Today in history


Today is Friday, Feb. 3, the 34th day of 2017. There are 331 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 3, 1917, the United States broke off diplomatic relations with Germany, which had announced a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare, the same day an American cargo ship, the SS Housatonic, was sunk by a U-boat off Britain after the crew was allowed to board lifeboats.

On this date:

In 1783, Spain formally recognized American independence.

In 1867, Crown Prince Mutsuhito (muht-soosh-toh) became Japan’s 122nd emperor at age 14 four days after the death of his father, Emperor Komei (koh-may). (Emperor Meiji (may-jee), as he’s posthumously known, oversaw Japan’s transition from a feudal state to a capitalist world power.)

In 1877, the song “Chopsticks,” written by 16-year-old Euphemia Allen under the pseudonym Arthur de Lulli, was deposited at the British Museum under the title “The Celebrated Chop Waltz.”

In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, providing for a federal income tax, was ratified.

In 1924, the 28th president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, died in Washington, D.C., at age 67.

In 1930, the chief justice of the United States, William Howard Taft, resigned for health reasons. (He died just over a month later.)

In 1943, during World War II, the U.S. transport ship Dorchester, which was carrying troops to Greenland, sank after being hit by a German torpedo; of the more than 900 men aboard, only some 230 survived.

In 1959, rock-and-roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson died in a small plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa. An American Airlines Lockheed Electra crashed into New York’s East River, killing 65 of the 73 people on board.

In 1966, the Soviet probe Luna 9 became the first manmade object to make a soft landing on the moon.

In 1972, the XI Olympic Winter Games opened in Sapporo, Japan.

In 1989, Alfredo Stroessner, president of Paraguay for more than three decades, was overthrown in a military coup.

In 1995, the space shuttle Discovery blasted off with a woman, Air Force Lt. Col. Eileen Collins, in the pilot’s seat for the first time in NASA history.

Ten years ago: A suicide truck bomber struck a Baghdad market in a predominantly Shiite area, killing 137 people. President George W. Bush designated four central Florida counties disaster areas in the wake of tornadoes that had ripped through the region, leaving 21 dead. Thurman Thomas, Bruce Matthews, Roger Wehrli, Michael Irvin, Charlie Sanders and Gene Hickerson were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Five years ago: Susan G. Komen for the Cure abandoned plans to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, following a three-day furor that resounded across the Internet, in Congress and among Komen affiliates. Federal prosecutors dropped their investigation of Lance Armstrong, ending a nearly two-year effort aimed at determining whether the seven-time Tour de France winner and his teammates had participated in a doping program. (In Jan. 2013, Armstrong publicly admitted taking performance-enhancing drugs.) Actor-director Ben Gazzara, 81, died in New York. Actor-filmmaker Zalman King, 70, died in Santa, Monica, California.

One year ago: Rand Paul dropped his Republican campaign for president, opting to run for re-election to the Senate. Seeking to correct what he called a “hugely distorted impression” of Muslim-Americans, President Barack Obama visited a mosque in Catonsville, Maryland. Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White, 74, died in Los Angeles.

Today’s Birthdays: Comedian Shelley Berman is 92. Former Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., is 84. Football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton is 77. Actress Bridget Hanley is 76. Actress Blythe Danner is 74. Singer Dennis Edwards is 74. Football Hall of Famer Bob Griese is 72. Singer-guitarist Dave Davies (The Kinks) is 70. Singer Melanie is 70. Actress Morgan Fairchild is 67. Actress Pamela Franklin is 67. Actor Nathan Lane is 61. Rock musician Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth) is 61. Actor Thomas Calabro is 58. Actor-director Keith Gordon is 56. Actress Michele Greene is 55. Country singer Matraca (muh-TRAY’-suh) Berg is 53. Actress Maura Tierney is 52. Actor Warwick Davis is 47. Actress Elisa Donovan is 46. Reggaeton singer Daddy Yankee is 41. Musician Grant Barry is 40. Human rights activist Amal Clooney is 39. Singer-songwriter Jessica Harp is 35. Actor Matthew Moy is 33. Actress Rebel Wilson is 31. Rapper Sean Kingston is 27.

Thought for Today: “We are never prepared for what we expect.” — James Michener, American author (born this date in 1907, died 1997).

By The Associated Press

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