This Day in History

Posted: Sunday, December 17, 2006

In Alaska

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• In 1984, the Alaska Search Light was established in Juneau.

• In 1955, the 70-room Traveller's Inn opened in Anchorage.

• In 1959, the Annex Creek Power Facility failed, putting Juneau on emergency power for more than a week.

• In 1969, a U.S. House committee cleared the last obstacle allowing the permit to be issued to build the 800-mile Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline.

• In 1979, Venetie and Arctic Village were granted title to 1.8 million acres of federal land in what was then the largest native land conveyance in Alaska's history.

In the nation

• In 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, Ohio, conducted the first successful manned powered-airplane flights, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, using their experimental craft, the Wright Flyer.

• In 1925, Col. William "Billy" Mitchell was convicted at his court-martial of insubordination for accusing senior military officials of incompetence and criminal negligence; he was suspended from active duty.

• In 1944, the U.S. Army announced it was ending its policy of excluding Japanese-Americans from the West Coast.

• In 1957, the United States successfully test-fired the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.

• In 1969, an estimated 50 million TV viewers watched singer Tiny Tim marry his fiancee, Miss Vicky, on NBC's "Tonight Show."

• In 1975, Lynette Fromme was sentenced in Sacramento, Calif., to life in prison for her attempt on the life of President Ford.

• In 2005, President Bush acknowledged he'd personally authorized a secret eavesdropping program in the U.S. following Sept. 11, calling it "crucial to our national security."

In the world

• In 1777, France recognized American independence.

• In 1939, the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee was scuttled by its crew, ending the World War II Battle of the River Plate off Uruguay.

• In 1981, members of the Red Brigades kidnapped Brig. Gen. James L. Dozier, the highest-ranking U.S. Army official in southern Europe, from his home in Verona, Italy. (Dozier was rescued 42 days later.)

• In 1986, Eugene Hasenfus, the American convicted by Nicaragua for his part in running guns to the Contras, was pardoned, then released.

• In 1996, Peruvian guerrillas took hundreds of people hostage at the Japanese embassy in Lima (all but 72 of the hostages were later released by the rebels; the siege ended April 22, 1997, with a commando raid that resulted in the deaths of all the rebels, two commandos and one hostage). Six Red Cross workers were slain by gunmen in Chechnya. Kofi Annan of Ghana was appointed United Nations secretary-general.

• In 2001, Marines raised the Stars and Stripes over the long-abandoned American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Gunmen raided Haiti's National Palace, killing at least ten people in an attack the government described as a failed coup attempt (opponents accused the government of staging the attack to clamp down on dissent).

• In 2005, protesters in Hong Kong tried to storm a convention center where World Trade Organization delegates were negotiating a global accord on farming, manufacturing and services. John Ruiz lost the WBA heavyweight title, dropping a disputed majority decision to Nikolay Valuev of Russia in Berlin.

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