Today in History

Today is Saturday, Feb. 7, the 38th day of 2015. There are 327 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 7, 1965, during the Vietnam War, Viet Cong forces attacked Camp Holloway, a U.S. Army helicopter base near Pleiku, killing eight Americans and wounding more than 100 others; the United States retaliated with airstrikes against the North Vietnamese.

On this date:

In 1795, the 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, dealing with states’ sovereign immunity, was ratified.

In 1857, a French court acquitted author Gustave Flaubert of obscenity for his serialized novel “Madame Bovary.”

In 1914, Keystone Film Co. released the silent short comedy “Kid Auto Races at Venice,” Charles Chaplin’s second film, and the first in which he plays the Little Tramp.

In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized a flag for the office of the vice president.

In 1940, Walt Disney’s second animated feature, “Pinocchio,” premiered in New York.

In 1948, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower resigned as Army chief of staff; he was succeeded by Gen. Omar Bradley.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy imposed a full trade embargo on Cuba.

In 1964, The Beatles arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to begin their first American tour.

In 1974, the island nation of Grenada won independence from Britain.

In 1984, space shuttle Challenger astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart went on the first untethered space walk, which lasted nearly six hours.

In 1985, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was kidnapped in Guadalajara, Mexico, by drug traffickers who tortured and murdered him. The high school comedy-drama “The Breakfast Club,” a Universal Pictures release, premiered in Los Angeles.

In 1999, Jordan’s King Hussein died of cancer at age 63; he was succeeded by his eldest son, Abdullah.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush proposed a $2.57 trillion budget that would erase scores of programs but still worsen federal deficits by $42 billion over the next five years. Defrocked priest Paul Shanley, the most notorious figure in the Boston Archdiocese sex scandal, was convicted of repeatedly raping and fondling a boy at his church during the 1980s. (Shanley was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison.) Ellen MacArthur, a 28-year-old Englishwoman, broke the then-record for solo around-the-world sailing, completing the 26,000-mile circumnavigation after 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds at sea.

Five years ago: A nearly completed Kleen Energy Systems power plant in Middletown, Connecticut, exploded, killing six people and injuring 50. Pro-Russian opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych (yah-noo-KOH’-vich) declared victory in Ukraine’s presidential runoff, but his opponents rejected the claim, saying the vote was too close to call. (Yanukovych was inaugurated Feb. 25.) The New Orleans Saints rallied for a 31-17 Super Bowl victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

One year ago: The Sochi Olympics opened with a celebration of Russia’s past greatness and hopes for future glory. President Barack Obama, during a visit to Michigan State University, signed an agriculture spending bill spreading benefits to farmers in every region of the country while trimming the food stamp program that had inspired a two-year battle over the legislation.

Today’s Birthdays: Author Gay Talese is 83. Former Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., is 80. Movie director Hector Babenco (Film: “Kiss of the Spider Woman”) is 69. Actor Miguel Ferrer is 60. Reggae musician Brian Travers (UB40) is 56. Comedy writer Robert Smigel (SMY’-guhl) is 55. Actor James Spader is 55. Country singer Garth Brooks is 53. Rock musician David Bryan (Bon Jovi) is 53. Actor-comedian Eddie Izzard is 53. Actor-comedian Chris Rock is 50. Actor Jason Gedrick is 48. Actress Essence Atkins is 43. Rock singer-musician Wes Borland is 40. Rock musician Tom Blankenship (My Morning Jacket) is 37. Actor Ashton Kutcher is 37. Actress Tina Majorino is 30. Actress Deborah Ann Woll (TV: “True Blood”) is 30.

Thought for Today: “No one is useless in this world… who lightens the burden of it for any one else.” – From “Our Mutual Friend” by Charles Dickens (born this date in 1812, died in 1870).

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