This Day in History - February 8

Thursday, February 08, 2018

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Today is the 39th day of 2018. There are 326 days left in the year.


1924: The first US execution by gas takes place at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City.


1517: Captain Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba, a Spanish explorer, sets sail from Cuba to discover Mexico.

1560: Turkish galleys rout Spanish fleet under Duke of Medina Celi off Tripoli.

1587: Mary Queen of Scots is beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle in England after being accused of plotting murder of England's Queen Elizabeth I.

1807: Indecisive battle at Eylau, Russia, between France and combined Russo-Prussian army.

1872: Earl of Mayo, Viceroy of India, is stabbed to death by an Afghan prisoner while inspecting a convict settlement on the Andaman Islands.

1904: The Russo-Japanese War begins.

1910: The Boy Scouts of America is incorporated.

1915: D W Griffith's silent movie epic about the Civil War, The Birth of a Nation, premieres in Los Angeles.

1920: Russian Bolsheviks capture Odessa in the Ukraine.

1922: US President Warren G Harding has a radio installed in the White House.

1940: German troops shoot every tenth person in two Polish villages near Warsaw in reprisal for deaths of two German soldiers.

1949: Republic of Ireland declares it is unable to participate in NATO while island remains divided.

1952: Queen Elizabeth II proclaims her accession to the British throne following the death of her father, King George VI.

1962: US military council is established in South Vietnam.

1963: Rebels in Baghdad, Iraq, assassinate Premier Abdul Karim Kassem, who is replaced by Abdul Salam Arif.

1964: Holland's Princess Irene renounces her rights to the throne to marry Roman Catholic Spanish prince, Carlos Hugo of Bourbon-Parma.

1968: Three college students die in a confrontation with highway patrolmen in Orangeburg, South Carolina, during a civil rights protest against a whites-only bowling alley.

1974: Three US Skylab astronauts return to Earth after setting record of 84 days in orbit.

1975: Soviet spacemen begin training with Americans for joint US-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz flights.

1980: US President Jimmy Carter unveils a plan to reintroduce draft registration.

1990: Punctured oil tanker leaks over 950,000 litres of oil into Pacific, threatening Southern California beaches.

1991: A Saudi desalination plant is forced to close as a huge oil slick created by Iraqi destruction of Kuwaiti oil wells hits the coastline.

1992: US-European Ulysses space probe passes Jupiter.

1993: Iranian passenger plane crashes outside Tehran; 132 die.

1994: The head of the French army's history section is fired over a report that cast doubt on the innocence of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, who was arrested for treason in 1894.

1995: A powerful earthquake rocks Colombia, killing at least 38 people and injuring more than 230 others.

1996: A cargo plane crashes into the market in Kinshasa, Zaire, killing at least 350 people.

1997: In Tirana, Albania, police beat protesters but fail to prevent thousands from demonstrating against the government's shutdown of get-rich schemes that had eaten up their savings.

1998: New tremors kill 250 people in an area of Afghanistan hit by a quake that killed 4,500 people just days earlier.

1999: Hundreds of dignitaries and heads of state, many of them bitter enemies, attend the funeral of King Hussein of Jordan.

2000: Electronic vandals disrupt some of the Web's most popular sites by using dozens of powerful computers to spew out a crippling flood of fake data.

2001: Astronauts on the space shuttle Atlantis prepare to dock with the international space station 360 kilometres above Earth.

2002: The United Nations ends talks with the Cambodian Government on a genocide tribunal for leaders of the 1975-79 Khmer Rouge communist regime.

2003: Fighting between Russian troops and Chechen rebels leaves six Russians dead — while the region's prime minister, Mikhail Babich, resigns in a dispute with Akhmad Kadyrov, the leader of the Moscow-backed Administration.

2005: Elated and exhausted, Ellen MacArthur finishes a solo around-the-world sailing record after more than 71 days of navigating stormy seas, 65 mph winds and a broken sail. She completes the 26,000-mile circumnavigation near the south coast of England aboard her 75-foot trimaran.

2006: Nepal's first election in seven years are tainted with rebel attacks, the army's shooting of protesters and low turnout — dealing a blow to the absolute rule of a king who seized power a year ago to stamp out the insurgents and restore political order.

2007: Colombia's Constitutional Court rules that gay couples in long-term relationships should have the same rights to shared assets as heterosexual couples, marking the first recognition of gay couples' rights in this South American nation.

2008: Officials confirm that Amit Kumar, the alleged mastermind of an organ transplant operation in India that illegally removed hundreds of kidneys — sometimes from unwilling donors — has been arrested at a jungle resort in southern Nepal.

2009: Zurich voters break with long-standing Swiss policy by ending tax breaks for wealthy foreigners like the American singer Tina Turner and the Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg.

2010: Iran presses ahead with plans that will increase its ability to make nuclear weapons as it formally informs the UN nuclear agency of its intention to enrich uranium to higher levels.

2011: A young Google executive who helped ignite Egypt's uprising energises a cheering crowd of hundreds of thousands with his first appearance in their midst after being released from 12 days in secret detention. “We won't give up,” he promises at one of the biggest protests yet in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

2017: The US Senate confirms Senator Jeff Sessions to be attorney general, 52-47, despite fierce Democratic opposition to the Alabama Republican over his record on civil rights and immigration. Britain's House of Commons gives its final approval to a Bill authorising the Government to start exit talks with the European Union, despite fears by Opposition lawmakers that the UK was setting out on a rocky path to Brexit with a sketchy road map.


John Ruskin, English author-artist (1819-1900); Jules Verne, French author (1828-1905); Tunku (Prince) Abdul Rahman Putra Alhaj, first prime minister of independent Malaya (Malaysia) (1903-1990); Jack Lemmon, US actor (1925-2001); James Dean, US actor (1931-1955); Nick Nolte, US actor (1941- ); John Grisham, US author (1955- ); Gary Coleman, US actor (1968-2010); John Williams, composer/conductor (1933- ).

— AP




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