updated 2/3/2006 12:01:13 AM ET 2006-02-03T05:01:13

Today is Friday, Feb. 3rd, the 34th day of 2006. There are 331 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 3, 1959, a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, claimed the lives of rock-and-roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson.

On this date:
In 1783, Spain recognized U.S. independence.

In 1809, the territory of Illinois was created.

In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, providing for a federal income tax, was ratified.

In 1916, Canada’s original Parliament Buildings, in Ottawa, burned down.

In 1917, the United States broke off diplomatic relations with Germany, which had announced a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.

In 1924, the 28th president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, died in Washington at age 67.

In 1930, the chief justice of the United States, William Howard Taft, resigned for health reasons.

In 1943, during World War II, the U.S. transport ship Dorchester, which was carrying troops to Greenland, sank after being hit by a torpedo. (Four Army chaplains gave their life belts to four other men, and went down with the ship.)

In 1994, the space shuttle Discovery lifted off, carrying Sergei Krikalev, the first Russian cosmonaut to fly aboard a U-S spacecraft.

In 1995, the space shuttle Discovery blasted off with a woman, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Eileen Collins, in the pilot’s seat for the first time in NASA history.

Ten years ago: Sergeant First Class Donald A. Dugan, 38, became the first U.S. soldier killed while on duty in Bosnia when a piece of ammunition exploded in his hands. Actress Audrey Meadows died in Los Angeles at the age of 71.

Five years ago: Terry McAuliffe was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The XFL, a football league founded by the World Wrestling Federation and jointly owned by NBC, held its first two games, in which the Las Vegas Outlaws beat the New York/New Jersey Hitmen 19-to-0, and the Orlando Rage beat the Chicago Enforcers 33-to-29. (However, the XFL folded after just one season.)

One year ago: Alberto Gonzales won Senate confirmation as attorney general. An interim report detailed conflicts of interest and flawed management in the U.N. oil-for-food program. An Afghan passenger jet carrying 104 people crashed east of Kabul, killing all on board.

Today’s Birthdays: Comedian Joey Bishop is 88. Comedian Shelley Berman is 80. Senator Paul Sarbanes (Democrat, Maryland) is 73. Football Hall-of-Famer Fran Tarkenton is 66. Actress Bridget Hanley is 65. Actress Blythe Danner is 63. Singer Dennis Edwards is 63. Football Hall-of-Famer Bob Griese is 61. Singer-guitarist Dave Davies (The Kinks) is 59. Singer Melanie is 59. Actress Morgan Fairchild is 56. Actor Nathan Lane is 50. Rock musician Lee Renaldo (Sonic Youth) is 50. Actor Thomas Calabro is 47. Actor-director Keith Gordon is 45. Actress Michele Greene is 44. Country singer Matraca Berg is 42. Actress Maura Tierney is 41. Rock musician Nick Hawkins (Big Audio) is 41. Actor Warwick Davis is 36. Musician Grant Barry is 29.

Thought for Today: “Your friend will argue with you.”— Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Russian writer.

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