This Day in History

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2007

In Alaska

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• In 1912, the U.S. House passed the second Alaska Organic Act.

• In 1951, a herring reduction plant at Killisnoo was destroyed by fire.

• In 1956, the proposed Constitution of the state of Alaska was ratified by the voters in a primary election.

• In 1969, a University of California engineer advised that building a 50-mile bridge from Alaska to Siberia across the Bering Strait was entirely feasible.

In the nation

• In 1800, Congress approved a bill establishing the Library of Congress.

• In 1968, leftist students at Columbia University in New York began a weeklong occupation of several campus buildings.

• In 1997, the prosecution and defense presented opening statements in the Oklahoma City bombing trial of Timothy McVeigh. The Senate voted 74-26 to approve the chemical weapons treaty, five days before the pact was to take effect.

• In 2002, after an extraordinary meeting at the Vatican sparked by a sex abuse scandal, American Roman Catholic leaders agreed to make it easier to remove priests who were guilty of sexually abusing minors. Michael McDermott, a software engineer who'd claimed he was insane when he shot to death seven co-workers, was convicted of murder in Cambridge, Mass.

• In 2006, speaking in Irvine, Calif., President Bush said those calling for massive deportation of the estimated 11 million foreigners living illegally in the United States were not being realistic.

In the world

• In 1792, the national anthem of France, "La Marseillaise" was composed by Capt. Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle.

• In 1898, Spain declared war on the United States after rejecting America's ultimatum to withdraw from Cuba.

• In 1915, the Ottoman Empire began the brutal mass deportation of Armenians during World War I.

• In 1916, some 1,600 Irish nationalists launched the Easter Rising by seizing several key sites in Dublin. (The rising was put down by British forces almost a week later.)

• In 1953, British statesman Winston Churchill was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

• In 1970, the People's Republic of China launched its first satellite, which kept transmitting a song, "The East is Red."

• In 1980, the United States launched an abortive attempt to free the American hostages in Iran, a mission that resulted in the deaths of eight U.S. servicemen.

• In 2006, terrorist bombings killed at least 21 people at a beach resort on Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

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