Today in History

Associated Press

Today is Thursday, Feb. 19, the 50th day of 2015. There are 315 days left in the year. This is the Lunar New Year of the Goat.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Feb. 19, 1945, Operation Detachment began during World War II as some 30,000 U.S. Marines began landing on Iwo Jima, where they commenced a successful month-long battle to seize control of the island from Japanese forces.

On this date:

In 1473, astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Torun, Poland.

In 1881, Kansas prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages.

In 1915, during World War I, British and French warships launched their initial attack on Ottoman forces in the Dardanelles, a strait in northwestern Turkey. (The Gallipoli Campaign that followed proved disastrous for the Allies.)

In 1934, a blizzard began inundating the northeastern United States, with the heaviest snowfall occurring in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, clearing the way for the U.S. military to relocate and intern Japanese-Americans during World War II.

In 1959, an agreement was signed by Britain, Turkey and Greece granting Cyprus its independence.

In 1963, "The Feminine Mystique" by Betty Friedan was first published by W.W. Norton & Co.

In 1976, calling the issuing of Executive Order 9066 "a sad day in American history," President Gerald R. Ford issued a proclamation confirming that the order had been terminated with the formal cessation of hostilities of World War II.

In 1984, the Winter Olympics closed in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.

In 1985, the British soap opera "EastEnders" debuted on BBC Television.

In 1997, Deng Xiaoping, the last of China's major Communist revolutionaries, died at age 92.

In 2008, an ailing Fidel Castro resigned the Cuban presidency after nearly a half-century in power; his brother Raul was later named to succeed him.

Ten years ago: Eight suicide bombers struck in quick succession in Iraq in a wave of attacks that killed dozens. Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton visited a Thai fishing village that had been devastated by the December 2004 tsunami. The USS Jimmy Carter, the last of the Seawolf class of attack subs, was commissioned at Groton (GRAH'-tun), Connecticut.

Five years ago: In a televised 13-minute statement, golfer Tiger Woods admitted infidelity and acknowledged receiving therapy. The FBI concluded that Army scientist Bruce Ivins acted alone in the 2001 anthrax mailings that killed five people, and formally closed the case. Pope Benedict XVI approved sainthood for Mother Mary MacKillop, who became Australia's first saint.

One year ago: President Barack Obama, in Mexico for a North American summit, urged Ukraine to avoid violence against peaceful protesters or face consequences; shortly after Obama's remarks, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's office said he and opposition leaders had agreed on a truce. On Day 13 of the Sochi Games, Norway won the first Olympic mixed relay in biathlon and Ole Einar Bjoerndalen became the most decorated Winter Olympian ever with 13 medals. Ted Ligety won the giant slalom, becoming the first American man to win two Olympic gold medals in Alpine skiing.

Today's Birthdays: Singer Smokey Robinson is 75. Actress Carlin Glynn is 75. Former Sony Corp. Chairman Howard Stringer is 73. Singer Lou Christie is 72. Actor Michael Nader is 70. Rock musician Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell) is 67. Actor Stephen Nichols is 64. Author Amy Tan is 63. Actor Jeff Daniels is 60. Rock singer-musician Dave Wakeling is 59. Talk show host Lorianne Crook is 58. Actor Ray Winstone is 58. Actor Leslie David Baker (TV: "The Office") is 57. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is 56. Britain's Prince Andrew is 55. Tennis Hall-of-Famer Hana Mandlikova is 53. Singer Seal is 52. Actress Jessica Tuck is 52. Country musician Ralph McCauley (Wild Horses) is 51. Rock musician Jon Fishman (Phish) is 50. Actress Justine Bateman is 49. Actor Benicio Del Toro is 48. Actress Bellamy Young is 45. Rock musician Daniel Adair is 40. Pop singer-actress Haylie Duff is 30. Christian rock musician Seth Morrison (Skillet) is 27. Actress Victoria Justice is 22.

Thought for Today: "Look at everything as though you were seeing it for the first time or the last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory." — Betty Smith, American author (1896-1972).

(Above Advance for Use Thursday, Feb. 19)

Copyright 2015, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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