This Day in History

Posted: Monday, April 16, 2007

In Alaska

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• In 1911, Mount Wrangell erupted with flames and smoke that could be seen for many miles.

• In 1959, the initial session of the first Alaska Legislature adjourned. Russia considered negotiations to land jets at Elmendorf Air Force Base, near Anchorage. Unification of the "home rule" cities of Juneau and Douglas and the greater Juneau borough was flatly rejected by voters.

In the nation

• In 1789, President-elect George Washington left Mount Vernon, Va., for his inauguration in New York.

• In 1862, a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia became law.

• In 1935, the radio comedy program "Fibber McGee and Molly" premiered on the NBC Blue Network.

• In 1945, in his first speech to Congress, President Truman pledged to carry out the war and peace policies of his late predecessor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

• In 1947, the French ship Grandcamp blew up at the harbor in Texas City, Texas; another ship, the Highflyer, exploded the following day. The blasts and resulting fires killed 576 people. Financier and presidential confidant Bernard M. Baruch said in a speech at the South Carolina statehouse: "Let us not be deceived - we are today in the midst of a cold war."

• In 1972, Apollo 16 blasted off on a voyage to the moon.

• In 2002, the Supreme Court overturned two major provisions of the Child Pornography Prevention Act, saying the government went too far in trying to ban "virtual" child pornography.

In the world

• In 1912, Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel.

• In 1917, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin returned to Russia after years of exile.

• In 1986, dispelling rumors he was dead, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi appeared on television to condemn the U.S. raid on his country.

• In 1996, Britain's Prince Andrew and his wife, Sarah, the Duchess of York, announced they were in the process of getting a divorce.

• In 1997, police in Israel recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for breach of trust in an influence-trading scandal. (However, prosecutors later decided against pursuing charges against Netanyahu, citing a lack of proof.)

• In 2006, in his first Easter message as pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI urged nations to use diplomacy to defuse nuclear crises and prayed that Palestinians would one day have their own state alongside Israel.

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