Today is Wednesday, Feb. 8, the 39th day of 2006 with 326 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Neptune, Jupiter, Pluto and Venus. The evening stars are Mars, Saturn, Uranus and Mercury.
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 74); television journalist Ted Koppel in 1940 (age 66); actor Nick Nolte in 1941 (age 65); comedian Robert Klein in 1942 (age 64); actress Mary Steenburgen in 1953 (age 53); author John Grisham in 1955 (age 51); and actor Gary Coleman in 1968 (age 38).
On this date in history:
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 U.S. 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, 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.
Also 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.
And, 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.
In 2004, President George W. Bush acknowledged in a TV interview that he might have been wrong in claiming before the war that Iraq had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. But, he said, "I expected to find the weapons."
Also in 2004, a published report said more than 10,000 civilians, many of them women and children, have been killed so far in the Iraqi conflict.
And in 2004 entertainment, the singer Beyonce was a five-time winner at the Grammy Awards, tying the record for most Grammys by a female artist.
In 2005, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared a truce in hostilities.
Also in 2005, a Gallup poll showed President George W. Bush's approval rating was up, in part because 61 percent of Americans contacted said Iraq's elections went "better than expected."
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."