This day in history
Today is the 295th day of 2012.
There are 71 days left in the year.
1945: Women in France vote for the first time.
1969: An army coup in Somalia follows the assassination of President Abdi Rashid Ali Shermarke; Willy Brandt becomes the first Social Democratic chancellor in West Germany's 20-year history.
1973: Four Gulf states cut off oil supplies to the US to protest US arms shipments to Israel in Middle East conflict.
1993: Burundi's National Palace is stormed in a coup and President Melchior Ndadaye is killed.
1999: A powerful 7.6 earthquake strikes Taiwan in the pre-dawn hours, killing more than 2,300 people and damaging 82,000 housing units. The quake causes some $9 billion in damage and noticeably alters the island's topography.
2000: About 23,000 Afghan refugees of Tajik descent flee to Pakistan as fighting rages in the northeastern provinces between the ruling Taliban militia and opposition forces.
2001: The Solidarity Electoral Action Social Movement that Lech Walesa led to victory over Polish communists in 1989, concedes defeat one month after being trounced by ex-communists — the Democratic Left Alliance.
2003: A series of massive wildfires in southern California rages across wooded and suburban regions surrounding Los Angeles and San Diego, killing at least 22 people and scorching about 743,000 acres (301,000 hectares). Some 3,500 homes are destroyed.
2004: Japan starts the clean-up from its deadliest typhoon in over a decade, a day after the storm ripped across the country, killing 55 people and leaving 24 missing.
2008: Former Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra is convicted of corruption in absentia and sentenced to two years in prison.
2010: American influence so dwindles in Iraq over the last several months that Iraqi lawmakers and political leaders say they no longer follow Washington's advice for forming a government.
2011: NATO says it plans to end its seven-month bombing campaign in Libya at the end of the month, leaving the battle-scarred country's new authorities on their own to ensure security after the death of Moammar Gadhafi and the ouster of his regime.
Hokusai, Japanese artist (1760-1849); Samuel T Coleridge, English poet-philosopher (1772-1834); Alfred Nobel, Swedish inventor and founder of prize (1833-1896); Georg Solti, Hungarian-born conductor (1912-1997); Timothy Leary, US psychologist, author and populariser of LSD (1920-1996); Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli politician and former prime minister (1949-); Carrie Fisher, US actress-writer (1956-); Ken Watanabe, Japanese actor (1959-).