Today in History: Feb. 14

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UNDATED (AP) Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, is the 45th day of 2018. There are 320 days left in the year. This is Valentine’s Day.

  • Highlights in History:
    • On Feb. 14, 1918, Russia converted from the Old Style Julian calendar to the New Style Gregorian calendar, “losing” 13 days in the process (for Russians, the day before was Jan. 31).
    • The musical Sinbad, starring Al Jolson and featuring the song “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody,” opened on Broadway.
  • On this date:
    • In 1663, New France (Canada) became a royal province under King Louis XIV.
    • In 1778, the American ship Ranger carried the recently adopted Stars and Stripes to a foreign port for the first time as it arrived in France.
    • In 1849, President James K. Polk became the first U.S. chief executive to be photographed while in office as he posed for Matthew Brady in New York City.
    • In 1859, Oregon was admitted to the Union as the 33rd state.
    • In 1903, the Department of Commerce and Labor was established. (It was divided into separate departments of Commerce and Labor in 1913.)
    • In 1912, Arizona became the 48th state of the Union as President William Howard Taft signed a proclamation.
    • In 1929, the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” took place in a Chicago garage as seven rivals of Al Capone’s gang were gunned down.
    • In 1949, Israel’s Knesset convened for the first time.
    • In 1962, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy conducted a televised tour of the White House in a videotaped special that was broadcast on CBS and NBC (and several nights later on ABC).
    • In 1979, Adolph Dubs, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, was kidnapped in Kabul by Muslim extremists and killed in a shootout between his abductors and police.
    • In 1988, Broadway composer Frederick Loewe, who wrote the scores for Brigadoon, My Fair Lady and Camelot, died in Palm Springs, California, at age 86.
    • In 1990, 92 people were killed when an Indian Airlines passenger jet crashed while landing at a southern Indian airport.
  • Ten years ago:
    • A former student dressed in black walked onto the stage of a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University and opened fire on a packed science class; the 27-year-old gunman killed five students before committing suicide.
    • Republican campaign dropout Mitt Romney endorsed John McCain for the party’s presidential nomination.
  • Five years ago:
    • Double-amputee and Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his home in Pretoria, South Africa; he was later convicted of murder and is serving a 13-year prison term.
    • Billionaire Warren Buffett agreed to buy H.J. Heinz Co. for $23.3 billion.
    • American Airlines and US Airways announced an $11 billion merger that turned American into the world’s biggest airline.
  • One year ago:
    • Authorities lifted an evacuation order for nearly 200,000 Northern California residents living below the Oroville Dam after declaring that the risk of catastrophic collapse of a damaged spillway had been significantly reduced.
    • A former store clerk was convicted in New York of murder in one of the nation’s most haunting missing-child cases, nearly 38 years after 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared while on the way to a school bus stop.
    • The Senate confirmed former wrestling entertainment executive Linda McMahon to lead the Small Business Administration.
    • Rumor the German shepherd won best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
  • Birthdays:
    • TV personality Hugh Downs is 97.
    • Actor Andrew Prine is 82.
    • Country singer Razzy Bailey is 79.
    • Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is 76.
    • Jazz musician Maceo Parker is 75.
    • Movie director Alan Parker is 74.
    • Journalist Carl Bernstein is 74.
    • Former Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., is 71.
    • TV personality Pat O’Brien is 70.
    • Magician Teller (Penn and Teller) is 70.
    • Cajun singer-musician Michael Doucet (Beausoleil) is 67.
    • Actor Ken Wahl is 61.
    • Opera singer Renee Fleming is 59.
    • Actress Meg Tilly is 58.
    • Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly is 58.
    • Singer-producer Dwayne Wiggins is 57.
    • Actress Sakina Jaffey is 56.
    • Actor Enrico Colantoni is 55.
    • Actor Zach Galligan is 54.
    • Actor Valente Rodriguez is 54.
    • Rock musician Ricky Wolking (The Nixons) is 52.
    • Tennis player Manuela Maleeva is 51.
    • Actor Simon Pegg is 48.
    • Rock musician Kevin Baldes (Lit) is 46.
    • Rock singer Rob Thomas (Matchbox Twenty) is 46.
    • Former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe is 46.
    • Actor Matt Barr is 34.
    • Actress Stephanie Leonidas is 34.
    • Actor Jake Lacy is 32.
    • Actress Tiffany Thornton is 32.
    • Actor Brett Dier is 28.
    • Actor Freddie Highmore is 26.
  • Thought for the Day:
    • “Age is something that doesn’t matter, unless you are a cheese.” — Jack Benny, American actor-comedian (born this date in 1894, died in 1974).
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