Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 2, 1990, in a dramatic concession to South Africa’s Black majority, President F.W. de Klerk lifted a ban on the African National Congress and promised to free Nelson Mandela.
On this date:
In 1653, New Amsterdam — now New York City — was incorporated.
In 1876, the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs was formed in New York.
In 1913, New York City’s rebuilt Grand Central Terminal officially opened to the public at one minute past midnight.
In 1914, Charles Chaplin made his movie debut as the comedy short “Making a Living” was released by Keystone Film Co.
In 1922, the James Joyce novel “Ulysses” was published in Paris on Joyce’s 40th birthday.
In 1925, the legendary Alaska Serum Run ended as the last of a series of dog mushers brought a life-saving treatment to Nome, the scene of a diphtheria epidemic, six days after the drug left Nenana.
In 1943, the remainder of Nazi forces from the Battle of Stalingrad surrendered in a major victory for the Soviets in World War II.
In 1980, NBC News reported the FBI had conducted a sting operation targeting members of Congress using phony Arab businessmen in what became known as “Abscam,” a codename protested by Arab-Americans.
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan pressed his case for additional aid to the Nicaraguan Contras a day ahead of a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives. (The three major broadcast TV networks declined to carry the speech, which was covered by CNN; a divided House voted to reject Reagan’s request for $36.2 million in new aid.)
In 2002, inside the World Economic Forum in New York, foreign economic leaders criticized the United States for protectionist policies while outside, thousands of protesters demonstrated against global capitalism.
In 2006, House Republicans elected John Boehner (BAY’-nur) of Ohio as their new majority leader to replace the indicted Tom DeLay. Tornadoes tore through New Orleans neighborhoods that had been hit hard by Hurricane Katrina five months earlier.
In 2014, Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46, was found dead in his New York apartment from a combination of heroin, cocaine and other drugs.
Ten years ago: Supporters of President Hosni Mubarak charged into Cairo’s central square on horses and camels brandishing whips while others rained firebombs from rooftops in what appeared to be an orchestrated assault against protesters trying to topple Egypt’s leader of 30 years.
Five years ago: Health officials reported that a person in Texas had become infected with the Zika virus through sex in the first case of the illness being transmitted within the United States. A suicide bomber detonated an explosive aboard a Somali Airbus, forcing it to make an emergency landing at Mogadishu’s international airport; only the bomber was killed. Bob Elliott, half of the enduring television and radio comedy team Bob and Ray, died in Maine at age 92.
One year ago: The Philippines reported that a 44-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan had died in a Manila hospital from the new coronavirus; it was the first death from the virus to be recorded outside of China. The United States recorded its ninth known case, a woman in the San Francisco area who’d recently traveled to Wuhan. Authorities in parts of China extended the Lunar New Year holiday break well into February to try to keep people at home. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs to three touchdowns over the final 6 minutes, 13 seconds to lift them to a 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. Novak Djokovic won his eighth Australian Open championship and 17th Grand Slam title overall by coming back to beat Dominic Thiem 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Today’s Birthdays: Comedian Tom Smothers is 84.
Rock singer-guitarist Graham Nash is 79. Television executive Barry Diller is 79. Actor Bo Hopkins is 77. Country singer Howard Bellamy (The Bellamy Brothers) is 75. TV chef Ina (EE’-nuh) Garten is 73. Actor Jack McGee is 72. Actor Brent Spiner (SPY’-nur) is 72. Rock musician Ross Valory (Journey) is 72. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is 69. The former president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye (goon-hay), is 69. Model Christie Brinkley is 67. Actor Michael Talbott is 66. Actor Kim Zimmer is 66. Actor Michael T. Weiss is 59. Actor-comedian Adam Ferrara is 55. Rock musician Robert DeLeo (Army of Anyone; Stone Temple Pilots) is 55. Actor Jennifer Westfeldt is 51. Rapper T-Mo is 49. Actor Marissa Jaret Winokur is 48. Actor Lori Beth Denberg is 45. Singer Shakira is 44. Actor Rich Sommer is 43. Country singer Blaine Larsen is 35. Actor Zosia (ZAH’-shuh) Mamet is 33.