updated 2/1/2006 12:03:14 AM ET 2006-02-01T05:03:14

Today is Wednesday, February first, the 32nd day of 2006. There are 333 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On February first, 2003, the space shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry, killing all seven of its crew members.

On this date:
In 1861, Texas voted to secede from the Union.

In 1893, inventor Thomas A. Edison completed work on the world’s first motion picture studio, his “Black Maria,” in West Orange, New Jersey.

In 1920, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police came into existence.

In 1943, one of America’s most highly decorated military units of World War II, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, made up almost entirely of Japanese-Americans, was authorized.

In 1946, Norwegian statesman Trygve Lie was chosen to be the first secretary-general of the United Nations.

In 1960, four black college students began a sit-in protest at a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, where they’d been refused service.

In 1968, during the Vietnam War, Saigon’s police chief (Nguyen Ngoc Loan) executed a Viet Cong officer with a pistol shot to the head in a scene captured in a famous news photograph.

In 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini received a tumultuous welcome in Tehran as he ended nearly 15 years of exile.

In 1979, newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst, whose prison sentence for bank robbery had been commuted by President Carter, left a federal prison near San Francisco.

In 1991, 35 people were killed when a U.S. Air jetliner crashed atop a commuter plane on a runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

Ten years ago: Both houses of Congress voted overwhelmingly to rewrite the 61-year-old Communications Act, freeing the exploding television, telephone and home computer industries to jump into each other’s fields.

Five years ago: John Ashcroft won confirmation as attorney general on a 58-to-42 Senate vote, completing President Bush’s Cabinet over strong Democratic opposition.

One year ago: Pope John Paul II was hospitalized for breathing problems and the flu. Character actor John Vernon, who’d played nasty Dean Wormer in “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” died in Los Angeles at age 72.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Stuart Whitman is 78. Former Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin is 75. Singer Don Everly is 69. Actor Garrett Morris is 69. Singer Ray Sawyer (Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show) is 69. Actor Sherman Hemsley is 68. Bluegrass singer Del McCoury is 67. Jazz musician Joe Sample is 67. Comedian Terry Jones is 64. Actor-writer-producer Bill Mumy is 52. Rock musician Mike Campbell (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) is 52. Rock singer Exene Cervenka is 50. Princess Stephanie of Monaco is 41. Country musician Dwayne Dupuy (Ricochet) is 41. Actress Sherilyn Fenn is 41. Lisa Marie Presley is 38. Comedian and actor Pauly Shore is 38. Jazz musician Joshua Redman is 37. Rock musician Patrick Wilson (Weezer) is 37. Rock musician Ron Welty is 35. Rapper Big Boi (Outkast) is 31. Country singer Julie Roberts is 27. Actor Jarrett Lennon is 24.

Thought for Today: “Every ten years a man should give himself a good kick in the pants.”— Edward Steichen, American photographer (1879-1973).

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