Today in history


Today is Wednesday, Feb. 26, the 57th day of 2020. There are 309 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 26, 1993, a truck bomb built by Islamic extremists exploded in the parking garage of the North Tower of New York’s World Trade Center, killing six people and injuring more than 1,000 others. (The bomb failed to topple the North Tower into the South Tower, as the terrorists had hoped; both structures were destroyed in the 9/11 attack eight years later.)

On this date:

In 1616, astronomer Galileo Galilei met with a Roman Inquisition official, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, who ordered him to abandon the “heretical” concept of heliocentrism, which held that the earth revolved around the sun, instead of the other way around.

In 1904, the United States and Panama proclaimed a treaty under which the U.S. agreed to undertake efforts to build a ship canal across the Panama isthmus.

In 1916, actor-comedian Jackie Gleason was born in Brooklyn, New York.

In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson signed a congressional act establishing Mount McKinley National Park (now Denali National Park) in the Alaska Territory.

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson signed a congressional act establishing Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

In 1929, President Calvin Coolidge signed a measure establishing Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

In 1940, the United States Air Defense Command was created.

In 1952, Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that Britain had developed its own atomic bomb.

In 1966, South Korean troops sent to fight in the Vietnam War massacred at least 380 civilians in Go Dai hamlet.

In 1984, the last U.S. Marines deployed to Beirut as part of an international peacekeeping force withdrew from the Lebanese capital.

In 1994, a jury in San Antonio acquitted 11 followers of David Koresh of murder, rejecting claims they had ambushed federal agents; five were convicted of voluntary manslaughter.

In 1998, a jury in Amarillo, Texas, rejected an $11 million lawsuit brought by Texas cattlemen who blamed Oprah Winfrey’s talk show for a price fall after a segment on food safety that included a discussion about mad cow disease.

Ten years ago: New York Gov. David Paterson announced he wouldn’t seek reelection amid a criminal investigation over his handling of a domestic violence complaint against a top aide. (Investigators found no evidence of witness tampering.) At the Vancouver Olympics, the Americans reached 34 medals with a silver and a bronze in short-track speedskating.

Five years ago: Internet activists declared victory over the nation’s big cable companies after the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to impose the toughest rules yet on broadband service to prevent companies like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from creating paid fast lanes and slowing or blocking web traffic. “Jihadi John,” the masked knife-wielding Islamic State militant seen in execution videos, was identified as Mohammed Emwazi, a London-raised university graduate known to British intelligence for more than five years. Theodore Hesburgh, 97, a Catholic priest who transformed the University of Notre Dame into a school known almost as much for academics as football and who championed human rights around the globe, died in South Bend, Indiana.

One year ago: After making his way from Pyongyang in an armored train, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Vietnam’s capital ahead of a summit with President Donald Trump, who arrived later in the day aboard Air Force One. A federal appeals court cleared AT&T’s takeover of Time Warner, rejecting claims from the Trump administration that the $81 billion deal would harm consumers and reduce competition.

Today’s Birthdays: Game show host Tom Kennedy is 93. Country-rock musician Paul Cotton (Poco) is 77. Actor-director Bill Duke is 77. Singer Mitch Ryder is 75. Actress Marta Kristen (TV: “Lost in Space”) is 75. Rock musician Jonathan Cain (Journey) is 70. Singer Michael Bolton is 67. The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH’-jehp TY’-ihp UR’-doh-wahn), is 66. Actor Greg Germann is 62. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., is 62. Bandleader John McDaniel is 59. Actor-martial artist Mark Dacascos is 56. Actress Jennifer Grant is 54. Rock musician Tim Commerford (Audioslave) is 52. Singer Erykah Badu (EHR’-ih-kah bah-DOO’) is 49. Actor Maz Jobrani (TV: “Superior Donuts”) is 48. Rhythm-and-blues singer Rico Wade (Society of Soul) is 48. Olympic gold medal swimmer Jenny Thompson is 47. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kyle Norman (Jagged Edge) is 45. Actor Greg Rikaart is 43. Rock musician Chris Culos (O.A.R.) is 41. Rhythm-and-blues singer Corinne Bailey Rae is 41. Country singer Rodney Hayden is 40. Pop singer Nate Ruess (roos) (fun.) is 38. Tennis player Li Na is 38. Latin singer Natalia Lafourcade is 36. Actress Teresa Palmer is 34. Actor Alex Heartman is 30. Actress Taylor Dooley is 27.

Thought for Today: “If you have it and you know you have it, then you have it. If you have it and don’t know you have it, you don’t have it. If you don’t have it but you think you have it, then you have it.” — Jackie Gleason (1916-1987).

By the Associated Press

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