This Day in History

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2007

In Alaska

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

• In 1959, Alaska Lumber and Pulp Co. began producing pulp in Sitka.

• In 1964, record high tides combined with 3.4 feet of subsidence from the March 1964 earthquake and threatened to flood Seldovia with the high tide just 10 inches below the boardwalks. On March 19, 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 1928, Walt Disney's first sound-synchronized animated cartoon, "Steamboat Willie" starring Mickey Mouse, premiered in New York.

• In 1997, the FBI officially pulled out of the probe into the TWA Flight 800 disaster, saying the explosion that destroyed the Boeing 747, killing all 230 people aboard, was not caused by a criminal act. First Union Corp. announced the purchase of CoreStates Financial Corp. for $16.1 billion.

• In 1999, 12 people were killed when a bonfire under construction at Texas A&M University collapsed.

In the world

• In 1820, U.S. Navy Capt. Nathaniel B. Palmer and his crew 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 gained the rights to build the Panama Canal in a treaty with Panama.

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

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

• 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 more than 900 cult members.

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

• In 1987, 31 people died in a fire at King's Cross, London's busiest subway station.

• In 2002, U.N. arms inspectors returned to Iraq after a four-year hiatus, calling on Saddam Hussein's government to cooperate with their search for weapons of mass destruction.

• In 2006, President George W. Bush, in Hanoi for a summit of Pacific Rim countries, lined up support for pressuring long-defiant North Korea to prove it was serious about dismantling its nuclear weapons program. In a fairy-tale setting, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes exchanged wedding vows in a glowing 15th-century castle in the medieval lakeside town of Bracciano, Italy.

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