This day in history

Today is Wednesday, Feb. 28, the 59th day of 2018. There are 306 days left in the year. The Jewish holiday Purim begins at sunset.

Birthdays: Architect Frank Gehry is 89. Singer Sam the Sham is 81. Hall of Fame auto racer Mario Andretti is 78. Actress Mercedes Ruehl is 70. Actress Bernadette Peters is 70. Actor John Turturro is 61. Rock singer Cindy Wilson is 61. Rock singer Pat Monahan is 49. Actress Ali Larter is 42. Country singer Jason Aldean is 41. Actress Michelle Horn is 31. Actress Quinn Shephard is 23. Actor Bobb’e J. Thompson is 22.

In 1784, John Wesley, the co-founder of Methodism, chartered the first Methodist Church in the United States in Leesburg, Virginia.


In 1861, the Territory of Colorado was organized.

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In 1942, the heavy cruiser USS Houston and the Australian light cruiser HMAS Perth were attacked by Japanese forces during the World War II Battle of Sunda Strait; both were sunk shortly after midnight on March 1 with a total loss of more than 1,000 men.

In 1953, scientists James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick said they had discovered the double-helix structure of DNA.

In 1975, 42 people were killed in London’s Underground when a train smashed into the end of a tunnel.

In 1993, a gun battle erupted at a religious compound near Waco, Texas, when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents tried to arrest Branch Davidian leader David Koresh on weapons charges; four agents and six Davidians were killed.


In 1996, Britain’s Princess Diana agreed to divorce Prince Charles. (Their 15-year marriage officially ended in August 1996; Diana died in a car crash in Paris a year after that.)

In 2013, Benedict XVI became the first pope in 600 years to resign, ending an eight-year pontificate.

Last year, heralding a ‘‘new chapter of American greatness,’’ President Donald Trump issued a call for overhauling the nation’s health care system and significantly boosting military spending in an hourlong speech to a joint session of Congress. Amazon’s cloud-computing service, Amazon Web Services, experienced a five-hour outage in its eastern U.S. region, causing unprecedented and widespread problems for thousands of websites and apps.