This Day in History — February 21

Thursday, February 21, 2019

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Today is the 52nd day of 2019. There are 313 days left in the year.


1965: Former Black Muslim leader Malcolm X is shot and killed by assassins identified as Black Muslims as he was about to address a rally in New York City.


1613: Michael Romanov, son of the patriarch of Moscow, is elected czar of Russia, thus founding the House of Romanov.

1795: Dutch surrender Ceylon — now Sri Lanka — to British; freedom of worship is established in France.

1838: American Samuel Morse gives the first public demonstration of the telegraph in New York.

1849: British forces defeat Sikhs at Gujrat in India.

1866: Lucy B Hobbs becomes the first American woman to graduate from dental school, the Ohio College of Dental Surgery in Cincinnati.

1878: First US telephone directory is issued, by the District Telephone Company of New Haven, Connecticut.

1885: US President Chester A Arthur dedicates the Washington Monument.

1922: British protectorate in Egypt ends.

1925: The New Yorker magazine makes its debut.

1934: French troops combat Berbers in south-west Morocco.

1963: Soviet Union warns United States that an American attack on Cuba would mean world war.

1972: US President Richard M Nixon arrives in Beijing for a week-long visit that paves the road for normalised US-China relations.

1975: A 32-member UN Commission on Human Rights, in Geneva, accuses Israel of violating “basic norms of international law” in Arab territories it occupies.

1986: South African Government opens “whites only” downtown districts of Johannesburg and Durban to all races in the first break with apartheid policy of segregated business areas.

1989: Islamic rebels fire rockets into Afghanistan capital of Kabul, killing one person and injuring three others; playwright Vaclav Havel is convicted for his role in an offically banned rally in Czechoslovakia.

1992: For the first time since the communist revolution of 1949, China welcomes foreigners back to its Shanghai stock market.

1993: A UN relief convoy brings food and medicine to the besieged eastern Bosnian town of Zepa.

1994: Commandos storm the Afghan embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, freeing five schoolboys and killing three Afghan gunmen who had held them hostage for nearly 40 hours in a demand for money and food.

1995: The United States and Mexico agree on the terms of a US$20-billion rescue package for Mexico.

1996: In Port-au-Prince, Haiti, police fire into a carnival crowd after a man pulls out a gun near a float. Two people are killed and more than 50 injured.

1999: The party of General Olusegun Obasanjo narrowly wins in Nigeria's legislative elections, giving him the edge in an upcoming presidential election and signalling a return to democracy.

2000: In a clear endorsement of moderate President Mohammed Khatami, voters reject Iran's hard-liners, giving reformists the largest number of seats in parliament.

2001: More than 1,000 people watch as two women convicted of prostitution are hanged in Kandahar, the headquarters of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The women, also convicted of “corrupting society”, are executed in the sports stadium.

2002: US and Pakistani officials confirm that Daniel Pearl, correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, kidnapped a month earlier in Karachi, has been killed by his captors.

2005: Tens of thousands march through Beirut in the biggest anti-Syrian protest in Lebanese history amid signals that Syria will soon begin withdrawing its troops.

2006: Brushing aside objections from Republicans and Democrats alike, US President George W Bush endorses the takeover of shipping operations at six major US seaports by a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates.

2007: Leaders in Britain and Denmark announce plans for withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

2008: Nearly 200,000 people demonstrate in downtown Belgrade, Serbia, against Kosovo independence, storming the US Embassy and setting fire to offices and police guardhouses. Firefighters find a charred body inside the embassy, and more than 150 are injured.

2009: A few hundred Russian opposition sympathisers hold an anti-Kremlin rally in central Moscow. Former chess champion Garry Kasparov says only the resignation of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Government will allow Russia to overcome the financial crisis.

2010: Israel's air force introduces a fleet of huge pilotless planes that can remain in the air for a full day and fly as far as the Gulf, putting rival Iran within its range.

2011: Negotiators for the Philippines Government and communist rebels agree in Norway on a road map for continued peace talks aimed at resolving one of Asia's longest-running conflicts by June 2012.

2012: Greece gets a second massive financial bailout when its eurozone partners stich together a euro130-billion (US$170-billion) rescue meant to avoid a potentially disastrous default and secure the euro currency.


John Henry Newman, English cardinal (1801-1890); Leo Delibes, French composer (1836-1891); WH Auden, English poet (1907-1973); Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe (1924); Kelsey Grammer, US actor (1955- ); Mary Chapin Carpenter, US country singer (1958- ); Jack Coleman, US actor (1958- ); Christopher Atkins, US actor (1961- ); Jennifer Love Hewitt, US actress/singer (1979- ); Ellen Page, US actress (1987- )

— AP

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