This Day in History

Posted: Monday, February 05, 2007

In Alaska

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• In 1898, the steamer Clara Nevada blew up near Eldred Rock in Lynn Canal. All aboard died.

• In 1930, a post office was established at Port Agassiz near Petersburg. In 1942, it was discontinued.

• In 1956, the Alaska Constitutional Convention adjourned in Fairbanks.

In the nation

• In 1631, the founder of Rhode Island, Roger Williams, and his wife arrived in Boston from England.

• In 1897, the Indiana House of Representatives passed, 67-0, a measure redefining the method for determining the area of a circle, which included altering the value of pi. (The bill died in the Indiana Senate.)

• In 1917, Congress passed, over President Wilson's veto, an immigration act severely curtailing the influx of Asians.

• In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt proposed increasing the number of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court; critics accused Roosevelt of attempting to "pack" the high court.

• In 1970, Glenn Miller and his orchestra recorded "Tuxedo Junction" for RCA Victor's "Bluebird" label.

• In 1967, "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" premiered on CBS TV.

• In 1973, services were held at Arlington National Cemetery for Army Lt. Col. William B. Nolde, the last American combat casualty before the Vietnam cease-fire.

• In 1994, white separatist Byron De La Beckwith was convicted in Jackson, Miss., of murdering civil rights leader Medgar Evers in 1963, and was immediately sentenced to life in prison. (Beckwith died Jan. 21, 2001 at age 80.)

• In 1997, investment bank Morgan Stanley announced a $10 billion merger with Dean Witter.

• In 2002, a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., indicted John Walker Lindh on 10 charges, alleging he was trained by Osama bin Laden's network and then conspired with the Taliban to kill Americans. (Lindh later pleaded guilty to lesser offenses and was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.) Congressional committees decided to subpoena former Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay to appear to tell what he knew of Enron's complex financial dealings. (Lay did appear, but refused to testify, citing his Fifth Amendment rights.) At a Senate hearing, Deborah Perrotta, a laid-off Enron employee, wept as she described how her retirement savings all but disappeared when the company failed.

• In 2006, Jacob Robida, suspected of an attack at a Massachusetts gay bar, the killing of an Arkansas officer and the slaying of a mother of three, was mortally wounded in a shootout with authorities. The Pittsburgh Steelers won a record-tying fifth Super Bowl with a 21-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

In the world

• In 1783, Sweden recognized the independence of the United States.

• In 1887, Verdi's opera "Otello" premiered at La Scala.

• In 1917, Mexico's constitution was adopted.

• In 1997, Switzerland's "Big Three" banking giants announced they would create a $71 million fund for Holocaust victims and their families.

• In 2006, thousands of protesters in Beirut, Lebanon, enraged over Danish caricatures of the prophet Muhammad, torched the Danish mission. Iran ended all voluntary cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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