1939: U.S. modifies its neutrality stance in WWII, favoring Britain and France

By The Associated Press

Today is Saturday, Nov. 4, the 308th day of 2017. There are 57 days left in the year. A reminder: Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, Nov. 5 at 2:00 a.m. local time. Clocks go back one hour.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Nov. 4, 1942, during World War II, Axis forces retreated from El Alamein in North Africa in a major victory for British forces commanded by Lt. Gen. Bernard Montgomery.

On this date:

In 1884, Democrat Grover Cleveland was elected to his first term as president, defeating Republican James G. Blaine.

In 1922, the entrance to King Tutankhamen’s tomb was discovered in Egypt.

In 1939, the United States modified its neutrality stance in World War II, allowing “cash and carry” purchases of arms by belligerents, a policy favoring Britain and France.

In 1952, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected president, defeating Democrat Adlai Stevenson. The highly secretive National Security Agency came into existence.

In 1956, Soviet troops moved in to crush the Hungarian Revolution.

In 1964, comedian Lenny Bruce was convicted by a three-judge panel in New York of obscenity charges stemming from his performances at the Cafe Au Go Go in Greenwich Village. (Bruce received a posthumous pardon in 2003 from New York Gov. George Pataki.)

In 1979, the Iran hostage crisis began as militants stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran, seizing its occupants; for some of them, it was the start of 444 days of captivity.

In 1980, Republican Ronald Reagan won the White House as he defeated President Jimmy Carter by a strong margin.

In 1987, 6-year-old Elizabeth (Lisa) Steinberg was pronounced dead at a New York City hospital in a child-abuse case that sparked national outrage; her illegal adoptive father, Joel Steinberg, served nearly 17 years behind bars for manslaughter.

In 1991, Ronald Reagan opened his presidential library in Simi Valley, California; attending were President George H.W. Bush and former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Gerald R. Ford and Richard Nixon — the first-ever gathering of five past and present U.S. chief executives.

In 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli minutes after attending a festive peace rally.

In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama was elected the first black president of the United States, defeating Republican John McCain.

Ten years ago: King Tutankhamun’s face was unveiled for the first time to the public more than 3,000 years after the pharaoh was buried in his Egyptian tomb. Citigroup Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Charles Prince, beset by the company’s billions of dollars in losses from investing in bad debt, resigned. Paula Radcliffe outlasted Gete Wami to win her second New York City Marathon in 2:23:09. Martin Lel of Kenya won his second men’s title, in 2:09:04.

Five years ago: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said cold temperatures would leave “tens of thousands” of people whose homes were damaged by Superstorm Sandy in need of alternate housing. A 2-year-old boy was mauled to death by a pack of African wild dogs when he fell into their pen from a viewing area at the Pittsburgh Zoo. Zac Vawter, a 31-year-old amputee from Yelm, Washington, who had lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident, climbed the 103 floors of Chicago’s Willis Tower, becoming the first person ever to complete the task wearing a mind-controlled prosthetic limb.

One year ago: A federal jury found that Rolling Stone magazine, its publisher and a reporter had defamed a University of Virginia administrator in a debunked 2014 story about a gang rape at a fraternity house. (The magazine and the administrator, Nicole Eramo, later reached a confidential settlement.) A jury convicted two former aides to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie of causing traffic jams near the George Washington Bridge for political revenge against a Democratic mayor. (Bridget Kelly was later sentenced to 18 months in prison while Bill Baroni received two years; both have appealed.)

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Loretta Swit is 80. Rhythm-and-blues singer Harry Elston (Friends of Distinction) is 79. Blues singer Delbert McClinton is 77. Former first lady Laura Bush is 71. Actress Ivonne Coll is 70. Actress Markie Post is 67. Rock singer-musician Chris Difford (Squeeze) is 63. Country singer Kim Forester (The Forester Sisters) is 57. Actress-comedian Kathy Griffin is 57. Actor Ralph Macchio is 56. “Survivor” host Jeff Probst is 56. Actor Matthew McConaughey is 48. Rapper-producer Sean “Puffy” Combs is 48. Talk show host Bethenny Frankel is 47. Actor Anthony Ruivivar is 47. Soul/jazz singer Gregory Porter is 46. Rhythm-and-blues singer Shawn Rivera (Az Yet) is 46. Celebrity chef Curtis Stone is 42. Actress Heather Tom is 42. Rhythm-and-blues/gospel singer George Huff is 37. Actress Emme Rylan is 37. Actor Chris Greene (Film: “Loving”) is 35.

Thought for Today: “There is no such thing as a little freedom. Either you are all free, or you are not free.” — Walter Cronkite, American news anchorman (born this date in 1916, died 2009).

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