Today in History
Today is Sunday, Feb. 17, the 48th day of 2019. There are 317 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Feb. 17, 1864, during the Civil War, the Union ship USS Housatonic was rammed and sunk in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, by the Confederate hand-cranked submarine HL Hunley in the first naval attack of its kind; the Hunley also sank.
On this date:
In 1801, the U.S. House of Representatives broke an electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, electing Jefferson president; Burr became vice president.
In 1815, the United States and Britain exchanged the instruments of ratification for the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.
In 1865, during the Civil War, Columbia, South Carolina, burned as the Confederates evacuated and Union forces moved in.
In 1897, the forerunner of the National PTA, the National Congress of Mothers, convened its first meeting in Washington.
In 1933, Newsweek magazine was first published under the title "News-Week."
In 1944, during World War II, U.S. forces invaded Eniwetok Atoll, encountering little initial resistance from Imperial Japanese troops. (The Americans secured the atoll less than a week later.)
In 1947, the Voice of America began broadcasting to the Soviet Union.
In 1968, the original Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, located on the campus of Springfield College in Massachusetts, was opened to the public.
In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon departed the White House with his wife, Pat, on a historic trip to China.
In 1986, Johnson & Johnson announced it would no longer sell over-the-counter medications in capsule form, following the death of a woman who had taken a cyanide-laced Tylenol capsule.
In 1988, Lt. Col. William Higgins, a Marine Corps officer serving with a United Nations truce monitoring group, was kidnapped in southern Lebanon by Iranian-backed terrorists (he was later slain by his captors).
In 1996, world chess champion Garry Kasparov beat IBM supercomputer "Deep Blue," winning a six-game match in Philadelphia (however, Kasparov lost to Deep Blue in a rematch in 1997).
Ten years ago: President Barack Obama signed a mammoth, $787 billion economic stimulus package into law in Denver; he also approved adding some 17,000 U.S. troops for the war in Afghanistan.
Five years ago: The co-pilot of an Italian-bound Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 locked his captain out of the cockpit, commandeered the plane, then headed to Geneva, where he was arrested upon landing by Swiss authorities (no one was injured). Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the gold medal in ice dance at Sochi, the first Olympic title in the event for the United States. (Davis and White finished 4.53 points ahead of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada, the 2010 champions.) Jimmy Fallon made his debut as host of NBC's "Tonight Show."
One year ago: President Donald Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, told a conference in Germany that there was now "incontrovertible" evidence of a Russian plot to disrupt the 2016 U.S. election; the statement stood in stark contrast to Trump's claim that Russian interference in his election victory was a hoax. Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu made Olympic figure skating history in the men's free skate event in South Korea, becoming the first man to repeat as Olympic champion since Dick Button in 1952 after also winning in Sochi in 2014; his gold medal was the 1,000th to be awarded in Winter Games history.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Hal Holbrook is 94. Actor-comedian Barry Humphries (aka "Dame Edna") is 85. Country singer-songwriter Johnny Bush is 84. Actress Christina Pickles is 84. Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown is 83. Actress Brenda Fricker is 74. Actress Becky Ann Baker is 66. Actress Rene Russo is 65. Actor Richard Karn is 63. Actor Lou Diamond Phillips is 57. Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan is 56. Actor-comedian Larry, the Cable Guy is 56. TV personality Rene Syler is 56. Movie director Michael Bay is 55. Singer Chante Moore is 52. Rock musician Timothy J. Mahoney (311) is 49. Actor Dominic Purcell is 49. Olympic gold and silver medal skier Tommy Moe is 49. Actress Denise Richards is 48. Rock singer-musician Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) is 47. Rock musician Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters) is 47. Actor Jerry O'Connell is 45. Country singer Bryan White is 45. Actress Kelly Carlson is 43. Actor Ashton Holmes is 41. Actor Conrad Ricamora is 40. Actor Jason Ritter is 39. TV personality Paris Hilton is 38. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is 38. TV host Daphne Oz is 33. Actor Chord Overstreet is 30. Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is 28. Actress Meaghan Martin is 27. Actress Sasha Pieterse is 23.
Thought for Today: "People show their character by what they laugh at." — German proverb.
Copyright 2019, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.