This Day in History

Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

In Alaska

• In 1902, the weekly newspaper, The Alaska Prospector, was established in Valdez.

• In 1939, Alaska shipping line executives went into conference with members of the Masters, Mates and Pilots Association in Seattle to end the strike that was crippling fresh food and mail delivery to Alaska.

• In 1947, the steamer North Sea became a total loss in Canadian waters, but without a single loss of life.

In the Nation

• In 1795, the University of North Carolina became the first U.S. state university to admit students with the arrival of Hinton James, who was the only student on campus for two weeks.

• In 1914, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, known as ASCAP, was founded in New York.

• In 1935, a jury in Flemington, N.J., found Bruno Richard Hauptmann guilty of first-degree murder in the kidnap-slaying of the son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh. (Hauptmann was later executed.)

• In 1980, the 13th Winter Olympics opened in Lake Placid, N.Y.

• In 1998, Dr. David Satcher was sworn in as surgeon general during an Oval Office ceremony. The United Auto Workers reached a tentative contract agreement with Caterpillar Inc. (Union members rejected the agreement, which was revised and later ratified, ending a bitter, 6½-year dispute.)

• In 2003, Clara Harris, who'd run down her cheating husband with her Mercedes after catching him with his mistress, was convicted by a Houston jury of murder despite her claim that she'd hit him accidentally while in a heartsick daze. (Harris was sentenced to 20 years in prison.) An investigative panel found that superheated air almost certainly seeped through a breach in space shuttle Columbia's left wing and possibly its wheel compartment during the craft's fiery descent, resulting in the deaths of all seven astronauts. A U.S. government plane carrying four Americans and a Colombian went down in rebel territory in southern Colombia; the executed bodies of an American and the Colombian were found in the wreckage.

In the World

• In 1542, the fifth wife of England's King Henry VIII, Catherine Howard, was executed for adultery.

• In 1920, the League of Nations recognized the perpetual neutrality of Switzerland.

• In 1945, during World War II, Allied planes began bombing the German city of Dresden. The Soviets captured Budapest, Hungary, from the Germans.

• In 1960, France exploded its first atomic bomb, in the Sahara Desert.

• In 1988, the 15th winter Olympics opened in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


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