updated 3/27/2007 12:42:51 AM ET 2007-03-27T04:42:51

Today is Tuesday, March 27, the 86th day of 2007. There are 279 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 27, 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.

On this date:
In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sighted Florida.

In 1625, Charles I ascended 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 1957, “Around the World in 80 Days” won the Academy Award for best picture; Yul Brynner won best actor for “The King and I,” Ingrid Bergman was awarded best actress for “Anastasia” and George Stevens received best director for “Giant.”

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 131 people.

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

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

In 1996, an Israeli court convicted Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s confessed assassin of murder, then sentenced former law student Yigal Amir to life in prison.

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

Five years ago: Twenty-nine Israelis were killed in a suicide bombing during a Passover Seder in Netanya, Israel. A gunman killed eight members of the Nanterre city council outside Paris; a suspect killed himself the next day while in police custody. Death claimed Oscar-winning filmmaker Billy Wilder at age 95; comedian Milton Berle at age 93; and actor-comedian Dudley Moore at age 66.

One year ago: Al-Qaida 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. Lyn Nofziger, President Reagan’s political adviser, died in Falls Church, Va., at age 81. TV producer-director Dan Curtis died in Los Angeles at age 78.

Today’s Birthdays: Former newspaper columnist Anthony Lewis is 80. Dance company director Arthur Mitchell is 73. Actor Julian Glover is 72. Actor Jerry Lacy is 71. Actor Austin Pendleton is 67. Actor Michael York is 65. Rock musician Tony Banks (Genesis) is 57. Actress Maria Schneider is 55. Rock musician Andrew Farriss (INXS) is 48. Movie director Quentin Tarantino is 44. Rock musician Derrick McKenzie (Jamiroquai) is 43. Actress Talisa Soto is 40. Actress Pauley Perrette is 38. Rock musician Brendan Hill (Blues Traveler) is 37. Actress Elizabeth Mitchell is 37. Hip-hop singer Fergie (Black Eyed Peas) is 32. Actress Emily Ann Lloyd is 24. Actress Taylor Atelian is 12.

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

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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