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Friday, January 24
By The Associated Press
Associated Press
2014-01-17 10:01 AM

Today is Friday, Jan. 24, the 24th day of 2014. There are 341 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

661 - Islam's Caliph Ali, one of Shiite Islam's key saints, is killed by a murderer with a poisoned saber.

1634 - Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II secretly deprives Duke of Wallenstein of his command and declares him a traitor.

1798 - Irish rebellion breaks out.

1848 - James Marshall finds gold nugget in U.S. territory of California, touching off Gold Rush of '49.

1859 - Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza is elected ruler of the principalities of Wallachia and Moldova, which unite and form Romania.

1908 - The first Boy Scout troop is organized in England by Robert Baden-Powell.

1924 - Petrograd is renamed Leningrad in honor of founder of Soviet Union.

1935 - Canned beer goes on sale for the first time in the United States.

1943 - U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill conclude a wartime conference in Casablanca, Morocco.

1946 - U.N. General Assembly votes to create U.N. Atomic Energy Commission.

1967 - South Vietnam's Premier Nguyen Cao Ky runs into wild anti-war demonstration on visit to New Zealand.

1972 - The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down laws that deny welfare benefits to people who have resided in a state for less than a year.

1973 - U.S. negotiator Henry Kissinger says Vietnam peace agreement worked out in Paris also means end to fighting in Laos and Cambodia. Hanoi's Le Duc Tho calls agreement "a great victory for the Vietnamese people."

1978 - A nuclear-powered Soviet satellite plunges through Earth's atmosphere and disintegrates, scattering radioactive debris over parts of northern Canada.

1985 - The space shuttle Discovery is launched in NASA's first secret military flight.

1986 - Guerrillas advance into Ugandan capital of Kampala as army opposition crumbles, pushing military government to edge of collapse; the Voyager 2 space probe sweeps past Uranus, coming within 81,542 kilometers (50,679 miles) of the seventh planet of the solar system.

1989 - Rescuers struggle against heavy smoke and toxic gas to reach at least 100 miners trapped inside collapsed gold mine in southern Peru; confessed serial killer Ted Bundy is put to death in Florida's electric chair.

1991 - Lithuania asks Soviet Union to withdraw its troops from buildings seized in the Baltic republic.

1992 - Judge sentences army colonel and lieutenant to 30 years in prison for 1989 massacre of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador.

1995 - In a move of uncertain efficacy, U.S. President Bill Clinton freezes assets of suspected terrorist groups in American banks; the prosecution gives its opening statement at the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

1996 - An explosion at a NATO housing compound in Sarajevo, Bosnia, kills at least three peacekeeping troops and wounds seven.

1998 - The government of Mexican state of Chiapas frees 300 prisoners as a way of opening talks with the indigenous rebels.

1999 - Olympic leaders recommend the expulsion of six members of the International Olympic Committee in an unprecedented response to the biggest corruption scandal in the history of the games.

2000 - After a 22-hour hostage standoff, Thai security forces storm a hospital killing nine heavily armed insurgents from a Myanmar rebel group called God's Army who had trapped hundreds of patients, visitors and staff.

2001 - Japan's military dumped swarms of infected fleas on China that triggered outbreaks of bubonic plague in the 1940s, two Chinese doctors testify at a trial in Tokyo. Nearly 200 Chinese plaintiffs demand compensation and an apology from the Japanese government for the deaths of their relatives.

2002 - John Walker Lindh, a U.S. citizen captured while fighting alongside Afghanistan's deposed Taliban militia, appears in U.S. District Court to face charges of conspiring to kill Americans and supporting terrorist groups.

2003 - Former President Alberto Fujimori denies accusations by Peruvian human rights groups that he has a bank account in Japan that he used to hide embezzled government funds. Fujimori abandoned his office and fled to Tokyo in November 2000 amid a corruption scandal.

2005 - With calls of "never again," the U.N. General Assembly commemorates the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps with a special session, a stark change for a body that has been reluctant to address the extermination of the Jews during World War II.

2007 - Israeli President Moshe Katsav, facing charges of rape and abuse of power, asks parliament to temporarily remove him from office in an effort to blunt a growing demand for his resignation.

2008 - French bank Societe Generale uncovers an alleged 4.9 billion euro ($7.14 billion) fraud by a futures trader, Jerome Kerviel, who fooled regulators and overstepped his authority.

2009 - Hundreds of migrants and refugees break out of an overcrowded immigration facility on a Sicilian island to protest their treatment. About 2,000 people have been crammed into a facility built for 850.

2010 - Osama bin Laden endorses the failed attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day and threatens new attacks against the United States in an audio message that appeared aimed at asserting he maintains some direct command over al-Qaida-inspired offshoots.

2011 - Human Rights Watch singles out U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for especially harsh criticism as it takes world leaders to task for what it calls their failure to be tougher on rights offenders.

2012 - Moammar Gadhafi loyalists seize control of Libyan mountain city in the most serious challenge to the central government since the strongman's fall.

2013 - North Korea's top governing body warns that the regime will conduct its third nuclear test in defiance of U.N. punishment and makes clear its long-range rockets are designed to carry not only satellites but also warheads aimed at striking the United States.

Today's Birthdays:

E.T.A. Hoffmann, German author (1776-1822); John Belushi, U.S. actor (1949-1982); Neil Diamond, U.S. singer (1941--); Aaron Neville, U.S. singer with The Neville Brothers (1941--); Michael Ontkean, Canadian actor (1946--); Tatyana Ali, U.S. actress/singer (1979--).

Thought For Today:

Honesty is the best policy, but he who acts on that principle is not an honest man -- Richard Whately, British theologian (1787-1863).

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