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This Day in History for January 1 — Emancipation Proclamation Signed, and More

Here’s a look at some interesting events that took place on this day in history:

1863: President Abraham Lincoln signs the final Emancipation Proclamation, ending slavery in the rebelling states (more info)

1934: Alcatraz Island becomes a United States federal prison (more info)

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Firefighters
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2 Firefighters Shot and Killed at Scene of Fire in Webster, N.Y.; Gunman Dead (UPDATED)

UPDATE 4:07 p.m. EST: Authorities have identified the gunman as William Spengler, an ex-convict who spent 17 years in prison for murdering his 92-year-old grandmother in 1980.

Spengler was paroled for the crime in 1998.

Police also have not located Spengler's 67-year-old sister, who lived in the house with Spengler.

Authorities also report that a total of seven houses were destroyed in the blaze.

UPDATE 12:40 p.m. EST: Police chief Gerald Pickering says that the gunman, who was killed at the scene, either by police or from a self-inflicted wound, may have set a trap for first responders.

UPDATE 12:15 p.m. EST: The Associated Press is reporting that the gunman who killed the two firefighters is also dead. His body was found at the scene. The names of the two deceased firefighters, according to the Democrat and Chronicle, are Mike Chiapperini, 43, a volunteer firefighter and the Webster Police Department’s public information officer, and Tomasz Kaczowka. The names of the wounded firefighters are Joseph Hofsetter and Theodore Scardino.

Early Monday morning two firefighters were shot and killed when responding to a call in Webster, New York, just outside Rochester. After the firefighters arrived at 191 Lake Road, an unknown shooter fired at them as they left their truck, killing two of them and wounding two others. The wounded men are at a nearby hospital; one is in stable condition, the other is in guarded condition.

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Westboro Baptist Church Anonymous
Left: Westboro Baptist Church member (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images); right: Anonymous member (Adam Berry/Getty Images)
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Westboro Baptist Church to Protest Newtown Funerals; Internet Retaliates

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church, known for protesting the funerals of U.S. armed servicemen and women, announced that they plan to picket the upcoming funerals of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. This did not go over well on the Internet.

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Jovan Belcer
Jamie Squire, Getty Images
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Kansas City Chiefs Linebacker Jovan Belcher Commits Suicide After Fatally Shooting Girlfriend [UPDATE]

As reported earlier, a member of the Kansas City Chiefs committed suicide Saturday morning. While no motive has been released, the player's name and more details in the tragedy have emerged. Linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend before driving to the Chiefs' practice facility at Arrowhead Stadium and shooting himself in front of Coach Romeo Crennel and manager Scott Pioli

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Pilgrims
Public Domain (Library of Congress), Wiki Commons
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10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the American Pilgrims

This week, families will come together from all across the nation for Thanksgiving. They will stuff themselves full of turkey, side dishes and desserts. Some will laugh and joke with relatives, while others renew old feuds and bicker with their cousins and siblings. No matter how your particular Thanksgiving winds up, you can thank the American Pilgrims for starting this long-standing custom.

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"Black Friday" Marks Start Of Holiday Shopping Season
Michael Nagle/Getty Images
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Will You Be Hitting the Stores This Black Friday? — Survey of the Day

We are inching closer to the shopping extravaganza known as Black Friday, the day on which stores around the nation offer door-busting prices so low that otherwise-rational consumers take temporary leave of their senses, shake off their tryptophan haze and rush to the nearest mall at ungodly hours of the night. Or maybe not.

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"Black Friday" Marks Start Of Holiday Shopping Season
Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images
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Black Friday at Walmart Not Even on Friday Anymore

Black Friday may not be able to keep its name much longer. This holiday season, Walmart plans to get the shopping madness started a bit earlier than in times past—on Thursday. Or as most of us call it, Thanksgiving.

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tanker
@MichelleCharlesworth, Twitter
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Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath: What Happened, What We Know Now [VIDEO]

This morning, much of the East Coast is picking up the pieces after the massive storm known as Hurricane Sandy swept through, leaving millions without power, causing untold economic damage, and killing at least 21 people. Flooding caused largely by enormous, unprecedented storm surges has crippled transportation routes and wreaked havoc on low-lying areas.

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OJ Simpson
Pool, Getty Images
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O.J. Simpson Plans to Sell a Knife — Yeah, THAT Knife

Recent reports indicate that O.J. Simpson has the knife that he used to murder his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and Ronald Goldman in his possession, and is making plans to sell it to a collector for $5

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Getty Images
Getty Images
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Who Is the Worst Quarterback in the NFL Right Now? — Sports Survey of the Day

Yesterday we went over who the best quarterbacks in the NFL were, so it only makes sense to also take a look at some of the worst. There certainly are a lot to choose from.

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