Today in History – Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016


Today is Sunday, Jan. 31, the 31st day of 2016. There are 335 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.

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.

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.

1992 – U.S. President George H.W. Bush asks the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions on Libya.

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.

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.

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.

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.

2015 -Canad announces a new anti-terrorism law that will allow anyone suspected of being involved in a terror plot to be detained without charge for up to 7 days.

Today’s Birthdays:

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).

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.