Monday, February 20, 2012

This day in history

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[February 20, 2012]  (AP)  Today is Monday, Feb. 20, the 51st day of 2012. There are 315 days left in the year. This is Presidents' Day.

HardwareToday's highlight in history:

On Feb. 20, 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth as he flew aboard Project Mercury's Friendship 7 spacecraft.

On this date:

In 1790, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II died.

In 1792, President George Washington signed an act creating the U.S. Post Office.

In 1809, the Supreme Court ruled that no state legislature could annul the judgments or determine the jurisdictions of federal courts.

In 1839, Congress prohibited dueling in the District of Columbia.

In 1862, William Wallace Lincoln, the 11-year-old son of President Abraham Lincoln and first lady Mary Todd Lincoln, died at the White House, apparently of typhoid fever.

In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an immigration act which excluded "idiots, imbeciles, feebleminded persons, epileptics, insane persons" from being admitted to the United States.

In 1938, Anthony Eden resigned as British foreign secretary following Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's decision to negotiate with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

In 1944, during World War II, U.S. bombers began raiding German aircraft manufacturing centers in a series of attacks that became known as "Big Week."

In 1965, the Ranger 8 spacecraft crashed on the moon, as planned, after sending back thousands of pictures of the lunar surface.

In 1971, the National Emergency Warning Center in Colorado erroneously ordered U.S. radio and TV stations off the air; some stations heeded the alert, which was not lifted for about 40 minutes.

In 1987, a bomb left by Unabomber Ted Kaczynski exploded behind a computer store in Salt Lake City, seriously injuring store owner Gary Wright. Soviet authorities released Jewish activist Josef Begun.

In 2003, fire broke out during a rock concert at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I., killing 100 people and injuring about 200 others.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush visited Korea's demilitarized zone, where he peered at the North, a country he'd described as being part of an "axis of evil." A Cairo-to-Luxor passenger train caught fire, killing some 360 people. At the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, Jim Shea won the men's skeleton race, finishing the two runs at Utah Olympic Park in one minute, 41.96 seconds. (The victory was the culmination of an emotional two months for Shea, whose 91-year-old grandfather, Olympic gold medal speedskater Jack Shea, had died four weeks earlier.) American speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno won the 1,500 meters after South Korean Kim Dong-sung, who'd crossed the finish line ahead of him, was disqualified.

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Five years ago: In a victory for President George W. Bush, a divided federal appeals court ruled that Guantanamo Bay detainees could not use the U.S. court system to challenge their indefinite imprisonment. In New Orleans, thousands of hurricane-weary residents joined with rowdy visitors to celebrate the second Mardi Gras since Katrina.

One year ago: Security forces loyal to Libya's Moammar Gadhafi unleashed heavy gunfire as thousands marched in the rebellious eastern city of Benghazi, cutting down mourners trying to bury victims. Twenty-year-old Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500 in only his second Sprint Cup start. Kobe Bryant won his record-tying fourth All-Star game MVP award, scoring 37 points and propelling the West to a 148-143 victory over the East in the NBA All-Star game.

Today's birthdays: Fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt is 88. Author-screenwriter Richard Matheson is 86. Actor Sidney Poitier is 85. Racing Hall of Famer Bobby Unser is 78. Actress Marj Dusay is 76. Jazz-soul singer Nancy Wilson is 75. Racing Hall of Famer Roger Penske is 75. Singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie is 71. Hockey Hall-of-Famer Phil Esposito is 70. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is 70. Movie director Mike Leigh is 69. Actress Brenda Blethyn is 66. Actress Sandy Duncan is 66. Rock musician J. Geils is 66. Actor Peter Strauss is 65. Rock singer-musician-producer Walter Becker (Steely Dan) is 62. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is 61. Country singer Kathie Baillie is 61. Actor John Voldstad is 61. Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst is 58. Actor Anthony Stewart Head is 58. Country singer Leland Martin is 55. Actor James Wilby is 54. Rock musician Sebastian Steinberg is 53. Comedian Joel Hodgson (HAHD'-suhn) is 52. Basketball Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley is 49. Rock musician Ian Brown (Stone Roses) is 49. Actor Willie Garson is 48. Actor French Stewart is 48. Actor Ron Eldard is 47. Model Cindy Crawford is 46. Actor Andrew Shue is 45. Actress Lili Taylor is 45. Singer Brian Littrell is 37. Actress Lauren Ambrose is 34. Actor Jay Hernandez is 34. Country musician Coy Bowles is 33. Actress Majandra Delfino is 31. Singer-musician Chris Thile (THEE'-lee) is 31. Actor Jake Richardson is 27. Singer Rihanna is 24.

Thought for today: "Life begets life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich." -- Sarah Bernhardt, French actress (1844-1923)

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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