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Today in History - Feb. 8

/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Thursday, Feb. 8, the 39th day of 2007. 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 I.

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

In 1837, the Senate selected the vice president of the United States, choosing Richard Mentor Johnson after no candidate received a majority of electoral votes.

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 and controversial silent movie epic about the Civil War, “The Birth of a Nation,” premiered in Los Angeles.

In 1924, the first execution by gas in the United States took place at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City as Gee Jon, a Chinese immigrant convicted of murder, was put to death.

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 last 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: President Clinton announced in his weekly radio address that he was releasing the first of a $200 million program of grants to provide schools with computers and Internet training.

Five years ago: The Winter Olympics opened in Salt Lake City with an emotional tribute to America’s heroes, from the pioneers of the West to past Olympic champions to the thousands who had perished on Sept. 11. The Taliban’s foreign minister (Mullah Abdul Wakil Muttawakil) turned himself in to authorities in Afghanistan. William T. Dillard Sr., founder of one of the nation’s largest retail chains, died in Little Rock, Ark., at age 87.

One year ago: President Bush condemned deadly rioting sparked by cartoons of the prophet Muhammad as he urged foreign leaders to halt the spreading violence. U2 captured five Grammy awards for their album “How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb,” including album of the year.

Today’s Birthdays: Composer-conductor John Williams is 75. Actor Jack Larson is 74. Former ABC News anchor Ted Koppel is 67. Actor Nick Nolte is 66. Comedian Robert Klein is 65. Country singer Dan Seals is 59. Singer Ron Tyson is 59. Actress Brooke Adams is 58. Actress Mary Steenburgen is 54. Author John Grisham is 52. Rock singer Vince Neil (Motley Crue) is 46. Rock singer-musician Sammy LLanas (The BoDeans) is 46. Actor Gary Coleman is 39. Actress Mary McCormack is 38. Actor Seth Green is 33. Rock musician Phoenix (Linkin Park) is 30. Actor Ryan Pinkston is 19. Actress Karle Warren (“Judging Amy”) is 15.

Thought for Today: “Consistency is a paste jewel that only cheap men cherish.” — William Allen White, American journalist (1868-1944)