Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 15, 1989, the Soviet Union announced that the last of its troops had left Afghanistan, after more than nine years of military intervention.
On this date:
In 1564, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa.
In 1764, the site of present-day St. Louis was established by Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau.
In 1798, a feud between two members of the U.S. House of Representatives (meeting in Philadelphia) boiled over as Roger Griswold of Connecticut used a cane to attack Vermont’s Matthew Lyon, who defended himself with a set of tongs. (Griswold was enraged over the House’s refusal to expel Lyon for spitting tobacco juice in his face two weeks earlier; after the two men were separated, a motion to expel them both was defeated.)
In 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes signed a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court.
In 1898, the U.S. battleship Maine mysteriously blew up in Havana Harbor, killing more than 260 crew members and bringing the United States closer to war with Spain.
In 1933, President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt escaped an assassination attempt in Miami that mortally wounded Chicago Mayor Anton J. Cermak; gunman Giuseppe Zangara was executed more than four weeks later.
In 1944, Allied bombers destroyed the monastery atop Monte Cassino (MAWN’-tay kah-SEE’-noh) in Italy.
In 1961, 73 people, including an 18-member U.S. figure skating team en route to the World Championships in Czechoslovakia, were killed in the crash of a Sabena Airlines Boeing 707 in Belgium.
In 1992, a Milwaukee jury found that Jeffrey Dahmer was sane when he killed and mutilated 15 men and boys. (The decision meant that Dahmer, who had already pleaded guilty to the murders, would receive a mandatory life sentence for each count; Dahmer was beaten to death in prison in 1994.)
In 2004, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Daytona 500 on the same track where his father was killed three years earlier.
In 2005, defrocked priest Paul Shanley was sentenced in Boston to 12 to 15 years in prison on child rape charges.
In 2018, the last of the bodies of the 17 victims of a school shooting in Florida were removed from the building after authorities analyzed the crime scene; 13 wounded survivors were still hospitalized. In response to the Florida school shooting, President Donald Trump, in an address to the nation, promised to “tackle the difficult issue of mental health,” but avoided any mention of guns. Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in the shooting, was ordered held without bond at a brief court hearing.
Ten years ago: Protesters swarmed Wisconsin’s capitol after Gov. Scott Walker proposed cutbacks in benefits and abolishing bargaining rights for most public employees. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was ordered to stand trial on charges he’d paid a 17-year-old Moroccan girl for sex and then used his influence to cover it up. (Berlusconi was found guilty, but had his conviction overturned.)
Five years ago: President Barack Obama opened a meeting in Rancho Mirage, California, of leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, calling the landmark gathering on U.S. soil a reflection of his personal commitment to an enduring partnership with the diverse group of countries. Taylor Swift’s “1989? brought the singer her second Grammy Award win for album of the year; Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars earned top record for “Uptown Funk,” while Ed Sheeran won song of the year for “Thinking Out Loud.” Vanity, a Prince protege who renounced her sexy stage persona to become a Christian minister, died in Fremont, California; she was 57.
One year ago: The U.S. government said Americans who were on board a cruise ship under quarantine in Japan because of the coronavirus would be flown back home on a chartered flight, but that they would face another two-week quarantine; about 380 Americans were aboard the Diamond Princess. China reported 143 new coronavirus deaths, but a dip in the number of new cases; the World Health Organization praised China’s efforts to contain the new disease.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Claire Bloom is 90. Author Susan Brownmiller is 86. Songwriter Brian Holland is 80. Rock musician Mick Avory (The Kinks) is 77. Jazz musician Henry Threadgill is 77. Actor-model Marisa Berenson is 74. Actor Jane Seymour is 70. Singer Melissa Manchester is 70. Actor Lynn Whitfield is 68. “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening (GREE’-ning) is 67. Model Janice Dickinson is 66. Actor Christopher McDonald is 66. Reggae singer Ali Campbell is 62. Actor Joseph R. Gannascoli is 62. Musician Mikey Craig (Culture Club) is 61. College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Darrell Green is 61. Actor-comedian Steven Michael Quezada is 58. Actor Michael Easton is 54. Latin singer Gloria Trevi is 53. Rock musician Stevie Benton (Drowning Pool) is 50. Actor Alex Borstein is 50. Actor Renee O’Connor is 50. Actor Sarah Wynter is 48. Olympic gold medal swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen is 48. Actor-director Miranda July is 47. Rock singer Brandon Boyd (Incubus) is 45. Rock musician Ronnie Vannucci (The Killers) is 45. Rock singer/guitarist Adam Granduciel (The War on Drugs) is 42. Singer-songwriter-musician Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) is 41. Actor Ashley Lyn Cafagna is 38.
Blues-rock musician Gary Clark Jr. is 37. Actor Natalie Morales is 36. Actor Amber Riley is 35. Rapper Megan Thee Stallion is 26. Actor Zach Gordon is 23.