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Today in history, February 20: Atlantis space shuttle returns to earth

Space shuttle Atlantis and its crew returned to earth on this day in 2008, wrapping up an eight million kilometre journey.

Today in history, February 20: Atlantis space shuttle returns to earth

Astronaut Rex Walheim at the International Space Station on February 15, 2008. Picture: AP Photo/NASASource:News Limited

Highlights in history on this date:

Scotland’s King James I is murdered by would-be usurpers in the Scottish city of Perth.

Lord Hunsdon defeats Leonard Dacre’s rebel army, ending Northern Rebellion in England.

Saragossa, Spain, is captured by French forces after a bloody siege.

German Protestant princes form alliance with Sweden’s King Gustavus II, setting the stage for the Swedish entry into the Thirty Years’ War.

Russian ships enter Bosphorus on way to Constantinople – today’s Istanbul – to aid Turkey against Egypt.

Britain recognises independence of Trans-Jordan.

US House of Representatives completes congressional action on an amendment to repeal Prohibition, the prevention of the manufacture, sale or transportation of alcoholic beverages.

Chicagoans celebrate the repeal of Prohibition on December 8, 1933. Picture: SBS TVSource:Supplied

Japanese invade island of Bali in Dutch East Indies during World War II.

Astronaut John Glenn, aboard the Friendship 7 Mercury capsule, becomes the first American to orbit the earth.

Morocco and Algeria sign accord to end border conflict.

Russia launches the Mir space station.

Israeli troops break through UN barricades in Lebanon to attack rocket-launching Shi’ite militias.

NATO says the Serb guns around Sarajevo have largely been pulled back, and threatened air strikes will not be unleashed.

The last power cable supplying downtown Auckland, New Zealand, fails, leaving 100 blocks dark for weeks.

Fire breaks out on a crowded train travelling from Cairo to Luxor in southern Egypt, killing 373 people and injuring 60 in the worst train disaster in Egyptian history.

More than 300 people were killed when fire broke out on a crowded train travelling in southern Egypt.Source:AP

A fire sparked by heavy-metal band Great White’s pyrotechnic display kills 98 people and injures 187 others at a nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island.

Three ultra-endurance athletes complete the first-ever run across the Sahara Desert in less than four months.

Space shuttle Atlantis and its crew return to earth, wrapping up an eight million kilometre journey highlighted by the successful delivery of a new European lab to the international space station.

Israeli President Shimon Peres chooses Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new government.

A 14-year-old boy is taken by a crocodile while swimming in a remote Northern Territory creek.

Australian journalist Peter Greste and two Al Jazeera colleagues go on trial in Egypt on terror charges.

Australian journalist Peter Greste during a sentencing session in Cairo in June 2014. Picture: EPA/Khaled ElfiqiSource:AAP

Cyclone Marcia carves a path of destruction through central Queensland, and Cyclone Lam hits remote communities in the Northern Territory.

British Prime Minister David Cameron announces the date of a June referendum on Brexit.

President Donald Trump appoints army Lieutenant-General HR McMaster as his new national security adviser to replace the ousted Michael Flynn.

A Thai court rules in favour of a 28-year-old Japanese businessman who fathered 13 surrogate children with Thai mothers, naming him their legal parent and sole guardian.

Meghan Markle holds a baby shower in New York amid condemnations in the media that royals are not allowed to accept gifts.

Happy Birthday, Rihanna!Source:AP

Sir William Cornwallis, English admiral (1744-1819); Lucien Pissarro, French artist (1863-1944); Robert Altman, US director (1925-2006); Sidney Poitier, Bahamian-US actor (1927); Peter Strauss, US actor (1947); Walter Becker, US musician (1950-2017); Cindy Crawford, US model (1966); Kurt Cobain, lead singer and guitarist of Nirvana (1967-1994); Miles Teller, US actor (1987); Rihanna, Barbadian singer (1988).

“The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous.” – Frederick Douglass (1817-1895).

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