Today is Friday, March 27, the 86th day of 2015. There are 279 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 27, 1945, during World War II, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower told reporters in Paris that Germany’s main defensive line on the Western Front had been broken.
On this date:
In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sighted present-day Florida.
In 1884, the first telephone line between Boston and New York was inaugurated.
In 1912, first lady Helen Herron Taft and the wife of Japan’s ambassador to the United States, Viscountess Chinda, planted in Washington 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 1940, Alfred Hitchcock’s first American movie, “Rebecca” starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, premiered in Los Angeles.
In 1958, Nikita Khrushchev became Soviet premier in addition to First Secretary of the Communist Party.
In 1964, Alaska was hit by a magnitude 9.2 earthquake (the strongest on record in North America) and tsunamis that together claimed about 130 lives.
In 1975, construction began on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which was completed two years later.
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.
In 1990, the U.S. began test broadcasts of TV Marti to Cuba, which promptly jammed the signal.
In 1995, “Forrest Gump” won six Academy Awards, including best picture and a second consecutive best actor Oscar for Tom Hanks; Jessica Lange won best actress for “Blue Sky.”
Ten years ago: Pope John Paul II delivered an Easter Sunday blessing to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square, but the ailing pontiff was unable to speak and managed only to greet the saddened crowd with a sign of the cross. In a live Internet interview with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Michael Jackson declared himself “completely innocent” of child molestation charges, and said he was the victim of a conspiracy.
Five years ago: Lights were switched off across the world from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time to mark Earth Hour, an event organized by the World Wildlife Fund to highlight concerns about global warming. President Barack Obama announced he would bypass a vacationing Senate and name 15 people to key administration jobs using recess appointments. Mao Asada of Japan beat Olympic champion Yuna Kim of South Korea to win her second title at the World Figure Skating Championships, held in Turin, Italy.
One year ago: Face to face at the Vatican for the first time, President Barack Obama and Pope Francis focused on their mutual respect and shared concern for the poor. The U.S. Air Force took the extraordinary step of firing nine midlevel nuclear commanders and announcing it would discipline dozens of junior officers at a nuclear missile base, responding firmly to an exam-cheating scandal. A judge in Missoula, Montana, sentenced Jordan Graham to more than 30 years in prison for killing Cody Johnson, her husband of eight days, by pushing him from a cliff in Glacier National Park. James Schlesinger, 85, who’d held a long string of Cabinet and other high-level positions in three U.S. administrations, died in Baltimore.
Today’s Birthdays: Dance company director Arthur Mitchell is 81. Actor Julian Glover is 80. Actor Jerry Lacy is 79. Hall of Fame racer Cale Yarborough is 76. Actor-director Austin Pendleton is 75. Actor Michael York is 73. Rock musician Tony Banks (Genesis) is 65. Rock musician Andrew Farriss (INXS) is 56. Jazz musician Dave Koz (kahz) is 52. Movie director Quentin Tarantino is 52. Rock musician Derrick McKenzie (Jamiroquai) is 51. Rock musician Johnny April (Staind) is 50. Actress Talisa Soto is 48. Actress Pauley Perrette is 46. Singer Mariah Carey is 45. Rock musician Brendan Hill (Blues Traveler) is 45. Actress Elizabeth Mitchell is 45. Actor Nathan Fillion is 44. Hip-hop singer Fergie (Black Eyed Peas) is 40. Actress Megan Hilty is 34. Actress Emily Ann Lloyd is 31. Actress Brenda Song is 27. Pop singer/songwriter Kimbra is 25. Actress Taylor Atelian is 20.
Thought for Today: “Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.” — George Santayana, American philosopher (1863-1952).