Today in history

By The Associated Press

Today is Monday, Nov. 2, the 306th day of 2015. There are 59 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Nov. 2, 1865, the 29th president of the United States, Warren Gamaliel Harding, was born near Marion, Ohio.

On this date:

In 1795, the 11th president of the United States, James Knox Polk, was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

In 1889, North Dakota and South Dakota became the 39th and 40th states with the signing of proclamations by President Benjamin Harrison.

In 1914, during World War I, Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire.

In 1936, the British Broadcasting Corp. inaugurated “high-definition” television service from Alexandra Palace in London.

In 1947, Howard Hughes piloted his huge wooden flying boat, the Hughes H-4 Hercules (derisively dubbed the “Spruce Goose” by detractors), on its only flight, which lasted about a minute over Long Beach Harbor in California.

In 1948, President Harry S. Truman surprised the experts by winning a narrow upset over Republican challenger Thomas E. Dewey.

In 1950, playwright George Bernard Shaw, 94, died in Ayot St. Lawrence, Hertfordshire, England.

In 1963, South Vietnamese President Ngo Dihn Diem (noh ding ZEE’-em) was assassinated in a military coup.

In 1979, black militant JoAnne Chesimard escaped from a New Jersey prison, where she’d been serving a life sentence for the 1973 slaying of New Jersey state trooper Werner Foerster. (Chesimard, who took the name Assata Shakur, is believed to be living in Cuba.)

In 1984, Velma Barfield, convicted of fatally poisoning boyfriend Stuart Taylor, was put to death by injection in Raleigh, North Carolina, becoming the first woman executed in the United States since 1962.

In 1994, a jury in Pensacola, Florida, convicted Paul Hill of murder for the shotgun slayings of abortion provider Dr. John Britton and Britton’s bodyguard; Hill was executed in September 2003.

In 2000, an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts became the first residents of the international space station, christening it Alpha.

Ten years ago: The Bush administration released details of its potential flu pandemic strategy, saying a pandemic that hit the United States would force cities to ration scarce drugs and vaccine and house the sick in hotels or schools if hospitals were to overflow. A Detroit church packed with 4,000 mourners celebrated the life of Rosa Parks in an impassioned, song-filled funeral.

Five years ago: Republicans won control of the House of Representatives, picking up 63 seats in midterm elections, while Democrats retained a majority in the Senate; Republican governors outnumbered Democrats after gaining six states. Californians rejected a ballot measure that would have made their state the first to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Surfing champion Andy Irons, 32, was found dead in a Dallas-area hotel room. (An autopsy found that Irons had died from sudden cardiac arrest due to severe blockage of a main artery.)

One year ago: Islamic State group extremists shot dead at least 50 Iraqi men, women and children from the same Sunni tribe. A Taliban suicide bomber killed 60 in an attack on a paramilitary checkpoint in Pakistan close to the Wagah border crossing with India. Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany won the New York City Marathon. (Kipsang finished in 2:10:55 — while Keitany won the women’s race in 2:25:07.) Daredevil Nik Wallenda wowed Chicago and the world with two hair-raising skyscraper crossings on high wires without a safety net or a harness. Jazz clarinetist Acker Bilk, 85, died in Bath, England.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer Jay Black (Jay and the Americans) is 77. Political commentator Patrick Buchanan is 77. Actress Stefanie Powers is 73. Author Shere (shehr) Hite is 73. Rock musician Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) is 71. Country-rock singer-songwriter J.D. Souther is 70. Actress Kate Linder is 68. Rock musician Carter Beauford (The Dave Matthews Band) is 58. Actor Peter Mullan is 56. Singer-songwriter k.d. lang is 54. Rock musician Bobby Dall (Poison) is 52. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage is 51. Actress Lauren Velez is 51. Actor Sean Kanan is 49. Actor David Schwimmer is 49. Christian/jazz singer Alvin Chea (Take 6) is 48. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is 48. Rock singer-musician Neal Casal is 47. Rock musician Fieldy is 46. Actress Meta Golding is 44. Rock singer-musician John Hampson (Nine Days) is 44. Rhythm-and-blues singer Timothy Christian Riley (Tony Toni Tone) is 41. Rapper Nelly is 41. Prodigy (Mobb Deep) is 41. Actor Danny Cooksey is 40. Rock musician Chris Walla is 40. Country singer Erika Jo is 29. Actor-singer Kendall Schmidt is 25.

Thought for Today: “Our most dangerous tendency is to expect too much of government, and at the same time do for it too little.” — President Warren G. Harding (1865-1923).

By The Associated Press