SS Struma torpedoed, hundreds of Jewish refugees perish, 1942
Today is Sunday, Feb. 24, the 55th day of 2019. There are 310 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 24, 1942, the SS Struma, a charter ship attempting to carry nearly 800 Jewish refugees from Romania to British-mandated Palestine, was torpedoed by a Soviet submarine in the Black Sea; all but one of the refugees perished.
On this date:
In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII issued an edict outlining his calendar reforms. (The Gregorian Calendar is the calendar in general use today.)
In 1761, Boston lawyer James Otis Jr. went to court to argue against “writs of assistance” that allowed British customs officers to arbitrarily search people’s premises, declaring: “A man’s house is his castle.” (Although Otis lost the case, his statement provided early inspiration for American independence.)
In 1868, the U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Andrew Johnson by a vote of 126-47 following his attempted dismissal of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton; Johnson was later acquitted by the Senate.
In 1920, the German Workers Party, which later became the Nazi Party, met in Munich to adopt its platform.
In 1955, the Cole Porter musical “Silk Stockings” opened at the Imperial Theater on Broadway.
In 1961, the Federal Communications Commission authorized the nation’s first full-scale trial of pay television in Hartford, Connecticut.
In 1983, a congressional commission released a report condemning the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II as a “grave injustice.”
In 1988, in a ruling that expanded legal protections for parody and satire, the Supreme Court unanimously overturned a $150,000 award that the Rev. Jerry Falwell had won against Hustler magazine and its publisher, Larry Flynt.
In 1989, a state funeral was held in Japan for Emperor Hirohito, who had died the month before at age 87.
In 1994, entertainer Dinah Shore died in Beverly Hills, California, five days before turning 78.
In 1996, Cuba downed two small American planes operated by the group Brothers to the Rescue that it claimed were violating Cuban airspace; all four pilots were killed.
In 2008, Cuba’s parliament named Raul Castro president, ending nearly 50 years of rule by his brother Fidel.
Ten years ago: In the first prime-time speech of his term, President Barack Obama appeared before Congress to sketch an agenda that began with jobs, then broadened quickly to include a stable credit system, better schools, health care reform, reliable domestic sources of energy and an end to the war in Iraq. Earlier in the day, President Obama held an 80-minute private talk with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso.
Five years ago: Despite Western pressure, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed an anti-gay bill that punished gay sex with up to life in prison. Writer-director-actor Harold Ramis, 69, died in Glencoe, Illinois. “Late Night with Seth Meyers” premiered on NBC.
One year ago: The U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded a 30-day cease-fire across Syria to deliver humanitarian aid and evacuate the wounded, as the death toll reached 500 from a Syrian bombing campaign in the rebel-held suburbs of Damascus. (The cease-fire failed to take hold.) The body of the Rev. Billy Graham arrived at the library bearing his name in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Graham would lie in repose for two days. At the Winter Olympics in South Korea, American men won the gold medal in curling in a decisive upset of Sweden; it was only the second curling medal in U.S. history.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor-singer Dominic Chianese is 88. Opera singer-director Renata Scotto is 85. Singer Joanie Sommers is 78. Actress Jenny O’Hara is 77. Former Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., is 77. Actor Barry Bostwick is 74. Actor Edward James Olmos is 72. Singer-writer-producer Rupert Holmes is 72. Rock singer-musician George Thorogood is 69. Actress Debra Jo Rupp is 68. Actress Helen Shaver is 68. News anchor Paula Zahn is 63. Baseball Hall of Famer Eddie Murray is 63. Country singer Sammy Kershaw is 61. Actor Mark Moses is 61. Actress Beth Broderick is 60. Actor Emilio Rivera is 58. Singer Michelle Shocked is 57.