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This Day in History

Posted: Friday, January 09, 2009

In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

In Alaska

• In 1901, Fred Welty and Ernest Johns of Marys Igloo reached Nome after being caught without provisions in a three-day blizzard. They reported that horses had eaten their tent.

• In 1939, a diphtheria epidemic closed Juneau schools and children were not allowed to leave their homes or yards.

• In 1959, the Legislative Council recommended an annual salary of $3,000 for Alaska lawmakers, plus $40 per day for expenses during the session.

• In 1979, a fire swept through a Fairbanks mobile home after the owner tried to thaw the pipes with a weed burner. The U.S. Department of Commerce decided to return management of seven marine mammals to the state of Alaska.

In the nation

• In 1788, Connecticut became the fifth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

• In 1793, Frenchman Jean Pierre Blanchard, using a hot-air balloon, flew between Philadelphia and Woodbury, N.J.

• In 1861, Mississippi seceded from the Union.

• In 1959, the Western series "Rawhide" premiered on CBS-TV.

• In 1972, reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, speaking by telephone from the Bahamas to reporters in Hollywood, said a purportedly authorized biography of him by Clifford Irving was a fake.

• In 1997, a Comair commuter plane crashed 18 miles short of the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, killing all 29 people on board.

• In 1999, at the White House, presidential advisers prepared a public and legal defense in President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice; Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, meanwhile, pledged "above all, fairness" to the president, who ended up being acquitted.

• In 2004, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced that the nation's threat level had been lowered from orange to yellow. Officials said Pentagon lawyers determined that former Iraq leader Saddam Hussein had been a prisoner of war since his capture. An Ohio woman who'd claimed to have lost a lottery ticket worth $162 million was charged with filing a false police report. (Elecia Battle was later convicted of the misdemeanor and put on one year's probation.)

• In 2008, the U.S. military reported nine American soldiers were killed in the first two days of a new offensive to root out al-Qaida in Iraq fighters holed up in districts north of Baghdad.

In the world

• In 1964, anti-U.S. rioting broke out in the Panama Canal Zone, resulting in the deaths of 21 Panamanians and several U.S. soldiers.

• In 1968, the Surveyor 7 space probe made a soft landing on the moon, marking the end of the American series of unmanned explorations of the lunar surface.

• In 2008, President Bush, on his first visit to Israel as president, warned Iran of "serious consequences" if it meddled again with U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf.



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