This Day in History

Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2008

In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

In Alaska

• In 1948, an extra charge of $10 at the house of Mayme Crystal in Anchorage caused a gun fray. One man was hospitalized and two women were charged with operating a bawdy house.

• In 1954, loggers in the Tongass National Forest were required to take measures to reduce forest fire hazard, due to minimal rainfall (2.62 inches of rain during the previous three months). Fishermen in Nushagak were in revolt over government restrictions and threatened to ignore the shortening of upcoming fishing openings.

• In 1971, Juneau's Bartlett Memorial Hospital was officially opened.

• In 1973, The Trans-Alaska Pipeline Act was passed by Congress on a 49-48 vote. The act prohibited any further judicial review and called for an immediate issuance of a pipeline construction permit. A move for reconsideration was defeated by the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Spiro Agnew.

In the nation

• In 1938, aviator Douglas Corrigan took off from New York, saying he was headed for California; he ended up in Ireland, supposedly by accident, earning the nickname "Wrong Way Corrigan."

• In 1944, 322 people were killed when a pair of ammunition ships exploded in Port Chicago, Calif.

• In 1948, Southern Democrats opposed to the nomination of President Truman met in Birmingham, Ala., to endorse South Carolina Gov. Strom Thurmond.

• In 1955, Disneyland opened to the public in Anaheim, Calif.

• In 1981, 114 people were killed when a pair of walkways above the lobby of the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel collapsed during a "tea dance."

• In 1996, TWA Flight 800, a Paris-bound Boeing 747, exploded and crashed off Long Island, N.Y., shortly after leaving John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 230 people aboard.

• In 1998, prosecutors in the Monica Lewinsky case questioned President Clinton's Secret Service protectors before a grand jury.

• In 2003, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair forcefully defended their decision to topple Saddam Hussein during a joint White House news conference. In a speech to the U.S. Congress, Blair said even if they were proven wrong about Iraq's weapons capabilities, "We will have destroyed a threat that at its least is responsible for inhuman carnage and suffering." Democrats Joe Lieberman, Dick Gephardt and Dennis Kucinich apologized to the NAACP for bypassing a presidential forum.

In the world

• In 1821, Spain ceded Florida to the United States.

• In 1918, Russia's Czar Nicholas II and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks.

• In 1968, a coup in Iraq returned the Baath Party to power, five years after it was ousted.

• In 1975, an Apollo spaceship docked with a Soyuz spacecraft in orbit in the first superpower linkup of its kind.

• In 1998, Nicholas II, last of the Romanov czars, was buried in Russia 80 years after he and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks. A 23-foot-high tsunami hit the northern coast of Papua New Guinea, killing more than 2,000 people. In Rome, delegates from more than 100 countries overwhelmingly approved a historic treaty creating the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal - ignoring strenuous U.S. objections over certain provisions.

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