Today's Highlight in History:
On Feb. 6, 1952, Britain's King George VI died at Sandringham House in Norfolk, England; he was succeeded as monarch by his elder daughter, who became Queen Elizabeth II.
On this date:
In 1778, the United States won official recognition from France with the signing of a Treaty of Alliance in Paris.
In 1788, Massachusetts became the sixth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
In 1899, a peace treaty between the United States and Spain was ratified by the U.S. Senate.
In 1911, Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, was born in Tampico, Ill.
In 1922, Cardinal Archille Ratti was elected pope; he took the name Pius XI.
In 1933, the 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the so-called "lame duck" amendment, was proclaimed in effect by Secretary of State Henry Stimson.
In 1943, a Los Angeles jury acquitted actor Errol Flynn of three counts of statutory rape.
In 1959, the United States successfully test-fired for the first time a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile from Cape Canaveral.
In 1973, Dixy Lee Ray was appointed by President Richard Nixon to be the first woman to head the Atomic Energy Commission.
In 1992, 16 people were killed when a C-130 military transport plane crashed in Evansville, Ind.
In 1994, actor Joseph Cotten died in Los Angeles at age 88.
In 1998, President Bill Clinton signed a bill changing the name of Washington National Airport to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Pop music star Falco, who'd had a 1986 hit with "Rock Me Amadeus," died in a traffic accident in the Dominican Republic; he was 40.
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush appointed a bipartisan commission to examine intelligence on Iraq's weapons. (In a scathing 600-page report released in March 2005, the commission called the spy community "dead wrong on almost all of its prewar judgments" about Iraqi weaponry.) A suicide bomber set off an explosion that ripped through a Moscow subway car during rush hour, killing 41 people. Auto mechanic Joseph P. Smith was charged with kidnapping and murder after authorities in Sarasota, Fla., found the body of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia, whose abduction had been captured by a carwash surveillance camera. (Smith was later convicted and sentenced to death.)
Five years ago: Key senators and the White House reached tentative agreement on an economic stimulus measure at the heart of President Barack Obama's recovery plan. Federal health officials said Peanut Corp. of America, a Georgia peanut processor, had knowingly shipped salmonella-laced products as far back as 2007. Death claimed actors James Whitmore at age 87 and Philip Carey at age 83.
One year ago: The U.S. Postal Service proposed eliminating Saturday mail delivery, an announcement that immediately drew protests from some lawmakers. At least nine people were killed by a tsunami that smashed into villages in the Solomon Islands, flattening dozens of homes in the South Pacific island chain. Toy maker Hasbro Inc. announced that Monopoly fans had voted online to add a cat token to the board game, replacing the iron.
Today's Birthdays: Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor is 97. Actor Patrick Macnee is 92. Actor Rip Torn is 83. Actress Mamie Van Doren is 83. Actor Mike Farrell is 75. Former NBC News anchorman Tom Brokaw is 74. Singer Fabian is 71. Actress Gayle Hunnicutt is 71. Actor Michael Tucker is 70. Producer-director-writer Jim Sheridan is 65. Singer Natalie Cole is 64. Actor Jon Walmsley is 58. Actress Kathy Najimy is 57. Rock musician Simon Phillips (Toto) is 57. Actor-director Robert Townsend is 57. Actor Barry Miller is 56. Actress Megan Gallagher is 54. Rock singer Axl Rose (Guns N' Roses) is 52. Country singer Richie McDonald is 52. Singer Rick Astley is 48. Rock musician Tim Brown (Boo Radleys) is 45. Actor Brandon Hammond is 30. Actress Alice Greczyn is 28.
Thought for Today: "The first duty of a leader is to make himself be loved without courting love. To be loved without 'playing up' to anyone — even to himself." — Andre Malraux, French author (1901-1976).