updated 3/2/2006 12:00:30 AM ET 2006-03-02T05:00:30

Today is Thursday, March 2, the 61st day of 2006. There are 304 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 2, 1877, Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was declared the winner of the 1876 presidential election over Democrat Samuel J. Tilden, even though Tilden had won the popular vote.

On this date:
In 1793, the first president of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston, was born near Lexington, Va.

In 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico.

In 1899, Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state was established.

In 1917, Puerto Ricans were granted U.S. citizenship.

In 1923, Time magazine made its debut.

In 1939, Roman Catholic Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli was elected Pope; he took the name Pius XII.

In 1943, the World War II Battle of the Bismarck Sea began.

In 1955, the William Inge play “Bus Stop” opened at the Music Box Theatre in New York.

In 1965, the movie version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical “The Sound of Music” had its world premiere at New York’s Rivoli Theater.

In 1977, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted a strict code of ethics.

Ten years ago: Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole reignited his presidential campaign with an overwhelming victory in the South Carolina Republican primary.

Five years ago: The United Nations tried in vain to persuade Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban to reverse its decision to destroy a pair of giant, ancient statues of Buddha and other Buddhist relics that the regime considered idolatrous.

One year ago: The number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq reached 1,500. The woman who accused NBA star Kobe Bryant of rape settled her lawsuit against him, ending the case.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Jennifer Jones is 87. Bluegrass singer-musician Doc Watson is 83. Actor John Cullum is 76. Author Tom Wolfe is 76. Former Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev is 75. Actress Barbara Luna is 67. Actor Jon Finch is 65. Author John Irving is 64. Singer Lou Reed is 64. Actress Cassie Yates is 55. Actress Laraine Newman is 54. Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., is 53. Singer Jay Osmond is 51. Pop musician John Cowsill (The Cowsills) is 50. Tennis player Kevin Curren is 48. Country singer Larry Stewart (Restless Heart) is 47. Rock singer Jon Bon Jovi is 44. Actor Daniel Craig is 38. Rock musician Casey (Jimmie’s Chicken Shack) is 30. Rock singer Chris Martin (Coldplay) is 29. Actress Heather McComb is 29. Actress Bryce Dallas Howard is 25. Actor Robert Iler (“The Sopranos”) is 21.

Thought for Today: “Humanitarianism needs no apology. ... Unless we ... feel it toward all men without exception, we shall have lost the chief redeeming force in human history.” — Ralph Barton Perry, American author and educator (1876-1957).

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