Today is Sunday, Feb. 2, the 33rd day of 2020. There are 333 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 2, 1653, New Amsterdam — now New York City — was incorporated.
On this date:
In 1876, the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs was formed in New York.
In 1887, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, held its first Groundhog Day festival.
In 1913, New York City’s rebuilt Grand Central Terminal officially opened to the public at one minute past midnight.
In 1922, the James Joyce novel “Ulysses” was published in Paris on Joyce’s 40th birthday.
In 1925, the legendary Alaska Serum Run ended as the last of a series of dog mushers brought a life-saving treatment to Nome, the scene of a diphtheria epidemic, six days after the drug left Nenana.
In 1942, a Los Angeles Times column by W.H. Anderson urged security measures against Japanese-Americans, arguing that a Japanese-American “almost inevitably … grows up to be a Japanese, not an American.”
In 1943, the remainder of Nazi forces from the Battle of Stalingrad surrendered in a major victory for the Soviets in World War II.
In 1971, Idi Amin, having seized power in Uganda, proclaimed himself president.
In 1980, NBC News reported the FBI had conducted a sting operation targeting members of Congress using phony Arab businessmen in what became known as “Abscam,” a codename protested by Arab-Americans.
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan pressed his case for additional aid to the Nicaraguan Contras a day ahead of a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives. (The three major broadcast TV networks declined to carry the speech, which was covered by CNN; a divided House voted to reject Reagan’s request for $36.2 million in new aid.)
In 1990, in a dramatic concession to South Africa’s black majority, President F.W. de Klerk lifted a ban on the African National Congress and promised to free Nelson Mandela.
In 2002, inside the World Economic Forum in New York, foreign economic leaders criticized the United States for protectionist policies while outside, thousands of protesters demonstrated against global capitalism.
Ten years ago: President Barack Obama, speaking in Nashua, New Hampshire, branded Republicans as electoral opportunists more concerned about their own interests than the people’s. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled its 2009 Oscar nominees; in a first, 10 films were nominated for best picture instead of five, including eventual winner “The Hurt Locker.”
Five years ago: President Barack Obama sent Congress a record $4 trillion budget that would boost tax credits for families and the working poor but also raise taxes on the wealthy. Parts of New England were buried in heavy snow for the second time in a week, with up to 18 inches falling in the Boston area. Jury selection in the trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR’ tsahr-NEYE’-ehv) was postponed, and a celebration for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots was pushed back a day.
One year ago: Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam pledged to remain in office after disavowing a blatantly racist photograph that appeared under his name in his 1984 medical school yearbook. A day after the United States abandoned a 1987 nuclear arms treaty, President Vladimir Putin said Russia would do the same, but would only deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles if Washington did so.
Today’s Birthdays: Former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing (val-eh-REE’ ZHEES’-kahr deh-STANG’) is 94. Comedian Tom Smothers is 83. Rock singer-guitarist Graham Nash is 78. Television executive Barry Diller is 78. Actor Bo Hopkins is 76. Country singer Howard Bellamy (The Bellamy Brothers) is 74. TV chef Ina (EE’-nuh) Garten is 72. Actor Jack McGee is 71. Actor Brent Spiner (SPY’-nur) is 71. Rock musician Ross Valory (Journey) is 71. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is 68. The former president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye (goon-hay), is 68. Model Christie Brinkley is 66. Actor Michael Talbott is 65. Actress Kim Zimmer is 65. Actor Michael T. Weiss is 58. Actor-comedian Adam Ferrara is 54. Rock musician Robert DeLeo (Army of Anyone; Stone Temple Pilots) is 54. Actress Jennifer Westfeldt is 50. Rock musician Ben Mize is 49. Rapper T-Mo is 48. Actress Marissa Jaret Winokur is 47. Actress Lori Beth Denberg is 44. Rock musician Jesse Siebenberg (Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real) is 44. Singer Shakira is 43. Actor Rich Sommer is 42. Country singer Blaine Larsen is 34. Actress Zosia (ZAH’-shuh) Mamet is 32.
Thought for Today: “Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” — James Joyce (1882-1941).