Today is Saturday, Jan. 31, the 31st day of 2015. There are 334 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.
1949 - The first U.S. TV daytime soap opera, "These Are My Children," is broadcast from the NBC station in Chicago.
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.
1979 - China's First Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping says after meetings with U.S. President Jimmy Carter and congressional leaders that Moscow is world's "main hotbed of war."
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; Croatia walks out of regional talks on political future of Yugoslavia.
1992 - U.S. President George H.W. Bush asks the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions on Libya.
1994 - In Mogadishu, U.S. Marines in a convoy carrying American diplomats open fire near a crowded food distribution center. At least five Somalis are killed and many wounded.
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.
1997 - Mexican drug kingpin Juan Garcia Abrego is sentenced to 11 concurrent life prison terms and fines that total nearly $500 million.
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.
2003 - Six men are convicted in Mozambique of the November 2000 killing of investigative reporter Carlos Cardoso. The journalist was gunned down in a Maputo suburb while probing the disappearance of US$14 million in privatization funds from the Commercial Bank of Mozambique.
2005 - Police burst into suspected terrorist hideouts throughout a tranquil suburb of Kuwait City, arresting a reputed terror boss and setting off a ferocious gunbattle that killed at least four of his followers and a bystander in Kuwait's worst-ever fight with militants.
2007 - Counter-terrorism police in Birmingham, England, arrest nine men and foil an alleged kidnapping scheme that involved torturing and beheading a British Muslim soldier and broadcasting the execution on the Internet.
2008 - An explosion at an unlicensed fireworks factory in Istanbul kills 17 people and injures 68 others.
2009 - An oil spill from a crashed truck erupts into flames in Molo, Kenya, killing at least 115 people.
2010 - The world's foremost gathering of business and government leaders wrap up a five-day meeting in Davos, Switzerland with widespread agreement that a fragile recovery is underway but no consensus on what is going to spur job growth and prevent another global economic meltdown.
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.
2012 - The former Royal Bank of Scotland chief who infuriated the British public by leading the bank to near-collapse and then walking away with a fat pension is stripped of his knighthood, a rare punishment that puts him in the company of criminals and dictators.
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.
2014 — Canada's Natural Resources Minister says he is "more confident" the Keystone XL pipeline will be approved after the U.S. State Department's latest environmental report raised no major environmental objection to the long-delayed project.
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).