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In this Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, photo New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hands the ball off during the first half of the NFL football AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts in Foxborough, Mass. The NFL says its investigation into whether the New England Patriots used underinflated footballs in the AFC championship game is ongoing after a report Tuesday night. Jan. 20, 2015, claimed the league found 11 balls were not properly inflated. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Today's Highlight in History: On Jan. 19, 1937, millionaire Howard Hughes set a transcontinental air record by flying his monoplane from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, in 7 hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds.

On this date:

In 1807, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia.

In 1853, Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Il Trovatore" premiered in Rome.

In 1861, Georgia became the fifth state to secede from the Union.

In 1915, Germany carried out its first air raid on Britain during World War I as a pair of Zeppelins dropped bombs onto Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn in England.

In 1942, during World War II, Japanese forces captured the British protectorate of North Borneo. A German submarine sank the Canadian liner RMS Lady Hawkins off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, killing 251 people; 71 survived.

In 1944, the federal government relinquished control of the nation's railroads to their owners following settlement of a wage dispute.

In 1955, a presidential news conference was filmed for television and newsreels for the first time, with the permission of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In 1977, President Gerald R. Ford pardoned Iva Toguri D'Aquino, an American convicted of treason for making radio broadcasts aimed at demoralizing Allied troops in the Pacific Theater during World War II. (Although she was popularly referred to as "Tokyo Rose," D'Aquino never used that name.)

In 1980, retired Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas died in Washington, D.C., at age 81.

In 1981, the United States and Iran signed an accord paving the way for the release of 52 Americans held hostage for more than 14 months.

In 2006, Osama bin Laden, in an audiotape that was his first in more than a year, said al-Qaida was preparing for attacks in the United States; at the same time, he offered a "long-term truce" without specifying the conditions. Vice President Dick Cheney defended the administration's domestic surveillance program, calling it an essential tool in monitoring al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations.

In 2009, Russia and Ukraine signed a deal restoring natural gas shipments to Ukraine and paving the way for an end to the nearly two-week cutoff of most Russian gas to a freezing Europe.

Ten years ago: In a major upset, Republican Scott Brown captured the U.S. Senate seat held by liberal champion Edward Kennedy for nearly half a century as he defeated Democrat Martha Coakley in a special election. Eight people were shot to death in Appomattox, Virginia; Christopher Speight (spayt) later pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to five life terms. Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was slain at a posh airport hotel in Dubai (officials in Dubai accused Israel of carrying out the killing).

Five years ago: As he headed home from a week-long trip to Asia, Pope Francis upheld church teaching banning contraception, but said Catholics didn't have to breed "like rabbits" and should instead practice responsible parenting. The NFL confirmed to The Associated Press a report by WTHR-TV Indianapolis that it was investigating whether the New England Patriots deflated footballs that were used in their AFC championship game victory over the Colts. (After an investigation, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was suspended for four games of the upcoming regular season for his alleged role in the controversy, but had that sanction overturned by a federal court.)

One year ago: A major winter storm dumped up to 10 inches of snow on parts of the Midwest before barreling toward New England. In a bid to end a partial government shutdown, President Donald Trump offered to extend temporary protections for young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children, but he didn't budge on his $5.7 billion demand for a border wall.

Today's Birthdays: Former U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar is 100. Actress Tippi Hedren is 90. Former PBS newsman Robert MacNeil is 89. Movie director Richard Lester is 88. Actor-singer Michael Crawford is 78. Actress Shelley Fabares (fab-RAY') is 76. Country singer Dolly Parton is 74. Former ABC newswoman Ann Compton is 73. TV chef Paula Deen is 73. Rock singer Martha Davis is 69. Singer Dewey Bunnell (America) is 68. Actor Desi Arnaz Jr. is 67. Actress Katey Sagal is 66. Comedian Paul Rodriguez is 65. Conductor Sir Simon Rattle is 65. Reggae musician Mickey Virtue (formerly with UB40) is 63. Rock musician Jeff Pilson (Foreigner) is 62. Actor Paul McCrane is 59. Actor William Ragsdale is 59. Basketball coach and commentator Jeff Van Gundy is 58. International Tennis Hall of Famer Stefan Edberg is 54. Rock singer Whitfield Crane (Ugly Kid Joe) is 52. Singer Trey Lorenz is 51. Actor Shawn Wayans is 49. Rock singer-musician John Wozniak (Marcy Playground) is 49. Actress Drea (DRAY-uh') de Matteo is 48. Comedian-impressionist Frank Caliendo is 46. Actor Drew Powell is 44. Actress Marsha Thomason is 44. Actress Bitsie Tulloch is 39. Actress Jodie Sweetin is 38. Movie director Damien Chazelle is 35. Actress Shaunette Renee Wilson is 30. Actress Briana Henry is 28. Actor Logan Lerman is 28. Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson is 28. Rapper Taylor Bennett is 24. Actress Lidya Jewett is 13.

Thought for Today: "Love without passion is dreary; passion without love is horrific." — Abraham Cowley, English poet (1618-1667).

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