This Day in History — February 5

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Today is the 36th day of 2019. There are 330 days left in the year.

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT

2010: Toyota’s president emerges from seclusion to apologise and address criticism that the automaker mishandled a crisis over sticking gas pedals. Yet he stops short of ordering a recall for the company’s Prius hybrid for braking problems.

 

OTHER EVENTS

1783: Sweden recognises the independence of the United States.

1811: British Regency Act is passed, whereby the Prince of Wales becomes Prince Regent during King George III’s temporary insanity.

1917: Mexico becomes a federated republic of 28 states; US Congress passes, overriding President Woodrow Wilson’s veto, a law severely curtailing the immigration of Asians.

1918: During World War I, the Cunard liner SS Tuscania, which was transporting about 2,000 American troops to Europe, is torpedoed by a German U-boat in the Irish Sea with the loss of more than 200 people.

1943: The Outlaw, Howard Hughes’ controversial Western featuring the screen debut of Jane Russell, premieres in San Francisco.

1962: France’s President Charles de Gaulle calls for independence for Algeria on basis of friendly cooperation with France.

1971: Apollo 14 astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell step onto the surface of the moon in the first of two lunar excursions.

1976: Earthquake in Guatemala takes almost 23,000 lives.

1989: Algeria’s president proposes new national constitution, dropping references to socialism and opening door to multiparty system.

1990: Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, addressing the party plenum, says the Communist Party must abandon its monopoly on power.

1991: Iraq, under attack by the US and its allies, suspends fuel sales to its citizens.

1992: UN declines deployment of 10,000-man UN peacekeeping force in Yugoslavia.

1993: Up to 200 Somali youths hurl rocks at US forces and set tyre barricades ablaze in the belief that American troops shot to death a Somali man. US President Bill Clinton signs the Family and Medical Leave Act, granting workers up to 12 weeks unpaid leave for family emergencies.

1994: A single mortar shell kills 68 people in a Sarajevo marketplace. White separatist Byron de la Beckwith is convicted in Jackson, Mississippi, for murdering civil rights leader Medgar Evers three decades earlier.

1997: Three Swiss banking giants announce they will contribute US$71 million to open a humanitarian fund for Holocaust victims.

1998: More than 600,000 plantation workers in Sri Lanka go on strike for higher wages, crippling key sectors of the country’s economy. They return to work 10 days later.

1999: The 80-year-old President Nelson Mandela of South Africa delivers his last major address to Parliament.

2001: Four men go on trial in New York in the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa which killed 224 people.

2003: North Korea announces its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon has resumed operations. North Korea in December 2002 declared its intention to reopen the facility as part of a series of announced moves to resume its nuclear programmes, which it had agreed to suspend in 1994.

2008: More than 80 tornadoes begin touching down in the midwestern and southern US; the deadliest of the twisters claimed 57 lives. Senator John McCain seizes command of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, winning delegate-rich primaries from the East Coast to California on Super Tuesday; Senator Barack Obama, trailing much of the night, nearly pulled even with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the contest for Democratic delegates.

2009: As US Navy ships look on, Somali pirates speed away with $3.2 million in ransom after releasing an arms-laden Ukrainian freighter, ending a four-month stand-off that focused world attention on piracy off Somalia’s lawless coast.

2013: President Barack Obama asks Congress for a short-term deficit reduction package of spending cuts and tax revenue that would delay the effective date of steeper automatic cuts scheduled to kick in on March 1. (The president and congressional leaders failed to reach an agreement, and the $85 billion in federal spending cuts, known as sequester, goes into effect.)

2014: The Vatican “systematically” adopted policies that allowed priests to rape and molest thousands of children over decades, a UN human rights committee says, urging the Holy See to open its files on paedophiles and bishops who concealed their crimes.

2017: Tom Brady leads one of the greatest comebacks in sports history highlighted by an unbelievable-Julian Edelman catch that helped lift New England from a 25-point hole against the Atlanta Falcons to the Patriots’ fifth Super Bowl victory, 34-28, the first ever in overtime.

 

TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

Sir Robert Peel, English statesman after whom British police are called “Bobbies” (1788-1850); Johan Ludvig Runeberg, Finnish national poet (1804-1877); John Lindley, English botanist (1799-1865); William S Burroughs, US writer (1914-1997); Andreas Papandreou, Greek prime minister (1919-1996); Jennifer Jason Leigh, US actress (1962- ); Bobby Brown, US singer (1969- ); Laura Linney, US actress (1964- )

 

— AP

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