Today in history

By the Associated Press

Today is Sunday, Feb. 16, the 47th day of 2020. There are 319 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 16, 2001, the United States and Britain staged air strikes against radar stations and air defense command centers in Iraq.

On this date:

In 1862, the Civil War Battle of Fort Donelson in Tennessee ended as some 12,000 Confederate soldiers surrendered; Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s victory earned him the moniker “Unconditional Surrender Grant.”

In 1868, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was organized in New York City.

In 1945, American troops landed on the island of Corregidor in the Philippines during World War II.

In 1959, Fidel Castro became premier of Cuba a month and a-half after the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista.

In 1961, the United States launched the Explorer 9 satellite.

In 1968, the nation’s first 911 emergency telephone system was inaugurated in Haleyville, Alabama, as the speaker of the Alabama House, Rankin Fite, placed a call from the mayor’s office in City Hall to a red telephone at the police station (also located in City Hall) that was answered by U.S. Rep. Tom Bevill.

In 1988, seven people were shot to death during an office rampage in Sunnyvale, California, by a man obsessed with a co-worker who was wounded in the attack. (The gunman is on death row.)

In 1996, eleven people were killed in a fiery collision between an Amtrak passenger train and a Maryland commuter train in Silver Spring, Md.

In 1998, a China Airlines Airbus A300 trying to land in fog near Taipei, Taiwan, crashed, killing all 196 people on board, plus seven on the ground.

In 2002, authorities in Noble, Ga., arrested Ray Brent Marsh, who’d been operating a crematory where hundreds of decomposing corpses were found stacked in storage sheds and scattered in the woods behind it. (Marsh later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.)

In 2005, the NHL canceled what was left of its decimated schedule after a round of last-gasp negotiations failed to resolve differences over a salary cap — the flash-point issue that had led to a lockout.

In 2006, the U.S. Army said goodbye to its last Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, handing over equipment from the MASH unit to doctors and nurses in Pakistan, the scene of an Oct. 2005 earthquake.

Ten years ago: Officials reported the capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (BEHR’-uh-dahr), the Afghan Taliban’s No. 2 commander, by a joint CIA and Pakistani team. (Baradar was set free by Pakistan in Sept. 2013 in hopes he could help jumpstart Afghanistan’s peace process.) President Barack Obama announced more than $8 billion in new federal loan guarantees to build two nuclear reactors in Georgia.

Five years ago: Egyptian warplanes struck Islamic State targets in Libya, hours after the extremist group released a grisly video showing the beheading of Egyptian Coptic Christians it had held hostage for weeks. Singer-songwriter Lesley Gore, 68, died in New York. Lorena Rojas, 44, a popular Mexican soap opera and movie actress, died in Miami.

One year ago: The Vatican announced that former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who served as archbishop of Washington, D.C., had been found guilty by the Vatican of sex abuse and had been defrocked; McCarrick was the highest-ranking churchman and the first cardinal to face that punishment as the church dealt with clerical sex abuse.

Today’s Birthdays: Jazz/pop singer-actress Peggy King is 90. Actor Jeremy Bulloch is 75. Actor William Katt is 69. Actor LeVar Burton is 63. Actor-rapper Ice-T is 62. Actress Lisa Loring is 62. International Tennis Hall of Famer John McEnroe is 61. Rock musician Andy Taylor is 59. Rock musician Dave Lombardo (Slayer) is 55. Actress Sarah Clarke is 49. Olympic gold medal runner Cathy Freeman is 47. Actor Mahershala Ali is 46. Singer Sam Salter is 45. Electronic dance music artist Bassnectar is 42. Rapper Lupe Fiasco is 38. Actress Chloe Wepper is 34. Pop-rock singer Ryan Follese (FAHL’-eh-say) (Hot Chelle (SHEL) Rae) is 33. Rock musician Danielle Haim (HYM) is 31. Actress Elizabeth Olsen is 31. Actor Mike Weinberg is 27.

Thought for Today: “I am content to define history as the past events of which we have knowledge and refrain from worrying about those of which we have none — until, that is, some archaeologist digs them up.” — Barbara W. Tuchman, American historian (1912-1989).

By the Associated Press