Today is Wednesday, March 27, the 86th day of 2013. There are 279 days left in the year.
On March 27, 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sighted present-day Florida.
On this date:
In 1625, Charles I acceded to the English throne upon the death of James I.
In 1794, Congress approved “An Act to provide a Naval Armament” of six armed ships.
In 1836, the first Mormon temple was dedicated in Kirtland, Ohio.
In 1912, first lady Helen Herron Taft and the wife of Japan’s ambassador to the United States, Viscountess Chinda, planted the first two of 3,000 cherry trees given as a gift by the mayor of Tokyo.
In 1933, Japan officially withdrew from the League of Nations.
In 1942, American servicemen were granted free mailing privileges.
In 1958, Nikita Khrushchev became Soviet premier in addition to First Secretary of the Communist Party.
In 1964, Alaska was hit by a powerful earthquake and tsunamis that killed about 130 people.
In 1968, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the Earth, died in a plane crash.
In 1973, “The Godfather” won the Academy Award for best picture of 1972, but its star, Marlon Brando, refused to accept his Oscar for best actor. Liza Minnelli won best actress for “Cabaret.”
In 1977, 583 people were killed when a KLM Boeing 747, attempting to take off, crashed into a Pan Am 747 on the Canary Island of Tenerife.
In 1980, 123 workers died when a North Sea floating oil field platform, the Alexander Kielland, capsized during a storm.
Ten years ago: Serbian police killed two major suspects in the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. Russia’s Evgeni Plushenko won his second World Figure Skating Championships title, edging American Tim Goebel at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Zindel died in New York at age 66.
Five years ago: The Pentagon said Defense Secretary Robert Gates had ordered a full inventory of all nuclear weapons and related materials after the mistaken delivery of ballistic missile fuses to Taiwan.
One year ago: A JetBlue Airways captain ran through the cabin of a New York-to-Las Vegas flight yelling about religion and terrorists before he was locked out of the cockpit, then tackled and restrained by passengers. (Clayton Osbon was charged with interference with a flight crew; he was found not guilty by reason of insanity.) The leaders of South Korea, the United States and China issued stark warnings about the threat of nuclear terrorism during the final day of a nuclear summit in Seoul that was upstaged by North Korea’s long-range rocket launch plans. Award-winning poet Adrienne Rich, 82, died in Santa Cruz. Art critic Hilton Kramer, 84, died in Harpswell, Maine.
Today’s birthdays: Dance company director Arthur Mitchell is 79. Actor Julian Glover is 78. Actor Jerry Lacy is 77. Hall of Fame racer Cale Yarborough is 74. Actor-director Austin Pendleton is 73. Actor Michael York is 71. Rock musician Tony Banks (Genesis) is 63. Rock musician Andrew Farriss (INXS) is 54. Jazz musician Dave Koz is 50. Movie director Quentin Tarantino is 50. Rock musician Derrick McKenzie (Jamiroquai) is 49. Rock musician Johnny April (Staind) is 48. Actress Talisa Soto is 46. Actress Pauley Perrette is 44. Singer Mariah Carey is 43. Rock musician Brendan Hill (Blues Traveler) is 43. Actress Elizabeth Mitchell is 43. Actor Nathan Fillion is 42. Hip-hop singer Fergie (Black Eyed Peas) is 38. Actress Megan Hilty is 32. Actress Emily Ann Lloyd is 29. Actress Brenda Song is 25. Pop singer/songwriter Kimbra is 23. Actress Taylor Atelian is 18.
Thought for today: “Often the test of courage is not to die but to live.” — Vittorio Alfieri, Italian dramatist (1749-1803).