Valdosta Daily Times

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February 28, 2014

Today in History

for Friday, February 28, 2014

-- — Today is Friday, Feb. 28, the 59th day of 2014. There are 306 days left in the year.

Highlight in History

On Feb. 28, 2013, Benedict XVI became the first pope in 600 years to resign, ending an eight-year pontificate shaped by struggles to move the Catholic Church past sex abuse scandals and to reawaken Christianity in an indifferent world. (Benedict was succeeded the following month by Pope Francis.)

On this date

In 1844, a 12-inch gun aboard the USS Princeton exploded as the ship was sailing on the Potomac River, killing Secretary of State Abel P. Upshur, Navy Secretary Thomas W. Gilmer and several others.

In 1861, the Territory of Colorado was organized.

In 1911, President William Howard Taft nominated William H. Lewis to be the first black Assistant Attorney General of the United States.

In 1942, the heavy cruiser USS Houston and the Australian light cruiser HMAS Perth were attacked by Japanese forces during the World War II Battle of Sunda Strait; both were sunk shortly after midnight.

In 1953, scientists James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick announced they had discovered the double-helix structure of DNA.

In 1960, a day after defeating the Soviets at the Winter Games in Squaw Valley, Calif., the United States won its first Olympic hockey gold medal by defeating Czechoslovakia’s team, 9-4.

In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai issued the Shanghai Communique, which called for normalizing relations between their countries, at the conclusion of Nixon’s historic visit to China.

In 1974, the United States and Egypt re-established diplomatic relations after a seven-year break.

In 1986, Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme (PAHL’-meh) was shot to death in central Stockholm. (The killing remains unsolved.)

In 1988, the 15th Olympic Winter Games held its closing ceremony in Calgary, Canada.

In 1993, a gun battle erupted at a religious compound near Waco, Texas, when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents tried to arrest Branch Davidian leader David Koresh on weapons charges; four agents and six Davidians were killed as a 51-day standoff began.

In 1994, Lorena Bobbitt was released from a state mental hospital in Virginia, five weeks after being acquitted by reason of insanity of sexually mutilating her husband, John.

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