Today is Friday, Feb. 3, the 34th day of 2012. There are 332 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Feb. 3, 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.
On this date:
In 1783, Spain formally recognized American independence.
In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln and Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens held a shipboard peace conference off the Virginia coast; the talks deadlocked over the issue of Southern autonomy.
In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the 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, 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 1971, New York City police officer Frank Serpico, who had charged there was widespread corruption in the NYPD, was shot and seriously wounded during a drug bust in Brooklyn.
In 1972, the XI Olympic Winter Games opened in Sapporo, Japan.
In 1991, the rate for a first-class postage stamp rose to 29 cents.
In 1998, Texas executed Karla Faye Tucker, 38, for the pickax killings of two people in 1983; she was the first woman executed in the United States since 1984. A U.S. Marine plane sliced through the cable of a ski gondola in Italy, sending the car plunging hundreds of feet, killing all 20 people inside.
Ten years ago: Former Enron chairman Kenneth Lay backed out of testifying before Congress about the collapse of the energy giant. More than 40 people were killed in an earthquake in Turkey. The New England Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI (36) as they defeated the St. Louis Rams 20-17.
Five 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.
One year ago: Tens of thousands of protesters staged unprecedented demonstrations against Yemen's autocratic president, Ali Abdullah Saleh a key U.S. ally in battling Islamic militants, as unrest inspired by uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia spread further in the Arab world. Actress Maria Schneider, who was Marlon Brando's young co-star in Bernardo Bertolucci's steamy "Last Tango in Paris," died in the French capital at age 58.
Today's Birthdays: Comedian Shelley Berman is 87. Former Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., is 79. Football Hall-of-Famer Fran Tarkenton is 72. Actress Bridget Hanley is 71. Actress Blythe Danner is 69. Singer Dennis Edwards is 69. Football Hall-of-Famer Bob Griese is 67. Singer-guitarist Dave Davies (The Kinks) is 65. Singer Melanie is 65. Actress Morgan Fairchild is 62. Actress Pamela Franklin is 62. Actor Nathan Lane is 56. Rock musician Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth) is 56. Actor Thomas Calabro is 53. Actor-director Keith Gordon is 51. Actress Michele Greene is 50. Country singer Matraca Berg is 48. Actress Maura Tierney is 47. Actor Warwick Davis is 42. Actress Elisa Donovan is 41. Reggaeton singer Daddy Yankee is 36. Musician Grant Barry is 35. Singer-songwriter Jessica Harp is 30. Rapper Sean Kingston is 22.
Thought for Today: "The path of civilization is paved with tin cans." -- Elbert Hubbard, American author and publisher (1856-1915).