Today in History Friday, Feb. 17, 2017

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Today is Friday, Feb. 17, the 48th day of 2017. There are 317 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 17, 1947, the Voice of America began broadcasting in Russian to the Soviet Union.

On this date:

In 1815, the United States and Britain exchanged the instruments of ratification for the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.

In 1863, the International Red Cross was founded in Geneva.

In 1897, the forerunner of the National PTA, the National Congress of Mothers, convened its first meeting in Washington.

In 1913, the Armory Show, a landmark modern art exhibit, opened in New York City.

In 1925, the first issue of The New Yorker magazine (bearing the cover date of Feb. 21) was published.

In 1933, Newsweek magazine was first published under the title “News-Week.”

In 1944, during World War II, U.S. forces invaded Eniwetok Atoll, encountering little initial resistance from Imperial Japanese troops. (The Americans secured the atoll less than a week later.)

In 1959, the United States launched Vanguard 2, a satellite which carried meteorological equipment.

In 1964, the Supreme Court, in Wesberry v. Sanders, ruled that congressional districts within each state had to be roughly equal in population.

In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon departed the White House with his wife, Pat, on a historic trip to China.

In 1986, Johnson & Johnson announced it would no longer sell over-the-counter medications in capsule form, following the death of a woman who had taken a cyanide-laced Tylenol capsule.

In 1996, world chess champion Garry Kasparov beat IBM supercomputer “Deep Blue,” winning a six-game match in Philadelphia (however, Kasparov lost to Deep Blue in a rematch in 1997).

Ten years ago: Senate Republicans foiled a Democratic bid to repudiate President George W. Bush’s deployment of 21,500 additional combat troops to Iraq. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a surprise visit to Baghdad. At Camp Pendleton, California, Marine Lance Cpl. Robert B. Pennington was sentenced to 8 years in military prison for his role in the kidnapping and killing of an Iraqi civilian (he was released early in Aug. 2007). Former French Cabinet minister Maurice Papon (pa-PAWN’), convicted of complicity in crimes against humanity for his role in deporting Jews during World War II, died near Paris at age 96.

Five years ago: Congress voted to extend a Social Security payroll tax cut for 160 million workers and to renew unemployment benefits for millions more. The New York Knicks saw their seven-game winning streak with team sensation Jeremy Lin come to an end as they lost to the New Orleans Hornets, 89-85.

One year ago: A three-way feud among the GOP’s leading White House contenders escalated, with Ted Cruz daring Donald Trump to sue him for defamation and dismissing Marco Rubio’s charges of dishonesty during a CNN forum just days before South Carolina’s high-stakes primary. Travis Hittson, a former Navy crewman, was executed in Georgia for killing a fellow sailor, Conway Utterbeck. A jury in Los Angeles acquitted an Ohio man of stalking actress Gwyneth Paltrow.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Hal Holbrook is 92. Actor-comedian Barry Humphries (aka “Dame Edna”) is 83. Country singer-songwriter Johnny Bush is 82. Actress Christina Pickles is 82. Football Hall-of-Famer Jim Brown is 81. Actress Brenda Fricker is 72. Actress Rene Russo is 63. Actor Richard Karn is 61. Actor Lou Diamond Phillips is 55. Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan is 54. Actor-comedian Larry, the Cable Guy is 54. TV personality Rene Syler is 54. Movie director Michael Bay is 53. Singer Chante Moore is 50. Rock musician Timothy J. Mahoney (311) is 47. Actor Dominic Purcell is 47. Olympic gold and silver medal skier Tommy Moe is 47. Actress Denise Richards is 46. Rock singer-musician Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) is 45. Actor Jerry O’Connell is 43. Country singer Bryan White is 43. Actress Kelly Carlson is 41. Actor Ashton Holmes is 39. Actor Conrad Ricamora (TV: “How to Get Away With Murder”) is 38. Actor Jason Ritter is 37. TV personality Paris Hilton is 36. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is 36. TV host Daphne Oz (TV: “The Chew”) is 31. Actor Chord Overstreet is 28. Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is 26. Actress Meaghan Martin is 25. Actress Sasha Pieterse is 21.

Thought for Today: “A healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.” — Tom Stoppard, Czech-born British playwright (1937- ).

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