The Associated Press
Today is Wednesday, Feb. 20, the 51st day of 2013. There are 314 days left in the year.
Highlight in History
On Feb. 20, 2003, a fire sparked by pyrotechnics broke out during a concert by the group Great White at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I., killing 100 people and injuring about 200 others.
On this date
In 1792, President George Washington signed an act creating the U.S. Post Office.
In 1809, the Supreme Court ruled that no state legislature could annul the judgments or determine the jurisdictions of federal courts.
In 1839, Congress prohibited dueling in the District of Columbia.
In 1862, William Wallace Lincoln, the 11-year-old son of President Abraham Lincoln and first lady Mary Todd Lincoln, died at the White House, apparently of typhoid fever.
In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an immigration act which excluded “idiots, imbeciles, feebleminded persons, epileptics, insane persons” from being admitted to the United States.
In 1933, Congress proposed the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to repeal Prohibition.
In 1938, Anthony Eden resigned as British foreign secretary following Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s decision to negotiate with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
In 1944, during World War II, U.S. bombers began raiding German aircraft manufacturing centers in a series of attacks that became known as “Big Week.”
In 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth as he flew aboard Project Mercury’s Friendship 7 spacecraft.
In 1965, the Ranger 8 spacecraft crashed on the moon, as planned, after sending back thousands of pictures of the lunar surface.
In 1971, the National Emergency Warning Center in Colorado erroneously ordered U.S. radio and TV stations off the air; some stations heeded the alert, which was not lifted for about 40 minutes.
In 1998, Tara Lipinski of the U.S. won the ladies’ figure skating gold medal at the Nagano Olympics; Michelle Kwan won the silver.
Ten years ago
Former Air Force Master Sgt. Brian Patrick Regan was convicted in Alexandria, Va., of offering to sell U.S. intelligence to Iraq and China but acquitted of attempted spying for Libya. (Regan was later sentenced to life without parole.)
Five years ago
A U.S. Navy cruiser blasted a disabled spy satellite with a pinpoint missile strike that achieved the main mission of exploding a tank of toxic fuel 130 miles above the Pacific Ocean. Space shuttle Atlantis and its crew returned to Earth, after delivering a new European lab to the international space station.
One year ago
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (dih-MEE’-tree med-VYEH’-dyev) held an unprecedented meeting with opposition leaders, who said they were encouraged by his promises to make it easier for anti-Kremlin parties to take part in elections. Former senator and astronaut John Glenn celebrated the 50th anniversary of his history-making space flight at Ohio State University by kicking off a forum about NASA’s future.