►Today is Sunday, Feb. 17, the 48th day of 2013. There are 317 days left in the year.
►Today’s birthdays: Actor Hal Holbrook is 88. Mystery writer Ruth Rendell is 83. Singer Bobby Lewis is 80. Actor-comedian Barry Humphries (aka ‘‘Dame Edna”) is 79. Country singer-songwriter Johnny Bush is 78. Actress Christina Pickles is 78. Football Hall-of-Famer Jim Brown is 77. Actress Mary Ann Mobley is 74. Actress Brenda Fricker is 68. Actress Rene Russo is 59. Actor Richard Karn is 57. Actor Lou Diamond Phillips is 51. Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan is 50. Actor-comedian Larry, the Cable Guy is 50. TV personality Rene Syler is 50. Movie director Michael Bay is 49. Singer Chante Moore is 46. Rock musician Timothy J. Mahoney (311) is 43. Actor Dominic Purcell is 43. Olympic gold and silver medal skier Tommy Moe is 43. Actress Denise Richards is 42. Rock singer-musician Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) is 41. Actor Jerry O’Connell is 39. Country singer Bryan White is 39. Actress Kelly Carlson is 37. Actor Ashton Holmes is 35. Actor Jason Ritter is 33. TV personality Paris Hilton is 32. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is 32. Actor Chord Overstreet (TV: ‘‘Glee”) is 24. Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is 22. Actress Meaghan Martin is 21.
►In 1863, the International Red Cross was founded in Geneva.
►In 1865, Columbia, S.C., burned as the Confederates evacuated and Union forces moved in. (It’s not clear which side set the blaze.)
►In 1897, the forerunner of the National PTA, the National Congress of Mothers, convened its first meeting in Washington.
►In 1904, the original two-act version of Giacomo Puccini’s opera ‘‘Madama Butterfly’’ was poorly received at its premiere in Milan, Italy.
►In 1913, the Armory Show, a landmark exhibit of European modern art, opened in New York City. (One work in the exhibit that stirred much controversy was ‘‘Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2),’’ an abstract painting by French artist Marcel Duchamp.)
►In 1933, Newsweek was first published by Thomas J.C. Martyn under the title ‘‘News-Week.’’ (The magazine abandoned its print format at the end of last year in favor of an exclusively online edition.)
►In 1947, the Voice of America began broadcasting to the Soviet Union.
►In 1959, the United States launched Vanguard 2, a satellite that carried meteorological equipment.
►In 1964, the Supreme Court, in Wesberry v. Sanders, ruled that congressional districts within each state had to be roughly equal in population.
►In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon departed the White House with his wife, Pat, on a historic trip to China.
►In 1983, the Scottish comedy-drama ‘‘Local Hero’’ was first released.
►In 1988, Lieutenant Colonel William Higgins, a Marine serving with a United Nations truce monitoring group, was kidnapped in southern Lebanon by Iranian-backed terrorists. (He was later slain by his captors.)
►In 1993, a ferry carrying some 1,000 people sank off Haiti; at least 700 of the people on board drowned.
►In 2003, 21 people were killed in a stampede at the crowded E2 nightclub in Chicago. European Union leaders declared their solidarity with the United States, warning Saddam Hussein that Iraq faced one ‘‘last chance’’ to disarm peacefully but calling war a last resort. Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler died of heatstroke at a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., hospital, less than 24 hours after complaining of dizziness during a spring training workout. An estimated 40 million viewers tuned in to the finale of Fox’s reality show ‘‘Joe Millionaire,’’ in which Evan Marriott chose Zora Andrich.
►In 2008, President George W. Bush rejected proposed Democratic changes to his prized AIDS relief program, issuing a challenge to Congress from Tanzania to ‘‘stop the squabbling’’ and renew it as is. (Bush signed a compromise version into law in July 2008.) Kosovo declared itself a nation in defiance of Serbia and Russia. Ryan Newman snapped an 81-race winless streak, giving car owner Roger Penske his first Daytona 500 victory. The East beat the Western Conference 134-128 in the NBA All-Star Game.
►In 2012, Congress voted to extend a Social Security payroll tax cut for 160 million workers and to renew unemployment benefits for millions more. The New York Knicks saw their seven-game winning streak with team sensation Jeremy Lin come to an end as they lost to the New Orleans Hornets, 89-85.