This Day in History

Posted: Monday, August 27, 2007

In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

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In Alaska

• In 1969, the world's largest totem pole, a 132-foot shaft of Alaska red cedar, was dedicated at Port Chilkoot near Haines.

• In 1970, bankruptcy proceedings threatened to put the city of Kenai in fear of a winter breakdown of its electrical facilities.

• In 1974, Alaskans voted to move the state capital from Juneau to an as-yet-to-be-selected location. The site eventually selected was Willow, north of Anchorage. The vote to fund moving the capital failed in 1982.

In the nation

• In 1859, Col. Edwin L. Drake drilled the first successful oil well in the United States, near Titusville, Pa.

• In 1892, fire seriously damaged New York's original Metropolitan Opera House.

• In 1894, Congress passed the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act, which contained a provision for a graduated income tax that was later struck down by the Supreme Court.

• In 1962, the United States launched the Mariner 2 space probe, which flew past Venus in December 1962.

• In 1997, former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy was charged with seeking and accepting more than $35,000 in trips, sports tickets and favors from companies that did business with his agency. (A jury found Espy innocent in 1998 of taking illegal gifts, but eight others pleaded guilty or were convicted of various charges; President Bill Clinton later issued seven pardons and a commutation.) Israel lifted a month-long blockade of Bethlehem that was imposed after a suicide bombing July 30 that killed 16 people.

• In 2002, President George W. Bush met at his Texas ranch with Saudi Arabia's ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan; a White House spokesman said Bush told the Saudi diplomat he had not yet decided whether to attack Iraq.

• In 2006, Comair CRJ-100 crashed after trying to take off from the wrong runway in Lexington, Ky., killing 49 people and leaving the co-pilot the sole survivor. Two Fox News journalists, Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig, were freed by militants nearly two weeks after being kidnapped in Gaza City. The action series "24" won Emmys for best drama series and best actor for Kiefer Sutherland; "The Office" was honored as best comedy.

In the world

• In 1883, the island volcano Krakatoa blew up; the resulting tidal waves in Indonesia's Sunda Strait claimed some 36,000 lives in Java and Sumatra.

• In 1928, the Kellogg-Briand Pact was signed in Paris, outlawing war and providing for the peaceful settlement of disputes.

• In 1979, British war hero Lord Louis Mountbatten was killed off the coast of Ireland in a boat explosion claimed by the Irish Republican Army.

• In 2002, a Tokyo court acknowledged for the first time Japan's use of biological weapons before and during World War II, but rejected demands for compensation by 180 Chinese who claimed they were victims of the germ warfare program.

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