Today is Friday, March 27, the 87th day of 2020. There are 279 days left in the year.
Birthdays: Hall of Fame racer Cale Yarborough is 81. Actor-director Austin Pendleton is 80. Actor Michael York is 78. Genesis keyboardist Tony Banks is 70. INKS keyboardist and songwriter Andrew Farriss is 61. Movie director Quentin Tarantino is 57. Actress Pauley Perrette is 51. Singer Mariah Carey is 50. Actress Elizabeth Mitchell is 50. Actor Nathan Fillion is 49. Hip-hop singer Fergie is 45.
In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sighted present-day Florida.
In 1945, during World War II, General Dwight D. Eisenhower told reporters in Paris that German defenses on the Western Front had been broken.
In 1947: Jordan, Marsh and Co. revealed it was going to build “the greatest department store in the world” — at Downtown Crossing in Boston. Covering an area larger than Harvard Stadium, it would have two stories under ground; another 14 would rise into the air and would feature such new amenities as air-conditioning and automatic doors.
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, 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 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.
In 1975, construction began on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which was completed two years later.
In 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.
In 1980, 123 workers died when a North Sea floating oil field platform, the Alexander Kielland, capsized during a storm.
In 2006, Al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui 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.
In 2015, Italy’s highest court overturned the murder conviction of Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend in the 2007 slaying of Knox’s roommate, bringing to a definitive end the high-profile case that had captivated trial-watchers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Last year, Facebook said it was extending its ban on hate speech to prohibit the promotion and support of white nationalism and white separatism.