Today is the 17th day of 2015 and the 28th day of winter.
TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1773, Captain James Cook and his crew became the first to sail south of the Antarctic Circle.
In 1819, Simon Bolivar proclaimed Colombia a republic.
In 1917, the United States purchased the Virgin Islands from Denmark for $25 million.
In 1946, the United Nations Security Council held its first session.
In 1991, a United States-led coalition's planes struck targets in Kuwait and Iraq, launching the Persian Gulf War.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), statesman/inventor/author; Al Capone (1899-1947), organized crime boss; Betty White (1922- ), actress; Eartha Kitt (1927-2008), actress/singer; James Earl Jones (1931- ), actor; Muhammad Ali (1942- ), boxer; Andy Kaufman (1949-1984), actor/comedian; Steve Harvey (1957- ), comedian/actor; Jim Carrey (1962- ), actor; Michelle Obama (1964- ), U.S. first lady; Kid Rock (1971- ), singer-songwriter; Zooey Deschanel (1980- ), actress; Dwyane Wade (1982- ), basketball player.
TODAY'S FACT: Besides being well-known as a publisher and statesman, Benjamin Franklin was also a composer and viol player, and created a briefly popular new instrument known as the armonica (or glass harmonica).
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1971, the Baltimore Colts defeated the Dallas Cowboys 16-13 in Super Bowl V, a game so filled with errors it was nicknamed the "Blunder Bowl."
TODAY'S QUOTE: "Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins." -- Benjamin Franklin
TODAY'S NUMBER: 26 -- age at which gangster Al Capone became boss of the "Chicago Outfit."
TODAY'S MOON: Between last quarter moon (Jan. 13) and new moon (Jan. 20).