This Day in History

Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2006

In Alaska

• In 1898, the Juneau Court House and Jail, on the site of the present State Office Building, burned to the ground.

• In 1900, the steamer Walcott, a former Revenue Cutter, was wrecked in Shelikof Strait (north of Kodiak).

• In 1959, Japan Air Lines made its test Tokyo-Seattle run, stopping over - for refueling only - in Anchorage.

• In 1969, a Fairbanks group formed by oil and gas leasebrokers claimed its clients were unfairly deprived of a chance to get rich quick when Natural Resources Commissioner Thomas Kelly classified 3 million acres of North Slope land for competitive lease sale.

• In 1979, cleanup efforts began on a 25,000 gallon oil spill at the Louisiana-Pacific pulp mill at Ward Cove, Ketchikan.

In the nation

• In 1865, Gen. Robert E. Lee was named general-in-chief of all the Confederate armies.

• In 1934, President Roosevelt devalued the dollar in relation to gold.

• In 1958, the United States entered the Space Age with its first successful launch of a satellite into orbit, Explorer 1.

• In 1971, astronauts Alan B. Shepard Jr., Edgar D. Mitchell and Stuart A. Roosa blasted off aboard Apollo 14 on a mission to the moon.

• In 2000, an Alaska Airlines jet plummeted into the Pacific Ocean, killing all 88 people aboard.

• In 2001, the state of Georgia hoisted its new flag above its statehouse, one featuring a smaller Confederate battle emblem.

• In 2005, jury selection began in Santa Maria, Calif., for Michael Jackson's child molestation trial. (Jackson was later acquitted.) SBC Communications Inc. announced it was acquiring AT&T Corp. for $16 billion.

In the world

• In 1606, Guy Fawkes, convicted of treason for his part in the "Gunpowder Plot" against the English Parliament and King James I, was executed.

• In 1917, Germany served notice it was beginning a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.

• In 1944, during World War II, U.S. forces began invading Kwajalein Atoll and other parts of the Japanese-held Marshall Islands.

• In 1945, Private Eddie Slovik became the only U.S. soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion as he was shot by an American firing squad in France.

• In 1996, in one of the worst attacks in Sri Lanka's civil war, a truck packed with explosives rammed into the central bank and exploded, killing 88 people and wounding 1,400 others. The last Cubans held in refugee camps at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base boarded a plane for Florida.

• In 2001, Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands convicted one Libyan, acquitted a second, in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

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