This Day In History — February 19

This Day In History — February 19

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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Today is the 50th day of 2020. There are 316 days left in the year.


1996: The World Health Organization confirms that the Ebola virus killed 13 villagers in Gabon.


1618: Peace of Madrid is ratified, ending war between Venice and Austria.

1674: Treaty of Westminster is signed, whereby Britain withdraws support for French in war against Dutch.

1797: Pope Pius VI, by Treaty of Tolentino, cedes Romagna, Bologna and Ferrara to France, as Napoleon Bonaparte advances through Tyrol to Vienna.

1803: Act of Mediation is passed in Switzerland, under which cantons regain independence.

1807: British fleet forces way through Dardanelles to support Russia in war against Turkey.

1878: American inventor Thomas Edison receives a patent for his phonograph.

1881: Kansas becomes the first US state to prohibit all alcoholic beverages.

1927: Chinese Nationalists extract a reduction of concessions from Britain at Hankow and Kiukiang.

1959: Agreement is signed in London by Greece, Turkey and Britain for independence of Cyprus.

1963: US President John F Kennedy says Soviet Union has agreed to withdraw several thousands of its 17,000 troops from Cuba.

1986: The US Senate approves a treaty outlawing genocide, 37 years after the pact had first been submitted for ratification.

1994: Gunmen kill 18 young African National Congress supporters in Natal province, South Africa, the first major act of violence in a Zulu anti-election campaign.

1995: Dozens are injured when landowners attack hundreds of parishioners guarding the cathedral in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico, accusing their bishop of fomenting the Zapatista rebellion.

1997: Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, who guided the country from political chaos and economic ruin toward prosperity in the post-Mao era, dies in Beijing at age 92.

1998: Four UN observers are kidnapped in Georgia. The kidnappers are surrounded by heavily armed troops and surrender after a week.

2003: Seventh-day Adventist Pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, 78, and his son Gerard Ntakirutimana, 45, a doctor, are convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity in Rwanda by the UN International Criminal Tribunal. The pastor, the first clergyman convicted by the tribunal, is sentenced to 10 years in prison. His son receives 25 years.

2005: A private banker who had millions hidden in his home in Ireland is freed without immediately being charged, as police search financial records nationwide for clues into an alleged Irish Republican Army money-laundering ring and links to a massive Belfast bank robbery.

2006: Israel's Cabinet approves an immediate freeze on the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax money to the Palestinians, in its first response to the takeover of the Palestinian Parliament by the militant group Hamas.

2007: Two bombs explode on a train headed from India to Pakistan, sparking a fire that kills 66 people in an attack officials say was aimed at undermining the peace process between the rivals.

2008: An ailing Fidel Castro resigns as Cuba's president after nearly a half-century in power.

2010: A junta that seized power in a coup in the West African nation of Niger names a platoon commander as its leader, hours after soldiers announced on State TV that their group was in charge of the uranium-rich country.

2011: A bail hearing begins in Pretoria, South Africa, for double amputee Olympian Oscar Pistorius, charged with killing Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day; the defence says Pistorius had mistaken his girlfriend for an intruder while prosecutors said he had deliberately opened fire on Steenkamp as she cowered behind a locked bathroom door.

2012: Iran halts oil shipments to Britain and France in an apparent pre-emptive blow against the European Union, after the bloc imposed sanctions on Iran's crucial fuel exports.

2013: The United Nations says the number of US drone strikes in Afghanistan had risen sharply in 2012.

2014: US President Barack Obama urges Ukraine to avoid violence against peaceful protesters or face consequences, as the United States considers joining European partners to impose sanctions aimed at ending deadly street clashes.

2017: A SpaceX rocket soars from NASA's long-idled moonshot pad, sending up space station supplies from the exact spot where astronauts embarked on the lunar landings nearly a half-century earlier. Three former elite US gymnasts, including 2000 Olympian Jamie Dantzscher, appear on CBS's 60 Minutes to say they were sexually abused by Dr Larry Nassar, a volunteer team physician for USA Gymnastics.


David Garrick, English author-dramatist (1717-1779); Luigi Boccherini, Italian composer (1743-1805); Sir William McMahon, former Australian prime minister (1908-1988); Merle Oberon, British actress (1911-1979); Smokey Robinson, US singer (1940- ); England's Prince Andrew (1960- ); Seal, US singer (1963-); Benicio Del Toro, actor (1967- )

— AP

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