Today in History – Friday, Feb. 19, 2016

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Today is Friday, Feb. 19, the 50th day of 2016. There are 316 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1618 – Peace of Madrid is ratified, ending war between Venice and Austria.

1674 – Treaty of Westminster is signed, whereby Britain withdraws support for French in war against Dutch.

1797 – Pope Pius VI, by Treaty of Tolentino, cedes Romagna, Bologna and Ferrara to France, as Napoleon Bonaparte advances through Tyrol to Vienna.

1803 – Act of Mediation is passed in Switzerland, under which cantons regain independence.

1807 – British fleet forces way through Dardanelles to support Russia in war against Turkey.

1878 – American inventor Thomas Edison receives a patent for his phonograph.

1881 – Kansas becomes the first U.S. state to prohibit all alcoholic beverages.

1927 – Chinese Nationalists extract a reduction of concessions from Britain at Hankow and Kiukiang.

1942 – First Japanese attack on Australian mainland in World War II when aircraft attack Darwin and nearby military bases killing 243, sinking eight ships and destroying 23 aircraft.

1945 – During World War II, 30,000 U.S. Marines land on Iwo Jima, where they encounter ferocious resistance from Japanese forces before taking control of the island.

1951 – A popular revolution in Nepal overthrows the 104-year rule of the Rana political dynasty and restores the royal family’s power.

1959 – Agreement is signed in London by Greece, Turkey and Britain for independence of Cyprus.

1963 – U.S. President John F. Kennedy says Soviet Union has agreed to withdraw several thousand of its 17,000 troops from Cuba.

1986 – The U.S. Senate approves a treaty outlawing genocide, 37 years after the pact had first been submitted for ratification.

1991 – Boris Yeltsin calls for the resignation of Mikhail Gorbachev, saying Gorbachev is sacrificing reform for increased personal power.

1993 – A packed ferry carrying up to 1,500 people sinks in stormy seas off Haiti, and only 285 people are known to have survived.

1994 – Gunmen kill 18 young African National Congress supporters in Natal province, South Africa, the first major act of violence in a Zulu anti-election campaign.

1997 – Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, who guided the country from political chaos and economic ruin toward prosperity in the post-Mao era, dies in Beijing at age 92.

2006 – Israel freezes the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax money to the Palestinians in its first response to the takeover of the Palestinian parliament by the militant group Hamas.

2007 – Two bombs explode on a train headed from India to Pakistan, sparking a fire that kills 66 people in an attack officials say was aimed at undermining the peace process between the rivals.

2008 – An ailing Fidel Castro resigns as Cuba’s president after nearly a half-century in power.

2009 – A jury in Moscow votes unanimously to acquit three men in the killing of journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

2012 – Iran halts oil shipments to Britain and France in an apparent pre-emptive blow against the European Union after the bloc imposed sanctions on Iran’s crucial fuel exports.

2013 – Oscar Pistorious weeps as his defense lawyer reads the athlete’s account of how he shot his girlfriend to death in South Africa on Valentine’s Day, claiming he had mistaken her for an intruder.

2014 – President Barack Obama urges Ukraine to avoid violence against peaceful protesters or face consequences as the United States considers joining European partners to impose sanctions aimed at ending deadly street clashes.

2015 -Separatist rebels fire on Ukraine positions nearly 50 times in past 24 hours and Russia is sending more troops into Ukraine despite a cease-fire that was supposed to take effect five days ago.

Today’s Birthdays:

David Garrick, English author-dramatist (1717-1779); Luigi Boccherini, Italian composer (1743-1805); Sir William McMahon, former Australian prime minister (1908-1988); Merle Oberon, British actress (1911-1979); Smokey Robinson, U.S. singer (1940–); Michael Nader, U.S. actor (1945–); England’s Prince Andrew (1960–); Seal, U.S. singer (1963–); Benicio Del Toro, actor (1967–).

Thought For Today:

I can never give a ‘yes’ or a ‘no.’ I don’t believe everything in life can be settled by a monosyllable — Betty Smith, American author (1904-1972).

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