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Today in History: February 19, Franklin Roosevelt paves way for internment of Japanese

Today in History

Today is Monday, Feb. 19, the 50th day of 2024. There are 316 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Feb. 19, 1942, during World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which paved the way for the relocation and internment of people of Japanese ancestry, including U.S.-born citizens.

On this date:

In 1473, astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Torun, Poland.

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

In 1945, Operation Detachment began during World War II as some 30,000 U.S. Marines began landing on Iwo Jima, where they commenced a successful month-long battle to seize control of the island from Japanese forces.

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

In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford, calling the issuing of the internment order for people of Japanese ancestry in 1942 "a sad day in American history," signed a proclamation formally confirming its termination.

In 1985, the British soap opera "EastEnders" debuted on BBC Television.

In 1986, the U.S. Senate approved, 83-11, the Genocide Convention, an international treaty outlawing "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group," nearly 37 years after the pact was first submitted for ratification.

In 1997, Deng Xiaoping (dung shah-oh-ping), the last of China's major Communist revolutionaries, died at age 92.

In 2003, an Iranian military plane carrying 275 members of the elite Revolutionary Guards crashed in southeastern Iran, killing all on board.

In 2008, an ailing Fidel Castro resigned the Cuban presidency after nearly a half-century in power; his brother Raul was later named to succeed him.

In 2012, 44 were killed in a prison riot in Apodaca, northern Mexico.

In 2017, Three former elite U.S. gymnasts, including 2000 Olympian Jamie Dantzscher, appeared on CBS' "60 Minutes" to say they were sexually abused by Dr. Larry Nassar, a volunteer team physician for USA Gymnastics.

In 2019, President Donald Trump directed the Pentagon to develop plans for a new Space Force within the Air Force, accepting less than the full-fledged department he had wanted.

In 2023, Richard Belzer, the longtime stand-up comedian who became one of TV's most indelible detectives as John Munch in "Homicide: Life on the Street" and "Law & Order: SVU," died at age 78.

Today's birthdays: Singer Smokey Robinson is 84. Former Sony Corp. Chairman Howard Stringer is 82. Singer Lou Christie is 81. Rock musician Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell) is 76. Actor Stephen Nichols is 73. Author Amy Tan is 72. Actor Jeff Daniels is 69. Rock singer-musician Dave Wakeling is 68. Talk show host Lorianne Crook is 67. Actor Ray Winstone is 67. Actor Leslie David Baker is 66. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is 65. Britain's Prince Andrew is 64. Tennis Hall of Famer Hana Mandlikova is 62. Singer Seal is 61. Actor Jessica Tuck is 61. Rock musician Jon Fishman (Phish) is 59. Actor Justine Bateman is 58. Actor Benicio Del Toro is 57. Actor Bellamy Young is 54. Rock musician Daniel Adair is 49. Pop singer-actor Haylie Duff is 39. Actor Arielle Kebbel is 39. Christian rock musician Seth Morrison (Skillet) is 36. Actor Luke Pasqualino is 34. Actor Victoria Justice is 31. Actor David Mazouz (TV: "Gotham") is 23. Actor Millie Bobby Brown is 20.