This Day in History

Posted: Wednesday, March 15, 2006

In Alaska

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• In 1901, the Alaska Electric Light and Power Co. at Juneau was incorporated.

• In 1916, the Bering River and Matanuska Valley Coal Reserves were proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson.

• In 1942, the U.S. Army established a post at Cordova with 21 officers and 443 enlisted men.

• In 1969, plans to begin construction of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline were given the green light from the U.S. Senate's Interior Committee. The Juneau Empire was purchased by a Georgia-based newspaper chain owned by William Morris III.

In the nation

• In 1820, Maine became the 23rd state.

• In 1913, President Wilson held the first open presidential news conference.

• In 1956, the Lerner and Loewe musical play "My Fair Lady," starring Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins and Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle, opened on Broadway.

• In 1977 the U.S. House of Representatives began a 90-day test to determine the feasibility of showing its sessions on television.

• In 1996, The Liggett Group agreed to repay more than $10 million in Medicaid bills for treatment of smokers, settling lawsuits with five states. (The settlement came two days after Liggett, the nation's fifth-largest tobacco company, made history by settling a private class-action lawsuit alleging cigarette makers manipulated nicotine to hook smokers. )

• In 2001, federal authorities confirmed that remains found on a Texas ranch were those of missing atheist leader Madalyn Murray O'Hair and two of her relatives. (David Waters, the key suspect in the slayings, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on a federal extortion charge in connection with the case.)

• In 2006, former WorldCom chief Bernard Ebbers was convicted in New York of engineering the largest corporate fraud in U.S. history. (He was later sentenced to 25 years in prison.)

In the world

• In 44 B.C., Roman dictator Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of nobles that included Brutus and Cassius.

• In 1493, Christopher Columbus returned to Spain, concluding his first voyage to the Western Hemisphere.

• In 1919, the American Legion was founded in Paris.

• In 1944, during World War II, Allied bombers again raided German-held Monte Cassino.

• In 1964, actress Elizabeth Taylor married actor Richard Burton in Montreal; it was her fifth marriage, his second.

• In 2001, Chechens hijacked a Russian plane after it left Turkey and forced it to land in Saudi Arabia. (Saudi special forces stormed the plane the following day; a flight attendant, a passenger and a hijacker were killed.)

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