updated 2/8/2005 12:05:16 AM ET 2005-02-08T05:05:16

Today is Tuesday, Feb. 8, the 39th day of 2005. There are 326 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On Feb. 8, 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.

On this date:
In 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 I.

In 1693, a charter was granted for the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

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 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, S.C., 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: The U.N. Security Council approved sending 7,000 peacekeepers to Angola to cement an accord ending 19 years of civil war. Surgeon General nominee Henry Foster said in an ABC interview he’d performed 39 abortions — more than three times as many as previously stated.

Five years ago: Internet vandals continued an unprecedented campaign of electronic assaults against the biggest names in cyberspace, disrupting access for consumers to popular Web sites including eBay, Amazon.com and CNN.com. Republican George W. Bush won the Delaware presidential primary.

One year ago: President Bush denied marching America into war under false pretenses and said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” the U.S.-led invasion was necessary because Saddam Hussein could have developed a nuclear weapon. The National Football Conference won the Pro Bowl, defeating the American Conference 55-52. In the National Hockey League All-Star Game, the Eastern Conference defeated the Western Conference, 6-4. At the Grammy Awards, rap funksters OutKast won album of the year for “Speakerboxxx-The Love Below” and Beyonce took home a record-tying five trophies.

Today’s birthdays: Composer-conductor John Williams is 73. Actor Jack Larson is 72. ABC News anchor Ted Koppel is 65. Actor Nick Nolte is 64. Comedian Robert Klein is 63. Country singer Dan Seals is 57. Singer Ron Tyson is 57. Actress Brooke Adams is 56. Actress Mary Steenburgen is 52. Author John Grisham is 50. Rock singer Vince Neil (Motley Crue) is 44. Rock singer-musician Sammy Llanas (The BoDeans) is 44. Actor Gary Coleman is 37. Actress Mary McCormack is 36. Actor Seth Green is 31. Rock musician Phoenix (Linkin Park) is 28. Actor Ryan Pinkston is 17. Actress Karle Warren (“Judging Amy”) is 13.

Thought for today: “I wish to live because life has with it that which is good, that which is beautiful and that which is love.” — Lorraine Hansberry, American author and dramatist (1930-1965).

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