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Today in History for Feb. 5, 2014

Today is Wednesday, Feb. 5, the 36th day of 2014. There are 329 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight:

On Feb. 5, 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.

On this date:

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

In 1811, George, the Prince of Wales, was named Prince Regent due to the mental illness of his father, Britain’s King George III.

In 1914, “Beat Generation” author William S. Burroughs was born in St. Louis.

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 1940, Glenn Miller and his orchestra recorded “Tuxedo Junction” for RCA Victor’s Bluebird label.

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 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, Miss., 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: CIA Director George Tenet offered a forceful defense of prewar intelligence in a speech at Georgetown University. Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf pardoned the country’s top nuclear scientist, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, for leaking weapons technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Five years ago: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer. USA Swimming suspended Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps for three months after a photo showing him inhaling from a marijuana pipe became public.

One year ago: President Barack Obama asked Congress for a short-term deficit reduction package of spending cuts and tax revenue that would delay the effective date of steeper automatic cuts scheduled to kick in on March 1. (The president and congressional leaders failed to reach an agreement, and the $85 billion in federal spending cuts, known as sequester, went into effect.)

Today’s birthdays: Baseball Hall-of-Famer Hank Aaron is 80. Actor Stuart Damon is 77. Tony-winning playwright John Guare is 76. Financial writer Jane Bryant Quinn is 75. Actor David Selby is 73. Singer-songwriter Barrett Strong is 73. Football Hall-of-Famer Roger Staubach is 72. Singer Cory Wells (Three Dog Night) is 72. Movie director Michael Mann is 71. Rock singer Al Kooper is 70. Actress Charlotte Rampling is 68. Racing Hall-of-Famer Darrell Waltrip is 67. Actress Barbara Hershey is 66. Actor Christopher Guest is 66. Actor Tom Wilkinson is 66. Actor-comedian Tim Meadows is 53. Actress Jennifer Jason Leigh is 52. Actress Laura Linney is 50. Rock musician Duff McKagan (Velvet Revolver) is 50. World Golf Hall-of-Famer Jose Maria Olazabal is 48. Actor-comedian Chris Parnell is 47. Rock singer Chris Barron (Spin Doctors) is 46. Singer Bobby Brown is 45. Actor Michael Sheen is 45. Country singer Sara Evans is 43. Actor-singer Darren Criss (“Glee”) is 27. Actor Jeremy Sumpter is 25.

Thought for today: “The greater the philosopher, the harder it is for him to answer the questions of common people.” — Henryk Sienkiewicz, Polish author (1846-1916).

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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