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Today in History

Today is Friday, Jan. 30, the 30th day of 2009. There are 335 days left in the year.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Friday, Jan. 30, the 30th day of 2009. There are 335 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Jan. 30, 1968, the Tet Offensive began during the Vietnam War as Communist forces launched surprise attacks against South Vietnamese provincial capitals; although the Communists were beaten back, the offensive was seen as a major setback for the U.S. and its allies.

On this date:

In 1649, England's King Charles I was beheaded.

In 1882, the 32nd president of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was born in Hyde Park, N.Y.

In 1909, community organizer and social activist Saul Alinsky was born in Chicago.

In 1933, Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany. The first episode of the "Lone Ranger" radio program was broadcast on station WXYZ in Detroit.

In 1939, the Supreme Court, in Tennessee Electric Power Co. v. Tennessee Valley Authority, upheld the right of the federally owned TVA to compete with private utilities.

In 1948, Indian political and spiritual leader Mohandas K. Gandhi was shot and killed by a Hindu extremist.

In 1962, two members of "The Flying Wallendas" high-wire act were killed when their seven-person pyramid collapsed during a performance in Detroit.

In 1972, 13 Roman Catholic civil rights marchers were shot to death by British soldiers in Northern Ireland on what became known as "Bloody Sunday."

In 1979, the civilian government of Iran announced it had decided to allow Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who'd been living in exile in France, to return.

In 2003, Richard Reid, the British citizen and al-Qaida follower who'd tried to blow up a trans-Atlantic jetliner with explosives hidden in his shoes, was sentenced to life in prison by a federal judge in Boston.

Ten years ago: NATO authorized its secretary-general to launch military action in Yugoslavia if the warring parties failed to negotiate an agreement for autonomy in Kosovo.

Five years ago: Former French Prime Minister Alain Juppe was found guilty in connection with a party financing scandal and declared ineligible for public office for 10 years. NASA's Mars rover Opportunity spied hints of a mineral that typically forms in water — a finding that could mean the dry and dusty Red Planet was once wetter and more hospitable to life.

One year ago: John Edwards bowed out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Rudy Giuliani dropped out of the Republican presidential contest and endorsed front-runner and longtime friend John McCain. The Federal Reserve cut a key interest rate for the second time in just over a week, reducing the federal funds rate by a half point to 3 percent.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Dorothy Malone is 84. Producer-director Harold Prince is 81. Actor Gene Hackman is 79. Actress Tammy Grimes is 75. Actress Vanessa Redgrave is 72. Country singer Jeanne Pruett is 72. Country singer Norma Jean is 71. Vice President Dick Cheney is 68. Rock singer Marty Balin is 67. Rhythm-and-blues musician William King (The Commodores) is 60. Singer Phil Collins is 58. Actor Charles S. Dutton is 58. Actress-comedian Brett Butler is 51. Singer Jody Watley is 50. Actor Norbert Leo Butz is 42. Country singer Tammy Cochran is 37. Actor Christian Bale is 35. Pop-rock singer-songwriter Josh Kelley is 29. Actor Wilmer Valderrama is 29. Actor Jake Thomas is 19.

Thought for Today: "The excellent becomes the permanent." — Jane Addams, social worker and Nobel Peace laureate (1860-1935).