Today in History – Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016

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Today is Wednesday, Feb. 17, the 48th day of 2016. There are 318 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1568 – Turkey’s Sultan Selim II makes peace with Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II.

1801 – U.S. House of Representatives breaks an electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, electing Jefferson president.

1817 – A street in Baltimore becomes the first to be lighted with gas from America’s first gas company.

1852 – Repressive measures are adopted in France, including press censorship in the aftermath of overthrow of the constitutional monarchy.

1897 – Britain rejects Austro-Russian proposal for blockade of Piraeus in Greece.

1904 – Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Madame Butterfly” is poorly received during its world premiere at La Scala.

1916 – British and French forces complete capture of Germany’s African colony of Cameroon during World War I.

1944 – U.S. forces attack Japanese at Eniwetok Atoll in Pacific in World War II.

1947 – The Voice of America begins its radio broadcasts to the Soviet Union.

1964 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Westberry v. Sanders that congressional districts within each state have to be roughly equal in population.

1965 – U.S. spacecraft Ranger 8 is launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida, and crashes on the Moon three days later after sending back more than 7,000 pictures.

1972 – U.S. President Richard Nixon departs on his historic trip to China.

1990 – East Germany announces it will tear down a 180-meter (600-foot) section of the Berlin Wall near the Brandenburg Gate, which will be the first section with no official controls.

1992 – U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali recommends deployment of 13,000 peacekeepers in Yugoslavia.

1994 – Serb guns pull back from positions around Sarajevo, Bosnia, ahead of a NATO deadline.

1995 – Peru and Ecuador sign a peace treaty, ending a five-week border war that killed 78.

1996 – A magnitude-7 quake strikes eastern Indonesia, killing at least 53; world chess champion Garry Kasparov beats IBM supercomputer “Deep Blue,” winning a six-game match in Philadelphia.

1997 – Former copper trader Yasuo Hamanaka pleads guilty in a Tokyo court to fraud and forgery in trying to cover speculation that depressed world copper markets and lost his company $2.6 billion.

1998 – American athletes compete in Iran for the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

1999 – Three Kurds are shot and killed trying to enter the Israeli consulate in Berlin to protest what they believe was Israeli involvement in the arrest of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan by Turkey.

2003 – Twenty-one people are crushed to death and some 50 others are injured when a panic-stricken crowd tries to exit a nightclub in Chicago.

2006 – Up to 1,800 people are killed when a farming village in eastern Philippines is swallowed whole by a wall of mud and boulders in a landslide.

2008 – Kosovo declares independence from Serbia; Serbia immediately denounces the declaration as illegal.

2009 – U.S. President Barack Obama signs a massive $787 billion package to revive the country’s economy.

2011 – Libyan protesters seeking to oust longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi defy a crackdown and take to the streets in five cities on what activists dub a “day of rage.”

2013 – Gunmen attack a camp for a construction company in rural northern Nigeria, killing a guard and kidnapping seven foreign workers in the biggest kidnapping yet in a region under attack by Islamic extremists.

2015 — Geneva prosecutors search the premises of HSBC’s Swiss subsidiary after launching a money-laundering investigation over a report the bank helped hide millions of dollars for drug traffickers, arms dealers and celebrities.

Today’s Birthdays:

Thomas Robert Malthus, English economist (1766-1834); A.J. “Banjo” Paterson, Australian poet who wrote “Waltzing Matilda” (1864-1941); Andre Maginot, French military expert and architect of Maginot Line (1877-1932); Gene Pitney, U.S. singer (1941–2006); Billie Joe Armstrong, U.S. singer/guitarist (1972–); Joseph Gordon-Levitt, U.S. actor (1981–); Hal Holbrook, U.S. actor (1925–); Rene Russo, U.S. actress (1954–); Paris Hilton, U.S. TV personality (1981–).

Thought For Today:

The passion for setting people right is in itself an afflictive disease — Marianne Moore, American poet (1887-1972).

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