This Day in History

Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2004

In Alaska

• In 1923, U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens was born in Indianapolis, Ind.

• In 1959, the first pulp was produced by the Alaska Lumber & Pulp Company in Sitka.

• In 1964, record high tides combined with 3.4 feet of subsidence from the 1964 earthquake threatened to flood Seldovia with the high tide just 10 inches below the boardwalks. On the 19th, the water level reached 1 foot over the boardwalks.

• In 1970, an explosion of a natural gas pipeline supplying fuel to Barrow left the village without a source for heat and electricity. (Barrow has few oil-burning stoves and relies mostly on natural gas.)

In the nation

• In 1886, the 21st president of the United States, Chester A. Arthur, died in New York at age 56.

• In 1928, the first successful sound-synchronized animated cartoon, Walt Disney's "Steamboat Willie," starring Mickey Mouse, premiered in New York.

• In 1964, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover described civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. as "the most notorious liar in the country" for accusing FBI agents in Georgia of failing to act on complaints filed by blacks.

• In 1966, U.S. Roman Catholic bishops did away with the rule against eating meat on Fridays.

• In 1969, financier-diplomat Joseph P. Kennedy died in Hyannis Port, Mass., at age 81.

• In 1978, California Congressman Leo J. Ryan and four other people were killed in Jonestown, Guyana, by members of the Peoples Temple; the killings were followed by a night of mass murder and suicide by 912 cult members.

• In 1987, the congressional Iran-Contra committees issued their final report, saying President Reagan bore "ultimate responsibility" for wrongdoing by his aides.

• In 1994, the Commerce Department reported that America's trade deficit worsened to $10 billion in September. Bandleader Cab Calloway died in Hockessin, Del., at age 86.

• In 1999, 12 people were killed when a bonfire under construction at Texas A&M University collapsed. A jury in Jasper, Texas, convicted Shawn Allen Berry of murder for his role in the dragging death of James Byrd Jr., but spared him the death penalty.

• In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled, 4-3, that the state constitution guaranteed gay couples the right to marry. A judge in Modesto, Calif., ordered Scott Peterson to stand trial for the killing of his wife, Laci, and their unborn son. Barry Bonds won his record sixth National League MVP award.

In the world

• In 1820, U.S. Navy Capt. Nathaniel B. Palmer discovered the frozen continent of Antarctica.

• In 1883, the United States and Canada adopted a system of Standard Time zones.

• In 1903, the United States and Panama signed a treaty granting the United States rights to build the Panama Canal.

• In 1936, Germany and Italy recognized the Spanish government of Francisco Franco.

• In 1994, 15 people were killed and more than 150 wounded when Palestinian police opened fire on rioting worshippers outside a mosque in the Gaza Strip.

• In 1999, American author and composer Paul Bowles, best known for "The Sheltering Sky" and other novels set in North Africa, died in Morocco at age 88.

• In 2003, President Bush and his wife, Laura, arrived in Britain for a state visit. The U.N. refugee agency began pulling foreign staff out of Afghanistan after the killing of French worker.

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