The Almanac

By United Press International   |   Feb. 8, 2004 at 3:30 AM

Today is Sunday, Feb. 8, the 39th day of 2004 with 327 to follow.

The moon is waning. The morning stars are Neptune, Mercury, Jupiter and Pluto. The evening stars are Venus, Mars, Saturn and Uranus.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include Civil War Gen. William Sherman in 1820; pioneer science fiction writer Jules Verne in 1828; actress Edith Evans in 1888; film director King Vidor in 1894; Chester Carlson, inventor of the Xerox copying process, in 1906; actress Lana Turner in 1920; actors Jack Lemmon in 1925 and James Dean in 1931; composer/conductor John Williams in 1932 (age 72); television journalist Ted Koppel in 1940 (age 64); actor Nick Nolte in 1941 (age 63); comedian Robert Klein in 1942 (age 62); actress Mary Steenburgen in 1953 (age 51); author John Grisham in 1955 (age 49); and actor Gary Coleman in 1968 (age 36).

On this date in history:

In 1587, Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded, charged with conspiring to murder England's Queen Elizabeth I.

In 1725, Peter the Great, emperor of Russia, died and was succeeded by his wife, Catherine.

In 1910, the United States became the 12th nation to join the international scouting movement.

In 1940, Nazis shot every 10th person in two Polish villages near Warsaw in reprisal for the deaths of two German soldiers.

In 1974, three American Skylab astronauts ended an 84-day orbital flight.

In 1987, a 60-day cease-fire ended between the Philippine army and communist rebels. 28 people had died in truce violations.

In 1992, the Winter Olympics opened in Albertville, France, with the traditional pageantry.

In 1993, General Motors announced it was suing NBC-TV, contending the network rigged a demonstration crash showing a GM pickup truck with "sidesaddle" fuel tank exploding into flames.

Also in 1993, a gunman shot three doctors in the emergency room at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, then barricaded himself in an X-ray room with two hostages before surrendering.

And in 1993, a chartered passenger plane collided with a military aircraft over the Iranian capital of Tehran, killing at least 132 people and strewing bodies across a military base as Iran celebrated Air Force Day.

In 1995, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to send 7,000 peacekeepers to Angola to maintain peace in the African nation.

In 2002, the Olympic Winter Games opened in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In 2003, Syria and Israel exchanged fire for the first time in 29 years in a dispute over a Syrian civilian killed in the demilitarized zone separating the two countries.

A thought for the day: Booker T. Washington said, "Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed."

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