Today in History

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Associated Press

Posted on February 18, 2013 at 12:02 AM

Updated Monday, Feb 18 at 10:30 AM

Today is Thursday, Feb. 28, the 59th day of 2013. There are 306 days left in the year.

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. (The siege ended April 19 as fire erupted while federal agents smashed their way into the compound; Koresh and 78 other people were killed.)

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 1861, the Territory of Colorado was organized.

In 1911, President William Howard Taft nominated William H. Lewis to be the first black Assistant Attorney General of the United States.

In 1942, the heavy cruiser USS Houston and the Australian light cruiser HMAS Perth were attacked by Japanese forces during the World War II Battle of Sunda Strait; both were sunk shortly after midnight.

In 1951, the Senate committee headed by Estes Kefauver (ES'-teez KEE'-faw-vuhr), D-Tenn., issued an interim report saying at least two major crime syndicates were operating in the U.S.

In 1953, scientists James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick announced they had discovered the double-helix structure of DNA.

In 1960, a day after defeating the Soviets at the Winter Games in Squaw Valley, Calif., the United States won its first Olympic hockey gold medal by defeating Czechoslovakia's team, 9-4.

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, more than 40 people were killed in London's Underground when a subway train smashed into the end of a tunnel.

In 1983, the long-running TV series "M-A-S-H" ended after 11 seasons on CBS with a special 2½-hour finale that was watched by an estimated 121.6 million people.

In 1986, Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme (PAHL'-meh) was shot to death in central Stockholm. (The killing remains unsolved.)

In 1988, the 15th Olympic Winter Games held its closing ceremony in Calgary, Canada.

Ten years ago: NASA released video taken aboard Columbia that had miraculously survived the fiery destruction of the space shuttle with the loss of all seven astronauts; in the footage, four of the crew members can be seen doing routine chores and admiring the view outside the cockpit. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stood by its ruling that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools was unconstitutional because of the words "under God." The Food and Drug Administration announced that every bottle of ephedra would soon bear stern warnings that the popular herb could cause heart attacks or strokes, even kill. (The government banned ephedra in Feb. 2004.)

Five years ago: President George W. Bush told a White House news conference the country was not recession-bound; Democratic candidate Barack Obama said the economy was "on the brink of a recession" and blamed economic policies espoused by Bush and Republican presidential contender John McCain. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told his Turkish counterpart that Turkey should end its offensive against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq as soon as possible. Deposed Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra (TAHK'-sin SHIN'-uh-wah) returned to Thailand from 17 months in exile to face corruption charges. Mike Smith, lead singer for the British band Dave Clark Five, died outside London at age 64.

One year ago: Republican Mitt Romney won presidential primary victories in Arizona and Michigan. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, announced she would not seek re-election, citing what she called the increasingly polarized climate of Washington. Angela Castro, 88, an elder sister of Cuban leaders Fidel and Raul Castro, died in Havana.

(Stations: "Bobb'e J. Thompson" is correct)

Today's Birthdays: Producer Saul Zaentz is 92. Architect Frank Gehry is 84. Actor Gavin MacLeod is 82. Actor Don Francks is 81. Actor-director-dancer Tommy Tune is 74. Hall of Fame auto racer Mario Andretti is 73. Actor Frank Bonner is 71. Actress Kelly Bishop is 69. Actress Stephanie Beacham is 66. Writer-director Mike Figgis is 65. Actress Mercedes Ruehl is 65. Actress Bernadette Peters is 65. Energy Secretary Steven Chu is 65. Actress Ilene Graff is 64. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is 60. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried is 58. Basketball Hall-of-Famer Adrian Dantley is 57. Actor John Turturro is 56. Rock singer Cindy Wilson is 56. Actress Rae Dawn Chong is 52. Actress Maxine Bahns is 44. Actor Robert Sean Leonard is 44. Rock singer Pat Monahan is 44. Author Daniel Handler (AKA "Lemony Snicket") is 43. Actor Rory Cochrane is 41. Actress Ali Larter is 37. Country singer Jason Aldean is 36. Actor Geoffrey Arend is 35. Actress Michelle Horn is 26. Actor Bobb'e J. Thompson is 17.

Thought for Today: "Education is learning what you didn't even know you didn't know." — Daniel J. Boorstin, American historian, educator and Librarian of Congress (1914-2004).

(Above Advance for Use Thursday, Feb. 28)

Copyright 2013, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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