Monday, February 4

Today is Monday, Feb. 4, the 35th day of 2012. There are 330 days left in the year.
Highlights in history on this date:
1643 - Dutch mariner Abel Tasman discovers Fiji Islands in the Pacific.
1701 - War of Spanish Succession begins.
1715 - Peace of Utrecht ends war between Spain and Portugal.
1778 - Britain declares war on France.
1819 - British East India Company, represented by Stamford Raffles, establishes settlement at Singapore.
1840 - Treaty of Waitangi is signed, guaranteeing Maori tribal chiefs their lands and certain other rights in return for British sovereignty over New Zealand.
1869 - Greece agrees to leave Crete following Turkish ultimatum.
1897 - Crete proclaims union with Greece.
1899 - Treaty of Paris is ratified, whereby Spain cedes Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines to the United States for $20 million.
1902 - French agreement with Ethiopia to finance railway construction provokes protests from Britain and Italy.
1952 - Britain's King George VI dies and is succeeded by his daughter, Elizabeth II.
1959 - The United States successfully test-fires a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile.
1964 - England and France agree on constructing English Channel rail tunnel.
1971 - U.S. Apollo 14 astronauts prepare to head back to earth after spending 33 hours on the moon.
1975 - Three paintings _ one by Raphael and two by Piero della Francesca _ are stolen from National Gallery in Urbino, Italy.
1983 - U.S. Chief Justice Warren Burger asks Congress to ease the Supreme Court's load by creating a court of federal judges.
1990 - West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl says he favors immediate talks with East Germany on introducing the Deutsche mark there.
1991 - Colombian President Cesar Gaviria pleads for peace after a two-day rebel offensive that leaves at least 47 people dead.
1992 - Three days of clashes between Islamist protesters and security forces kill 12 and injure dozens in Batna, Algeria.
1993 - Armenian forces capture 12 settlements in a major offensive in the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave in Azerbaijan.
1994 - Martti Ahtisaari wins Finland's first direct presidential election.
1995 - Two 100-ton spaceships _ the biggest ever to converge in space _ fly in formation in the first U.S.-Russian rendezvous in 20 years.
1996 - More than 1,000 Palestinians challenge Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem by filing claims for property they once owned in the Jewish part of the disputed city.
1997 - Marking his first year as president of Haiti, Rene Preval distributes land to peasants.
1998 - A Tamil separatist rebel suicide bombing kills nine people at a military checkpoint in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
1999 - The first peace talks between Kosovo Albanians and Yugoslavia open in Rambouillet, France.
2000 - Hillary Rodham Clinton announces her candidacy for U.S. Senate in New York. She later defeats the Republican candidate in November, becoming the only U.S. first lady ever elected to public office.
2001 - Ariel Sharon is elected Israeli prime minister in a landslide win over Ehud Barak.
2002 - Athanase Seromba, a Roman Catholic priest accused of participating in the 1994 slaughter of Tutsis by ethnic Hutus in Rwanda, surrenders to the U.N. tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania.
2005 - The African Union says the military in Togo has conducted a virtual coup by ignoring the constitution and appointing the son of Africa's longest ruling leader, Gnassingbe Eyadema, to take over as the country's new leader just hours after his father died of a heart attack.
2006 - Anger over the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed spills violently onto the streets of Afghanistan, where protesters direct their anger against the U.S. Police gun down at least four people, some as they try to break into a U.S. military base.
2007 - African, Asian and South American nations where child fighters have been used in war are among 60 countries worldwide to endorse the Paris Commitments, an agreement that commits them to stopping the practice and punishing those who recruit youngsters as combatants.
2008 - Seven doctors and pharmacists go on trial in Paris for the deaths of more than 100 young people who contracted a brain-destroying disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, after being treated with tainted human growth hormones. The trial follows a more than 16-year investigation.
2009 - Nigerian health workers hunt down errant bottles of a poisonous teething formula as 84 infants and children have died after swallowing a syrup laced with a chemical normally found in antifreeze.
2010 - Top finance officials of the seven major industrial countries seek to calm jittery markets by pledging to keep providing government aid to sustain a fledgling economic rebound.
2011 _ Two Americans accused of spying appear in a closed-door Iranian court session to begin trial after an 18-month detention that has brought impassioned family appeals, a stunning bail deal to free their companion and backdoor diplomatic outreach by Washington through an Arab ally in the Gulf.
Today's Birthdays:
Christopher Marlowe, English poet-dramatist (1564-1593); Queen Anne of England (1665-1714); Anton Hermann Fokker, Dutch aviation pioneer (1890-1939); Babe Ruth, U.S. baseball star (1895-1948); Ronald Reagan, U.S. president (1911-2004); Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hungarian actress (1917--); Francois Truffaut, French film director (1932-1984); Bob Marley, Jamaican musician (1945-1981); Natalie Cole, U.S. singer (1950--); Rick Astley, British singer (1966--);
Thought For Today:
If you can talk brilliantly about a problem, it can create the consoling illusion that it has been mastered _ Stanley Kubrick, American movie director (1928-1999)