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Today in History

Wednesday March 27, 2002

Wednesday, March 27, is the 86th day of 2002. There are 279 days left in the year. The Jewish holiday Passover begins at sunset. 


Highlight in History: 

Twenty-five years ago, on March 27, 1977, 582 people were killed when a KLM Boeing 747, attempting to take off, crashed into a Pan Am 747 on the Canary Island of Tenerife. 


On this date: 

In 1512, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sighted Florida. 

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

In 1794, President Washington and Congress authorized creation of the U.S. Navy. 

In 1836, the first Mormon temple was dedicated, in Kirtland, Ohio. 

In 1917, the Seattle Metropolitans became the first U.S. team to win the Stanley Cup as they defeated the Montreal Canadiens. 

In 1945, during World War II, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower told reporters in Paris that German defenses on the Western Front had been broken. 

In 1958, Nikita Khrushchev became Soviet premier in addition to First Secretary of the Communist Party. 

In 1964, Alaska was rocked by a powerful earthquake that killed 114 people. 

In 1968, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the earth, died in a plane crash. 

In 1980, 137 workers died when a North Sea floating oil field platform, the Alexander I. Keilland, capsized during a storm. 

Ten years ago: Democratic presidential front-runner Bill Clinton, campaigning in New York, apologized for recently golfing at an all-white club. German Chancellor Helmut Kohl met with Austrian President Kurt Waldheim in Munich, a meeting denounced by Jewish groups because of Waldheim’s alleged involvement with Nazi persecution during World War II. 

Five years ago: Dexter King, son of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., met with James Earl Ray, the man in prison for the older King’s assassination. Ray denied having anything to do with the shooting, to which King replied, “I believe you.” Russian workers staged a nationwide strike to demand overdue wages. 

One year ago: In its first specific accusation against a detained U.S.-based scholar, China said Gao Zhan had confessed to spying for foreign intelligence agencies. (Gao, who had been detained on Feb. 11, was released the following July.) California regulators approved electricity rate hikes of up to 46 percent. An empty train riding on the wrong side of the tracks crashed into a crowded commuter train in central Belgium, killing eight people. 

Today’s Birthdays: Lord Callaghan, former British prime minister, is 90. Blues musician Robert “Junior” Lockwood is 87. Newspaper columnist Anthony Lewis is 75. Dance company director Arthur Mitchell is 68. Actor Julian Glover is 67. Actor Jerry Lacy is 66. Actor Austin Pendleton is 62. Actor Michael York is 60. Rock musician Tony Banks (Genesis) is 52. Actress Maria Schneider is 50. Rock musician Andrew Farriss (INXS) is 43. Movie director Quentin Tarantino is 39. Rock musician Derrick McKenzie (Jamiroquai) is 38. Actress Talisa Soto is 35. Actress Pauley Perrette is 33. Singer Mariah Carey is 32.