updated 2/20/2006 12:05:54 AM ET 2006-02-20T05:05:54

Today is Monday, Feb. 20, the 51st day of 2006. There are 314 days left in the year. This is the Presidents’ Day holiday.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 20, 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth, flying aboard Friendship 7.

On this date:
In 1790, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II died.

In 1792, President Washington signed an act creating the U.S. Post Office.

In 1809, the Supreme Court ruled the power of the federal government is greater than that of any individual state.

In 1839, Congress prohibited dueling in the District of Columbia.

In 1895, abolitionist Frederick Douglass died in Washington.

In 1933, the House of Representatives completed congressional action on an amendment to repeal Prohibition.

In 1944, during World War II, U.S. bombers began raiding German aircraft manufacturing centers in a series of attacks that became known as “Big Week.”

In 1965, the Ranger 8 spacecraft crashed on the moon after sending back thousands of pictures of the lunar surface.

In 1981, the space shuttle Columbia cleared the final major hurdle to its maiden launch as the spacecraft fired its three engines in a 20-second test.

In 2003, fire broke out during a rock concert at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I., killing 100 people and injuring about 200 others.

Ten years ago: Patrick Buchanan won the New Hampshire Republican primary by a slim margin over Bob Dole. Gangsta rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg and his former bodyguard were acquitted of murder in the 1993 shooting death of an alleged gang member.

Five years ago: The government announced the arrest two days earlier of veteran FBI agent Robert Philip Hanssen, accused of spying for Russia for more than 15 years. Space shuttle Atlantis landed in the Mojave Desert after three straight days of bad weather prevented the ship from returning to its Florida home port.

One year ago: Israel’s Cabinet gave final approval to the government’s planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and four West Bank settlements. Former presidents Bush and Clinton traveled to Lampuuk, Indonesia, ground zero of tsunami devastation where they promised survivors that more help would come. Jeff Gordon won his third Daytona 500. Allen Iverson was selected MVP of the NBA All-Star game, helping the Eastern Conference to a 125-115 victory. Actress Sandra Dee died at age 62; musical actor John Raitt at age 88; and counterculture writer Hunter S. Thompson at age 67.

Today’s Birthdays: Fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt is 82. Movie director Robert Altman is 81. Actor Sidney Poitier is 79. Actress Marj Dusay is 70. Jazz-soul singer Nancy Wilson is 69. Singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie is 65. Hockey Hall-of-Famer Phil Esposito is 64. Movie director Mike Leigh is 63. Actress Brenda Blethyn is 60. Actress Sandy Duncan is 60. Rock musician J. Geils is 60. Actor Peter Strauss is 59. Rock singer-musician-producer Walter Becker (Steely Dan) is 56. Actor Edward Albert is 55. Country singer Kathie Baillie is 55. Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst is 52. Actor Anthony Stewart Head is 52. Country singer Leland Martin is 49. Actor James Wilby is 48. Rock musician Sebastian Steinberg is 47. Comedian Joel Hodgson is 46. Basketball player Charles Barkley is 43. Rock musician Ian Brown (Stone Roses) is 43. Actor French Stewart is 42. Actor Ron Eldard is 41. Model Cindy Crawford is 40. Actor Andrew Shue is 39. Actress Lili Taylor is 39. Singer Brian Littrell (Backstreet Boys) is 31. Actress Lauren Ambrose (“Six Feet Under”) is 28. Actor Jay Hernandez is 28. Actress Majandra Delfino is 25. Singer-musician Chris Thile is 25. Actor Jake Richardson is 21.

Thought for Today: “Cities, like cats, will reveal themselves at night.” — Rupert Brooke, English poet (1887-1915).

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