1989 : Fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie : On this day in 1989, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa and offered a bounty for the assassination of author Salman Rushdie, whose novel The Satanic Verses (1988) Khomeini denounced as blasphemous.
Today : Today is Valentine's Day, the feast day of St. Valentine, a priest and physician who was martyred about AD 270 in Rome, and the tradition of exchanging greetings of love on Valentine's Day is based on the legend that Valentine had signed a letter to his jailer's daughter, with whom he had fallen in love, “from your Valentine."
1946 : The first general-purpose high-speed electronic digital computer, the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), was demonstrated to the public by its creators, J. Presper Eckert, Jr., and John W. Mauchly.
1929 : Members of Al Capone's gang of bootleggers massacred a rival gang run by George Moran in Chicago during the Prohibition era.
1920 : With the establishment of woman suffrage in the United States, Carrie Chapman Catt formed the League of Women Voters in Chicago.
1876 : Alexander Graham Bell applied for a patent for the telephone.
1779 : Captain James Cook was killed by Hawaiians in a dispute over the theft of a cutter.
1766 : Thomas Malthus, the English economist and demographer best known for his theory that population growth will always tend to outrun the food supply and should be checked by stern limits on reproduction, is believed to have been born this day.
1760 : Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, was born in Philadelphia.