This Day in History
Today is the 243rd day of 2012. There are 123 days left in the year.
2003: Negotiators at a meeting of the World Trade Organization in Geneva reach an agreement that would allow poor countries with severe epidemics of infectious diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to import generic drugs designed to fight them.
1526: Suleiman I, Sultan of Turkey, defeats Hungarian army at battle of Mohacs, at which Louis II of Hungary is killed.
1928: Independence of India League is formed in India.
1945: Britain re-establishes its governance of Hong Kong, ending three years and seven months of Japanese occupation.
1951: United States and the Philippines sign mutual defence pact.
1957: All-African Federal Executive Council is formed in Nigeria.
1960: East Germany imposes partial blockade of West Berlin.
1963: A hotline is established between Moscow and Washington, DC.
1967: Thurgood Marshall becomes the first black American appointed to the US Supreme Court.
1972: US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that the five-megaton underground nuclear explosion at Amchitka Island in the Aleutians in November caused 22 minor earthquakes and hundreds of aftershocks over three months.
1979: Hurricane David devastates island nation of Dominica as it rampages through the Caribbean and US eastern seaboard, claiming 1,000 lives.
1980: Polish workers win strike led by Lech Walesa and Poland becomes the first Eastern Bloc country to recognise independent trade unions.
1981: Iran's president and prime minister are killed when bomb explodes in government offices in Tehran.
1983: Guion S Bluford Jr becomes the first black American astronaut to travel in space, blasting off aboard the Challenger.
1991: Soviet republic of Azerbaijan declares independence and begins forming its own army.
1993: Robert Malval, ally of exiled Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, is installed as prime minister.
1994: Russia officially ends a half-century of military presence in former East Germany and the Baltics.
1998: Troops allied with the government of Congo capture the strategic port town of Matadi from rebel forces trying to oust President Laurent Kabila.
1999: Residents of East Timor vote for independence from Indonesia in a UN-sponsored ballot.
2000: A German court convicts three neo-Nazis of beating an African immigrant to death. Strict sentences that follow are an attempt to end recent attacks on foreigners in Germany.
2001: More than 430 refugees rescued from a sinking ferry, most of them Afghans, languish on a Norwegian cargo ship as Australia refuses them entry.
2002: Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi fires his Vice-President George Saitoti in an apparent effort to quash dissent in his ruling Kenya African National Union party.
2004: The European Union makes a solemn appeal for the release of two French journalists held hostage in Iraq by gunmen demanding France overturn a ban on Islamic head scarves in public schools.
2005: The United Nations names four pro-Syrian generals and a former legislator as suspects in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri — the first major break in a crime that transformed Lebanon.
2006: Israel rejects demands from visiting UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that it immediately lift its sea and air blockade of Lebanon and withdraw its forces once 5,000 international troops are deployed.
2007: Taliban militants release the final seven of the original 23 South Korean captives they had been holding, bringing an end to a six-week hostage drama. The militants had killed two male hostages, released two women in early August and freed 12 on August 29.
2008: Gustav howls into Cuba's Isla de Juventud as a monstrous Category 4 hurricane, while both Cubans and Americans scramble to flee the path of the storm, which has already killed 81 people.
2009: Japan's opposition sweeps to a historic victory in elections, crushing the ruling conservative party that has run the country for most of the post-war era and assuming the daunting task of pulling the economy out of its worst slump since World War II.
2010: An enormous drill begins preliminary work on carving a half-mile (nearly a kilometre) chimney through solid rock to free the 33 men trapped in a Chilean mine, their ordeal now having equalled the longest known survival in an underground disaster.
2011: Libyan rebels say they are closing in on Moammar Gadhafi and issue an ultimatum to regime loyalists in the fugitive dictator's hometown of Sirte, his main remaining bastion: surrender this weekend or face an attack.
Jacques-Louis David, French painter (1748-1825); Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, English author (1797-1851); Ernest Rutherford, New Zealand scientist and Nobel laureate (1871-1937); Shirley Booth, US actress (1898-1992); John Gunther, US journalist/author (1901-1970); Fred MacMurray, US actor (1908-1991); Cameron Diaz, US actress (1972- ); Lisa Ling, US TV personality (1973-);