This Day in History

Posted: Monday, March 20, 2006

In Alaska

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• In 1937, the first ever extraordinary session of the Alaska Territorial Legislature convened to consider Social Security legislation and to create the Department of Public Welfare.

• In 1959, acting Governor Hugh Wade signed into law the bill creating the Alaska Supreme Court and the Superior Court System.

• In 1985, Libby Riddles of Teller, became the first woman to win the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race.

• In 1979, public television station KAKM in Anchorage topped their fund goal with their Spring Festival tagged "Television To Stay Home For!" An oil pipeline from Skagway into Canada began to draw controversy.

In the nation

• In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe's influential novel about slavery, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," was first published.

• In 1956, union workers ended a 156-day strike at Westinghouse Electric Corp.

• In 1976, kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was convicted of armed robbery for her part in a San Francisco bank holdup.

• In 1981, former girls' school headmistress Jean Harris was sentenced in White Plains, N.Y., to 15 years to life in prison for slaying "Scarsdale Diet" author Dr. Herman Tarnower. (Harris ended up serving almost 12 years.)

• In 1996, a jury in Los Angeles convicted Erik and Lyle Menendez of first-degree murder in the shotgun slayings of their millionaire parents.

• In 2001, the skipper of the USS Greeneville took the stand in a Navy court and accepted sole responsibility for the collision of his submarine with a Japanese trawler off Hawaii that killed nine Japanese. New York native Lori Berenson, accused of aiding guerrillas in Peru, received a retrial in civilian court (she was later convicted of "terrorist collaboration"). Power-strapped California saw a second day of rolling blackouts.

• In 2005, Liz Johnson became the first woman to advance to the championship match of a Professional Bowlers Association tour event, but lost by 27 pins to Tommy Jones in the final of the PBA Banquet Open in Wyoming, Mich.

In the world

• In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte entered Paris, beginning his "100 Days" rule.

• In 1896, U.S. Marines landed in Nicaragua to protect U.S. citizens in the wake of a revolution.

• In 1969, John Lennon married Yoko Ono in Gibraltar.

• In 1995, in Tokyo, 12 people were killed, more than 5,500 others sickened when packages containing the poisonous gas sarin were leaked on five separate subway trains by Aum Shinrikyo cult members.

• In 1996, the British government said a rare brain disease that had killed 10 people was probably linked to so-called "mad cow disease."

• In 2005, a visibly frustrated Pope John Paul made a brief but silent appearance at his Vatican apartment window after missing his first Palm Sunday Mass in 26 years as pontiff.

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