This Day in History

Posted: Friday, April 21, 2006

In Alaska

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• In 1959, Russia's Literary Gazette reported that Soviet engineers were studying the idea of building a bridge from Siberia to Alaska. The bridge could support railroad tracks and atomic pumps to divert warm ocean currents toward the Arctic Ocean to warm up the area's climate.

• In 1979, the Alaska House of Representatives failed to pass a bill by Anchorage Rep. Terry Martin restricting abortions for the poor.

In the nation

• In 1649, the Maryland Toleration Act, which provided for freedom of worship for all Christians, was passed by the Maryland assembly.

• In 1836, an army of Texans led by Sam Houston defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto, assuring Texas independence.

• In 1940, the quiz show that asked the "64-dollar question," "Take It or Leave It," premiered on CBS Radio.

• In 1976, full-scale testing of the swine flu vaccine began in Washington, D.C.

• In 1986, a vault in Chicago's Lexington Hotel that was linked to Al Capone was opened during a live TV special hosted by Geraldo Rivera; aside from a few bottles and a sign, the vault was empty.

• In 2001, the Los Angeles Xtreme beat the San Francisco Demons 38-6 in the first - and last - XFL championship game.

• In 2005, Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar was convicted by a military jury at Fort Bragg, N.C., of premeditated murder and attempted murder in an attack that killed two of his comrades and wounded 14 others in Kuwait.

In the world

• In 1789, John Adams was sworn in as the first vice president of the United States.

• In 1918, Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the German ace known as the "Red Baron," was killed in action during World War I.

• In 1960, Brazil inaugurated its new capital, Brasilia, transferring the seat of national government from Rio de Janeiro.

• In 1972, Apollo 16 astronauts John Young and Charles Duke explored the surface of the moon.

• In 1975, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu resigned after 10 years in office.

• In 1996, President Clinton and Boris Yeltsin traded warm compliments and played down nagging differences, insisting their election-year summit in Moscow was not being influenced by presidential politics.

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