Wednesday, March 27, the 86th day of 2019. There are 279 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On March 27, 1977, in aviation's worst disaster, 583 people were killed when a KLM Boeing 747, attempting to take off in heavy fog, crashed into a Pan Am 747 on an airport runway on the Canary Island of Tenerife (ten-uh-REEF').

On this date:

In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon (hwahn pahns duh LEE'-ohn) sighted present-day Florida.

In 1625, Charles I acceded to the English throne upon the death of James I.

In 1933, Japan officially withdrew from the League of Nations.

In 1942, during World War II, Congress granted American servicemen free first-class 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 magnitude 9.2 earthquake (the strongest on record in North America) and tsunamis that together claimed about 130 lives.

In 1968, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin (gah-GAH'-rihn), the first man to orbit the Earth in 1961, died when his MiG-15 jet crashed during a routine training flight near Moscow; he was 34.

In 1975, construction began on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which was completed two years later.

In 1980, 123 workers died when a North Sea floating oil field platform, the Alexander Kielland, capsized during a storm.

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."

In 2006, Al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui (zak-uh-REE'-uhs moo-SOW'-ee) testified at his federal trial that he was supposed to hijack a fifth airplane on Sept. 11, 2001, and fly it into the White House.

Ten years ago: President Barack Obama launched a fresh effort to defeat al-Qaida terrorists in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, ordering in 4,000 more troops. A suicide bomber set off an explosion at a packed mosque in Pakistan near the Afghan border, killing at least 48 people. The rising Red River broke a 112-year record and threatened the dikes fortifying Fargo, N.D. The main suspect in the Phoenix serial shooter attacks, Dale Hausner, was sentenced to death for six murders that had put the city on edge for nearly two years. (Hausner committed suicide in an isolation cell in June 2013.)

Five years 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.

One year ago: Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, in an essay on The New York Times website, called for the repeal of the Second Amendment to allow for significant gun control legislation. The co-owner of a Kansas water park and a ride designer were charged with reckless second-degree murder in the decapitation of a 10-year-old boy on the ride in 2016. (A judge dismissed the charges last month, finding that state prosecutors had shown inadmissible evidence to grand jurors.)

Today's Birthdays: Actor Julian Glover is 84. Actor Jerry Lacy is 83. Hall of Fame racer Cale Yarborough is 80. Actor-director Austin Pendleton is 79. Actor Michael York is 77. Rock musician Tony Banks (Genesis) is 69. Rock musician Andrew Farriss (INXS) is 60. Actor Brian Tarantina is 60. Jazz musician Dave Koz (kahz) is 56. Movie director Quentin Tarantino is 56. Rock musician Derrick McKenzie (Jamiroquai) is 55. Rock musician Johnny April (Staind) is 54. Actress Talisa Soto is 52. Actor Ben Koldyke is 51. Actress Pauley Perrette is 50. Singer Mariah Carey is 49. Rock musician Brendan Hill (Blues Traveler) is 49. Actress Elizabeth Mitchell is 49. Actor Nathan Fillion is 48. Hip-hop singer Fergie is 44. Jazz musician Tia Fuller is 43. Actress Emily Ann Lloyd is 35. San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey is 32. Actress Brenda Song is 31. Pop singer-songwriter Kimbra is 29. Actress Taylor Atelian is 24. Classical crossover singer Amira Willighagen (TV: "Holland's Got Talent") is 15.

Thought for Today: "Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim." — George Santayana, American philosopher (1863-1952).

* * *

Today is Friday, March 29, the 88th day of 2019. There are 277 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On March 29, 1951, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted in New York of conspiracy to commit espionage for the Soviet Union. (They were executed in June 1953.)

On this date:

In 1638, Swedish colonists settled in present-day Delaware.

In 1867, Britain's Parliament passed, and Queen Victoria signed, the British North America Act creating the Dominion of Canada, which came into being the following July.

In 1912, British explorer Robert Falcon Scott, his doomed expedition stranded in an Antarctic blizzard after failing to be the first to reach the South Pole, wrote the last words of his journal: "For Gods sake look after our people."

In 1943, World War II rationing of meat, fats and cheese began, limiting consumers to store purchases of an average of about two pounds a week for beef, pork, lamb and mutton using a coupon system. (The Associated Press noted, "From the customer viewpoint, the unrationed oasis of food will be the restaurant or other public eating place.")

In 1951, The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "The King and I" opened on Broadway.

In 1962, Jack Paar hosted NBC's "Tonight" show for the final time. (Johnny Carson debuted as host the following October.)

In 1971, Army Lt. William L. Calley Jr. was convicted of murdering 22 Vietnamese civilians in the 1968 My Lai (mee ly) massacre. (Calley ended up serving three years under house arrest.) A jury in Los Angeles recommended the death penalty for Charles Manson and three female followers for the 1969 Tate-La Bianca murders. (The sentences were later commuted.)

In 1973, the last United States combat troops left South Vietnam, ending America's direct military involvement in the Vietnam War.

In 1974, eight Ohio National Guardsmen were indicted on federal charges stemming from the shooting deaths of four students at Kent State University. (The charges were later dismissed.)

In 1989, at the Academy Awards, "Rain Man" won best picture, best director for Barry Levinson and best actor for Dustin Hoffman; Jodie Foster won best actress for "The Accused." (This was the Oscars ceremony that featured the notorious opening number with Rob Lowe and "Snow White.")

In 2005, attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. died in Los Angeles at age 67. Former U.S. Senator Howell Heflin died in Sheffield, Alabama, at age 83.

In 2017, Britain filed for divorce from the European Union as Prime Minister Theresa May sent a six-page letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk. Two former aides to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were sentenced to prison for creating a colossal traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge for political revenge, a scandal that sank Christie's White House hopes.

Ten years ago: General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner resigned under White House pressure. A gunman killed seven residents of the Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation Center in Carthage, N.C., along with a nurse. (Robert Kenneth Stewart was convicted of second-degree murder and other charges and sentenced to more than 140 years in prison.) A stampede at a World Cup qualifying soccer match in the Ivory Coast killed 22 people.

Five years ago: Two Spanish journalists, Javier Espinosa and Ricardo Garcia Vilanova, were freed after being held captive for six months in Syria by a rogue al-Qaida group. Mao Asada of Japan topped the free skate to capture her third world figure skating title.

One year ago: Russia announced the expulsion of more than 150 diplomats, including 60 Americans, and said it was closing a U.S. consulate in retaliation for Western expulsions of Russian diplomats over the poisoning of an ex-spy and his daughter in Britain. Malala Yousafzai returned home to Pakistan for a four-day visit, the first by the 20-year-old Nobel laureate since she was shot by the Taliban five years earlier for speaking out in support of education of girls. The 2018 baseball season began with a home run from Ian Happ of the Chicago Cubs on the season's first pitch, while Giancarlo Stanton hit two homers in his debut with the New York Yankees. Rusty Staub, whose fiery orange hair and gregarious personality had charmed baseball fans in the United States and Canada during an All-Star career that spanned 23 seasons, died in Florida at the age of 73.

Today's Birthdays: Author Judith Guest is 83. Former British Prime Minister Sir John Major is 76. Comedian Eric Idle is 76. Composer Vangelis is 76. Basketball Hall of Famer Walt Frazier is 74. Singer Bobby Kimball (Toto) is 72. Actor Bud Cort is 71. Actor Brendan Gleeson is 64. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Earl Campbell is 64. Actress Marina Sirtis is 64. International Gymnastics Hall of Famer Kurt Thomas is 63. Actor Christopher Lambert is 62. Rock singer Perry Farrell (Porno for Pyros; Jane's Addiction) is 60. Comedian-actress Amy Sedaris is 58. Model Elle Macpherson is 56. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., is 55. Actress Annabella Sciorra (shee-OR'-uh) is 55. Movie director Michel Hazanavicius (mee-SHEHL' ah-zah-nah-VEE'-see-oos) is 52. Rock singer-musician John Popper (Blues Traveler) is 52. Actress Lucy Lawless is 51. Country singer Regina Leigh (Regina Regina) is 51. Country singer Brady Seals is 50. Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is 48. CBS News correspondent Lara Logan is 48. Actor Sam Hazeldine is 47. International Tennis Hall of Famer Jennifer Capriati is 43. Actor Chris D'Elia is 39. Rhythm and blues singer PJ Morton is 38. Actress Megan Hilty is 38. Pop singer Kelly Sweet is 31.

Thought for Today: "If men could foresee the future, they would still behave as they do now." — Russian proverb.

Load comments