Today’s Highlights in History:
On Feb. 19, 2008, an ailing Fidel Castro resigned the Cuban presidency after nearly a half-century in power; his brother Raul was later named to succeed him.
On this date:
In 1473, astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Torun, Poland.
In 1807, former Vice President Aaron Burr, accused of treason, was arrested in the Mississippi Territory, in present-day Alabama. (Burr was acquitted at trial.)
In 1878, Thomas Edison received a U.S. patent for “an improvement in phonograph or speaking machines.”
In 1942, during World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which paved the way for the relocation and internment of people of Japanese ancestry, including U.S.-born citizens.
In 1945, Operation Detachment began during World War II as some 30,000 U.S. Marines began landing on Iwo Jima, where they commenced a successful month-long battle to seize control of the island from Japanese forces.
In 1959, an agreement was signed by Britain, Turkey and Greece granting Cyprus its independence.
In 1968, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” debuts on NET (now PBS)
In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford, calling the issuing of the internment order for people of Japanese ancestry in 1942 “a sad day in American history,” signed a proclamation formally confirming its termination.
In 1985, the British soap opera “EastEnders” debuted on BBC Television.
In 1986, the U.S. Senate approved, 83-11, the Genocide Convention, an international treaty outlawing “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,” nearly 37 years after the pact was first submitted for ratification.
In 1997, Deng Xiaoping (dung shah-oh-ping), the last of China’s major Communist revolutionaries, died at age 92.
In 2003, an Iranian military plane carrying 275 members of the elite Revolutionary Guards crashed in southeastern Iran, killing all on board.
In 2019, President Donald Trump directed the Pentagon to develop plans for a new Space Force within the Air Force, accepting less than the full-fledged department he had wanted.
Ten years ago: Three skiers were killed when an avalanche swept them about a quarter-mile down an out-of-bounds canyon at Stevens Pass, Washington, but a fourth skier caught up in the slide was saved by a safety device. Forty-four inmates were killed in a prison riot in Apodaca, northern Mexico.
Five years ago: Three former elite U.S. gymnasts, including 2000 Olympian Jamie Dantzscher, appeared on CBS’ “60 Minutes” to say they were sexually abused by Dr. Larry Nassar, a volunteer team physician for USA Gymnastics. (Nassar would be sentenced to decades in prison after hundreds of girls and women said he sexually abused them under the guise of medical treatment.) Anthony Davis had an All-Star Game for the record books, scoring 52 points as the Western Conference beat the Eastern Conference 192-182 — the highest-scoring game in league history.
One year ago: Southern cities slammed by winter storms that left millions without power for days were dealing with water pipes ruptured by record-low temperatures; the breaks created a shortage of clean drinking water, shut down airports and left hospitals scrambling. The United States officially returned to the Paris climate accord; President Joe Biden told a virtual gathering of European leaders that the world “can no longer delay or do the bare minimum to address climate change.” U.S. officials scrambled to reinforce the nation’s cyber defenses following a sweeping hack that may have exposed government and corporate secrets to Russia. Kim Kardashian West filed for divorce from Kanye West in Los Angeles after 6 1/2 years of marriage.
Singer Smokey Robinson is 82. Actor Carlin Glynn is 82. Former Sony Corp. Chairman Howard Stringer is 80. Singer Lou Christie is 79. Rock musician Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell) is 74. Actor Stephen Nichols is 71. Author Amy Tan is 70. Actor Jeff Daniels is 67. Rock singer-musician Dave Wakeling is 66. Talk show host Lorianne Crook is 65. Actor Ray Winstone is 65. Actor Leslie David Baker is 64. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is 63. Britain’s Prince Andrew is 62. Tennis Hall of Famer Hana Mandlikova is 60. Singer Seal is 59. Actor Jessica Tuck is 59. Country musician Ralph McCauley (Wild Horses) is 58. Rock musician Jon Fishman (Phish) is 57. Actor Justine Bateman is 56. Actor Benicio Del Toro is 55. Actor Bellamy Young is 52. Rock musician Daniel Adair is 47. Pop singer-actor Haylie Duff is 37. Actor Arielle Kebbel is 37. Christian rock musician Seth Morrison (Skillet) is 34. Actor Luke Pasqualino is 32. Actor Victoria Justice is 29. Actor David (dah-VEED’) Mazouz (TV: “Gotham”) is 21. Actor Millie Bobby Brown is 18.