Today in history
Today is Saturday, Feb. 2, the 33rd day of 2013. There are 332 days left in the year. This is Groundhog Day.
On Feb. 2, 1913, New York City’s rebuilt Grand Central Terminal officially opened to the public at one minute past midnight.
In 1536, present-day Buenos Aires, Argentina, was founded by Pedro de Mendoza of Spain.
In 1653, New Amsterdam – now New York City – was incorporated.
In 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the Mexican-American War, was signed.
In 1870, the “Cardiff Giant,” supposedly the petrified remains of a human discovered in Cardiff, N.Y., was revealed to be nothing more than carved gypsum.
In 1882, Irish poet and novelist James Joyce was born near Dublin.
In 1887, Punxsutawney held its first Groundhog Day festival.
In 1912, Frederick R. Law parachuted from the torch of the Statue of Liberty in a stunt filmed by Pathe News.
In 1922, the James Joyce novel “Ulysses” was published in Paris on Joyce’s 40th birthday.
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 1961, hijackers of a Portuguese ocean liner, the Santa Maria, allowed the passengers and crew to disembark in Brazil, a week and a-half after seizing the ship.
In 1971, Idi Amin, having seized power in Uganda, proclaimed himself president.
In 1988, in a speech the broadcast television networks declined to carry live, President Ronald Reagan pressed his case for aid to the Nicaraguan Contras.
Ten years ago: The search continued for pieces of the space shuttle Columbia, a day after the spacecraft disintegrated during re-entry over Texas, killing all seven astronauts.
A hotel fire in northeastern China killed some three dozen people. An explosion destroyed a bank building in Lagos, Nigeria, killing at least 46 people. The American Football Conference won the Pro Bowl, defeating the National Football Conference 45-20.
Five years ago: A gunman killed five women at a Lane Bryant store in Tinley Park, Ill., in an apparent botched robbery attempt (the case remains unsolved). French President Nicolas Sarkozy (sahr-koh-ZEE’) and former supermodel Carla Bruni were married at the presidential Elysee Palace. Former Washington Redskins players Art Monk and Darrell Green were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame along with New England linebacker Andre Tippett, San Diego/San Francisco defensive end Fred Dean, Minnesota/Denver tackle Gary Zimmerman and senior committee choice, Kansas City cornerback Emmitt Thomas. Former Agriculture Secretary Earl L. Butz died in Washington, D.C., at age 98. Actor Barry Morse died in London at age 89.
One year ago: Egyptian security forces clashed with stone-throwing protesters enraged by the failure of police to prevent a soccer riot that killed 74 people. Donald Trump announced his endorsement of Republican Mitt Romney for president.
Today’s Birthdays: Actress Elaine Stritch is 88. Former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing (val-eh-REE’ ZHEES’-kahr deh-STANG’) is 87. Actor Robert Mandan is 81. Comedian Tom Smothers is 76. Rock singer-guitarist Graham Nash is 71. Actor Bo Hopkins is 71. Television executive Barry Diller is 71. Country singer Howard Bellamy (The Bellamy Brothers) is 67. TV chef Ina (EE’-nuh) Garten is 65. Actor Jack McGee is 64. Actor Brent Spiner (SPY’-nur) is 64. Rock musician Ross Valory (Journey) is 64. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is 61. Model Christie Brinkley is 59. Actor Michael Talbott is 58. Actress Kim Zimmer is 58. Actor Michael T. Weiss is 51. Actor-comedian Adam Ferrara is 47. Rock musician Robert DeLeo (Army of Anyone; Stone Temple Pilots) is 47. Actress Jennifer Westfeldt is 43. Rock musician Ben Mize is 42. Rapper T-Mo is 41. Actress Marissa Jaret Winokur is 40. Actress Lori Beth Denberg is 37. Singer Shakira is 36. Country singer Blaine Larsen is 27. Actress Zosia Mamet (TV: “Girls”) is 25.
Thought for Today: “Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it inflames the great.” — Bussy-Rabutin, French soldier and writer (1618-1693).
(Above Advance for Use Saturday, Feb. 2)
Copyright 2013, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.