This Day in History

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2007

In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

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In Alaska

• In 1929, the first concrete was poured for what is now the Capitol building in Juneau.

• In 1947, the Army tanker El Caney with a crew of 45, was adrift south of the Aleutian Islands in the North Pacific due to a damaged rudder and propeller.

• In 1975, a Japan Airlines 747 passenger jet, buffeted by 30 knot winds, blew off an icy taxiway at Anchorage International Airport, plunging into a 60-foot deep gully. The passengers and crew suffered only minor injuries.

In the nation

• In 1773, the Boston Tea Party took place as American colonists boarded a British ship and dumped more than 300 chests of tea overboard to protest tea taxes.

• In 1905, the entertainment trade publication Variety came out with its first weekly issue.

• In 1907, 16 U.S. Navy battleships, which came to be known collectively as the "Great White Fleet," set sail from Hampton Roads, Va., on a 14-month round-the-world voyage at the order of President Theodore Roosevelt, who wanted to demonstrate American sea power.

• In 1950, President Truman proclaimed a national state of emergency in order to fight "world conquest by Communist imperialism."

• In 1960, 134 people were killed when a United Air Lines DC-8 and a TWA Super Constellation collided over New York City.

• In 1977, the movie "Saturday Night Fever," starring John Travolta as a Brooklyn disco dancer, opened in wide release.

• In 2000, President-elect Bush selected Colin Powell to become the first African-American secretary of state.

• In 1997, a Pentagon-appointed panel concluded that the Army, Navy and Air Force should segregate male and female recruits in their earliest phases of basic training.

• In 2002, President Bush named former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean to replace Henry Kissinger as head of the panel investigating the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Senate Republican leader Trent Lott, in an interview on Black Entertainment Television, asked black Americans to forgive his seeming nostalgia for segregation. A threatened New York City transit strike was averted. A jury in Baltimore acquitted former altar boy Dontee Stokes of attempted murder in the shooting of a Roman Catholic priest he'd claimed molested him a decade earlier.

• In 2006, 10 players, including NBA scoring leader Carmelo Anthony, were ejected for fighting during a wild brawl near the end of a game between Denver and New York. Terrell Owens spat in the face of Atlanta cornerback DeAngelo Hall during a Cowboys-Falcons game. (Owens was fined $35,000 by the NFL.)

In the world

• In 1653, Oliver Cromwell became lord protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.

• In 1944, the World War II Battle of the Bulge began as German forces launched a surprise attack against Allied forces in Belgium (the Allies were eventually able to beat the Germans back).

• In 1991, the U.N. General Assembly rescinded its 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism by a vote of 111-25.

• In 1997, U.N. weapons monitor Richard Butler left Iraq after failing to persuade President Saddam Hussein to open his palaces to inspections. In Japan, at least 700 mostly young TV viewers reportedly suffered nausea and other symptoms after watching an animated "Pokemon" cartoon featuring bright, flashing colors.

• In 2002, Canada ratified the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

• In 2006, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for elections to end his violent standoff with Hamas.

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