updated 2/18/2005 12:10:00 AM ET 2005-02-18T05:10:00

Today is Friday, Feb. 18, the 49th day of 2005. There are 316 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:
On Feb. 18, 1885, Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was published in the United States for the first time.

On this date:
In 1546, Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation in Germany, died.

In 1564, artist Michelangelo died in Rome.

In 1861, Jefferson Davis was sworn in as president of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Ala.

In 1930, the ninth planet of our solar system, Pluto, was discovered.

In 1960, the 8th Winter Olympic Games were formally opened in Squaw Valley, Calif., by Vice President Nixon.

In 1970, the “Chicago Seven” defendants were found innocent of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic national convention.

In 1972, the California Supreme Court struck down the state’s death penalty.

In 1977, the space shuttle Enterprise, sitting atop a Boeing 747, went on its maiden “flight” above the Mojave Desert.

In 1988, Anthony M. Kennedy was sworn in as the 104th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 2001, auto racing star Dale Earnhardt Sr. died from injuries suffered in a crash at the Daytona 500; he was 49.

Ten years ago: The NAACP replaced veteran chairman William Gibson with Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, after the rank-and-file declared no confidence in Gibson’s leadership.

Five years ago: Iranians voted in an election that gave reformers a majority in the parliament, long a bastion of hard-liners. Announcer Bob Hite Sr., whose rich voice introduced “The Lone Ranger” on radio, died in West Palm Beach, Fla., at age 86.

One year ago: Howard Dean’s quest for the presidency ended as the Democrat, winless in 17 contests, abandoned his bid. In Iran, runaway train cars carrying fuel and industrial chemicals derailed, setting off explosions that destroyed five villages and killed at least 200 people. Two bomb-laden trucks blew up outside a Polish-run base in Hillah, Iraq, killing about a dozen people.

Today’s birthdays: Actor Jack Palance is 84. Former Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown is 83. Actor George Kennedy is 80. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, R-Va., is 78. Author Toni Morrison is 74. Movie director Milos Forman is 73. Singer Yoko Ono is 72. Singer Irma Thomas is 64. Singer Herman Santiago (Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers) is 64. Singer Dennis DeYoung is 58. Actress Sinead Cusack is 57. Producer-director-writer John Hughes is 55. Actress Cybill Shepherd is 55. Singer Juice Newton is 53. Singer Randy Crawford is 53. Rock musician Robbie Bachman is 52. Rock musician Larry Rust (Iron Butterfly) is 52. Actor John Travolta is 51. Game show host Vanna White is 48. Actress Greta Scacchi is 45. Actor Matt Dillon is 41. Rapper Dr. Dre is 40. Actress Molly Ringwald is 37. Actress Sarah Brown is 30. Singer-musician Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek) is 28. Actor Tyrone Burton is 26. Actor Shane Lyons is 17.

Thought for today: “Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.” — Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, German philosopher (1770-1831).

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