Today is Monday, Feb. 18, the 49th day of 2013. There are 316 days left in the year. This is Presidents Day.
On Feb. 18, 1913, Mexican President Francisco I. Madero and Vice President Jose Maria Pino Suarez were arrested during a military coup (both resigned their positions the next day, and both were shot to death on Feb. 22).
On this date:
In 1735, the first opera presented in America, “Flora, or Hob in the Well,” was performed in present-day Charleston, S.C.
In 1861, Jefferson Davis was sworn in as provisional president of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Ala.
In 1885, Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was published in the U.S. for the first time.
In 1930, photographic evidence of Pluto (now designated a “dwarf planet”) was discovered by Clyde W. Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz.
In 1943, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, the wife of the Chinese leader, addressed members of the Senate and then the House, becoming the first Chinese national to address both houses of the U.S. Congress.
In 1953, “Bwana Devil,” the movie that heralded the 3D fad of the 1950s, had its New York opening.
In 1960, the 8th Winter Olympic Games were formally opened in Squaw Valley, Calif., by Vice President Richard M. Nixon.
In 1970, the “Chicago Seven” defendants were found not guilty of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic national convention; five were convicted of violating the Anti-Riot Act of 1968 (those convictions were later reversed).
In 1977, the space shuttle Enterprise, sitting atop a Boeing 747, went on its debut “flight” above the Mojave Desert.
In 1983, 13 people were shot to death at a gambling club in Seattle’s Chinatown in what became known as the Wah Mee Massacre. (Two men were convicted of the killings and are serving life sentences; a third was found guilty of robbery and assault.)
In 1988, Anthony M. Kennedy was sworn in as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 2001, auto racing star Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a crash at the Daytona 500; he was 49.
Ten years ago: Declaring that America’s security should not be dictated by protesters, President George W. Bush said he would not be swayed from compelling Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to disarm. An arson attack involving two South Korean subway trains in the city of Daegu claimed 198 lives. (The arsonist was sentenced to life in prison, where he died in 2004.) Country singer Johnny PayCheck died in Nashville at age 64.
Five years ago: The Pakistan People’s Party of assassinated ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto won the most seats in parliamentary elections. A suicide car bomber targeting a Canadian military convoy killed 38 civilians in southern Afghanistan. Republican John McCain picked up the support of former President George H.W. Bush. Andy Pettitte apologized to the New York Yankees, Houston Astros and his fans for the “embarrassment” he’d caused them by taking human growth hormone. Writer Alain Robbe-Grillet died in Caen, France, at age 85.
One year ago: A funeral service was held for pop star Whitney Houston at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J., a week after her death at age 48. Syrian security forces fired live rounds and tear gas at thousands of people marching in a funeral procession that turned into one of the largest protests in Damascus since the 11-month uprising against President Bashar Assad began. Vitali Klitschko’s 10th successful defense of his WBC heavyweight title in Munich ended in chaos when challenger Dereck Chisora brawled with former WBA champion David Haye during the post-match news conference.