Today in history

By the Associated Press

Today is Saturday, Feb. 15, the 46th day of 2020. There are 320 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 15, 1898, the U.S. battleship Maine mysteriously blew up in Havana Harbor, killing more than 260 crew members and bringing the United States closer to war with Spain.

On this date:

In 1564, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa.

In 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes signed a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court.

In 1933, President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt escaped an assassination attempt in Miami that mortally wounded Chicago Mayor Anton J. Cermak; gunman Giuseppe Zangara was executed more than four weeks later.

In 1952, a funeral was held at Windsor Castle for Britain’s King George VI, who had died nine days earlier.

In 1961, 73 people, including an 18-member U.S. figure skating team en route to the World Championships in Czechoslovakia, were killed in the crash of a Sabena Airlines Boeing 707 in Belgium.

In 1989, the Soviet Union announced that the last of its troops had left Afghanistan, after more than nine years of military intervention.

In 1992, a Milwaukee jury found that Jeffrey Dahmer was sane when he killed and mutilated 15 men and boys. (The decision meant that Dahmer, who had already pleaded guilty to the murders, would receive a mandatory life sentence for each count; Dahmer was beaten to death in prison in 1994.)

In 2004, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Daytona 500 on the same track where his father was killed three years earlier.

In 2005, defrocked priest Paul Shanley was sentenced in Boston to 12 to 15 years in prison on child rape charges.

In 2006, Vice President Dick Cheney accepted blame for accidentally shooting a hunting companion, calling it “one of the worst days of my life,” but was defiantly unapologetic in a Fox News Channel interview about not publicly disclosing the incident until the next day.

In 2007, National Guardsmen in Humvees ferried food, fuel and baby supplies to hundreds of motorists stranded for nearly a day on a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 78 in eastern Pennsylvania because of a monster storm.

In 2018, the last of the bodies of the 17 victims of a school shooting in Florida were removed from the building after authorities analyzed the crime scene; 13 wounded survivors were still hospitalized. In response to the Florida school shooting, President Donald Trump, in an address to the nation, promised to “tackle the difficult issue of mental health,” but avoided any mention of guns. Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was ordered held without bond at a brief court hearing.

Ten years ago: Eighteen people were killed when two trains collided south of Brussels, Belgium. At the Vancouver Winter Olympics, Didier Defago of Switzerland won the gold in the Olympic downhill and American Bode (BOH’-dee) Miller took the bronze. American Seth Wescott defended his Olympic title, overtaking Canada’s Mike Robertson to win the gold medal in men’s snowboardcross.

Five years ago: A video purporting to show the mass beheading of Egyptian Coptic Christian hostages was released by militants in Libya affiliated with the Islamic State group. Russell Westbrook scored 41 points to lead the Western Conference to a 163-158 win over the East in the NBA All-Star Game. Foreign correspondent and news executive Arnaud de Borchgrave, 88, died in Washington.

One year ago: In a move to secure more money for his border wall, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, exercising a broad interpretation of his presidential powers. (Congress voted to block the emergency declaration, but Trump vetoed that measure.) Socialite Lee Radziwill, a stylish jet-setter who was the sister of Jacqueline Kennedy, died at the age of 85. Gary Martin, a 15-year employee who was being fired from a suburban Chicago manufacturing company, opened fire on co-workers, killing five of them and wounding five police officers before he was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Claire Bloom is 89. Author Susan Brownmiller is 85. Songwriter Brian Holland is 79. Rock musician Mick Avory (The Kinks) is 76. Jazz musician Henry Threadgill is 76. Actress-model Marisa Berenson is 73. Actress Jane Seymour is 69. Singer Melissa Manchester is 69. Actress Lynn Whitfield is 67. “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening (GREE’-ning) is 66. Model Janice Dickinson is 65. Actor Christopher McDonald is 65. Reggae singer Ali Campbell is 61. Actor Joseph R. Gannascoli is 61. Musician Mikey Craig (Culture Club) is 60. College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Darrell Green is 60. Actor-comedian Steven Michael Quezada is 57. Country singer Michael Reynolds (Pinmonkey) is 56. Actor Michael Easton is 53. Latin singer Gloria Trevi is 52. Rock musician Stevie Benton (Drowning Pool) is 49. Actress Alex Borstein is 49. Actress Renee O’Connor is 49. Actress Sarah Wynter is 47. Olympic gold medal swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen is 47. Actress-director Miranda July is 46. Rock singer Brandon Boyd (Incubus) is 44. Rock musician Ronnie Vannucci (The Killers) is 44. Rock singer/guitarist Adam Granduciel (The War on Drugs) is 41. Singer-songwriter-musician Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) is 40. Actress Ashley Lyn Cafagna is 37. Blues-rock musician Gary Clark Jr. is 36. Actress Natalie Morales is 35. Actress Amber Riley is 34. Rapper Megan Thee Stallion is 25. Actor Zach Gordon is 22.

Thought for Today: “Like all dreamers I confuse disenchantment with truth.” — Jean-Paul Sartre, French philosopher (1905-1980).

By the Associated Press