This Day in History

Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2006

In Alaska

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• In 1912, the steamer Portland, the Gold Ship that started the Klondike Gold Rush, was wrecked at Katalla.

• In 1952, the Juneau Memorial Library was dedicated.

• In 1954, Wein Alaska Airways protested the planned closure of U.S. Customs stations at Eagle and Fort Yukon, citing adverse impact on tourist flights. Planes from Canada would have to check in at Fairbanks before travelling to any Alaskan village and before leaving Alaska.

• In 1980, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted the Senate version of the Alaska D-2 Lands Bill.

In the nation

• In 1920, Major League Baseball got its first "czar" as Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis was elected commissioner.

• In 1977, the city of New Orleans elected its first black mayor, Ernest "Dutch" Morial.

• In 1996, in Pontiac, Mich., Jonathan Schmitz, a guest on "The Jenny Jones Show," was convicted of second-degree murder for shooting Scott Amedure, a gay man who'd revealed a crush on Schmitz during a taping of the program. (Schmitz was later sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison.)

• In 2001, an American Airlines Airbus A300-600, en route from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to the Dominican Republic, crashed after takeoff, killing 265 people.

• In 2004, a jury in Redwood City, Calif., convicted Scott Peterson of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, and dumping her body in San Francisco Bay. (Peterson, who maintains his innocence, was later sentenced to death.)

In the world

• In 1927, Josef Stalin became the undisputed ruler of the Soviet Union as Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party.

• In 1942, the World War II naval Battle of Guadalcanal began. (The Allies ended up winning a major victory over the Japanese.)

• In 1948, former Japanese premier Hideki Tojo and several other World War II Japanese leaders were sentenced to death by a war crimes tribunal.

• In 1982, Yuri V. Andropov was elected to succeed the late Leonid I. Brezhnev as general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party's Central Committee.

• In 1985, Xavier Suarez was elected Miami's first Cuban-American mayor.

• In 1990, Japanese Emperor Akihito formally assumed the Chrysanthemum Throne.

• In 1996, a Saudi Boeing 747 jetliner collided shortly after takeoff from New Delhi, India, with a Kazak Ilyushin-76 cargo plane, killing 349 people.

• In 2001, Afghan opposition forces broke through Taliban lines outside Kabul.

• In 2005, a U.S.-backed summit in Bahrain meant to promote political freedom and economic change in the Middle East ended without agreement, a blow to President Bush's goals for the troubled region. Jordan acknowledged for the first time that al-Qaida in Iraq had used three foreign suicide bombers to attack Amman hotels three days earlier, killing 60 victims.

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