Highlights in history on this date:
1845 - Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem The Raven is first published in the New York Evening Mirror.
1856 - The Victoria Cross, the Commonwealth's highest military honour, is instituted.
1899 - NSW Premier George Reid convenes a conference of premiers to discuss a draft constitution for the Commonwealth of Australia.
1949 - Britain grants de facto recognition to new state of Israel.
1957 - Danish architect Joern Utzon wins competition to design the Sydney Opera House.
1959 - The Danish passenger ship Hans Hedtoft, sailing along Greenland's coast, hits an iceberg and sinks, killing 95 people.
1963 - Death of Pulitzer prize-winning American poet Robert Frost; Britain is refused entry into European Common Market by French veto.
1982 - Tasmania's Labor government decides to proceed with hydro-electric dam flooding the Franklin River.
1991 - South African political rivals Mengosuthu Buthelezi and Nelson Mandela meet for first time in 30 years and call jointly for ceasefire in feud between ANC and Inkatha loyalists.
1992 - Russian President Boris Yeltsin unveils a nuclear weapons reduction plan.
1996 - La Fenice, the 204-year-old opera house, burns down in Venice, Italy.
1997 - In Islamabad, Pakistan, the Supreme Court upholds the dismissal of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and orders new elections.
1998 - British Prime Minister Tony Blair announces the opening of a new inquiry into the 1972 Bloody Sunday incident, in which British troops killed Catholic protesters.
2000 - In Egypt, a 32-year-old housewife is the first woman to file for divorce under a new law that doesn't require women to prove physical or psychological harm on the part of their husband.
2002 - In his first State of the Union address, President Bush warns of "an axis of evil" consisting of North Korea, Iran and Iraq.
2004 - Muslim militant Sarjio, also known as Sawad, is convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for helping plan the Bali nightclub bombings that killed 202 people on October 12, 2002.
2011 - With protests raging, Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak names his intelligence chief as his first-ever vice president.
2012 - Europe's crippling debt crisis dominates the world's foremost gathering of business and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland.
2014 - The Top US intelligence official says the Syrian militant group tied to al-Qaeda, the al Nusra Front, wants to attack the United States and is training a growing cadre of fighters from Europe, the Middle East and even the US.
2015 - Colleen McCullough, Australian author of The Thorn Birds and other bestsellers, dies aged 77 on Norfolk Island.
2016 - An avalanche near McBride in the Canadian province of British Columbia kills five people.
2017 - Swiss-born tennis champ Roger Federer beats Spain's Rafael Nadal in five sets to win the Australian Open at Rod Laver Arena.
Germaine Greer, Australian born feminist, academic and author (1939-); Ian "Molly" Meldrum, Australian TV personality (1943-); Tom Selleck, US actor (1945-); Oprah Winfrey, US TV personality (1954-); Heather Graham, US actress (1970-); Jessica Marais, Australian actress (1985-); Athina Onassis, French heiress and equestrian (1985-); Stephanie Gilmore, Australian surfer, (1988-).
Thought For Today:
Misquotations are the only quotations that are never misquoted. - Hesketh Pearson, British biographer (1887-1964).