updated 2/3/2005 12:01:02 AM ET 2005-02-03T05:01:02

Today is Thursday, Feb. 3, the 34th day of 2005. 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 1690, the first paper money in America was issued by the colony of Massachusetts. (The currency was used to pay soldiers fighting a war against Quebec.)

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.

Ten years ago: The space shuttle Discovery blasted off with a woman, Air Force Lt. Col. Eileen Collins, in the pilot’s seat for the first time in NASA history.

Five years ago: The flight data recorder from Alaska Airlines Flight 261 was recovered from the Pacific Ocean off California. The Senate voted 89-4 to confirm Alan Greenspan for a fourth term as chairman of the Federal Reserve. Richard Kleindienst, who had served as U.S. attorney general during the Nixon administration and resigned during the Watergate scandal, died in Prescott, Ariz., at age 76.

One year ago: John Kerry won Democratic presidential contests in five out of seven states. Work in the U.S. Senate slowed to a crawl, a day after ricin powder was found in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Today’s birthdays: Comedian Joey Bishop is 87. Actor John Fiedler is 80. Comedian Shelley Berman is 79. Senator Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., is 72. Football Hall-of-Famer Fran Tarkenton is 65. Actress Bridget Hanley is 64. Actress Blythe Danner is 62. Singer Dennis Edwards is 62. Football Hall-of-Famer Bob Griese is 60. Singer-guitarist Dave Davies (The Kinks) is 58. Singer Melanie is 58. Actress Morgan Fairchild is 55. Actor Nathan Lane is 49. Rock musician Lee Renaldo (Sonic Youth) is 49. Actor Thomas Calabro is 46. Actor-director Keith Gordon is 44. Actress Michele Greene is 43. Country singer Matraca Berg is 41. Actress Maura Tierney is 40. Rock musician Nick Hawkins (Big Audio) is 40. Actor Warwick Davis is 35. Musician Grant Barry is 28.

Thought for today: “Mediocrity can talk; but it is for genius to observe.” — Benjamin Disraeli, British prime minister (1804-1881).

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