Today in History

By The Associated Press

Today is Monday, Feb. 18, the 49th day of 2008. There are 317 days left in the year. This is Presidents Day.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Feb. 18, 1885, Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" was published in the U.S. for the first time.

On this date:

In 1546, Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation in Germany, died in Eisleben.

In 1564, artist Michelangelo died in Rome.

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

In 1930, photographic evidence of Pluto (now designated a "dwarf planet") was discovered by Clyde W. Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz.

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

In 1967, American theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer died in Princeton, N.J., at age 62.

In 1970, the "Chicago Seven" defendants were found innocent of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic national convention; five were convicted of violating the Anti-Riot Act of 1968. (Those convictions were later reversed).

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 an associate 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: President Clinton's foreign policy team encountered jeers during a town meeting at The Ohio State University while trying to defend the administration's threat to bomb Iraq into compliance with U.N. weapons edicts. Sportscaster Harry Caray died in Rancho Mirage, Calif., at age 83.

Five years ago: Declaring that America's security should not be dictated by protesters, President Bush said he would not be swayed from compelling Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to disarm. An arson attack on two South Korean subway trains in the city of Daegu claimed 198 lives. (The arsonist was sentenced to life in prison.) Country singer Johnny PayCheck died in Nashville, Tenn., at age 64.

One year ago: A pair of bombs on a train headed from India to Pakistan killed 68 people. Twin car bombs blew up in a mostly Shiite area of Baghdad, killed at least 62 people. A military helicopter crashed in southeastern Afghanistan, killing eight U.S. service members; 14 survived with injuries. Kevin Harvick nosed out Mark Martin in a frantic wreck-filled finish to win the Daytona 500. The West routed the East, 153-132 in the NBA All-Star game.

Today's Birthdays: Former Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown is 86. Actor George Kennedy is 83. Sen. John Warner, R-Va., is 81. Author Toni Morrison is 77. Movie director Milos Forman is 76. Singer Yoko Ono is 75. Singer/songwriter Bobby Hart is 69. Singer Irma Thomas is 67. Singer Herman Santiago (Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers) is 67. Singer Dennis DeYoung is 61. Actress Sinead Cusack is 60. Producer-director-writer John Hughes is 58. Actress Cybill Shepherd is 58. Singer Juice Newton is 56. Singer Randy Crawford is 56. Rock musician Robbie Bachman is 55. Rock musician Larry Rust (Iron Butterfly) is 55. Actor John Travolta is 54. Game show host Vanna White is 51. Actress Greta Scacchi is 48. Actor Matt Dillon is 44. Rapper Dr. Dre is 43. Actress Molly Ringwald is 40. Actress Sarah Brown is 33. Singer-musician Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek) is 31. Actor Tyrone Burton is 29. Actor Shane Lyons is 20.

Thought for Today: "Opinion is that exercise of the human will which helps us to make a decision without information." -- John Erskine, American author and educator (1879-1951).