Highlight: In 2003, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security officially opened as its head, Tom Ridge, was sworn in. (Creation of the new Cabinet agency was the largest government reorganization in more than 50 years, a response to the Sept. 11 attacks and the threat of further terror.)
In 1813, the Royal Philharmonic Society was formed in London.
In 1848, James Marshall discovered a gold nugget at Sutter’s Mill in Northern California, a discovery that led to the gold rush of ‘49.
In 1908, the Boy Scouts movement began in England under the aegis of Robert Baden-Powell.
In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill concluded a wartime conference in Casablanca, Morocco.
In 1961, a U.S. Air Force B-52 crashed near Goldsboro, N.C., dropping its payload of two nuclear bombs, neither of which went off; three crew members were killed.
In 1965, Winston Churchill died in London at age 90.
In 1978, a nuclear-powered Soviet satellite, Cosmos 954, plunged through Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrated, scattering radioactive debris over parts of northern Canada.
In 1987, gunmen in Lebanon kidnapped educators Alann Steen, Jesse Turner, Robert Polhill and Mitheleshwar Singh. (All were eventually released.)
In 1989, confessed serial killer Theodore Bundy was executed in Florida’s electric chair.
Ten years ago: Connecticut became the first state to take part in the U.S. government’s plan to inoculate a half million health care workers against smallpox. (Only four doctors agreed to be vaccinated the first day.)
Five years ago: Congressional leaders announced a deal with the White House on an economic stimulus package that would give most tax filers refunds of $600 to $1,200. French bank Societe Generale announced it had uncovered a 4.9 billion euro fraud by a single futures trader. Italian Premier Romano Prodi resigned after losing a Senate confidence motion.
One year ago: Declaring the American dream under siege, President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address to deliver a populist challenge to shrink the gap between rich and poor, promising to tax the wealthy more and help jobless Americans get work and hang onto their homes. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney released his 2010 tax returns, showing that his annual income topped $20 million and that he paid about $3 million in federal income taxes.
It’s Thursday, Jan. 24, the 24th day of 2013. There are 341 days left in the year.
Singer-songwriter Ray Stevens is 74. Singer-songwriter Neil Diamond is 72. Singer Aaron Neville is 72. Comedian Yakov Smirnoff is 62. Actress Nastassja Kinski is 54. Comedian Phil LaMarr is 46. Olympic gold medal gymnast Mary Lou Retton is 45. Actor Matthew Lillard is 43. Actor Ed Helms is 39. Actress Mischa Barton is 27.
— From wire reports