Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, Feb. 17, the 48th day of 2016. There are 318 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 17, 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).

On this date:

In 1815, the United States and Britain exchanged the instruments of ratification for the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.

In 1863, the International Red Cross was founded in Geneva.

In 1865, during the Civil War, Columbia, South Carolina, burned as the Confederates evacuated and Union forces moved in.

In 1904, the original two-act version of Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Madama Butterfly” received a poor reception at its premiere at La Scala in Milan, Italy.

In 1913, the Armory Show, a landmark modern art exhibit, opened in New York City.

In 1925, the first issue of The New Yorker magazine (bearing the cover date of Feb. 21) was published.

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 1959, the United States launched Vanguard 2, a satellite which carried meteorological equipment.

In 1964, the Supreme Court, in Wesberry v. Sanders, ruled that congressional districts within each state had to be roughly equal in population.

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.

Ten years ago: Ten U.S. service members died when a pair of Marine Corps helicopters crashed off the coast of Africa. A federal jury in New Orleans cleared Merck and Co. in the death of a 53-year-old Florida man who’d taken the painkiller Vioxx. A mudslide in the Philippines killed more than 1,000 people. Tanja Frieden of Switzerland won the Olympic women’s snowboardcross, speeding past American Lindsey Jacobellis, who’d fallen on her next-to-last jump before the finish line. William Cowsill, lead singer of the family band The Cowsills, died in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, at age 58.

Five years ago: A group of Democratic Wisconsin lawmakers blocked passage of a sweeping anti-union bill, refusing to show up for a vote and then abruptly leaving the state in an effort to force Republicans to the negotiating table. Iowa high school wrestler Joel Northrup defaulted on his first-round state tournament match rather than face Cassy Herkelman, one of the first girls ever to qualify for the event, saying that wrestling a girl would conflict with his religious beliefs.

One year ago: Vice President Joe Biden opened a White House summit on countering extremism and radicalization, saying the United States needed to ensure that immigrants were fully included in the fabric of American society to prevent violent ideologies from taking root at home.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Hal Holbrook is 91. Singer Bobby Lewis is 83. Actor-comedian Barry Humphries (aka “Dame Edna”) is 82. Country singer-songwriter Johnny Bush is 81. Actress Christina Pickles is 81. Football Hall-of-Famer Jim Brown is 80. Actress Brenda Fricker is 71. Actress Rene Russo is 62. Actor Richard Karn is 60. Actor Lou Diamond Phillips is 54. Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan is 53. Actor-comedian Larry, the Cable Guy is 53. TV personality Rene Syler is 53. Movie director Michael Bay is 52. Singer Chante Moore is 49. Rock musician Timothy J. Mahoney (311) is 46. Actor Dominic Purcell is 46. Olympic gold and silver medal skier Tommy Moe is 46. Actress Denise Richards is 45. Rock singer-musician Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) is 44. Actor Jerry O’Connell is 42. Country singer Bryan White is 42. Actress Kelly Carlson is 40. Actor Ashton Holmes is 38. Actor Jason Ritter is 36. TV personality Paris Hilton is 35. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is 35. TV host Daphne Oz (TV: “The Chew”) is 30. Actor Chord Overstreet is 27. Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is 25. Actress Meaghan Martin is 24. Actress Sasha Pieterse is 20.

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