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ONLINE DOCUMENT: TODAY IN HISTORY

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Today is Thursday, Feb. 1, the 32nd day of 1996. There are 334 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:One hundred years ago, on Feb. 1, 1896, one of the best-known operas of all time, "La Boheme" by Giacomo Puccini, premiered in Turin.

On this date:

In 1790, the U.S. Supreme Court convened for the first time, at the Royal Exchange Building in New York. (However, since only three of the six justices were present, the court recessed until the next day.)

In 1861, Texas voted to secede from the Union.

In 1893, inventor Thomas A. Edison completed work on the world's first motion picture studio, his "Black Maria," in West Orange, N.J.

In 1920, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police came into existence as the Royal Northwest Mounted Police merged with the Dominion Police.

In 1943, one of America's most highly decorated military units of World War II, the 442d Regimental Combat Team, made up almost entirely of Japanese-Americans, was authorized.

In 1946, 50 years ago, Norwegian statesman Trygve Lie was chosen to be the first secretary-general of the United Nations.

In 1960, four black college students began a sit-in protest at a lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., where they'd been refused service.

In 1968, during the Vietnam War, Saigon's police chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan executed a Viet Cong officer with a pistol-shot to the head in a scene captured in a now-famous news photograph.

In 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini received a tumultuous welcome as he stepped off a jetliner in Tehran, ending nearly 15 years of exile.

Ten years ago: 4,000 people gathered at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., to bid farewell to the seven crew members of the space shuttle Challenger.

Five years ago: South African President F.W. de Klerk said he would repeal all remaining apartheid laws. Thirty-five people were killed when a USAir jetliner crashed atop a commuter plane on a runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

One year ago: The Federal Reserve boosted interest rates by half a percent, the seventh rate hike in a year. House Republicans pushed through a bill restricting the federal government's ability to impose unfunded mandates on states.

Today's Birthdays: Opera singer Renata Tebaldi is 74. Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin is 65. Singer Don Everly is 59. Actor Garrett Morris is 59. Actor Sherman Hemsley is 58. Comedian Terry Jones is 54. Singer Rick James is 44. Princess Stephanie of Monaco is 31. Lisa Marie Presley is 28.

Thought for Today: "When you look into a mirror you do not see your reflection - your reflection sees you." - Anonymous.