This Day in History
Today is the 208th day of 2012. There are 158 days left in the year.
1847: Liberia becomes the first African colony to declare its independence.
1908: The Federal Bureau of Investigation — the FBI — is established in the US.
1945: Britain, the US and China demand Japan's unconditional surrender as terms for peace in World War II; Winston Churchill resigns as Britain's prime minister after his Conservatives are defeated by the Labour Party.
1952: Eva Peron, popular leader and wife of Argentine President Juan Peron, dies of cancer at age 33; Egypt's King Farouk abdicates in favour of his infant son after a military coup led by Gamal Abdel Nasser.
1953: Fidel Castro leads an attack on army barracks in Santiago, Cuba, in the hope of sparking a popular uprising. Most of the 160 revolutionaries are killed and Castro is captured but later receives an amnesty.
1974: Konstantinos Karamanlis, new Greek premier, forms civilian Cabinet after seven years of military rule in Greece.
1990: Iraq agrees to pull thousands of troops back from Kuwaiti border after Kuwait agrees to cut oil production.
1997: KR Narayanan takes the oath of India's presidency, the first member of the class once known as "untouchables" to do so.
1998: Prime Minister Hun Sen's party wins a majority in Cambodia elections a year after he ousted his rival Prince Norodom Ranariddh in a bloody coup.
2000: The European Union proposes a ban on the import of "conflict diamonds" from Sierra Leone. The proposal matches a similar resolution passed by the UN Security Council.
2001: Indonesia's ousted President Abdurrahman Wahid vacates the palace and leaves the country, ending a standoff and clearing the way for his successor, Megawati Sukarnoputri.
2004: The EU joins the US in pushing for "imminent" UN sanctions against Sudan if it does not end the conflict in its western Darfur region. Sudan criticises the move, saying it would just make things worse.
2005: Judges in Amsterdam hand down a rare maximum sentence of life with no possibility of parole for the Dutch-born Muslim who confessed to — and expressed no regret for — shooting, stabbing and nearly decapitating filmmaker Theo van Gogh.
2006: Israeli aircraft and artillery fire at Palestinian militants in Gaza, killing 18 Palestinians, including at least three little girls, as Israel presses ahead with its offensive alongside fighting in Lebanon.
2007: Four rare mountain gorillas, including an alpha-male silverback, are shot dead at Congo's Virunga National Park by an unknown gunman. Only an estimated 700 mountain gorillas remain. None exist in captivity.
2008: At least 29 people were killed and 88 wounded when a series of small explosions hit the western Indian city of Ahmadabad.
2009: In a drive to inoculate people against swine flu before winter, many European governments say they will fast-track the testing of a vaccine, arousing concern among some experts about safety and proper doses.
2010: A UN-backed tribunal sentences the Khmer Rouge's chief jailer to 35 years for overseeing the deaths of up to 16,000 people — the first verdict involving a senior member of the "killing fields" regime that devastated a generation of Cambodians.
2011: Kosovo's prime minister defends an order for his special police to take control of two contested border crossings with Serbia, saying it was "the right decision" despite condemnation from the EU.
George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer (1856-1950); Carl Jung, Swiss psychologist (1875-1961); Antonio Machado, Spanish writer (1875-1939); George Grosz, German painter (1893-1959); Aldous Huxley, British author (1894-1963); Blake Edwards, producer/director (1922-2010), Stanley Kubrick, US film director (1928-1999); Mick Jagger, British pop singer (1943-); Kevin Spacey, US actor (1959-); Sandra Bullock, US actress (1964-); Kate Beckinsale, English actress (1973-).