Today in History

Today is Thursday, Feb. 5, the 36th day of 2015. There are 329 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 5, 1940, Glenn Miller and His Orchestra recorded “Tuxedo Junction” for RCA Victor’s Bluebird label.

On this date:

In 1783, Sweden recognized the independence of the United States.

In 1897, the Indiana House of Representatives passed, 67-0, a measure offering a new (as well as hopelessly flawed) method for determining the area of a circle, which would have effectively redefined the value of pi as 3.2. (The bill died in the Indiana Senate.)

In 1919, movie studio United Artists was incorporated by Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith and Charles Chaplin.

In 1922, the first edition of Reader’s Digest was published.

In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed increasing the number of U.S. Supreme Court justices; the proposal, which failed in Congress, drew accusations that Roosevelt was attempting to “pack” the nation’s highest court.

In 1953, Walt Disney’s animated feature “Peter Pan” was first released.

In 1967, “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” premiered on CBS-TV.

In 1971, Apollo 14 astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell stepped onto the surface of the moon in the first of two lunar excursions.

In 1973, services were held at Arlington National Cemetery for U.S. Army Col. William B. Nolde, the last official American combat casualty before the Vietnam cease-fire took effect.

In 1985, Ugo Vetere, the mayor of modern Rome, and Chedli Klibi, the mayor of modern Carthage, signed a treaty ending the Punic Wars after more than 20 centuries.

In 1989, the Soviet Union announced that all but a small rear-guard contingent of its troops had left Afghanistan.

In 1994, white separatist Byron De La Beckwith was convicted in Jackson, Mississippi, of murdering civil rights leader Medgar Evers in 1963, and was immediately sentenced to life in prison. (Beckwith died Jan. 21, 2001 at age 80.) Sixty-eight people were killed when a mortar shell exploded in a marketplace in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Ten years ago: Togo President Gnassingbe Eyadema (nyah-SING’-bay ee-yah-DEE’-mah) died after 38 years in power; he was 69. Steve Young and Dan Marino were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Five years ago: Toyota’s president, Akio Toyoda, emerged from seclusion to apologize and address criticism that the automaker had mishandled a crisis over sticking gas pedals.

One year ago: A U.N. human rights committee denounced the Vatican for adopting policies that it said allowed priests to rape and molest tens of thousands of children over decades. CVS Caremark announced it would pull cigarettes and other tobacco products from its stores. The state of Texas executed Suzanne Basso for torturing and killing Louis “Buddy” Musso, a mentally impaired man she’d lured to suburban Houston with the promise of marriage.

Today’s Birthdays: Baseball Hall-of-Famer Hank Aaron is 81. Actor Stuart Damon is 78. Tony-winning playwright John Guare (gwayr) is 77. Financial writer Jane Bryant Quinn is 76. Actor David Selby is 74. Singer-songwriter Barrett Strong is 74. Football Hall-of-Famer Roger Staubach is 73. Singer Cory Wells (Three Dog Night) is 73. Movie director Michael Mann is 72. Rock singer Al Kooper is 71. Actress Charlotte Rampling is 69. Racing Hall-of-Famer Darrell Waltrip is 68. Actress Barbara Hershey is 67. Actor Christopher Guest is 67. Actor Tom Wilkinson is 67. Actor-comedian Tim Meadows is 54. Actress Jennifer Jason Leigh is 53. Actress Laura Linney is 51. Rock musician Duff McKagan (Velvet Revolver) is 51. World Golf Hall-of-Famer Jose Maria Olazabal is 49. Actor-comedian Chris Parnell is 48. Rock singer Chris Barron (Spin Doctors) is 47. Singer Bobby Brown is 46. Actor Michael Sheen is 46. Actor David Chisum (TV: “Black Box”) is 45. Country singer Sara Evans is 44. Country singer Tyler Farr is 31. Actor-singer Darren Criss (TV: “Glee”) is 28. Rock musician Kyle Simmons (Bastille) is 27. Actor Jeremy Sumpter is 26.

Thought for Today: “Many excellent words are ruined by too definite a knowledge of their meaning.” – Aline Kilmer, American poet (1888-1941).

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