Originally created 02/17/99

This day in the millennium -- February 17



Nation/World

1801-- the House of Representatives broke an electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, electing Jefferson president. Burr became vice president.

1817 -- a street in Baltimore became the first to be lighted with gas from America's first gas company.

1865 -- Columbia, S.C., burned as the Confederates evacuated and Union forces moved in.

1897 -- the forerunner of the National PTA, the National Congress of Mothers, was founded in Washington.

1933 -- Newsweek was first published.

1947 -- the Voice of America began broadcasting to the Soviet Union.

1964 -- the Supreme Court ruled that congressional districts within each state had to be roughly equal in population.

1972 -- President Nixon departed on his historic trip to China.

1988-- Lt. Col. William Higgins, an American officer serving with a United Nations truce monitoring group, was kidnapped in southern Lebanon. He was later slain by his captors.

1989 -- Iran's President Ali Khamenei said Salman Rushdie, author of "The Satanic Verses," could save himself from a death sentence pronounced by Ayatollah Khomeini if he were to apologize for his book, which was regarded as blasphemous.

1994 -- Bosnian Serbs began large-scale withdrawal of its heavy guns from the hills around Sarajevo under pressure from Russia. The U.S. government reported a record trade deficit with Japan the previous year.

1998 -- President Clinton, preparing Americans for possible air strikes against Iraq, said military force is never the first answer "but sometimes it's the only answer." A jury in Fort Worth, Texas, convicted former Naval Academy midshipman Diane Zamora of killing a 16-year-old romantic rival. An Iranian crowd cheered as U.S. wrestlers carried the Stars and Stripes into an international meet in Tehran. The U.S. women's hockey team won the gold medal at Nagano, Japan, defeating Canada 3-1.