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April 18, 2014

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Today in History

Updated Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014 | 9 p.m.

Today is Monday, Jan. 27, the 27th day of 2014. There are 338 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Jan. 27, 1944, during World War II, the Soviet Union announced the complete end of the deadly German siege of Leningrad, which had lasted for more than two years.

On this date:

In 1756, composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria.

In 1880, Thomas Edison received a patent for his electric incandescent lamp.

In 1888, the National Geographic Society was incorporated in Washington, D.C.

In 1901, opera composer Giuseppe Verdi died in Milan, Italy, at age 87.

In 1913, the musical play "The Isle O' Dreams" opened in New York; it featured the song "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" by Ernest R. Ball, Chauncey Olcott and George Graff Jr.

In 1943, some 50 bombers struck Wilhelmshaven in the first all-American air raid against Germany during World War II.

In 1945, Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration camps Auschwitz and Birkenau in Poland.

In 1951, an era of atomic testing in the Nevada desert began as an Air Force plane dropped a one-kiloton bomb on Frenchman Flat.

In 1964, E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Co. introduced its artificial leather substitute, Corfam. (The product ultimately failed in large part because of consumer complaints that shoes made of Corfam could not be "broken in" like leather shoes.)

In 1967, astronauts Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger B. Chaffee died in a flash fire during a test aboard their Apollo spacecraft. More than 60 nations signed a treaty banning the orbiting of nuclear weapons.

In 1973, the Vietnam peace accords were signed in Paris.

In 1984, singer Michael Jackson suffered serious burns to his scalp when pyrotechnics set his hair on fire during the filming of a Pepsi-Cola TV commercial at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Ten years ago: John Kerry won the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary. A jury in New York heard opening arguments in the trial of Martha Stewart, who was accused of lying about a stock sale (she was convicted in March 2004 and sentenced to five months in prison). Former "Tonight Show" host Jack Paar died in Greenwich, Conn., at age 85.

Five years ago: Saying, "The American people expect action," President Barack Obama held closed-door meetings with House and Senate Republicans on the eve of a key vote on an economic stimulus package. Ervin Lupoe of Wilmington, Calif., fatally shot himself a day after killing his wife Ana, their 8-year-old daughter and two sets of twins, 2-year-old boys and 5-year-old girls, after faxing a note to a TV station saying the couple had just been fired from their hospital jobs. Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist John Updike died in Danvers, Mass. at age 76.

One year ago: Flames raced through a crowded nightclub in southern Brazil, killing 242 people. The NFC blew past the AFC 62-35 in the Pro Bowl. Novak Djokovic beat Andy Murray 6-7 (2), 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-2 to become the first man in the Open era to win three consecutive Australian Open titles. Little-known Max Aaron won his first title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Omaha, Neb. The CIA thriller "Argo" won top honor for overall cast performance at the Screen Actors Guild Awards; Jennifer Lawrence won leading actress for "Silver Linings Playbook" while Daniel Day-Lewis won leading actor for "Lincoln."

Today's Birthdays: Actor James Cromwell is 74. Actor John Witherspoon is 72. Rock musician Nick Mason (Pink Floyd) is 69. Rhythm-and-blues singer Nedra Talley (The Ronettes) is 68. Ballet star Mikhail Baryshnikov is 66. Political commentator Ed Schultz is 60. Chief U.S. Justice John Roberts is 59. Country singer Cheryl White is 59. Country singer-musician Richard Young (The Kentucky Headhunters) is 59. Actress Mimi Rogers is 58. Rock musician Janick Gers (Iron Maiden) is 57. Political commentator Keith Olbermann is 55. Rock singer Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) is 53. Rock musician Gillian Gilbert is 53. Actress Bridget Fonda is 50. Actor Alan Cumming is 49. Country singer Tracy Lawrence is 46. Rock singer Mike Patton is 46. Rapper Tricky is 46. Rock musician Michael Kulas (James) is 45. Actor-comedian Patton Oswalt is 45. Actor Josh Randall is 42. Country singer Kevin Denney is 38. Tennis player Marat Safin is 34.

Thought for Today: "Who never doubted, never half believed. Where doubt is, there truth is — it is her shadow." — Gamaliel Bailey, American abolitionist (1807-1859).

(Above Advance for Use Monday, Jan. 27)

Copyright 2014, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.