By the Associated Press
Today is Thursday, Feb. 20, the 51st day of 2014. There are 314 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 20, 1944, during World War II, U.S. strategic bombers began raiding German aircraft manufacturing centers in a series of attacks that became known as “Big Week.”
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 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 1950, the U.S. Supreme Court, in United States v. Rabinowitz, ruled 5-3 that authorities making a lawful arrest did not need a warrant to search and seize evidence in an area that was in the “immediate and complete control” of the suspect.
In 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth as he flew aboard Project Mercury’s Friendship 7 spacecraft.
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 1987, a bomb left by Unabomber Ted Kaczynski exploded behind a computer store in Salt Lake City, seriously injuring store owner Gary Wright. Soviet authorities released Jewish activist Josef Begun.
In 1999, movie reviewer Gene Siskel died at a hospital outside Chicago at age 53.
In 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.
Ten years ago: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered the state attorney general to take immediate legal steps to stop same-sex weddings in San Francisco. (The next month, the California Supreme Court ordered an immediate halt to same-sex weddings in San Francisco.) Bypassing angry Senate Democrats, President George W. Bush installed Alabama Attorney General William Pryor as a U.S. appeals court judge in his second “recess appointment” of a controversial nominee in five weeks.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama warned a gathering of mayors at the White House that he would “call them out” if they wasted the money from his massive economic stimulus plan. The Dow Jones industrial average ended the week at 7,365.67, the lowest level in more than six years. Israeli President Shimon Peres chose Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new government. The WTA fined Dubai Tennis Championships organizers a record $300,000 after Israeli player Shahar Peer was denied a visa by the United Arab Emirates.
One year ago: The Obama administration announced a broad new effort to fight the growing theft of American trade secrets following fresh evidence linking cyberstealing to China’s military. Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., entered a guilty plea in federal court to criminal charges that he’d engaged in a scheme to spend $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items; his wife, Sandra Jackson, pleaded guilty to filing false joint federal income tax returns.
Today’s Birthdays: Gloria Vanderbilt is 90. Actor Sidney Poitier is 87. Racing Hall of Famer Bobby Unser is 80. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is 72. Actor Peter Strauss is 67. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is 63. Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst is 60. Actor Anthony Stewart Head is 60. Basketball Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley is 51. Actor French Stewart is 50. Model Cindy Crawford is 48. Actress Lili Taylor is 47. Singer Brian Littrell is 39. Actress Lauren Ambrose is 36. Actor Jay Hernandez is 36. Singer-musician Chris Thile (THEE’-lee) is 33. Actor Jake Richardson is 29. Singer Rihanna is 26.