Today is the 247th day of 2012. There are 119 days left in the year.
2009: Gabon's government declares late dictator Omar Bongo's son the winner of presidential elections, triggering the worst violence in years in the oil-rich West African nation.
1609: English navigator Henry Hudson stumbles upon Manhattan, looking for a passage to India on behalf of the Dutch West India Company.
1783: Britain, France, Spain, and the US sign peace treaty of Versailles, officially ending Revolutionary War.
1791: The French constitution is passed by the National Assembly, making France a constitutional monarchy.
1945: Singapore is returned to British control after being occupied by the Japanese since 1942.
1962: Katanga government accepts UN Secretary General U Thant's plan for Congolese reunification.
1967: Nguyen Van Thieu is elected president of South Vietnam under a new constitution.
1971: Oil state of Qatar gains independence from Britain.
1978: Pope John Paul II becomes the 264th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.
1989: Thousands of blacks march and bathe at "whites only" beaches in nationwide defiance campaign in South Africa.
1990: Russian President Boris Yeltsin unveils plan for Soviet republics to take control of their own economies.
1993: Ukraine agrees to give Russia its nuclear warheads and the Black Sea fleet in return for financial compensation, easing two main disputes between the former Soviet republics.
1997: A Vietnam Airlines jet crashes at Phnom Penh, Cambodia, airport, killing 65 people.
2000: Russian President Vladimir Putin debuts on the world stage at the UN Millennium Summit in an effort to restore Russia's clout and develop new partners.
2001: Sierra Leone's president Ahmed Tejan Kabbah shakes hands with his rebel counterpart Gen Issa Sesay, and declares the West African nation's war over.
2003: North Korea's parliament, the Supreme People's Assembly, votes unanimously to re-elect the country's leader, Kim Jong Il, to a new five-year term as chairman of the National Defence Commission.
2004: Commandos storm a school in southern Russian town of Beslan and battle separatist rebels holding hundreds of hostages, as crying children flee through explosions and gunfire. More than 330 adults and children are killed.
2005: More than 100 supporters of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez march through Caracas to demand justice against American religious broadcaster Pat Robertson for suggesting their president should be killed.
2006: Europe's first spacecraft to the moon smashes into a volcanic plain as planned, signalling the end of a successful mission to test a new propulsion system and navigation technology for flights to other planets.
2007: Myanmar wraps up a 14-year-old national convention to draw up guidelines for a new constitution, completing what the military government calls a successful first step back to democracy but what critics dismiss as a sham.
2010: Fidel Castro dons his full military uniform for the first time since stepping down as president four years ago, a move sure to revive speculation the 84-year-old is seeking a larger role in Cuban politics after turning over power to his younger brother Raul.
2011: Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn heads to his native France, leaving the US behind after the collapse of a sensational sexual assault case that cost him his job and possibly his French presidential ambitions.
Diane de Poitiers, French adventuress (1499-1566); Jacques Necker, Swiss
economist (1732-1804); Ferdinand Porsche, German designer of
Volkswagen car (1875-1951); Urho Kekkonen, president of Finland (1900-
1986); Sir McFarlane Burnet, Australian Nobel-prize winning physician
(1899-1985); Mort Walker, US Beetle Bailey cartoonist (1923-); Charlie
Sheen, US actor (1965-).