Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Monday, Feb. 29, the 60th day of 2016. There are 306 days left in the year. This is Leap Day.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 29, 1916, singer, actress and TV personality Dinah Shore was born Frances Rose Shore in Winchester, Tennessee. (Shore, who claimed March 1, 1917 as her birthdate, died in 1994 just days before she would have turned 78.)

On this date:

In 1504, Christopher Columbus, stranded in Jamaica during his fourth voyage to the West, used a correctly predicted lunar eclipse to frighten hostile natives into providing food for his crew.

In 1796, President George Washington proclaimed Jay’s Treaty, which settled some outstanding differences with Britain, in effect.

In 1892, the United States and Britain agreed to submit to arbitration their dispute over seal-hunting rights in the Bering Sea. (A commission later ruled in favor of Britain.)

In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed a seven-member commission to facilitate completion of the Panama Canal.

In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a second Neutrality Act as he appealed to American businesses not to increase exports to belligerents.

In 1940, “Gone with the Wind” won eight Academy Awards, including best picture of 1939; Hattie McDaniel won for best supporting actress, the first black performer so honored.

In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced he would seek a second term of office. Serial killer Aileen Wuornos was born in Rochester, Michigan (she was executed by the state of Florida in 2002).

In 1960, the first Playboy Club, featuring waitresses clad in “bunny” outfits, opened in Chicago. Serial killer Richard Ramirez was born in El Paso, Texas (he died in 2013 while awaiting execution in California).

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (also known as the Kerner Commission) warned that racism was causing America to move “toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal.” The discovery of a “pulsar,” a star which emits regular radio waves, was announced by Dr. Jocelyn Bell Burnell in Cambridge, England.

In 1980, former Israeli foreign minister Yigal Allon, who had played an important role in the Jewish state’s fight for independence, died at age 61.

In 1984, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau announced he was stepping down after more than 15 combined years in power.

In 1996, Daniel Green was convicted in Lumberton, North Carolina, of murdering James R. Jordan, the father of basketball star Michael Jordan, during a 1993 roadside holdup. (Green and an accomplice, Larry Martin Demery, were sentenced to life in prison.) A Peruvian Boeing 737 crashed on approach to Arequipa, killing all 123 people on board.

Twelve years ago (2004): Facing rebellion, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide (zhahn behr-TRAHN’ ahr-ihs-TEED’) resigned and left for exile in the Central African Republic. (Aristide returned to Haiti in March 2011.) “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” won a record-tying 11 Academy Awards, including best picture; Sean Penn took the best-actor prize for “Mystic River” and Charlize Theron won best actress for portraying Aileen Wuornos in “Monster.” Playwright Jerome Lawrence died in Malibu, California, at age 88.

Eight years ago (2008): Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama accused rival Hillary Rodham Clinton of trying to “play on people’s fears to scare up votes” with a TV ad showing sleeping children and asking who would be more qualified to answer a national security emergency call at 3 a.m.

Four years ago (2012): Violent weather packing tornadoes continued to ravage the Midwest and South, resulting in some 15 deaths. Davy Jones, 66, the heartthrob singer who helped propel the made-for-TV rock band The Monkees to the top of the pop charts, died in Stuart, Florida.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Michele Morgan is 96. Actor Joss Ackland is 88. Former astronaut Jack Lousma is 80. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople is 76. Motivational speaker Tony Robbins is 56. Legal affairs blogger Eugene Volokh is 48. Actor Antonio Sabato Jr. is 44. Poet, musician and hip-hop artist Saul Williams is 44. Rapper Ja Rule is 40. Songwriter-musician Chris Conley (Saves the Day) is 36. Singer-musician Mark Foster (Foster the People) is 32. Hockey player Cam Ward is 32.

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