This Day in History

Posted: Monday, August 11, 2003

In Alaska

• In 1799, Czar Paul the First of Russia granted the first charter to the Russian American Company.

• In 1900, the Nome Daily Chronicle was established, but it operated as a daily for only six weeks.

• In 1959, Stan Upton finished a 5,000-mile, 19-month horseback trip from Death Valley, Calif., to McKinley National Park.

• In 1979, Anchorage police raided a Mountain View home, seizing 200 marijuana plants.

In the nation

• In 1860, the nation's first successful silver mill began operation near Virginia City, Nev.

• In 1909, the SOS distress signal was first used by an American ship, the Arapahoe, off Cape Hatteras, N.C.

• In 1934, the first federal prisoners arrived at the island prison Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay.

• In 1965, rioting and looting that claimed 34 lives broke out in the predominantly black Watts section of Los Angeles.

• In 1992, the Mall of America, the biggest shopping mall in the United States, opened in Bloomington, Minn.

• In 1993, President Clinton named Army Gen. John Shalikashvili to be the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, succeeding the retiring Gen. Colin Powell.

• In 1997, President Clinton made the first use of the historic line-item veto approved by Congress, rejecting three items in spending and tax bills. The Supreme Court later struck down the line-item veto as unconstitutional.

• In 1998, one of the boys in the Jonesboro, Ark., schoolyard massacre pleaded guilty and the other was convicted. The boys, ages 12 and 14, got the maximum penalty allowed by law - confinement to a juvenile center, perhaps until they turn 21.

• In 2002, Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, a bioweapons expert under scrutiny for anthrax-laced letters, fiercely denied any involvement and said he had cooperated with the investigation. U.S. Airways filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

In the world

• In 1942, during World War II, Vichy government official Pierre Laval publicly declared that "the hour of liberation for France is the hour when Germany wins the war."

• In 1954, a formal peace took hold in Indochina, ending more than seven years of fighting between the French and Communist Vietminh.

• In 1962, the Soviet Union launched cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev on a 94-hour flight.

• In 1978, chiefs of state and foreign dignitaries arrived in Vatican City for the funeral of Pope Paul VI.

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