Today is the 280th day of 2012. There are 86 days left in the year.
1999: Overwhelmed by rising waters on the Niger River, officials open the floodgates of two major dams, submerging 400 villages and leaving more than 300,000 homeless. Some 500 are believed drowned.
1536: William Tyndale, who translated the first English Bible, is executed for heresy in Vilvoorde, the Netherlands.
1927: In the US, the era of talking pictures arrives with the opening of The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson. It features both silent and sound-synchronised scenes.
1973: Egypt and Syria launch a surprise attack on Israel as it observes Yom Kippur.
1976: Coup in Thailand results in military takeover.
1979: Pope John Paul II becomes the first pontiff to visit the White House, where he is received by U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
1981: Egyptian President Anwar Sadat is shot to death by extremists while reviewing a military parade.
1992: The UN Security Council unanimously votes to create a war-crimes commission for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1996: Yao Wenyaun, the last surviving member of the "Gang of Four", which promoted class struggle under Chairman Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution, is freed from prison. In jail for 20 years, he was convicted in 1981 for plotting to seize power after Mao's death in 1976.
2000: An official inquiry into the infection of more than 200 Irish hemophiliacs with HIV and hepatitis C confirms that the government's Blood Transfusion Service Board knowingly put them at risk in the early 1980s by selling infected blood products to hospitals.
2002: The Qatar-based Al Jazeera satellite television network broadcast an audiotape made by Osama bin Laden where the speaker on the tape warned the US of future attacks.
2004: The European Union recommends setting mostly Muslim Turkey on a course for full membership in the union. The commissioners set stiff conditions to prevent far poorer Turkey from backtracking on the sweeping democratic and human rights reforms being demanded.
2006: The fledgling UN Human Rights Council ends its second session after failing to approve any decisions addressing the world's worst abuses.
2007: Ruling-party lawmakers claim victory for Pakistan's President Gen Pervez Musharraf as voting ends in the presidential election.
Louis Philippe, king of France (1773-1850); Jenny Lind, Swedish soprano (1820-1887); Charles Edouard Jeanneret, Swiss architect known as "Le Corbusier" (1887-1965); Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian anthropologist and leader of Kon-Tiki expedition (1914-2002); Hafez Assad, former Syrian president (1930-2000); Britt Ekland, Swedish actress (1942-); Elizabeth Shue, American actress (1963-).