Wednesday, February 20

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Associated Press

Posted on February 12, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Today is Wednesday, Feb. 20, the 51st day of 2013. There are 314 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1437 - Scotland's King James I is murdered by would-be usurpers in Scottish city of Perth.

1570 - Lord Hunsdon defeats Leonard Dacre's rebel army, ending Northern Rebellion in England.

1792 - U.S. President George Washington signs an act creating the U.S. Post Office.

1809 - Saragossa, Spain, is captured by French forces after a bloody siege; the U.S. Supreme Court rules the power of the federal government is greater than that of any individual state.

1631 - German Protestant princes form alliance with Sweden's King Gustavus II, setting the stage for the Swedish entry into the Thirty Years' War.

1833 - Russian ships enter Bosphorus on way to Constantinople —today's Istanbul — to aid Turkey against Egypt.

1928 - Britain recognizes independence of Trans-Jordan.

1933 - U.S. House of Representatives completes congressional action on an amendment to repeal Prohibition, the ban on the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcoholic beverages.

1942 - Japanese invade island of Bali in Dutch East Indies during World War II.

1962 - Astronaut John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit Earth on the Friendship 7 Mercury capsule.

1964 - Morocco and Algeria sign accord to end border conflict which resulted in troop clashes.

1967 - Indonesia's President Sukarno surrenders all executive power to General Suharto, keeping only the title of President.

1975 - Greek Cypriot government calls on United Nations to fix deadline for withdrawal of 40,000 Turkish troops from that island.

1986 - Russia launches the Mir space station.

1988 - Rainstorm triggers floods and mudslides in Rio de Janeiro that kill 65 people and leave up to 100 elderly hospital patients missing and feared dead.

1990 - England announces it will unilaterally lift ban on new investments in South Africa.

1991 - Slovenia's legislators vote overwhelmingly to initiate secession from Yugoslavia; at least 19 people die as a Chilean airliner bound for Antarctica crashes into a freezing channel.

1992 - Israeli troops break through U.N. barricades in Lebanon to attack rocket-launching Shiite militias.

1993 - A man demanding a flight to the United States uses hand grenades to hijack a Russian airliner to Estonia and then to Sweden, where he surrenders to the police.

1994 - NATO says that the Serb guns around Sarajevo have largely been pulled back, and threatened airstrikes will not be unleashed.

1996 - Gen. Hussein Kamel, son-in-law of President Saddam Hussein, returns to Iraq after having defected to Jordan. He is killed with his relatives a few days later.

1997 - The U.S. government refuses to recognize World Trade Organization authority in its dispute with the European Union over trade with Cuba.

1998 - The last power cable supplying downtown Auckland, New Zealand, fails, leaving 100 blocks dark for weeks; 15-year-old American Tara Lipinski becomes the youngest gold medalist in winter Olympics history when she wins the ladies' figure skating title at Nagano, Japan.

1999 - Atal Bihari Vajpayee becomes the first Indian prime minister to go to Pakistan in 10 years when he rides the first commercial bus service between the two countries in 51 years.

2000 - A crowd of angry Serbs pelt American and German peacekeepers with rocks and bricks during a massive house-to-house search for illegal weapons in an ethnically divided Kosovo town.

2002 - A fire breaks out on a crowded train traveling from Cairo to Luxor in southern Egypt, killing 373 people and injuring 60 in the worst train disaster in Egyptian history.

2003 - A fire sparked by heavy-metal band Great White's pyrotechnic display kills 100 people and injures more than 180 others at a nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island.

2004 - A police-commission audit says that Atlanta underreported crimes for years to help land the 1996 Olympics and pump up tourism.

2005 - The Irish government identifies three top Sinn Fein figures — including leader Gerry Adams — as members of the Irish Republican Army command.

2007 - Three ultra-endurance athletes complete the first-ever run across the world's largest desert. American runner Charlie Engle, 44, Canadian Ray Zahab, 38, and Kevin Lin, 30, of Taiwan, crossed the Sahara Desert's grueling 4,000 miles (6,400 kilometers) in less than four months.

2008 - Space shuttle Atlantis and its crew return to Earth, wrapping up a 5 million-mile (8 million-kilometer) journey highlighted by the successful delivery of a new European lab to the international space station.

2009 - Israeli President Shimon Peres chooses Benjamin Netanyahu to form new government.

2010 - Darfur's most powerful rebel group initials a truce with the Sudanese government, marking the rebel group's return to peace talks aimed at ending the conflict in the western part of Africa's largest country.

2011 — Libyan protesters defy a fierce crackdown by Moammar Gadhafi's regime, returning to a square outside a court building in the flashpoint city of Benghazi to demand the overthrow of the longtime ruler.

2012 — The United States and Mexico agree to work together when drilling for oil and gas below their maritime border in the Gulf of Mexico.

Today's Birthdays:

Sir William Cornwallis, English admiral (1744-1819); Honore Daumier, French artist (1808-1879); Lucien Pissarro, French artist (1863-1944); Robert Altman, U.S. director (1925-2006); Sidney Poitier, U.S. actor (1927--); Peter Strauss, U.S. actor (1947--); Cindy Crawford, U.S. model (1966--); Lili Taylor, U.S. actress (1967--).

Thought For Today:

The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous — Frederick Douglass (1817-1895).

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