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January 31, 2013

Today in History

ALBANY — Today is Thursday, Jan. 31, the 31st day of 2013. There are 334 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Jan. 31, 1863, during the Civil War, the First South Carolina Volunteers, an all-black Union regiment composed of former slaves, was mustered into federal service at Beaufort, S.C.

On this date:

  • In 1606, Guy Fawkes, convicted of treason for his part in the "Gunpowder Plot" against the English Parliament and King James I, was executed.
  • In 1797, composer Franz Schubert was born in Vienna.
  • In 1865, Gen. Robert E. Lee was named general-in-chief of all the Confederate armies.
  • In 1917, during World War I, Germany served notice it was beginning a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.
  • In 1929, revolutionary Leon Trotsky and his family were expelled from the Soviet Union.
  • In 1944, during World War II, U.S. forces began a successful invasion of Kwajalein Atoll and other parts of the Japanese-held Marshall Islands.
  • In 1950, President Harry S. Truman announced he had ordered development of the hydrogen bomb.
  • In 1958, the United States entered the Space Age with its first successful launch of a satellite into orbit, Explorer I.
  • In 1961, NASA launched Ham the Chimp aboard a Mercury-Redstone rocket from Cape Canaveral; Ham was recovered safely from the Atlantic Ocean following his 16½-minute suborbital flight.
  • In 1971, astronauts Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roosa blasted off aboard Apollo 14 on a mission to the moon.
  • In 1990, McDonald's Corp. opened its first fast-food restaurant in Moscow.
  • In 2000, an Alaska Airlines jet crashed into the Pacific Ocean off Port Hueneme, Calif., killing all 88 people aboard.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair met at the White House; Bush said he would welcome a second U.N. resolution on Iraq but only if it led to the prompt disarming of Saddam Hussein. Pushing for a new resolution, Blair called confronting Iraq "a test of the international community."

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