do it as if your life depended on it, and first thing you know, you'll have made a life out of it. A good life, too." — Theresa Helburn, American theatrical producer (1887-1959).
(Above Advance for Use Friday, Jan. 9)
Copyright 2015, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.