A Blast From The Past

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International  |  Jan. 25, 2002 at 2:30 AM
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Today is Jan. 25.

As the Gulf War raged on, a huge oil slick began to form in the Persian Gulf on this date in 1991 as Iraqi forces sabotaged Kuwaiti oil terminals. The United States called it an "act of environmental terrorism" by Iraq's leader, Saddam Hussein.

Charles Manson and three women -- members of his so-called "family" -- were found guilty in the murders of actress Sharon Tate and six other people in Los Angeles on this date in 1971. Manson was initially sentenced to death, but that death sentence was later overturned and he was sentenced to life in prison.

Around the world in less than 80 days: it was on this date in 1890 that Nellie Bly, a young New York reporter, completed a trip around the world in the then-astounding time of 72 days, six hours and 11 minutes.

Some firsts on this date:

In 1915, transcontinental phone service was inaugurated in a hookup between New York and San Francisco.

In 1959, American Airlines flew the first scheduled non-stop transcontinental flight from California to New York.

And in 1961, John F. Kennedy held the first televised presidential news conference -- five days after being inaugurated as president. The tradition of televised presidential news conferences survives to this day.

And it was on this date in 1993 that Sears Roebuck & Co. announced it was shutting down its pioneering catalog operation. It was the end of an era -- and marked the demise of jokes about using pages from the Sears catalog as toilet paper.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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