By the Associated Press
Today is Thursday, Feb. 11, the 42nd day of 2016. There are 324 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 11, 1812, Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry signed a redistricting law favoring his Democratic-Republican Party — giving rise to the term “gerrymandering.”
On this date:
In 660 B.C., tradition holds that Japan was founded as Jimmu ascended the throne as the country’s first emperor.
In 1858, a French girl, Bernadette Soubirous (soo-bee-ROO’), reported the first of 18 visions of a lady dressed in white in a grotto near Lourdes. (The Catholic Church later accepted that the visions were of the Virgin Mary.)
In 1862, the Civil War Battle of Fort Donelson began in Tennessee. (Union forces led by Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant captured the fort five days later.)
In 1929, the Lateran Treaty was signed, with Italy recognizing the independence and sovereignty of Vatican City.
In 1937, a six-week-old sit-down strike against General Motors ended, with the company agreeing to recognize the United Automobile Workers Union.
In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin signed the Yalta Agreement, in which Stalin agreed to declare war against Imperial Japan following Nazi Germany’s capitulation.
In 1963, American author and poet Sylvia Plath was found dead in her London flat, a suicide; she was 30.
In 1972, McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. and Life magazine canceled plans to publish what had turned out to be a fake autobiography of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes.
In 1986, Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky was released by the Soviet Union after nine years of captivity as part of an East-West prisoner exchange.
In 1990, South African black activist Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in captivity.
In 2012, pop singer Whitney Houston, 48, was found dead in a hotel room in Beverly Hills, California.
In 2013, Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation during a routine morning meeting of Vatican cardinals. (The 85-year-old pontiff was succeeded by Pope Francis.)
Ten years ago: Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded Harry Whittington, a companion during a weekend quail-hunting trip in Texas. American Chad Hedrick won the 5,000 meters in speedskating at the Olympics in Turin, Italy. “Jaws” author Peter Benchley died in Princeton, New Jersey, at age 65.
Five years ago: Egypt exploded with joy after pro-democracy protesters brought down President Hosni Mubarak, whose resignation ended three decades of authoritarian rule.
One year ago: Vowing that Islamic State forces were “going to lose,” President Barack Obama urged Congress to authorize military action while ruling out large-scale U.S. ground combat operations reminiscent of Iraq and Afghanistan. Little League International stripped Jackie Robinson West of the national title after an investigation revealed it had falsified boundaries to field ineligible players; Mountain Ridge Little League was awarded the title. Longtime CBS News correspondent Bob Simon, 73, was killed in a car crash in New York. Hall of Fame basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, 84, died in Las Vegas.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Conrad Janis is 88. Fashion designer Mary Quant is 82. Actor Burt Reynolds is 80. Actress Tina Louise is 78. Actor Sonny Landham is 75. Bandleader Sergio Mendes is 75. Actor Philip Anglim is 64. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is 63. Actress Catherine Hickland is 60. Rock musician David Uosikkinen (aw-SIK’-ken-ihn) (The Hooters) is 60. Actress Carey Lowell is 55. Singer Sheryl Crow is 54. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is 52. Actress Jennifer Aniston is 47. Actor Damian Lewis is 45. Actress Marisa Petroro is 44. Singer D’Angelo is 42. Actor Brice Beckham is 40. Rock M-C/vocalist Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park) is 39. Singer-actress Brandy is 37. Country musician Jon Jones (The Eli Young Band) is 36. Actor Matthew Lawrence is 36. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kelly Rowland is 35. Singer Aubrey O’Day is 32. Actress Q’orianka (kohr-ee-AHN’-kuh) Kilcher is 26. Actor Taylor Lautner is 24.