Today In History - Monday, February 8th


A hotel fire in Medina, Saudi Arabia kills 15 Egyptian pilgrims with 130 also injured.

A blizzard disrupts transportation and leaves hundreds of thousands of people without electricity in the Northeastern United States and parts of Canada.

A freak storm in the Hindukush mountains of Afghanistan triggers a series of at least 36 avalanches, burying over two miles of road, killing at least 172 people and trapping over 2,000 travelers.

First female ice hockey game in Olympic history: Finland beats Sweden 6-0.

The U.S. Congress passes the Communications Decency Act.
The massive Internet collaboration "24 Hours in Cyberspace" takes place.

General Motors sues NBC after Dateline NBC allegedly rigs two crashes intended to demonstrate that some GM pickups can easily catch fire if hit in certain places. NBC settles the lawsuit the next day.

An Independent Air Boeing 707 crashes into Santa Maria mountain in Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal, killing 144.

The Hinton train collision: 23 people are killed when a VIA Rail passenger train collides with a 118-car Canadian National freight train near the town of Hinton, Alberta, west of Edmonton. It is the worst rail accident in Canada until the Lac-Mégantic, Quebec derailment in 2013 which killed forty-seven people.

The Melbourne dust storm hits Australia's second largest city. The result of the worst drought on record and a day of severe weather conditions, a 320 metres (1,050 ft) deep dust cloud envelops the city, turning day to night.

Twenty-one association football spectators are trampled to death at Karaiskakis Stadium in Neo Faliro, Greece, after a football match between Olympiacos F.C. and AEK Athens FC.

Denis Sassou-Nguesso became the President of the Republic of the Congo for the first time.

Proceedings of the United States Senate are broadcast on radio for the first time.

After 84 days in space, the crew of Skylab 4, the last crew to visit American space station Skylab, returns to Earth.
Military coup in Upper Volta.

The NASDAQ stock market index opens for the first time.
South Vietnamese ground troops launch an incursion into Laos to try to cut off the Ho Chi Minh trail and stop communist infiltration.

Allende meteorite falls near Pueblito de Allende, Chihuahua, Mexico.

American civil rights movement: The Orangeburg massacre: An attack on black students from South Carolina State University who are protesting racial segregation at the town's only bowling alley, leaves three or four dead in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

Eastern Air Lines Flight 663 crashes into the Atlantic Ocean and explodes, killing everyone aboard.

Travel, financial and commercial transactions by United States citizens to Cuba are made illegal by the John F. Kennedy administration.
The First full Color Television program in the World, publicly advertised, is broadcast in Mexico City by XHGC-TV, Channel 5, due to technical breakthrough advances made by Mexican Engineer Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena.
The regime of Prime Minister of Iraq, Brigadier General Abdul-Karim Qassem is overthrown by the Ba'ath Party.

Charonne massacre. Nine trade unionists are killed by French police at the instigation of Nazi collaborator Maurice Papon, then chief of the Paris Prefecture of Police.

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom issues an Order-in-Council, stating that she and her family would be known as the House of Windsor, and that her descendants will take the name "Mountbatten-Windsor".
The first eight brass star plaques are installed in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The Government of Sindh, Pakistan, abolishes the Jagirdari system in the province. One million acres (4000 km2) of land thus acquired is to be distributed among the landless peasants.

Elizabeth II is proclaimed Queen of the United Kingdom.

The Stasi, the secret police of East Germany, is established.

Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary is sentenced for treason.

The formal creation of the Korean People's Army of North Korea is announced.

The first portion of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, the first serious challenge to the popularity of the Authorized King James Version, is published.

World War II: The United Kingdom and Canada commence Operation Veritable to occupy the west bank of the Rhine.


Capital punishment: The first state execution in the United States by gas chamber takes place in Nevada.

President Warren G. Harding introduces the first radio in the White House.

The ''Stars and Stripes'' newspaper publishes for the first time.

D.W. Griffith's controversial film The Birth of a Nation premieres in Los Angeles.

The Boy Scouts of America is incorporated by William D. Boyce.

The opening stage of the Russo-Japanese War began with pre-emptive strikes by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the Russian Pacific Fleet based at Port Arthur and at Chemulpo. Admiral Togo's initial plan was to swoop down upon Port Arthur with the 1st Division of the Combined Fleet, consisting of the six pre-dreadnought battleships Hatsuse, Shikishima, Asahi, Fuji, and Yashima, led by the flagship Mikasa, and the 2nd Division, consisting of the armored cruisers Iwate, Azuma, Izumo, Yakumo, and Tokiwa. These capital ships and cruisers were accompanied by some 15 destroyers and around 20 smaller torpedo boats. In reserve were the cruisers Kasagi, Chitose, Takasago, and Yoshino. With this large, well-trained and well-armed force, and surprise on his side, Admiral Togo hoped to deliver a crushing blow to the Russian fleet soon after the severance of diplomatic relations between the Japanese and Russian governments.

On the Russian side, Admiral Stark had the pre-dreadnought battleships Petropavlovsk, Sevastopol, Peresvet, Pobeda, Poltava, Tsesarevich, and Retvizan, supported by the armored cruiser Bayan and the protected cruisers Pallada, Diana, Askold, Novik, and Boyarin, all based within the protection of the fortified naval base of Port Arthur. However, the defenses of Port Arthur were not as strong as they could have been, as few of the shore artillery batteries were operational, funds for improving the defenses had been diverted to nearby Dalny, and most of the officer corps was celebrating at a party being hosted by Admiral Stark on the night of 9 February 1904.

As Admiral Togo had received false information from local spies in and around Port Arthur that the garrisons of the forts guarding the port were on full alert, he was unwilling to risk his precious capital ships to the Russian shore artillery and therefore held back his main battle fleet. Instead, the destroyer force was split into two attack squadrons, one squadron with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd flotillas to attack Port Arthur, and the other squadron, with the 4th and 5th flotillas, to attack the Russian base at Dalny.

British troops are defeated by Boers at Ladysmith, South Africa.

The Dawes Act authorizes the President of the United States to survey Native American tribal land and divide it into individual allotments.

The first government-approved Japanese immigrants arrived in Hawaii.

Sandford Fleming first proposes adoption of Universal Standard Time at a meeting of the Royal Canadian Institute.
The England cricket team led by Lord Harris is attacked during a riot during a match in Sydney.

The ''Ausgleich'' results in the establishment of the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary.

In the United States, Delaware voters reject the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and vote to continue the practice of slavery. (Delaware finally ratifies the amendment on February 12, 1901.)

Barbu Dimitrie Ştirbei abolishes slavery in Wallachia.

The Devil's Footprints mysteriously appear in southern Devon.

New Roman Republic established.

Richard Johnson becomes the first Vice President of the United States chosen by the United States Senate.

Las Heras crosses the Andes with an army to join San Martín and liberate Chile from Spain.

Battle of Eylau - Napoleon defeats Russians under General Bennigsen.

The Supreme Privy Council is established in Russia.

The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia is granted a charter by King William III and Queen Mary II.

A doctor in Salem Village, Massachusetts Bay Colony suggests that two girls in the family of the village minister may be suffering from bewitchment, leading to the Salem witch trials.

King James I of England disbands the English Parliament.

Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, rebels against Queen Elizabeth I - the revolt is quickly crushed.

Mary, Queen of Scots, is executed on suspicion of having been involved in the Babington Plot to murder her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I.

Universiteit Leiden is founded, and given the motto Praesidium Libertatis.

The Byzantine civil war of 1341-1347 ends with a power-sharing agreement between John VI Kantakouzenos and John V Palaiologos.

Seventh Crusade: Crusaders engage Ayyubid forces in the Battle of Al Mansurah.

The Mongols burn the Russian city of Vladimir.

Constantius III becomes co-Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.