Today in history


By the Associated Press



Today is Saturday, Feb. 8, the 39th day of 2020. There are 327 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On Feb. 8, 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.

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 1862, the Civil War Battle of Roanoke Island, North Carolina, ended in victory for Union forces led by Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside.

In 1910, the Boy Scouts of America was incorporated.

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

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

In 1968, three college students were killed in a confrontation between demonstrators and highway patrolmen at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg in the wake of protests over a whites-only bowling alley. The science-fiction film “Planet of the Apes,” starring Charlton Heston, had its world premiere in New York (it went into general release the following April.)

In 1971, NASDAQ, the world’s first electronic stock exchange, held its first trading day.

In 1973, Senate leaders named seven members of a select committee to investigate the Watergate scandal, including its chairman, Sen. Sam J. Ervin, D-N.C.

In 1976, Martin Scorsese’s violent urban drama “Taxi Driver,” starring Robert De Niro, was released by Columbia Pictures.

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 XVI Olympic Winter Games opened in Albertville (AL’-bur-vihl), France.

In 1993, General Motors sued NBC, alleging that “Dateline NBC” had rigged two car-truck crashes to show that 1973-to-87 GM pickups were prone to fires in side impact crashes. (NBC settled the lawsuit the following day and apologized for its “unscientific demonstration.”)

Ten years ago: Endeavour and six astronauts rocketed into orbit, hauling a new room and observation deck for the International Space Station. Michael Jackson’s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of the pop superstar in Los Angeles Superior Court. (Murray was convicted in 2011 and served two years in jail.) The Nielsen Co. estimated that 106.5 million people watched the New Orleans Saints upset the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl, beating the 1983 “M-A-S-H” finale, which had 105.97 million viewers. U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., died at a hospital in Arlington, Virginia, at age 77.

Five years ago: A riot erupted outside a major soccer stadium in Egypt, with a stampede and fighting between police and fans killing at least 19 people. At the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, Sam Smith won best new artist, record of the year, song of the year for “Stay with Me” and best pop vocal album; Beck won album of the year for “Morning Phase.”

One year ago: A fire swept through the sleeping quarters of an academy for a Brazilian professional soccer club, killing 10 teenage players. A second woman accused Virginia Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault, saying he had raped her 19 years earlier while they were both students at Duke University. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam made it clear that he would not resign, defying the demands of fellow Democrats after a racist photo from his 1984 medical school yearbook surfaced and he acknowledged wearing blackface in the 1980s. (State Attorney General Mark Herring, also a Democrat, had also acknowledged wearing blackface at a college party.)

Today’s Birthdays: Composer-conductor John Williams is 88. Newscaster Ted Koppel is 80. Actor Nick Nolte is 79. Comedian Robert Klein is 78. Actor-rock musician Creed Bratton is 77. Singer Ron Tyson is 72. Actress Brooke Adams is 71. Actress Mary Steenburgen is 67. Author John Grisham is 65. Retired NBA All-Star and College Basketball Hall of Famer Marques Johnson is 64. Actor Henry Czerny is 61. The former president of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino III, is 60. Rock singer Vince Neil (Motley Crue) is 59. Rock singer-musician Sammy Llanas (YAH’-nus) (formerly w/The BoDeans) is 59. Former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa P. Jackson is 58. Movie producer Toby Emmerich is 57. Actress Missy Yager is 52. Actress Mary McCormack is 51. Rock musician Keith Nelson is 51. Basketball Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning is 50. Actress Susan Misner is 49. Dance musician Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (Daft Punk) is 46. Actor Seth Green is 46. Actor Josh Morrow is 46. Rock musician Phoenix (Linkin Park) is 43. Actor William Jackson Harper is 40. Actor Jim Parrack is 39. Folk singer-musician Joey Ryan (Milk Carton Kids) is 38. Actress-comedian Cecily Strong is 36. Rock musician Jeremy Davis is 35. Hip-hop artist Anderson.Paak is 34. Rock musician Max Grahn (Carolina Liar) is 32. Actor Ryan Pinkston is 32. NBA star Klay Thompson is 30. Professional surfer Bethany Hamilton is 30. Actress Karle Warren is 28.

Thought for Today: “Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; an argument an exchange of ignorance.” — Robert Quillen, American journalist (1887-1948).

By the Associated Press