updated 2/8/2006 12:04:44 AM ET 2006-02-08T05:04:44

Today is Wednesday, Feb. 8, the 39th day of 2006. There are 326 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 8, 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots was beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle in England after she was implicated in a plot to murder her cousin, Queen Elizabeth the First.

On this date:
In 1693, a charter was granted for the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

In 1904, the Russo-Japanese War, a conflict over control of Manchuria and Korea, began as Japanese forces attacked Port Arthur.

In 1910, the Boy Scouts of America was incorporated.

In 1915, D.W. Griffith’s groundbreaking as well as controversial silent movie epic about the Civil War, “The Birth of a Nation,” premiered in Los Angeles.

In 1922, President Harding had a radio installed in the White House.

In 1924, the first execution by gas in the United States took place at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City.

In 1968, three college students were killed in a confrontation with highway patrolmen in Orangeburg, South Carolina, during a civil rights protest against a whites-only bowling alley.

In 1974, the three-man crew of the Skylab space station returned to Earth after spending 84 days in space.

In 1989, 144 people were killed when an American-chartered Boeing 707 filled with Italian tourists slammed into a fog-covered mountain in the Azores.

In 1992, the 16th Olympic Winter Games opened in Albertville, France.

Ten years ago: In a ceremony at the Library of Congress, President Clinton signed legislation revamping the telecommunications industry, saying it would “bring the future to our doorstep.”

Five years ago: A House committee opened hearings into former President Clinton’s last-minute pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich, with former prosecutors complaining that they hadn’t been consulted before the pardon was granted. President Bush sent his proposed $1.6 trillion, ten-year tax cut plan to Congress.

One year ago: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas announced a cease-fire at a summit in Egypt. An earlier-than-usual Mardi Gras festival opened in New Orleans with sparse crowds. Longtime CBS newsman George Herman died in Washington, D.C. at age 85. Doobie Brothers drummer Keith Knudsen died in Kentfield, California, at age 56.

Today’s Birthdays: Composer-conductor John Williams is 74. Actor Jack Larson is 73. Former ABC News anchor Ted Koppel is 66. Actor Nick Nolte is 65. Comedian Robert Klein is 64. Country singer Dan Seals is 58. Singer Ron Tyson is 58. Actress Brooke Adams is 57. Actress Mary Steenburgen is 53. Author John Grisham is 51. Rock singer Vince Neil (Motley Crue) is 45. Rock singer-musician Sammy LLanas (The BoDeans) is 45. Actor Gary Coleman is 38. Actress Mary McCormack is 37. Actor Seth Green is 32. Rock musician Phoenix (Linkin Park) is 29. Actor Ryan Pinkston is 18. Actress Karle Warren (“Judging Amy”) is 14.

Thought for Today: “Health is the thing that makes you feel that now is the best time of the year.”— Franklin P. Adams, American journalist (1881-1960).

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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