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Today in History

Today is Tuesday, Feb. 21, the 52nd day of 2017. There are 313 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 21, 1947, inventor Edwin H. Land publicly demonstrated his Polaroid Land camera, which used self-developing film to produce a black & white photograph in 60 seconds.

On this date:

In 1513, Pope Julius II, who commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, died nearly four months after the project was completed.

In 1613, Mikhail Romanov, 16, was unanimously chosen by Russia’s national assembly to be czar, beginning a dynasty that would last three centuries.

In 1885, the Washington Monument was dedicated.

In 1916, the World War I Battle of Verdun began in France as German forces attacked; the French were able to prevail after 10 months of fighting.

In 1945, during the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima, the escort carrier USS Bismarck Sea was sunk by kamikazes with the loss of 318 men.

In 1958, the USS Gudgeon (SS-567) became the first American submarine to complete a round-the-world cruise, eight months after departing from Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

In 1965, black Muslim leader and civil rights activist Malcolm X, 39, was shot to death inside Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom in New York by assassins identified as members of the Nation of Islam. (Three men were convicted of murder and imprisoned; all were eventually paroled.)

In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon began his historic visit to China as he and his wife, Pat, arrived in Beijing.

In 1975, former Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aides H.R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman were sentenced to 2 1/2 to 8 years in prison for their roles in the Watergate cover-up (each ended up serving a year and a-half).

In 1986, Larry Wu-tai Chin, the first American found guilty of spying for China, killed himself in his Virginia jail cell.

In 1992, Kristi Yamaguchi (yah-mah-GOO’-chee) of the United States won the gold medal in ladies’ figure skating at the Albertville Olympics; Midori Ito (mee-doh-ree ee-toh) of Japan won the silver, Nancy Kerrigan of the U.S. the bronze.

In 1997, a bomb exploded at The Otherside Lounge, a gay and lesbian nightclub in Atlanta, injuring five people. (Eric Rudolph later admitted targeting the club.)

Ten years ago: British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced his country would withdraw around 1,600 troops from Iraq in the coming months; Denmark, meanwhile, said it would withdraw its 460 troops. A U.S. helicopter was shot down north of Baghdad; all aboard were safely evacuated by a second helicopter.

Five years ago: The 17-nation eurozone approved a $170 billion bailout for Greece, which received the news with a mixture of relief and foreboding. Publisher Barney Rosset, 89, who introduced the U.S. to such underground classics as “Tropic of Cancer” and “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” died in New York.

One year ago: Bombings claimed by the Islamic State group in the Syrian cities of Damascus and Homs killed nearly 130 people. Pope Francis, speaking at the Vatican, urged Catholic leaders to show “exemplary” courage by not allowing executions “in this Holy Year of Mercy.” Denny Hamlin won the Daytona 500, edging Martin Truex Jr. by inches at the finish line.

Today’s Birthdays: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is 93. Fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy is 90. Movie director Bob Rafelson is 84. Actor Gary Lockwood is 80. Actor-director Richard Beymer is 78. Actor Peter McEnery is 77. U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., is 77. Film/music company executive David Geffen is 74. Actress Tyne Daly is 71. Actor Anthony Daniels is 71. Tricia Nixon Cox is 71. Former Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, is 70. Rock musician Jerry Harrison (The Heads) is 68. Actress Christine Ebersole is 64. Actor William Petersen is 64. Actor Kelsey Grammer is 62. Country singer Mary Chapin Carpenter is 59. Actor Kim Coates is 59. Actor Jack Coleman is 59. Actor Christopher Atkins is 56. Rock singer Ranking Roger is 56. Actor William Baldwin is 54. Rock musician Michael Ward is 50. Actress Aunjanue Ellis is 48. Blues musician Corey Harris is 48. Country singer Eric Heatherly is 47. Rock musician Eric Wilson is 47. Rock musician Tad Kinchla (Blues Traveler) is 44. Singer Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops) is 40. Actor Tituss Burgess is 38. Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt is 38. Comedian-actor Jordan Peele (TV: “Key and Peele”) is 38. Actor Brendan Sexton III is 37. Singer Charlotte Church is 31. Actress Ashley Greene is 30. Actress Ellen Page is 30. Actor Corbin Bleu is 28. Actress Hayley Orrantia is 23. Actress Sophie Turner is 21.

Thought for Today: “Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.” — Spanish proverb.