Today in History Today is Saturday, March 27, the 86th day of 2021. There are 279 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On March 27, 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. On this date: In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon (hwahn pahns duh LEE’-ohn) sighted present-day Florida. In 1884, the first telephone line between Boston and New York was inaugurated. In 1942, during World War II, Congress granted American servicemen free first-class mailing privileges. 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 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 1973, ‘œThe Godfather’� won the Academy Award for best picture of 1972, but its star, Marlon Brando, refused to accept his Oscar for best actor. Liza Minnelli won best actress for ‘œCabaret.’� 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 (ten-uh-REEF’). In 1980, 123 workers died when a North Sea floating oil field platform, the Alexander Kielland, capsized during a storm. In 1995, ‘œForrest Gump’� won six Academy Awards, including best picture and a second consecutive best actor Oscar for Tom Hanks. 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. In 2019, a Wisconsin man, Jake Patterson, pleaded guilty to kidnapping 13-year-old Jayme Closs and killing her parents; the plea spared the girl from the possible trauma of having to testify at his trial. (Patterson was sentenced to life in prison.) Facebook said it was extending its ban on hate speech to prohibit the promotion and support of white nationalism and white separatism. Ten years ago: International air raids targeted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte (SURT) for the first time as rebels quickly closed in on the regime stronghold. Five years ago: A bombing in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore killed 65 people in a park crowded with Christians, including many children; a breakaway faction of the Taliban claimed responsibility. The Syrian government recaptured the historic city of Palmyra (pahl-MEER’-uh) from Islamic State fighters who had waged a 10-month reign of terror there. One year ago: The House approved a $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue package; it was immediately signed by President Donald Trump. The president issued an order seeking to force GM to produce ventilators for coronavirus patients under the Defense Production Act. New outbreaks surged in cities including Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans; where crews rushed to build a makeshift hospital in the city’s convention center. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, a civil rights leader who helped the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, died at 98.