Today is the 218th day of 2012. There are 148 days left in the year.
1962: Jamaicans gather at the newly opened National Stadium for a national parade, flag-raising ceremony and fireworks display that begins at 11:00 pm. It is part of the country's Independence celebrations and is the main feature of the declared national day of prayer that culminates with the lowering of the Union Jack at midnight and the raising of the Jamaican flag.
1772: In St Petersburg, rulers of Russia, Prussia and Austria sign the first of three partitions ending Poland's sovereign rule until 1918.
1861: The US federal government levies an income tax for the first time.
1884: Cornerstone of the Statue of Liberty is laid at the entrance to New York harbour.
1962: Anti-apartheid fighter Nelson Mandela is arrested at a police roadblock; US movie star Marilyn Monroe is found dead in bedroom of her Los Angeles home.
1965: Cook Islands in South Pacific granted internal self-government by New Zealand.
1977: Ten family members of the late Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie escape from house arrest in Addis Ababa and reach Sweden. There are reprisals against Selassie's family and political associates since his overthrow in 1974.
1992: Nelson Mandela leads 100,000 blacks in Pretoria in a protest to end white rule.
1996: US President Bill Clinton signs a bill to punish foreign businesses that invest in Iran and Libya.
2006: The Taiwanese government breaks off diplomatic relations with Chad, saying the African nation was under pressure from China to end its relations with Taiwan, so the island's leaders made the break before Chad could move on its own.
2007: Lebanon's opposition captures one of two parliament seats up for election to replace assassinated ruling party lawmakers in a tense showdown between the US-backed government and opponents supported by Syria and Iran.
Ilya Repin, Russian painter (1844-1930); Guy de Maupassant, French writer (1850-1893); John Huston, US film director (1906-1987); Neil Armstrong, US astronaut and first man to set foot on Moon (1930-); Loni Anderson, US actress (1946-); Tawny Kitaen, US actress (1961-); Maureen McCormick, US actress (1956-).
— Jamaica Observer and AP