Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 28, 1993, a gun battle erupted at a religious compound near Waco, Texas, when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents tried to arrest Branch Davidian leader David Koresh on weapons charges; four agents and six Davidians were killed as a 51-day standoff began.
On this date:
In 1844, a 12-inch gun aboard the USS Princeton exploded as the ship was sailing on the Potomac River, killing Secretary of State Abel P. Upshur, Navy Secretary Thomas W. Gilmer and several others.
In 1849, the California gold rush began in earnest as regular steamship service started bringing gold-seekers to San Francisco.
In 1911, President William Howard Taft nominated William H. Lewis to be the first Black Assistant Attorney General of the United States.
In 1953, scientists James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick announced they had discovered the double-helix structure of DNA.
In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai issued the Shanghai Communique, which called for normalizing relations between their countries, at the conclusion of Nixon’s historic visit to China.
In 1975, 42 people were killed in London’s Underground when a train smashed into the end of a tunnel.
In 1986: the film Pretty in Pink was released in theaters.
In 1996, Britain’s Princess Diana agreed to divorce Prince Charles. (Their 15-year marriage officially ended in August 1996; Diana died in a car crash in Paris a year after that.)
In 2009, Paul Harvey, the news commentator and talk-radio pioneer whose staccato style made him one of the nation’s most familiar voices, died in Phoenix at age 90.
In 2013, Benedict XVI became the first pope in 600 years to resign, ending an eight-year pontificate. (Benedict was succeeded the following month by Pope Francis.)
In 2014, delivering a blunt warning to Moscow, President Barack Obama expressed deep concern over reported military activity inside Ukraine by Russia and warned “there will be costs” for any intervention.
In 2018, Walmart announced that it would no longer sell firearms and ammunition to people younger than 21 and would remove items resembling assault-style rifles from its website. Dick’s Sporting Goods said it would stop selling assault-style rifles and ban the sale of all guns to anyone under 21.
In 2020, the number of countries touched by the coronavirus climbed to nearly 60. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the week 12.4% lower in the market’s worst weekly performance since the 2008 financial crisis.
Ten years ago: Republican Mitt Romney won presidential primary victories in Arizona and Michigan. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, announced she would not seek reelection, citing what she called the increasingly polarized climate of Washington. Matt Kenseth won his second Daytona 500, holding off Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a post-midnight victory after rain had postponed the start of the race for the first time in its 54-year history from Sunday to Monday.
Five years ago: Heralding a “new chapter of American greatness,” President Donald Trump issued a broad call for overhauling the nation’s health care system and significantly boosting military spending in an hourlong speech to a joint session of Congress. Amazon’s cloud-computing service, Amazon Web Services, experienced a five-hour outage in its eastern U.S. region, causing unprecedented and widespread problems for thousands of websites and apps.
One year ago: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo acknowledged for the first time that some of his behavior with women “may have been insensitive or too personal” and said he would cooperate with a sexual harassment investigation led by the state’s attorney general. Former President Donald Trump, addressing a conservative conference in Florida in his first public speech since leaving office, encouraged everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19. “Nomadland” and “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” took the top film honors at the Golden Globe Awards, capping a night that featured homebound winners accepting their awards.
Today’s Birthdays: Architect Frank Gehry is 93. Singer Sam the Sham is 85. Actor-director-dancer Tommy Tune is 83. Hall of Fame auto racer Mario Andretti is 82. Actor Kelly Bishop is 78. Actor Stephanie Beacham is 75. Writer-director Mike Figgis is 74. Actor Mercedes Ruehl is 74. Actor Bernadette Peters is 74. Former Energy Secretary Steven Chu is 74. Actor Ilene Graff is 73. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is 69. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried is 67. Basketball Hall of Famer Adrian Dantley is 67. Actor John Turturro is 65. Rock singer Cindy Wilson is 65. Actor Rae Dawn Chong is 61. Actor Maxine Bahns is 53. Actor Robert Sean Leonard is 53.
Rock singer Pat Monahan (Train) is 53. Author Daniel Handler (aka “Lemony Snicket”) is 52. Actor Tasha Smith is 51. Actor Rory Cochrane is 50. Actor Ali Larter is 46. Country singer Jason Aldean is 45. Actor Geoffrey Arend is 44. Actor Melanie Chandra (TV: “Code Black”) is 38. Actor Michelle Horn is 35. MLB relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman is 34. Actor True O’Brien is 28. Actor Madisen Beaty is 27. Actor Quinn Shephard is 27. Actor Bobb’e J. Thompson is 26.