Today in history: January 31

/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, January 31st, the 31st day of 2006. There are 334 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
Four hundred years ago, on January 31st, 1606, Guy Fawkes, convicted of treason for his part in the “Gunpowder Plot” against the English Parliament and King James the First, was executed.

On this date:
In 1797, composer Franz Schubert was born in Vienna, Austria.

In 1865, General Robert E. Lee was named General-in-Chief of all the Confederate armies.

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, Private 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 1956, the creator of “Winnie-the-Pooh,” British author A.A. Milne, died at age 74.

In 1958, the United States entered the Space Age with its first successful launch of a satellite into orbit, Explorer One.

In 1971, astronauts Alan B. Shepard Junior, Edgar D. Mitchell and Stuart A. Roosa blasted off aboard Apollo 14 on a mission to the moon.

In 2000, an Alaska Airlines jet plummeted into the Pacific Ocean, killing all 88 people aboard.

Ten years ago: In one of the worst attacks in Sri Lanka’s civil war, a truck packed with explosives rammed into the central bank and exploded, killing 88 people and wounding 14-hundred others. The last Cubans held in refugee camps at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base boarded a plane for Florida.

Five years ago: A Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands convicted one Libyan, acquitted a second, in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The state of Georgia hoisted its new flag above its statehouse, one featuring a smaller Confederate battle emblem. Michel Navratil, one of the last known survivors of the sinking of the Titanic, died in Montpellier, France, at age 92.

One year ago: Jury selection began in Santa Maria, California, for Michael Jackson’s child molestation trial. (Jackson was later acquitted.) SBC Communications Incorporated announced it was acquiring AT&T Corporation for $16 billion.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Carol Channing is 85. Author Norman Mailer is 83. Actress Jean Simmons is 77. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Ernie Banks is 75. Composer Philip Glass is 69. Actress Suzanne Pleshette is 69. Actor Stuart Margolin is 66. Former U.S. Representative Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., is 65. Blues singer-musician Charlie Musselwhite is 62. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Nolan Ryan is 59. Singer-musician KC (KC and the Sunshine Band) is 55. Rock singer Johnny Rotten is 50. Actress Kelly Lynch is 47. Actor Anthony LaPaglia is 47. Singer-musician Lloyd Cole is 45. Actor John Dye is 43. Rock musician Al Jaworski (Jesus Jones) is 40. Actress Minnie Driver is 35. Actress Portia de Rossi is 33. Actress Kerry Washington is 29. Singer Justin Timberlake (’N Sync) is 25.

Thought for Today: “The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.” — A.A. Milne (1882-1956).