This Day in History

Posted: Wednesday, February 21, 2007

In Alaska

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• In 1924, Carl Ben Eielson flew the first official airmail flight in Alaska from Fairbanks to McGrath.

• In 1987, the University of Alaska Board of Regents approved plans to merge Alaska community colleges and universities.

In the nation

• In 1885, the Washington Monument was dedicated.

• In 1925, the New Yorker magazine made its debut.

• In 1947, Edwin H. Land publicly demonstrated his Polaroid Land camera, which could produce a black-and-white photograph in 60 seconds.

• In 1965, former Black Muslim leader Malcolm X, 39, was shot to death in New York by assassins identified as Black Muslims.

• In 1975, former Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aides H.R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman were sentenced to 2 1/2 to eight years in prison for their roles in the Watergate cover-up.

• In 1997, Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr reversed his decision to resign. A bomb exploded at a gay and lesbian nightclub in Atlanta, injuring five people. (Eric Rudolph later admitted targeting the club.)

• In 2000, consumer advocate Ralph Nader announced his entry into the presidential race, bidding for the nomination of the Green Party.

• In 2002, the State Department declared that Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was dead, a month after he'd been abducted by Islamic extremists in Pakistan. President Bush failed to persuade China to halt sales of missile technology as he neared the end of his six-day Asia tour. In Salt Lake City, U.S. figure skater Sarah Hughes jumped from fourth to first to win the gold after a near-flawless performance, leaving teammate Michelle Kwan to settle for a bronze.

• In 2006, President Bush endorsed the takeover of shipping operations at six major U.S. seaports by a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates, and pledged to veto any bill Congress might approve to block the agreement. Harvard University president Lawrence H. Summers announced his resignation, effective June 30, 2006.

In the world

• In 1916, the World War I Battle of Verdun began in France.

• In 1972, President Nixon began his historic visit to China as he and his wife, Pat, arrived in Shanghai.

• In 1973, Israeli fighter planes shot down Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 over the Sinai Desert, killing more than 100 people.

• In 1995, Chicago adventurer Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon, landing in Leader, Saskatchewan, Canada.

• In 1997, the space shuttle Discovery returned to earth after a mission to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope.

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