Today is Monday, Jan. 31, the 31st day of 2005. There are 334 days left in the year.
Today’s highlight in history:
On Jan. 31, 1958, the United States entered the Space Age with its first successful launch of a satellite into orbit, Explorer 1.
On this date:
In 1606, Guy Fawkes, convicted 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, Austria.
In 1865, Gen. Robert E. Lee was named General-in-Chief of all the Confederate armies.
In 1905, 100 years ago, author John O’Hara was born in Pottsville, Pa.
In 1917, Germany served notice it was beginning a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.
In 1934, President Roosevelt devalued the dollar in relation to gold.
In 1944, during World War II, U.S. forces began invading Kwajalein Atoll and other parts of the Japanese-held Marshall Islands.
In 1945, Pvt. Eddie Slovik became the only U.S. soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion as he was shot by an American firing squad in France.
In 1950, President Truman announced he had ordered development of the hydrogen bomb.
In 1971, astronauts Alan B. Shepard Jr., Edgar D. Mitchell and Stuart A. Roosa blasted off aboard Apollo 14 on a mission to the moon.
Ten years ago: President Clinton scrapped a $40 billion rescue plan for Mexico, announcing instead that he would act unilaterally to provide Mexico with $20 billion from a fund normally used to defend the U.S. dollar. Legendary Broadway producer-director George Abbott died in Miami Beach, Fla., at age 107.
Five years ago: An Alaska Airlines jet plummeted into the Pacific Ocean, killing all 88 people aboard. Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker was suspended by baseball commissioner Bud Selig for disparaging foreigners, homosexuals and minorities in a Sports Illustrated interview. Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis was charged with murder in the deaths of two people outside an Atlanta nightclub hours after the Super Bowl. (Lewis ended his trial early by pleading guilty to obstruction of justice; two co-defendants were acquitted.)
One year ago: Six U.S.-bound flights from England, Scotland and France were canceled because of security concerns. Justine Henin-Hardenne won her third Grand Slam title, defeating Kim Clijsters 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in the Australian Open. John Elway and Barry Sanders were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on their first attempt; they were joined by Bob Brown and Carl Eller.
Today’s birthdays: Actress Carol Channing is 84. Author Norman Mailer is 82. Actress Jean Simmons is 76. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Ernie Banks is 74. Composer Philip Glass is 68. Actress Suzanne Pleshette is 68. Actor Stuart Margolin is 65. Former U.S. Representative Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., is 64. Blues singer-musician Charlie Musselwhite is 61. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Nolan Ryan is 58. Singer-musician KC (KC and the Sunshine Band) is 54. Rock singer Johnny Rotten is 49. Actress Kelly Lynch is 46. Actor Anthony LaPaglia is 46. Singer-musician Lloyd Cole is 44. Actor John Dye is 42. Rock musician Al Jaworski (Jesus Jones) is 39. Actress Minnie Driver is 34. Actress Portia de Rossi is 32. Actress Kerry Washington is 28. Singer Justin Timberlake (’N Sync) is 24.
Thought for today: “Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.” — Rabbi Hyman Judah Schachtel, American theologian, author and educator (1907-1990).