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Wednesday, January 1
By The Associated Press
Associated Press
2013-12-25 09:42 AM

Today is Wednesday, Jan. 1, the 1st day of 2014. There are 364 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1622 - Papacy adopts Jan. 1 as beginning of new year instead of March 25.

1801 - Act of Union of Britain and Ireland goes into effect.

1803 - Denmark bans import of slaves to the Danish West Indies, becoming the first country to ban slavery.

1804 - Haiti declares itself independent from France, becoming the world's first black republic.

1808 - The U.S. Congress officially prohibits African slave trade.

1833 - British proclaim sovereignty over Falkland Islands.

1851 - The leader of the Taiping rebellion in China, Hung Hsiu-ch'uan, proclaims himself emperor.

1863 - U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation declaring slaves free.

1877 - England's Queen Victoria is proclaimed Empress of India.

1892 - The Ellis Island Immigrant Station in New York formally opens.

1901 - Commonwealth of Australia is proclaimed.

1935 - The colonies of Cyrenaica, Tripoli and Eezaan unite to form the country of Libya.

1942 - Twenty-six nations sign the U. N. Declaration.

1949 - A U.N.-brokered cease-fire goes into effect between Pakistani and Indian troops fighting over the Kashmir region.

1951 - North Korean and Communist Chinese troops break through U.N. lines at 38th parallel.

1956 - Sudan is proclaimed an independent democratic republic.

1958 - European Common Market and Euratom agreements go into effect.

1959 - Fidel Castro leads Cuban revolutionaries to victory as dictator Fulgencio Batista flees to Dominica.

1962 - Western Samoa becomes first sovereign independent Polynesian state.

1965 - The Palestine Liberation Organization is formed.

1979 - The United States and China hold celebrations in Washington and Beijing to mark the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

1984 - Brunei becomes fully independent from Britain.

1986 - Portugal is formally admitted to the European Community.

1990 - Prices of staple goods double and quadruple in Poland as government enacts radical plan to move from centrally planned to market economy; David Dinkins is sworn in as New York City's first black mayor.

1991 - Four Nicaraguan Sandinista army officers and 11 Salvadorans are arrested for selling Soviet-made anti-aircraft missiles to Salvadoran rebels.

1993 - Czechoslovakia peacefully splits into the independent Czech Republic and Slovakia.

1994 - Rival Afghan rebel leaders stage a bloody coup attempt that fails but sparks a year of fighting that leaves more than 15,000 people dead; the North America Free Trade Agreement goes into effect.

1995 - Austria, Finland and Sweden join European Union, expanding it to 15 members.

1997 - Turkish troops cross into northern Iraq and kill at least 72 Kurdish rebels after the guerrillas attack a military outpost in Turkey.

1998 - More than 400 people, many of them women and children, are killed in western Algeria in the worst massacre so far in six years of violence by Islamic groups.

1999 - Eleven nations in the European Union adopt the euro as their common currency.

2000 - An anxious world holds its breath as computers silently switch to 2000, but the dreaded Y2K bug's first bite is barely felt.

2002 - Rwanda unveils a new flag, national anthem and coat-of-arms in an effort to promote reconciliation seven years after a half million people were killed in a state-sponsored genocide.

2003 - Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of the Workers Party is inaugurated as Brazil's first working-class president and the first elected president from a leftist party.

2006 - Russia halts natural gas deliveries to Ukraine in a price dispute and accuses the country of stealing gas that goes through Ukraine on its way to Western Europe.

2007 - Ban Ki-moon, a 62-year-old South Korean career diplomat, becomes the United Nations' eighth secretary-general; passenger jet crashes off coast of Indonesia after facing heavy winds, killing all 102 people on board.

2008 - France's smoking ban in bars, restaurants, nightclubs and cafes goes into effect.

2009 - Slovakia becomes 16th country to adopt the euro.

2010 - A suicide bomber detonates his explosives-packed vehicle in a crowd of people watching a volleyball tournament in northwest Pakistan, killing 75 people in the deadliest attack in the country in more than two months.

2011 - Christians clash with Egyptian police in the northern city of Alexandria, furious over an apparent suicide bombing against worshippers leaving a New Year's Mass at a church that killed at least 21 people. It was the worst violence against the country's Christian minority in a decade.

2012 - Yemen's opposition accuses outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh of trying to torpedo a power transfer deal by sparking a new crisis, as troops loyal to him clash with opposition forces, killing three.

2013 - A crowd stampedes after leaving a New Year's fireworks show in Ivory Coast's main city of Abidjan, killing 61 people, many of them children and teenagers -- and injuring more than 200.

Today's Birthdays:

Paul Revere, U.S. patriot (1735-1818); James George Frazer, British anthropologist (1854-1941); Kim Philby, British intelligence officer, Soviet spy (1912-1988); J. D. Salinger, U.S. author (1919--2010); Grandmaster Flash, U.S. rapper (1958--).

Thought for Today:

Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunderstorm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols -- Thomas Mann, German author (1875-1955).

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