Today is Thursday, Jan. 24, the 24th day of 2013. There are 341 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Jan. 24, 2003, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security officially opened as its head, Tom Ridge, was sworn in. (Creation of the new Cabinet agency was the largest government reorganization in more than 50 years, a response to the Sept. 11 attacks and the threat of further terror.)
On this date:
- In 1813, the Royal Philharmonic Society was formed in London.
- In 1848, James W. Marshall discovered a gold nugget at Sutter's Mill in northern California, a discovery that led to the gold rush of '49.
- In 1908, the Boy Scouts movement began in England under the aegis of Robert Baden-Powell.
- In 1942, the Roberts Commission placed much of the blame for America's lack of preparedness for Imperial Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on Rear Adm. Husband E. Kimmel and Lt. Gen. Walter C. Short, the Navy and Army commanders.
- In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill concluded a wartime conference in Casablanca, Morocco.
- In 1961, a U.S. Air Force B-52 crashed near Goldsboro, N.C., dropping its payload of two nuclear bombs, neither of which went off; three crew members were killed.
- In 1963, a U.S. Air Force B-52 on a training mission crashed into Elephant Mountain in Maine after encountering turbulence and losing its vertical stabilizer; seven of the nine crew members were killed.
- In 1965, Winston Churchill died in London at age 90.
- In 1978, a nuclear-powered Soviet satellite, Cosmos 954, plunged through Earth's atmosphere and disintegrated, scattering radioactive debris over parts of northern Canada.
- In 1987, gunmen in Lebanon kidnapped educators Alann Steen, Jesse Turner, Robert Polhill and Mitheleshwar Singh. (All were eventually released.)
- In 1989, confessed serial killer Theodore Bundy was executed in Florida's electric chair.
- In 1993, retired Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall died in Bethesda, Md., at age 84.
Ten years ago: Connecticut became the first state to take part in the U.S. government's plan to inoculate a half million health care workers against smallpox. (Only four doctors agreed to be vaccinated the first day.)
Five years ago: Congressional leaders announced a deal with the White House on an economic stimulus package that would give most tax filers refunds of $600 to $1,200. French bank Societe Generale announced it had uncovered a 4.9 billion euro ($7.14 billion) fraud by a single futures trader. Italian Premier Romano Prodi resigned after losing a Senate confidence motion.
One year ago: Declaring the American dream under siege, President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address to deliver a populist challenge to shrink the gap between rich and poor, promising to tax the wealthy more and help jobless Americans get work and hang onto their homes. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney released his 2010 tax returns, showing that his annual income topped $20 million and that he paid about $3 million in federal income taxes.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Jerry Maren ("The Wizard of Oz") is 94. Actor Marvin Kaplan ("Top Cat") is 86. Cajun musician Doug Kershaw is 77. Singer-songwriter Ray Stevens is 74. Singer-songwriter Neil Diamond is 72. Singer Aaron Neville is 72. Actor Michael Ontkean is 67. Actor Daniel Auteuil is 63. Country singer-songwriter Becky Hobbs is 63. Comedian Yakov Smirnoff is 62. Bandleader-musician Jools Holland is 55. Actress Nastassja Kinski is 54. Rhythm-and-blues singer Theo Peoples is 52. Country musician Keech Rainwater (Lonestar) is 50. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan is 47. Comedian Phil LaMarr is 46. Olympic gold medal gymnast Mary Lou Retton is 45. Rhythm-and-blues singer Sleepy Brown (Society of Soul) is 43. Actor Matthew Lillard is 43. Actress Merrilee McCommas is 42. Actor Ed Helms is 39. Actress Tatyana Ali is 34. Rock musician Mitchell Marlow (Filter) is 34. Actress Mischa Barton is 27.
Thought for Today: "All men wish to have truth on their side; but few to be on the side of truth." — Richard Whately, British theologian (1787-1863).