-- — Today is Thursday, Feb. 28, the 59th day of 2013. There are 306 days left in the year.
Highlight in History
On Feb. 28, 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. (The siege ended April 19 as fire erupted while federal agents smashed their way into the compound; Koresh and 78 other people were killed.)
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 1951, the Senate committee headed by Estes Kefauver (ES’-teez KEE’-faw-vuhr), D-Tenn., issued an interim report saying at least two major crime syndicates were operating in the U.S.
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 1975, more than 40 people were killed in London’s Underground when a subway train smashed into the end of a tunnel.
In 1983, the long-running TV series “M-A-S-H” ended after 11 seasons on CBS with a special 2 1/2-hour finale that was watched by an estimated 121.6 million people.
In 1986, Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was shot to death in central Stockholm. (The killing remains unsolved.)