Today in History - Feb. 7

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
Wednesday, February 7, 2007; 6:51 AM

-- Today is Wednesday, Feb. 7, the 38th day of 2007. There are 327 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Feb. 7, 1812, author Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, England.

On this date:

In 1861, the general council of the Choctaw Indian nation adopted a resolution declaring allegiance with the South "in the event a permanent dissolution of the American Union takes place."

In 1904, a fire began in Baltimore that raged for about 30 hours and destroyed more than 1,500 buildings.

In 1906, Pu Yi, the last emperor of China, was born in Beijing.

In 1936, President Franklin Roosevelt authorized a flag for the office of the vice president.

In 1943, the government announced the start of shoe rationing, limiting consumers to buying three pairs per person for the remainder of the year.

In 1964, The Beatles began their first American tour as they arrived at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

In 1974, the island nation of Grenada won independence from Britain.

In 1984, space shuttle astronauts Bruce McCandless the Second and Robert L. Stewart went on the first untethered space walk.

In 1986, the Philippines held a presidential election marred by charges of fraud against the incumbent, Ferdinand E. Marcos.

In 1999, Jordan's King Hussein died of cancer at age 63; he was succeeded by his eldest son, Abdullah.

Ten years ago: The Air Force suspended all its flights in restricted training areas on the East Coast after a pair of close calls between National Guard jets and civilian airliners. Mindful of Russian President Boris Yeltsin's ailments, President Clinton agreed to shift their March summit meeting from the United States to Helsinki, Finland.

Five years ago: Former Enron chief executive Jeffrey Skilling insisted to skeptical lawmakers that he knew of nothing improper about the complex web of partnerships that brought down the company. Authorities in Oklahoma captured the last of four escaped prison inmates from Texas who'd been on the run for more than a week.

One year ago: 10,000 mourners, including four U.S. presidents, said goodbye to Coretta Scott King during a service in Lithonia, Ga. Abu Hamza al-Masri, a radical Muslim cleric linked to 9/11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui, was sentenced in London to seven years in prison for inciting followers to kill non-Muslims. Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach Rick Tocchet was charged with financing a nationwide gambling ring based out of New Jersey.

Today's Birthdays: Country singer Wilma Lee Cooper is 86. Author Gay Talese is 75. Actor Miguel Ferrer is 52. Reggae musician Brian Travers (UB40) is 48. Actor James Spader is 47. Country singer Garth Brooks is 45. Rock musician David Bryan (Bon Jovi) is 45. Comedian Eddie Izzard is 45. Actor-comedian Chris Rock is 42. Actor Jason Gedrick is 40. Actor Ashton Kutcher is 29. Actress Tina Majorino is 22.

Thought for Today: "The time on either side of `now' stands fast." _ Maxine Kumin, American poet.


© 2007 The Associated Press