This Day in History

Posted: Thursday, November 09, 2006

In Alaska

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• In 1929, Alaska pioneer aviator Ben Eielson and his mechanic Earl Borland were reported lost in Siberia on a flight from Teller to salvage furs from an ice-bound ship. Their bodies were finally discovered in mid-February the next year.

• In 1939, for the first time, three women appeared as a team on KFAR-AM, Fairbanks' weekly radio quiz, "On The Spot."

• In 1940, a Pan American DC3 left Seattle for Juneau, taking over the route from the "flying boats."

• In 1959, the seven residents of Chicken, Alaska offered their community as an alternative to Palmer as a new location for Alaska's capital, saying the peace and quiet in Chicken would offer ample time for contemplation without interruption.

• In 1979, a Japanese factory-fishing ship went aground near the village of St. Paul in the Pribilof Islands, spilling over one hundred thousand gallons of diesel fuel. Sohio-BP Alaska and ARCO withdrew their support for the Petroleum Club of Anchorage over its refusal to allow women members. Several Phantom F-4E fighter jets roared into the sky from Elmendorf Air Force Base when a computer mistake caused a six-minute nationwide missile defense alert false alarm.

In the nation

• In 1872, fire destroyed nearly 1,000 buildings in Boston.

• In 1935, United Mine Workers president John L. Lewis and other labor leaders formed the Committee for Industrial Organization (later Congress of Industrial Organizations).

• In 1967, a Saturn V rocket carrying an unmanned Apollo spacecraft blasted off from Cape Kennedy, Fla., on a successful test flight.

• In 1996, President Clinton used his weekly radio address to condemn the decision of the nation's distillers to end their voluntary ban on airing hard-liquor ads, calling it "simply irresponsible." Evander Holyfield upset Mike Tyson to win the WBA heavyweight title in an 11-round fight in Las Vegas.

• In 2005, oil executives testified before Congress that their huge profits were justified, but got a skeptical reaction from lawmakers. Carolina's Erik Cole became the first player in NHL history to be awarded two penalty shots in one game. (Cole scored on the first, helping the Hurricanes defeat Buffalo 5-3.)

In the world

• In 1918, it was announced that Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm II would abdicate. He then fled to the Netherlands.

• In 1938, Nazis looted and burned synagogues as well as Jewish-owned stores and houses in Germany and Austria in what became known as "Kristallnacht."

• In 1963, twin disasters struck Japan as some 450 miners were killed in a coal-dust explosion, and about 160 people died in a train crash.

• In 1965, the great Northeast blackout occurred as a series of power failures lasting up to 13.5 hours left 30 million people in seven states and two Canadian provinces without electricity.

• In 1976, the U.N. General Assembly approved 10 resolutions condemning apartheid in South Africa, including one characterizing the white-ruled government as "illegitimate."

• In 1986, Israel revealed it was holding Mordechai Vanunu, a former nuclear technician who'd vanished after providing information to a British newspaper about Israel's nuclear weapons program. (Vanunu was convicted of treason and served 18 years in prison.)

• In 1989, communist East Germany threw open its borders, allowing citizens to travel freely to the West; joyous Germans danced atop the Berlin Wall.

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