By The Associated Press
2014-01-24 10:22 AM
Today is Friday, Jan. 31, the 31st day of 2014. There are 334 days left in the year.
Highlights in history on this date:
1531 - Holy Roman Emperor Charles V appoints his sister, Mary of Hungary, as Regent of the Netherlands.
1606 - Guy Fawkes, convicted for his part in the "Gunpowder Plot" against the English Parliament and King James I, is executed.
1709 - British sailor Alexander Selkirk, the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, is rescued after being marooned on a Pacific island for four years.
1865 - The House of Representatives passes a U.S. constitutional amendment to abolish slavery.
1884 - Russians take Merv from Amir of Afghanistan.
1891 - Civil war begins in Chile.
1917 - Germany announces policy of unrestricted naval warfare in World War I.
1928 - Leon Trotsky is expelled from Soviet Union.
1943 - German troops surrender at Stalingrad in World War II.
1944 - U.S. forces invade Kwajalein Atoll and other parts of the Japanese-held Marshall Islands during World War II.
1945 - Private Eddie Slovik becomes the only U.S. soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion.
1949 - The first U.S. TV daytime soap opera, "These Are My Children," is broadcast from the NBC station in Chicago.
1950 - U.S. President Harry Truman announces he ordered the development of the hydrogen bomb.
1957 - Trans-Iranian pipeline, from Abadan to Tehran, is completed.
1958 - First U.S. earth satellite, Explorer I, is launched at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
1962 - Foreign ministers of Organization of American States vote to exclude Cuba from participating in the Inter-American system.
1966 - Soviets launch Luna 9, which makes the first successful soft landing on the moon.
1971 - Astronauts Alan B. Shepard Jr., Edgar D. Mitchell and Stuart A. Roosa blast off aboard Apollo 14 on a mission to the moon.
1979 - China's First Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping says after meetings with U.S. President Jimmy Carter and congressional leaders that Moscow is world's "main hotbed of war."
1988 - Greek and Turkish premiers agree on "No War" policy, following confrontation over disputed waters in Aegean Sea in March 1987.
1990 - McDonald's restaurant opens in Moscow.
1991 - Allied forces claim victory in battle of Khafji, first major ground battle of Persian Gulf War; Croatia walks out of regional talks on political future of Yugoslavia.
1992 - U.S. President George H.W. Bush asks the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions on Libya.
1994 - In Mogadishu, U.S. Marines in a convoy carrying American diplomats open fire near a crowded food distribution center. At least five Somalis are killed and many wounded.
1995 - The Mexican peso strengthens when U.S. President Bill Clinton announces a multibillion dollar credit package aimed at helping Mexico out of its financial crisis.
1996 - In one of the worst attacks in Sri Lanka's 12-year civil war, Tamil separatist rebels ram a truck packed with explosives into the central bank, killing 88 people and injuring more than 1,400.
1997 - Mexican drug kingpin Juan Garcia Abrego is sentenced to 11 concurrent life prison terms and fines that total nearly $500 million.
2000 - Japan promises 6 million yen (US$57,000) to North Korea to help preserve ancient tombs near the Stalinist nation's capital. North Korea hopes to have the tombs of Goguryo, which contain 1,500-year-old murals, added to UNESCO's World Heritage list.
2001 - A Scottish court convened in the Netherlands convicts a Libyan intelligence officer of murder and sentences him to life imprisonment for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people. A second Libyan is acquitted.
2002 - The Philippines and the United States begin a joint training exercise where the United States will assist Filipino troops fighting a Muslim rebel group, Abu Sayyaf.
2003 - Six men are convicted in Mozambique of the November 2000 killing of investigative reporter Carlos Cardoso. The journalist was gunned down in a Maputo suburb while probing the disappearance of US$14 million in privatization funds from the Commercial Bank of Mozambique.
2005 - Police burst into suspected terrorist hideouts throughout a tranquil suburb of Kuwait City, arresting a reputed terror boss and setting off a ferocious gunbattle that killed at least four of his followers and a bystander in Kuwait's worst-ever fight with militants.
2007 - Counter-terrorism police in Birmingham, England, arrest nine men and foil an alleged kidnapping scheme that involved torturing and beheading a British Muslim soldier and broadcasting the execution on the Internet.
2008 - An explosion at an unlicensed fireworks factory in Istanbul kills 17 people and injures 68 others.
2009 - An oil spill from a crashed truck erupts into flames in Molo, Kenya, killing at least 115 people.
2010 - The world's foremost gathering of business and government leaders wrap up a five-day meeting in Davos, Switzerland with widespread agreement that a fragile recovery is under way but no consensus on what is going to spur job growth and prevent another global economic meltdown.
2011 - A foreign intelligence report says the control systems of Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant have been penetrated by a computer worm unleashed last year and warns of a possible Chernobyl-like disaster once the site becomes fully operational.
2012 - The former Royal Bank of Scotland chief who infuriated the British public by leading the bank to near-collapse and then walking away with a fat pension is stripped of his knighthood, a rate punishment that puts him in the company of criminals and dictators.
2013 - Egyptian police are accused of firing wildly at protesters, beating them and lashing out with deadly force in clashes across much of the country, regaining their Hosni Mubarak-era notoriety as a tool of repression.
Tokugawa Ieyasu, Japanese shogun (1543-1616); Franz Schubert, German composer (1797-1828); Anna Pavlova, Russian ballerina (1885-1931); Norman Mailer, U.S. writer (1923-2007); Suzanne Pleshette, U.S. actress (1937-2008); Oe Kenzaburo, Japanese writer and Nobel laureate (1935--); Justin Timberlake, U.S. singer (1981--); Philip Glass, composer (1937--).
Thought For Today:
We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is disappearing -- R.D. Laing, Scottish psychiatrist (1927-1989).