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This Day In History — March 27

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Today is the 86th day of 2019. There are 279 days left in the year.

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT

1997: Dexter King, son of Martin Luther King Jr, meets with James Earl Ray, the man in prison for having assassinated the civil rights leader. Ray denies having anything to do with the shooting, to which King replies, “I believe you.”

 

OTHER EVENTS

1703: Russia’s Czar Peter the Great founds city of St Petersburg.

1713: Spain agrees in Utrecht, Netherlands, to cede Gibraltar and Menorca to Britain.

1794: US President George Washington and Congress authorise creation of the US Navy.

1802: Peace of Amiens between Britain and France creates a short pause in the Napoleonic Wars.

1836: The first Mormon temple is dedicated in Kirtland, Ohio.

1865: Independent British colony of Kaffaria is incorporated with Cape Colony in South Africa.

1933: Japan announces plans to pull out of League of Nations.

1958: Nikita Khrushchev becomes the Soviet premier in addition to first secretary of the Communist Party.

1960: Iraqi Premier General Kassem founds Palestine army.

1964: UN peace force under Indian General Gyani takes over in Cyprus. Earthquake in Alaska kills 114 people.

1968: Yuri Gagarin, Soviet cosmonaut who flew world’s first manned space mission, is killed in crash of training plane. Suharto, an army general, is elected as Indonesia’s second president, replacing Sukarno, who lost power in March 1966.

1970: Severe earthquake strikes western Turkey, killing at least 1,087 and leaving 90,000 homeless.

1976: South Africa withdraws its military forces from Angola.

1989: Ethnic unrest shakes Yugoslav province of Kosovo, killing two police officers and injuring at least eight other people.

1992: As fighting rages for a third day in the town of Bosanski Brod, Bosnian leaders appeal to the United Nations for a peacekeeping force.

1993: Multiparty elections are held to end military rule in Lesotho.

1993: Muslim extremists kill a Cairo police officer with a time bomb, the second policeman slain in 24 hours.

1995: South African President Nelson Mandela fires his estranged wife, Winnie, from the Government.

1996: A group of Egyptians hijack an Egypt Air jetliner from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to Libya when it is about to land in Cairo.

1997: Seventeen people die in a gun battle in Albania, the most violent incident in two months of unrest in the former communist country.

1998: Leading European aircraft makers agree on a merger that will create a single European aerospace and defence company; US Food and Drug Administration approves the drug Viagra, made by Pfizer, saying it helped about two-thirds of impotent men improve their sexual function.

2001: An empty train riding on the wrong side of the tracks crashes into a crowded commuter train in central Belgium, killing eight.

2003: Serbian police shoot and kill two reputed leaders of the Zemun clan, an organised crime group that the Government implicated in the assassination of Serbian Premier Zoran Djindjic.

2004: Nearly 500,000 people surround Taiwan’s presidential office and block major streets to protest the recent disputed presidential election as President Chen Shui-bian promises again to back a recount of the election that he narrowly won.

2007: A massive sewage reservoir in the northern Gaza Strip collapses, killing five people as a cascade of waste and mud swamp a village yards from the border with Israel.

2008: A Government-managed visit by foreign reporters to Tibet’s capital backfires when Buddhist monks disrupt the tour, screaming that there is no religious freedom and that the Dalai Lama is not to blame for Lhasa’s recent violence.

2009: US President Barack Obama launches fresh effort to defeat al-Qaeda terrorists in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, sending in more troops and civilian advisers.

2010: Europe’s best-known landmarks — including the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and Rome’s Colosseum — fall dark, following Sydney’s Opera House and Beijing’s Forbidden City in joining a global climate change protest, as lights are switched off across the world to mark the Earth Hour event.

2011: International air raids target Moammar Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte for the first time as rebels quickly close in on the regime stronghold, a formidable obstacle that must be overcome for Government opponents to reach the capital Tripoli.

2012: Syria accepts a ceasefire drawn up by UN envoy Kofi Annan, but the diplomatic breakthrough is swiftly overshadowed by intense clashes between government soldiers and rebels.

 

TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

William von Roentgen, German physicist (1845-1923); Frederick Henry Royce, English auto engineer (1863-1933); Gloria Swanson, US film actress (1898-1983); Michael York, English actor (1942- ); Quentin Tarantino, US film director (1963- ); Mariah Carey, US pop singer (1970- )

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