Today in History

By The Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, Feb. 19, the 50th day of 2008. There are 316 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Feb. 19, 1945, during World War II, some 30,000 U.S. Marines began landing on Iwo Jima, where they commenced a successful monthlong battle to seize control of the island from Japanese forces.

On this date:

In 1803, Congress voted to accept Ohio's borders and constitution.

In 1807, former Vice President Aaron Burr, accused of treason, was arrested in the Mississippi Territory, in present-day Alabama. (Burr was acquitted at trial.)

In 1846, the Texas state government was formally installed in Austin, with J. Pinckney Henderson taking the oath of office as governor.

In 1878, Thomas Edison received a U.S. patent for "an improvement in phonograph or speaking machines."

In 1881, Kansas prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages.

In 1942, President Roosevelt signed an executive order that gave the military the authority to relocate and intern U.S. residents, including citizens, of Japanese ancestry.

In 1942, Japanese warplanes, attacking in two waves, raided the Australian city of Darwin; at least 243 people were killed.

In 1959, an agreement was signed by Britain, Turkey and Greece granting Cyprus its independence.

In 1983, 13 people were found shot to death at a gambling club in Seattle's Chinatown in what became known as the "Wah Mee Massacre." (Two Chinese immigrants were convicted of the killings and sentenced to life in prison.)

In 1997, Deng Xiaoping, the last of China's major Communist revolutionaries, died at age 92.

Ten years ago: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan set out for Iraq on a last-chance peace mission, saying he was "reasonably optimistic" about ending the standoff over weapons inspections without the use of force. At the Nagano Olympics, Austrian Hermann Maier won the men's giant slalom while Hilde Gerg of Germany won the women's slalom.

Five years ago: Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt announced his second candidacy for president with a pledge to repeal most of President Bush's tax cuts. An Iranian military plane carrying 275 members of the elite Revolutionary Guards crashed in southeastern Iran, killing all on board.

One year ago: Three-way talks between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli and Palestinian leaders, initially billed as a new U.S. push to restart peace efforts, ended with little progress other than a commitment to meet again. Hundreds of gay couples were granted the same legal rights, if not the title, as married couples as New Jersey became the third state to offer civil unions. Actress Janet Blair died in Santa Monica, Calif., at age 85.

Today's Birthdays: Singer Smokey Robinson is 68. Singer Bobby Rogers (Smokey Robinson s 68. Actress Carlin Glynn is 68. Singer Lou Christie is 65. Actor Michael Nader is 63. Rock musician Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell) is 60. Author Amy Tan is 56. Actor Jeff Daniels is 53. Rock singer-musician Dave Wakeling is 52. Talk show host Lorianne Crook is 51. Actor Ray Winstone is 51. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is 49. Britain's Prince Andrew is 48. Tennis Hall-of-Famer Hana Mandlikova is 46. Singer Seal is 45. Country musician Ralph McCauley (Wild Horses) is 44. Actress Justine Bateman is 42. Actor Benicio Del Toro is 41. Rock musician Daniel Adair is 33. Pop singer-actress Haylie Duff is 23.

Thought for Today: "The secret of joy in work is contained in one word -- excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it." -- Pearl S. Buck, American author (1892-1973).