On this date:
In 1542, the fifth wife of England's King Henry the Eighth, Catherine Howard, was executed for adultery.
In 1914, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, known as ASCAP, was founded in New York.
In 1920, the League of Nations recognized the perpetual neutrality of Switzerland.
In 1945, during World War Two, the Soviets captured Budapest, Hungary, from the Germans.
In 1945, Allied planes began bombing the German city of Dresden.
In 1960, France exploded its first atomic bomb.
In 1980, opening ceremonies were held in Lake Placid, New York, for the 13th Winter Olympics.
In 1984, Konstantin Chernenko was chosen to be general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party's Central Committee, succeeding the late Yuri Andropov.
In 1988, the 15th winter Olympics opened in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
In 1996, the rock musical "Rent," by Jonathan Larson, opened off-Broadway.
Ten years ago: The United States and its European allies forged agreement with the Soviet Union and East Germany during an "open skies" conference in Ottawa on a two-stage formula to reunite Germany.
Five years ago: A tribunal in the Netherlands indicted 21 Serbs for atrocities against Croats and Muslims interned in a Bosnian prison camp. House Speaker Newt Gingrich ruled out running for the 1996 Republican presidential nomination.
One year ago: In his weekly radio address, President Clinton said as many as four-thousand American troops would go to Kosovo as part of a NATO peacekeeping force if warring Serbs and ethnic Albanians reached a political settlement. A federal judge held American Airlines' pilots union and two top board members in contempt and promised sizable fines against them, saying the union did not do enough to encourage pilots to return to work after a court order.
"An explanation of cause is not a justification by reason."
-- C.S. Lewis, English author (1898-1963).