Today is Wednesday, Feb. 6, the 37th day of 2013. There are 328 days left in the year.
Today’s highlight in history:
On Feb. 6, 1788, Massachusetts became the sixth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
On this date:
In 1778, the United States won official recognition from France with the signing of a Treaty of Alliance in Paris.
In 1899, a peace treaty between the United States and Spain was ratified by the U.S. Senate.
In 1911, Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, was born in Tampico, Ill.
In 1922, Cardinal Archille Ratti was elected pope; he took the name Pius XI.
In 1933, the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, the so-called “lame duck” amendment, was proclaimed in effect by Secretary of State Henry Stimson.
In 1943, a Los Angeles jury acquitted actor Errol Flynn of three counts of statutory rape.
In 1952, Britain’s King George VI died at Sandringham House in Norfolk, England; he was succeeded as monarch by his daughter, who became Queen Elizabeth II.
In 1959, the United States successfully test-fired for the first time a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile from Cape Canaveral.
In 1973, Dixy Lee Ray was appointed by President Richard Nixon to be the first woman to head the Atomic Energy Commission.
In 1992, 16 people were killed when a C-130 military transport plane crashed in Evansville, Ind.
In 1993, tennis Hall-of-Famer and human rights advocate Arthur Ashe died in New York at age 49.
In 1998, President Bill Clinton signed a bill changing the name of Washington National Airport to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Pop music star Falco, who’d had a 1986 hit with “Rock Me Amadeus,” died in a traffic accident in the Dominican Republic; he was 40.
Ten years ago: Edging closer to war, President George W. Bush declared “the game is over” for Saddam Hussein and urged skeptical allies to join in disarming Iraq. ABC’s “20/20” aired a British documentary, “Living With Michael Jackson,” in which the King of Pop revealed he sometimes let children sleep in his bed.
Five years ago: At least 57 deaths were reported after two days of tornadoes that plowed across Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama. The White House defended the use of the interrogation technique known as waterboarding, saying it was legal — not torture as critics argued — and had saved American lives. The Phoenix Suns acquired Shaquille O’Neal in a stunning blockbuster deal that sent four-time All-Star Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks to the Miami Heat.
One year ago: The U.S. closed its embassy in Syria and Britain recalled its ambassador to Damascus in a new Western push to get President Bashar Assad to leave power and halt the murderous grind in Syria. Jeremy Lin scored a career-high 28 points in his first career start as the New York Knicks beat the Utah Jazz 99-88.
Today’s birthdays: Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor is 96. Actor Patrick Macnee is 91. Actors Rip Torn and Mamie Van Doren are 82. Actor Mike Farrell is 74. Former NBC News anchorman Tom Brokaw is 73. Singer Fabian and actress Gayle Hunnicutt are 70. Actor Michael Tucker is 69. Producer-director-writer Jim Sheridan is 64. Singer Natalie Cole is 63. Actor Jon Walmsley is 57. Actress Kathy Najimy, musician Simon Phillips (Toto) and actor-director Robert Townsend are 56. Actor Barry Miller is 55. Actress Megan Gallagher is 53. Rock singer Axl Rose (Guns N’ Roses) and country singer Richie McDonald are 51. Singer Rick Astley is 47. Rock musician Tim Brown (Boo Radleys) is 44. Actor Brandon Hammond is 29. Actress Alice Greczyn is 27.
Thought for today: “Work is much more fun than fun.” — Sir Noel Coward, British actor, dramatist and songwriter (1899-1973).