Today is Thursday, February 18, the 49th day of 2021. There are 316 days left in the year.
Today’s highlight in history
On February 18, 1970, the Chicago Seven defendants were found not guilty of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention; five were found guilty of breaking the 1968 riot law (these convictions were later overturned).
In 1546, Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation in Germany, died in Eisleben.
In 1564, the artist Michelangelo died in Rome.
In 1930, photographic evidence of Pluto (now referred to as a dwarf planet) was discovered by Clyde W. Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.
In 1943, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, wife of the Chinese leader, addressed members of the Senate and then the House, becoming the first Chinese national to address both houses of the US Congress.
In 1960, the eighth Winter Olympics were officially opened in Squaw Valley, Calif., By Vice President Richard M. Nixon.
In 1967, the American theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer died in Princeton, New Jersey, aged 62.
In 1972, the California Supreme Court overturned the state death penalty.
In 1983, 13 people were shot and killed at a Seattles Chinatown gambling club in what became known as the Wah Mee Massacre. (Two men were convicted of the murders and are serving life sentences; a third was convicted of theft and assault.)
In 1988, Anthony M. Kennedy was sworn in as an associate judge of the Supreme Court of the United States.
In 1997, Space Shuttle Discovery astronauts completed their development of the Hubble Space Telescope after a 33-hour walk in space; the Hubble was then freed using the shuttle crane.
In 2001, a veteran FBI agent Robert Philip Hanssen was arrested on charges of espionage for Russia. (Hanssen later pleaded guilty to espionage and attempted espionage and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.) Motor racing star Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in an accident at the Daytona 500; he was 49 years old.
In 2003, an arson attack involving two South Korean subway trains in the city of Daegu killed 198 people. (The arsonist was sentenced to life imprisonment, where he died in 2004.)
The United States vetoed a UN resolution that would have condemned Israeli settlements as illegal and called for an end to all settlement building; the other 14 members of the Security Council voted in favor of the measure.
In what was seen as a critique of the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Pope Francis said that a person who advocated the building of walls was not a Christian; Trump was quick to retort that he was ashamed to question a person’s faith. (A Vatican spokesperson said the next day that the Popes’ comment was not intended to be a personal attack on Trump.)
Japanese health officials have confirmed 88 more cases of coronavirus on board the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess, bringing the number of cases on board to 542; U.S. officials said Americans who chose to stay on board could not return home for at least two weeks after arriving ashore.
Health officials in the Chinese city of Wuhan announced that a hospital director who had mobilized the hospital’s resources to deal with the thousands of patients arriving daily had died from the virus.
President Donald trump commuted the 14-year prison sentence of the former governor of Illinois. Rod Blagojevich for political corruption; Blagojevich left prison a few hours later and returned home to Chicago. (Trump also granted pardons or clemency to the former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, financial Michael Milken, and a long list of others.)
The Boy Scouts of America have filed for bankruptcy protection in the first step toward creating a huge compensation fund for men who were assaulted in their youth decades ago by Boy Scouts or other leaders; the organization urged the victims to come forward.
Singer Irma Thomas is 80.
Singer Herman Santiago (Frankie Lymon and the teens) is 80.
Singer Dennis DeYoung is 74.
Actor Cybill shepherd is 71.
Actor John travolta is 67.
Game show host Vanna White is 64.
Actor Jayne atkinson is 62.
Actor Greta Scacchi is 61.
Actor Molly ringwald is 53.
Country musician Trevor Rosen (Old Dominion) is 46 years old.
Singer-instrumentalist Sean watkins (Nickel Creek) is 44 years old.
Rock singer musician Regina spektor is 41.
Opera singer Isabel leonard is 39 years old.
Roots rock musician Zac Cockrell (Alabama Shakes) is 33 years old.
Actor Sarah Sutherland is 33.
Actor Maiara Walsh is 33.