Today is the 296th day of 2012. There are 70 days left in the year.
1989: Forty-nine Commonwealth nations agree to enact further sanctions against South Africa if further reforms are not taken within six months. Britain is the lone dissenter.
1836: Sam Houston is inaugurated as the first constitutionally elected president of the Republic of Texas.
1862: Garrison in Athens, Greece, revolts, forcing King Otto I to resign.
1918: The Great Influenza Epidemic begins. During World War I, over 18 million people die from the flu virus.
1947: India and Pakistan begin a war over Kashmir.
1953: France grants independence to the Indochinese kingdom of Laos.
1954: West Germany joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
1962: US President John F Kennedy orders US air and naval forces to quarantine Cuba after concluding that Soviet missile bases are being built on that island.
1968: Arab guerrilla bombs kill 13 people in Jerusalem market.
1969: Lebanon's Premier Rashid Karami resigns amid mounting pressure against his government's attempt to suppress guerrilla movement.
1990: Kenya breaks off diplomatic relations with Norway, alleging that Norway engaged in illegal activities to destabilise the Kenyan government.
1993: Haiti's last major gas retailer orders its pumps shut after a UN-imposed oil embargo.
1995: Fidel Castro, in New York for the UN anniversary, receives a warm welcome from residents in the Harlem neighbourhood.
1998: In a drive to conclude a West Bank accord, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat agree on revising calls in the Palestinian charter for Israel's destruction.
1999: Maurice Papon, the former Vichy official who fled France rather than face a 10-year-jail sentence for his role in sending Jews to Nazi death camps, is captured in Switzerland. The Swiss expel Papon and he is returned to France.
2001: A British Airways Concorde completes a round trip from London to New York, the supersonic jet's first trans-Atlantic flight since service was suspended last year after a crash near Paris killed 113 people.
2005: Britain urges the European Union to ban imports of wild birds into the 25-nation bloc as British scientists try to determine whether a parrot that died of bird flu had the strain that has killed more than 60 people around the world.
2006: The Sudanese government orders the chief UN envoy out of the country after he writes in his personal blog that Sudan's army had suffered major losses in recent fighting in Darfur.
2007: Osama Bin Laden calls for Iraqi insurgents to unite and avoid divisive "extremism" in an audiotape apparently intended to win over Sunnis opposed to the terror group's branch in Iraq.
2008: India launches its first mission to the moon to redraw maps of the lunar surface.
2010: A cholera epidemic spreads in central Haiti as aid groups rush doctors and supplies to fight the country's deadliest health crisis since January's earthquake. At least 150 people have died and more than 1,500 others are ill.
Bao Dai, former Vietnamese emperor (1913-1997); Franz Liszt, Hungarian-born composer (1811-1886); Sarah Bernhardt, French actress (1844-1923); Ivan Bunin, Russian writer and Nobel laureate (1870-1953); Benjamin Britten, British composer (1913-1976); Joan Fontaine, US actress (1917-); Catherine Deneuve, French actress (1943-); Jeff Goldblum, US actor (1952-); Shaggy, Jamaican reggae rapper (1968-); Doris Lessing, British writer and Nobel laureate (1919-).