By The Associated Press
2013-02-04 06:48 AM
Highlights in history on this date:
1254 - The British Parliament first convenes.
1531 - King Henry VIII is recognized as Supreme Head of the Church in England.
1744 - Naval battle of Toulon begins between Britain and combined Franco-Spanish fleet.
1798 - French forces take Rome.
1812 - Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry signs a redistricting law that favors his party _ giving rise to the term "gerrymandering."
1888 - King Lobengda of Matabele, Rhodesia, accepts British protection.
1889 - Constitution is granted in Japan, with two-chamber Diet, but Emperor retains extensive powers.
1929 - Italy signs the Lateran Treaty; establishing an independent Vatican City.
1944 - U.S. carrier planes strike heavy blows against Japanese positions in Marshall Islands in Pacific during World War II.
1945 - U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin sign the Yalta Agreement during World War II.
1956 - Referendum in Malta favors integration with Britain.
1967 - Military rule is imposed in Beijing during civil strife in China.
1968 - Communist troops execute 300 civilians in South Vietnam and bury them in a mass grave during fighting for city of Hue.
1971 - Treaty banning nuclear weapons from ocean floor is signed by 63 nations in ceremonies at Washington, London and Moscow.
1975 - Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female head of the British Conservative Party.
1979 - Followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seize power in Iran, nine days after the religious leader returns to his home country following 15 years of exile.
1986 - Jewish dissident Anatoly Scharansky walks to freedom in Berlin after almost nine years in Soviet captivity on espionage charges.
1989 - Barbara Harris becomes the first consecrated female Episcopal bishop in United States.
1990 - African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela is released after 27 years in South African prisons.
1991 - Iraq fires one Scud missile at Israel, which explodes and does no harm, and one at the Saudi Arabian capital, which is intercepted by U.S. missiles.
1993 - A Somali gunman hijacks a Lufthansa Airbus over Austria with 104 people aboard and orders it flown to New York, where he surrenders peacefully and releases his hostages unharmed.
1994 - A NATO-enforced cease-fire takes hold in Sarajevo.
1995 - Three Peruvian warplanes are shot down while attacking Ecuadorean bases in the nations' border war.
1996 - Powerful car bombs kill 17 people and wound 93 in Algiers.
1999 - The U.S. Justice Department closes the books on a $1.6 billion reparations program for ethnic Japanese interned in American camps during World War II.
2000 - Britain strips Northern Ireland's Protestant-Catholic government of power in a bid to prevent its collapse over the Irish Republican Army's refusal to disarm.
2001 - About 7,500 counter-demonstrators turn out to demonstrate against a neo-Nazi march in western Germany that draws 250 people. Four police officers suffer minor injuries, and 17 demonstrators are arrested.
2002 - Jordan's State Security Court sentences U.S. born Raed Hijazi to death by hanging for plotting attacks on U.S. and Israeli targets in Jordan during New Year's 2000 celebrations.
2003 - Paraguayan President Luis Gonzalez Macchi survives impeachment proceedings when the Senate fails to procure the two-thirds majority needed to remove him from office. The impeachment trial was on charges of corruption and embezzling public funds.
2006 - Adventurer Steve Fossett completes the longest nonstop flight in aviation history with an emergency landing in England, flying 26,389 miles (42,460 kilometers) in about 76 hours but stopping early because of mechanical problems.
2007 - Turkmenistan holds a tightly controlled presidential election, the first ever with more than one candidate, to replace longtime, iron-fisted leader Saparmurat Niyazov. Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov wins, but shows little promise for liberalization in the isolated former Soviet republic.
2008 - Rebel soldiers shoot and critically wound East Timor's President Jose Ramos-Horta and open fire on Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao who escaped the attack unhurt, in a failed coup attempt in the recently independent nation.
2009 - Taliban militants kill 20 people in a coordinated attack on three government buildings in Kabul, Afghanistan.
2010 - Iranian security forces unleash a crushing sweep against opposition protesters as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad uses the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution to defy the West and boast his country is now a "nuclear state."
2011 - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigns and hands power to the military after protesters flood the streets of Cairo and other cities.
2012 _ Gunmen assassinate an army general in Damascus in the first killing of a high ranking military officer in the Syrian capital since the uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime began in March.
Thomas A. Edison, U.S. inventor (1847-1931); Sidney Sheldon, U.S. author (1917-2007); Burt Reynolds, U.S. actor (1936--); Tina Louise, U.S. actress (1934--); Sergio Mendes, Brazilian musician (1941--); Sheryl Crow, U.S. singer (1962--); Jennifer Aniston, U.S. actress (1969--); Brandy, U.S. singer/actress (1979--).
Thought For Today:
We had better live as we think, otherwise we shall end up by thinking as we have lived _ Paul Bourget, French author (1852-1935).