Today is the 188th day of 2012. There are 178 days left in the year.
1945: Nicaragua becomes the first nation formally to accept the UN charter, under the presidency of Anastasio Somoza García
1923: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is formed.
1964: Nyasaland Protectorate, renamed Malawi, becomes independent within the British Commonwealth.
1967: Fighting breaks out between Nigerian troops and those of the newly proclaimed "Republic of Biafra." The fighting later flares into a full-scale, two-year war.
1968: Solomon Islands become independent from Britain.
1971: Kamuzu Banda declares himself president for life in Malawi.
1972: South Vietnamese capture Communist-occupied Quang Tri city.
1990: NATO allies pledge to reduce both nuclear and conventional forces in Europe in show of friendship to Soviet Union.
1991: UN nuclear inspection team arrives in Iraq to test President Saddam Hussein's promise of full cooperation, while second team witnesses destruction of Iraq's last known long-range missiles.
1992: French First Lady Danielle Mitterrand narrowly escapes death as car bomb explodes near her motorcade in Iraq.
1994: The military government of Nigeria charges Moshood Abiola, the winner of an annulled presidential vote in 1993, with treason. He dies in prison in 1998.
1995: Floods cut through some of southern China's poorest, most isolated areas, raising the death toll to near 600.
1997: Opposition leader Cuauhtemoc Cardenas wins the first mayoral election in Mexico City.
2000: A heat wave baking southeastern Europe sends temperatures soaring to 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit), killing 25 people, while firefighters battle hundreds of blazes sparked by the arid conditions in the region.
2002: Two unidentified gunmen kill Afghan Vice President and Minister of Public Works Haji Abdul Qadir outside his office in Kabul. Qadir's slaying marks the second assassination of an Afghan cabinet minister in five months since the U.S.-backed post-Taliban government was formed.
2003: Liberian President Charles Taylor accepts an offer of asylum in nearby Nigeria. US President George W Bush made Taylor's departure a condition of US troops joining an international peacekeeping force in Liberia.
2004: China confirms a new outbreak of bird flu just four months after claiming to have wiped it out, while Thailand announces a suspected case of the disease that experts fear could jump to humans.
2005: New York Times reporter Judith Miller is jailed for refusing to divulge a confidential source to a grand jury investigating the Bush administration's leak of an undercover CIA operative's name.
2006: Felipe Calderon wins the official count in Mexico's disputed presidential race.
2008: Firefighters in California attempt to protect thousands of homes from a huge wildfire. More than 300 blazes are still burning around the state.
2010: France's justice minister goes before parliament to defend a hotly debated bill that would ban burqa-style Islamic veils in public, arguing that hiding your face from your neighbours is a violation of French values.
2011: Hundreds of Egyptian protesters lob rocks at the security headquarters and set fire to police cars for a second day in the flashpoint city of Suez as growing impatience over delays in trying former regime officials and police accused of killing protesters threatens to plunge the nation back into crisis.
Frida Kahlo, Mexican artist (1907-1954); Janet Leigh, US actress (1927-2004); Merv Griffin, entertainment mogul/former talk show host (1925-2007); Sylvester Stallone, US actor (194-); the Dalai Lama, exiled Tibetan leader (1935-); Nanci Griffith, US country singer (1953-); Geoffrey Rush, actor (1951-).