Today in History

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Today is Wednesday, Feb. 13, the 44th day of 2019. There are 321 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 13, 2016, Justice Antonin Scalia, the influential conservative and most provocative member of the U.S. Supreme Court, was found dead at a private residence in the Big Bend area of West Texas; he was 79.

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On this date:

In 1633, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome for trial before the Inquisition, accused of defending Copernican theory that the Earth revolved around the sun instead of the other way around. (Galileo was found vehemently suspect of heresy, and ended up being sentenced to a form of house arrest.)

In 1861, Abraham Lincoln was officially declared winner of the 1860 presidential election as electors cast their ballots.

In 1935, a jury in Flemington, New Jersey, found Bruno Richard Hauptmann guilty of first-degree murder in the kidnap-slaying of Charles A. Lindbergh Jr., the 20-month-old son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh. (Hauptmann was later executed.)

In 1943, during World War II, the U.S. Marine Corps Women’s Reserve was officially established.

In 1945, during World War II, Allied planes began bombing the German city of Dresden. The Soviets captured Budapest, Hungary, from the Germans.

In 1974, Nobel Prize-winning Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn was expelled from the Soviet Union.

In 1984, Konstantin Chernenko was chosen to be general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party’s Central Committee, succeeding the late Yuri Andropov.

In 1988, the 15th Winter Olympics opened in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

In 1996, the rock musical “Rent,” by Jonathan Larson, opened off-Broadway.

In 1998, Dr. David Satcher was sworn in as the 16th Surgeon General of the United States during an Oval Office ceremony.

In 2013, beginning a long farewell to his flock, a weary Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his final public Mass as pontiff, presiding over Ash Wednesday services inside St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

In 2017, President Donald Trump’s embattled national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned following reports he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his contacts with Russia. Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, died after falling ill at an airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; two women are accused of killing him by smearing a nerve agent onto his face.

Ten years ago: A $787 billion stimulus bill aimed at easing the worst economic crisis in decades cleared both houses of Congress. Peanut Corp. of America, the Lynchburg, Va.-based peanut processing company at the heart of a national salmonella outbreak, filed for bankruptcy. A female suicide bomber targeted Shiite pilgrims in Musayyib, Iraq, killing at least 40.

Five years ago: Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland dominated her favorite event at the Sochi Olympics, winning the women’s cross-country 10-kilometer classical race despite skiing with a fractured foot; Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu won the men’s short program on a night that four-time Olympic medalist Evgeni Plushenko retired from competitive skating. Actor Ralph Waite, 85, died in Palm Desert, California.

One year ago: President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, said he had paid $130,000 out of his own pocket to a porn actress who claimed to have had a sexual relationship with Trump. Ahmad Khan Rahimi was sentenced in New York to multiple terms of life in prison for setting off small bombs in New York and New Jersey, including a pressure-cooker device that blasted shrapnel across a New York City block; the attacks in September, 2016, left 30 people injured. A bichon frise named Flynn was named best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club in New York, a choice that seemed to surprise most in the packed crowd at Madison Square Garden.

Today’s Birthdays: U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager (ret.) is 96. Actress Kim Novak is 86. Actor George Segal is 85. Actor Bo Svenson is 78. Actress Carol Lynley is 77. Singer-musician Peter Tork (The Monkees) is 77. Actress Stockard Channing is 75. Talk show host Jerry Springer is 75. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., is 73. Singer Peter Gabriel is 69. Actor David Naughton is 68. Rock musician Peter Hook is 63. Actor Matt Salinger is 59. Singer Henry Rollins is 58. Actor Neal McDonough is 53. Singer Freedom Williams is 53. Actress Kelly Hu is 51. Rock singer Matt Berninger (The National) is 48. Rock musician Todd Harrell (formerly with 3 Doors Down) is 47. Country musician Scott Thomas (Parmalee) is 46. Singer Robbie Williams is 45. Singer-songwriter Feist is 43. Rhythm-and-blues performer Natalie Stewart is 40. Actress Mena Suvari is 40. Rock musician Dash Hutton (Haim) is 34. Actress Katie Volding is 30. Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. (also known as Prince Michael Jackson I) is 22.