Today in History – Monday, Feb. 8, 2016

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Today is Monday, Feb. 8, the 39th day of 2016. There are 327 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1517 – Capt. 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 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 – U.S. President Warren G. Harding has a radio installed in the White House.

1924 – The first U.S. execution by gas takes place at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City.

1940 – German troops shoot every 10th 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.

1962 – U.S. military council is established in South Vietnam.

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

1974 – Three U.S. Skylab astronauts return to Earth after setting record of 84 days in orbit.

1975 – Soviet spacemen begin training with Americans for joint U.S.-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz flights.

1990 – Punctured oil tanker leaks over 950,000 liters 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 – U.S.-European Ulysses space probe passes Jupiter.

1993 – Iranian passenger plane crashes outside Tehran, 132 dead.

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.

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.

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

2005 – 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.

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 U.N. nuclear agency of its intention to enrich uranium to higher levels.

2012 – Japan and the United States agree to proceed with plans to transfer thousands of U.S. Marines out of the southern island of Okinawa, leaving behind the stalled discussion about closing a major U.S. Marine base there.

2013 – The funeral of an assassinated leftist politician draws thousands of mourners chanting anti-government slogans to the Tunisian capital, adding to the turmoil as the North African nation tries to transition from dictatorship to democracy.

2015 — Australia’s beleaguered prime minister Tony Abbott emerges politically wounded after withstanding a leadership challenge from within his own party.

Today’s Birthdays:

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, U.S. actor (1925-2001); James Dean, U.S. actor (1931-1955); Nick Nolte, U.S. actor (1941–); John Grisham, U.S. author (1955–); Gary Coleman, U.S. actor (1968–2010); John Williams, composer/conductor (1933–).

Thought For Today:

To maintain one’s ideals in ignorance is easy — Uta Hagen, German-born actress.

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