Today's Highlight in History:
On Feb. 26, 1904, the United States and Panama proclaimed a treaty under which the U.S. agreed to undertake efforts to build a ship canal across the Panama isthmus.
On this date:
In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from exile on the Island of Elba.
In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson signed a congressional act establishing Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
In 1929, President Calvin Coolidge signed a measure establishing Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
In 1945, authorities ordered a midnight curfew at night clubs, bars and other places of entertainment across the nation.
In 1952, Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that Britain had developed its own atomic bomb.
In 1962, after becoming the first American to orbit the Earth, astronaut John Glenn told a joint meeting of Congress, "Exploration and the pursuit of knowledge have always paid dividends in the long run."
In 1970, National Public Radio was incorporated.
In 1984, the last U.S. Marines deployed to Beirut as part of an international peacekeeping force withdrew from the Lebanese capital.
In 1987, the Tower Commission, which had probed the Iran-Contra affair, issued its report, which rebuked President Ronald Reagan for failing to control his national security staff.
In 1993, a truck bomb built by terrorists exploded in the parking garage of New York's World Trade Center, killing six people and injuring more than 1,000 others.
In 1994, a jury in San Antonio acquitted eleven followers of David Koresh of murder, rejecting claims they'd ambushed federal agents; five were convicted of voluntary manslaughter.
In 2012, in a case that drew national attention, Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot to death in Sanford, Fla., during an altercation with neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who said he'd acted in self-defense. (Zimmerman was subsequently acquitted of second-degree murder.)
Ten years ago: Two church-sanctioned studies documenting sex abuse by U.S. Roman Catholic clergy said that about four percent of clerics had been accused of molesting minors since 1950 and blamed bishops' "moral laxity" in disciplining offenders for letting the problem worsen. Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski was killed in a plane crash in southern Bosnia.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama laid out his first budget plan, predicting a federal deficit of $1.75 trillion. General Motors Corp. posted a $9.6 billion loss for the fourth quarter of 2008. The Pentagon, reversing an 18-year-old policy, said it would allow some media coverage of returning war dead, with family approval. Former Chicago Bulls player Norm Van Lier died at age 61.
One year ago: A deeply divided Senate voted, 58-41, to confirm Republican Chuck Hagel to be U.S. defense secretary. A hot air balloon burst into flames during a sunrise flight over the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor and then plummeted 1,000 feet to earth, killing 19 tourists (one tourist and the balloon's pilot survived).
Today's Birthdays: Singer Fats Domino is 86. Country-rock musician Paul Cotton (Poco) is 71. Actor-director Bill Duke is 71. Singer Mitch Ryder is 69. Rock musician Jonathan Cain (Journey) is 64. Singer Michael Bolton is 61. The prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is 60. Actor Greg Germann is 56. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., is 56. Bandleader John McDaniel is 53. Actress Jennifer Grant is 48. Rock musician Tim Commerford (Audioslave) is 46. Singer Erykah Badu is 43. Rhythm-and-blues singer Rico Wade (Society of Soul) is 42. Olympic gold medal swimmer Jenny Thompson is 41. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kyle Norman (Jagged Edge) is 39. Actor Greg Rikaart is 37. Rock musician Chris Culos (O.A.R.) is 35. Rhythm-and-blues singer Corinne Bailey Rae is 35. Country singer Rodney Hayden is 34. Pop singer Nate Ruess (fun.) is 32. Tennis player Li Na is 32. Actor Alex Heartman (TV: "Power Rangers Samurai") is 24. Actress Taylor Dooley is 21.
Thought for Today: "One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas." — Victor Hugo (1802-1885).