Today is Thursday, Feb. 18, the 49th day of 2016. There are 317 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 18, 1516, Mary Tudor, the Queen of England who came to be known as “Bloody Mary” for her persecution of Protestants, was born in Greenwich.
On this date:
In 1546, Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation in Germany, died in Eisleben.
In 1861, Jefferson Davis was sworn in as provisional president of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Ala.
In 1885, Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was published in the U.S. for the first time (after being published in Britain and Canada).
In 1913, Mexican President Francisco I. Madero and Vice President Jose Maria Pino Suarez were arrested during a military coup (both were shot to death on Feb. 22).
In 1930, photographic evidence of Pluto (now designated a “dwarf planet”) was discovered by Clyde W. Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz.
In 1943, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, wife of the Chinese leader, addressed members of the Senate and then the House, becoming the first Chinese national to address both houses of the U.S. Congress.
In 1953, “Bwana Devil,” the movie that heralded the 3D fad of the 1950s, had its New York opening.
In 1960, the 8th Winter Olympic Games were formally opened in Squaw Valley, Calif., by Vice President Richard M. Nixon.
In 1970, the “Chicago Seven” defendants were found not guilty of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic national convention; five were convicted of violating the Anti-Riot Act of 1968 (those convictions were later reversed).
In 1984, Italy and the Vatican signed an accord under which Roman Catholicism ceased to be the state religion of Italy.
In 1995, the NAACP replaced veteran chairman William Gibson with Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers.
In 2001, auto racing star Dale Earnhardt Sr., died in a crash at the Daytona 500; he was 49.
Ten years ago: American Shani Davis won the men’s 1,000-meter speed skating in Turin, becoming the first black athlete to win an individual gold medal in Winter Olympic history. A Hamas-dominated Palestinian parliament was sworn in. Militants in Nigeria seized nine foreign oil workers, including three Americans (all were released unharmed). Eight workers at a meat processing plant in Nebraska won a record $365 million Powerball jackpot. Character actor Richard Bright (“The Godfather” movies) was struck and killed by a bus in New York; he was 68.
Five years ago: The United States vetoed a U.N. resolution that would have condemned Israeli settlements as illegal and called for a halt in all settlement building; the 14 other Security Council members voted in favor of the measure.
One year ago: President Barack Obama, hosting a White House summit on countering violent extremism, said Muslims in the U.S. and around the world had a responsibility to fight a misconception that terrorist groups like the Islamic State were speaking for them.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor George Kennedy is 91. Former Sen. John Warner, R-Va., is 89. Author Toni Morrison is 85. Movie director Milos Forman is 84. Singer Yoko Ono is 83. Singer-songwriter Bobby Hart is 77. Singer Irma Thomas is 75. Singer Herman Santiago (Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers) is 75. Actress Jess Walton is 70. Singer Dennis DeYoung is 69. Actress Sinead Cusack is 68. Actress Cybill Shepherd is 66. Singer Juice Newton is 64. Singer Randy Crawford is 64. Rock musician Robbie Bachman is 63. Rock musician Larry Rust (Iron Butterfly) is 63. Actor John Travolta is 62. Actor John Pankow is 61. Game show host Vanna White is 59. Actress Jayne Atkinson is 57. Actress Greta Scacchi is 56. Actor Matt Dillon is 52. Rock musician Tommy Scott (Space) is 52. Rapper Dr. Dre is 51. Actress Molly Ringwald is 48. Actress Sarah Brown is 41. Actor Ike Barinholtz is 39. Actor Kristoffer Polaha is 39. Singer-musician Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek) is 39. Actor Tyrone Burton is 37. Rock-singer musician Regina Spektor is 36. Opera singer Isabel Leonard is 34. Roots rock musician Zac Cockrell (Alabama Shakes) is 28. Actor Shane Lyons is 28. Actress Maiara Walsh is 28.
Thought for Today: “Opinion is that exercise of the human will which helps us to make a decision without information.” — John Erskine, American author and educator (1879-1951).