Today is Saturday, Feb. 21, the 52nd day of 2015. There are 313 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1613 - Michael Romanov, son of the patriarch of Moscow, is elected czar of Russia, thus founding the House of Romanov.

1795 - Dutch surrender Ceylon — now Sri Lanka — to British; freedom of worship is established in France.

1838 - American Samuel Morse gives the first public demonstration of the telegraph in New York.

1849 - British forces defeat Sikhs at Gujrat in India.

1866 - Lucy B. Hobbs becomes the first American woman to graduate from dental school, the Ohio College of Dental Surgery in Cincinnati.

1878 - First U.S. telephone directory is issued, by the District Telephone Co. of New Haven, Connecticut.

1885 - U.S. President Chester A. Arthur dedicates the Washington Monument.

1916 - Battle of Verdun in France begins with a massive German artillery bombardment. It is the longest and bloodiest battle of World War I, with more than 1 million killed.

1919 - Bavarian Premier Kurt Risner is assassinated in Munich.

1921 - Brig. Reza Khan overthrows Iranian government in military coup and later becomes shah.

1922 - British protectorate in Egypt ends.

1925 - The New Yorker magazine makes its debut.

1934 - French troops combat Berbers in South West Morocco.

1963 - Soviet Union warns United States that an American attack on Cuba would mean world war.

1965 - Former Black Muslim leader Malcolm X is shot and killed by assassins identified as Black Muslims as he was about to address a rally in New York City.

1972 - U.S. President Richard M. Nixon arrives in Beijing for a weeklong visit that paves the road for normalized U.S.-China relations.

1975 - A 32-member U.N. Commission on Human Rights, in Geneva, accuses Israel of violating "basic norms of international law" in Arab territories it occupies.

1986 - South African government opens "whites only" downtown districts of Johannesburg and Durban to all races in the first break with apartheid policy of segregated business areas.

1989 - Islamic rebels fire rockets into Afghanistan capital of Kabul, killing one person and injuring three others; playwright Vaclav Havel is convicted for his role in an officially banned rally in Czechoslovakia.

1992 - For the first time since the Communist revolution of 1949, China welcomes foreigners back to its Shanghai stock market.

1994 - Commandos storm the Afghan embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, freeing five schoolboys and killing three Afghan gunmen who had held them hostage for nearly 40 hours in a demand for money and food.

1996 - In Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, police fire into a carnival crowd after a man pulls out a gun near a float. Two people are killed and more than 50 injured.

1997 - Belgrade's first non-Communist government in a half-century takes office and elects opposition leader Zoran Djindjic as mayor of the Yugoslav capital.

1999 - The party of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo narrowly wins in Nigeria's legislative elections, giving him the edge in an upcoming presidential election and signaling a return to democracy.

2001 - More than 1,000 people watch as two women convicted of prostitution are hanged in Kandahar , the headquarters of the Taliban in Afghanistan. '

2002 - U.S. and Pakistani officials confirm that Daniel Pearl, correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, kidnapped a month earlier in Karachi, has been killed by his captors.

2005 - Tens of thousands march through Beirut in the biggest anti-Syrian protest in Lebanese history amid signals that Syria will soon begin withdrawing its troops.

2006 - U.S. President George W. Bush endorses the takeover of shipping operations at six major U.S. seaports by a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates.

2008 - Nearly 200,000 people demonstrate in downtown Belgrade, Serbia, against Kosovo independence, storming the U.S. Embassy and setting fire to offices and police guardhouses.

2010 - Israel's air force introduces a fleet of huge pilotless planes that can remain in the air for a full day and fly as far as the Gulf, putting rival Iran within its range.

2011 - Negotiators for the Philippines government and communist rebels agree in Norway on a road map for continued peace talks aimed at resolving one of Asia's longest-running conflicts by June 2012.

2012 - Greece gets a second massive financial bailout when its eurozone partners stich together a euro130 billion ($170 billion) rescue meant to avoid a potentially disastrous default and secure the euro currency.

2013 - A car bomb explodes near Syria's ruling party headquarters in Damascus, killing at least 53 people in one of the bloodiest days in the capital since the uprising began almost two years ago.

2014 — Protest leaders and the beleaguered president of Ukraine agree to form a new government and hold an early election; parliament votes to free former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko from prison.

Today's Birthdays:

John Henry Newman, English cardinal (1801-1890); Leo Delibes, French composer (1836-1891); W.H. Auden, English poet (1907-1973); Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe (1924--); Kelsey Grammer, U.S. actor (1955--); Mary Chapin Carpenter, U.S. country singer (1958--); Jack Coleman, U.S. actor (1958--); Christopher Atkins, U.S. actor (1961--); Jennifer Love Hewitt, U.S. actress/singer (1979--); Ellen Page, U.S. actress (1987--).

Thought For Today:

You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom — Malcolm X (1925-1965).