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Today in history: Feb. 16

/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, Feb. 16, the 47th day of 2005. There are 318 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:
On Feb. 16, 1945, American troops landed on the island of Corregidor in the Philippines during World War II.

On this date:
In 1804, Lt. Stephen Decatur led a successful raid into Tripoli Harbor to burn the U.S. Navy frigate Philadelphia, which had fallen into the hands of pirates.

In 1862, during the Civil War, some 14,000 Confederate soldiers surrendered at Fort Donelson, Tenn. (Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s victory earned him the nickname “Unconditional Surrender Grant.”)

In 1868, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was organized in New York City.

In 1918, Lithuania proclaimed its independence.

In 1923, the burial chamber of King Tutankhamen’s recently unearthed tomb was unsealed in Egypt.

In 1959, Fidel Castro became premier of Cuba after the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista.

In 1968, the nation’s first 911 emergency telephone system was inaugurated, in Haleyville, Ala.

In 1977, Janani Luwum, the Anglican archbishop of Uganda, and two other men were killed in what Ugandan authorities said was an automobile accident.

In 1994, at least 217 people were killed when a powerful earthquake shook Indonesia’s Sumatra island.

In 1998, a China Airlines Airbus trying to land in fog near Taipei, Taiwan, crashed, killing all 196 people on board and six people on the ground.

Ten years ago: Four people were killed when tornadoes tore through rural north Alabama. In a dark and defensive address to his nation, Russian President Boris Yeltsin berated his military leaders for big losses and human rights abuses in Chechnya, but insisted Russia had to use force to defend its unity.

Five years ago: Lucy Edwards, a former Bank of New York executive, and her husband, Peter Berlin, pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan to laundering billions from Russian bankers in one of the biggest such schemes in U.S. history.

One year ago: A confident John Kerry launched a full-throttle attack on President Bush’s economic policies, mostly ignoring his Democratic rivals on the eve of the Wisconsin primary. The Walt Disney Co. rejected a takeover bid by Comcast Corp.

Today’s birthdays: Singer Patty Andrews is 87. Kim Jong Il, the president of North Korea, is 63. Actor Jeremy Bulloch is 59. Actor Pete Postlethwaite is 59. Actor William Katt is 54. Actor James Ingram is 49. Actor LeVar Burton is 48. Actor-rapper Ice-T is 47. Actress Lisa Loring is 47. Tennis Hall of Fame player John McEnroe is 46. Rock musician Andy Taylor (Duran Duran) is 44. Rock musician Taylor Hawkins (Foofighters) is 33. Singer Sam Salter is 27.

Thought for today: “The heart may think it knows better: the senses know that absence blots people out. We have really no absent friends.” — Elizabeth Bowen, Irish-born author (1899-1973).