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On this day: January 31

Published On: Jan 31 2014 07:04:17 AM EST   Updated On: Jan 31 2014 02:00:00 AM EST

The first Social Security check is issued, America launches its first satellite into orbit, McDonald's comes to Moscow, and "Avatar" hits the $2 billion mark, all on this day.

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National Portrait Gallery, London

1606: Guy Fawkes is executed for his plotting against the English Parliament and King James I. Fawkes was part of a conspiracy to blow up the Palace of Westminster in London to destroy the House of Lords. He was discovered and arrested on Nov. 5, 1605, while guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder in the cellars under the palace. While the head of the conspiracy, Robert Catesby, was killed as the conspirators fled the city, eight others were tried and convicted for the plot.

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