On this day: January 31

POSTED: 10:08 PM PST Jan 30, 2013    UPDATED: 11:00 PM PST Jan 30, 2016 

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.

OTD January 31 - Lockerbie bombing
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Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

2001: A panel of three Scottish judges sitting in a special court in the Netherlands convicts Libyan Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and acquits another Libyan citizen, Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah, in the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The terrorist attack killed all 259 people on the plane and 11 more on the ground. Megrahi served more than eight years before being freed on compassionate grounds by the Scottish Government in August 2009 following doctors reporting that he had terminal prostate cancer and was expected to have around three months to live. He died on May 20, 2012, nearly three years after his release, and remains the only person to be convicted for the attack.


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