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Today in history for Feb. 19, 2014

Today is Wednesday, Feb. 19, the 50th day of 2014. There are 315 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight:

On Feb. 19, 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.

On this date:

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

In 1803, Congress voted to accept Ohio’s borders and constitution.

In 1864, the Order of the Knights of Pythias, an international, non-sectarian fraternal organization, was founded in Washington, D.C.

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

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

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

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

In 1964, the French movie musical “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” premiered in France.

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 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: Former Enron Corp. chief executive Jeffrey Skilling was brought to court in handcuffs, charged with fraud, insider trading and other crimes in connection with the energy trader’s colossal collapse. (Skilling was later convicted of 19 counts and sentenced to 24 years and four months in prison, but a federal judge in 2013 shaved a decade off that sentence, which means Skilling could be released by 2017.) The AFL-CIO endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama made a quick visit to Canada, his first trip outside the U.S. since taking office; he reassured Prime Minister Stephen Harper that the U.S. was not cultivating a protectionist streak despite its economic difficulties. A jury in Moscow voted unanimously to acquit three men in the killing of investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya.

One year ago: The United Nations said the number of U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan had risen sharply in 2012 compared with 2011. A bail hearing began in Pretoria, South Africa, for double-amputee Olympian Oscar Pistorius, charged with killing Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day; the defense said Pistorius had mistaken his girlfriend for an intruder while prosecutors said he had deliberately opened fire on Steenkamp as she cowered behind a locked bathroom door. Donald Richie, a Tokyo-based expert on Japanese cinema, died at age 88.

Today’s birthdays: Singer Smokey Robinson is 74. Actress Carlin Glynn is 74. Former Sony Corp. Chairman Howard Stringer is 72. Singer Lou Christie is 71. Actor Michael Nader is 69. Rock musician Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell) is 66. Actor Stephen Nichols is 63. Author Amy Tan is 62. Actor Jeff Daniels is 59. Rock singer-musician Dave Wakeling is 58. Talk show host Lorianne Crook is 57. Actor Ray Winstone is 57. Actor Leslie David Baker (TV: “The Office”) is 56. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is 55. Britain’s Prince Andrew is 54. Tennis Hall-of-Famer Hana Mandlikova is 52. Singer Seal is 51. Actress Jessica Tuck is 51. Country musician Ralph McCauley (Wild Horses) is 50. Rock musician Jon Fishman (Phish) is 49. Actress Justine Bateman is 48. Actor Benicio Del Toro is 47. Actress Bellamy Young is 44. Rock musician Daniel Adair is 39. Pop singer-actress Haylie Duff is 29. Actress Victoria Justice is 21.

Thought for Today: “There is, I think, nothing in the world more futile than the attempt to find out how a task should be done when one has not yet decided what the task is.” — Alexander Meiklejohn, American educator (1872-1964).

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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