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This day in history

Monday, Feb. 17, is Presidents’ Day, the 48th day of 2014. There are 317 days left in the year.

Birthdays: Actor Hal Holbrook is 89. Mystery writer Ruth Rendell is 84. Comedian Barry Humphries (a.k.a. ‘‘Dame Edna”) is 80. Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown is 78. Actress Rene Russo is 60. Actor Lou Diamond Phillips is 52. Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan is 51. Comedian Larry, the Cable Guy is 51. Director Michael Bay is 50. Skier Tommy Moe is 44. Actress Denise Richards is 43. Rock singer Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) is 42. Actor Jerry O’Connell is 40. Actor Jason Ritter is 34. TV personality Paris Hilton is 33. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is 33. Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is 23.

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In 1863, the International Red Cross was founded in Geneva.

In 1864, the Union ship USS Housatonic was rammed and sunk by the Confederate submarine HL Hunley, which also sank.

In 1947, the Voice of America began broadcasting to the Soviet Union.

In 1964, the Supreme Court, in Wesberry v. Sanders, ruled congressional districts within each state had to be roughly equal in population.

In 1972, President Nixon departed the White House on a historic trip to China.

In 1988, Lieutenant Colonel William Higgins, a Marine Corps officer serving with a United Nations truce monitoring group, was kidnapped in southern Lebanon by Iranian-backed terrorists (he was later slain by his captors).

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