This Day in History

Posted: Thursday, August 23, 2007

In Alaska

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• In 1901, telegraph service began in Juneau via a submarine cable to Skagway.

• In 1939, Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes approved plans for a bureau of fisheries experimental laboratory in Ketchikan. Construction of the Naknek Cold Storage Plant was completed. W.W. Council, territorial health commissioner, said tuberculosis was responsible for 22 percent of Alaska's deaths.

• In 1966, Alaska Airlines filed an application to provide jet service between Sitka and Seattle, and Sitka and Anchorage. Walter Hickel and William Egan won their respective primaries and squared off for governor. Hickel was elected in November.

• In 1974, a late-season fire raging out of control on the Kenai Peninsula resulted in the closure of the area south of Portage to all camping and hunting.

In the nation

• In 1927, Italian-born anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed in Boston for the murders of two men during a 1920 robbery. (Fifty years later, on this date in 1977, Mass. Gov. Michael S. Dukakis proclaimed that "any stigma and disgrace should be forever removed" from their names.)

• In 1989, in a case that inflamed racial tensions in New York City, Yusuf Hawkins, a 16-year-old black youth, was shot dead after he and his friends were confronted by white youths in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn.

• In 1997, in his weekly radio address, President Bill Clinton said he would ask Congress to renew his authority for speedy negotiation of trade agreements, saying the "fast track" approach was needed to make U.S. companies more competitive worldwide.

• In 2002, New York publicist Lizzie Grubman pleaded guilty in a hit-and-run crash that injured 16 people outside a Hamptons nightclub. (Grubman ended up serving 37 days of a 60-day sentence at the Suffolk County, N.Y., jail, with time off for good behavior.)

• In 2006, a previously unknown militant group released the first video of two kidnapped Fox News journalists. (Correspondent Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig were later freed.) The Citadel released the results of a survey in which almost 20 percent of female cadets reported being sexually assaulted since enrolling at the South Carolina military college.

In the world

• In 1775, Britain's King George III proclaimed the American colonies in a state of "open and avowed rebellion."

• In 1914, Japan declared war against Germany in World War I.

• In 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union agreed to a non-aggression treaty, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, in Moscow.

• In 1944, Romanian prime minister Ion Antonescu was dismissed by King Michael, paving the way for Romania to abandon the Axis in favor of the Allies.

• In 1973, a bank robbery-turned-hostage standoff began in Stockholm, Sweden; by the time the crisis ended, the four hostages had come to empathize with their captors, an occurrence that came to be known as "Stockholm Syndrome."

• In 1982, Lebanon's parliament elected Christian militia leader Bashir Gemayel president. (However, Gemayel was assassinated some three weeks later.)

• In 2002, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il made his second visit to Russia in a year, meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok.

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