This Day in History

Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2008

In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

In Alaska

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

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

• In 1956, the proposed Alaska Constitution 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 1877, federal troops were ordered out of New Orleans, ending the North's post-Civil War rule in the South.

• In 1998, in Edinboro, Pa., science teacher John Gillette was shot to death at a middle school graduation dance; the gunman, 14-year-old Andrew Wurst, later pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

• In 2003, in Red Lion, Pa., 14-year-old James Sheets shot and killed Principal Eugene Segro inside a crowded junior high cafeteria, then killed himself.

• In 2007, in a harsh exchange, Vice President Dick Cheney accused Democratic leader Harry Reid of personally pursuing a defeatist strategy in Iraq to win votes at home - a charge Reid dismissed as President Bush's "attack dog" lashing out.

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, Ireland. (The rising was put down by British forces almost a week later.)

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

• 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 unsuccessful attempt to free the American hostages in Iran, a mission that resulted in the deaths of eight U.S. servicemen.

• In 1988, Greek cycling champion Kanellos Kanellopoulos pedaled the human-powered aircraft "Daedalus 88" over the Aegean Sea for nearly four hours.

• In 1998, after a month of confrontation, Russian lawmakers caved in to President Boris Yeltsin, approving the acting prime minister, 35-year-old Sergei Kiriyenko, as premier. (Kiriyenko was fired just four months later.)

• In 2003, U.S. forces in Iraq took custody of Tariq Aziz, the former Iraqi deputy prime minister. China shut down a Beijing hospital as the global death toll from SARS surpassed 260.

• In 2007, European astronomers announced they had found a potentially habitable planet outside the solar system.

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