This Day in History — November 12
Silvio Berlusconi resigns as Italian premier on November 12, 2011. (Photo: AFP)

Today is the 316th day of 2021. There are 49 days left in the year.


2011: A chorus of Handel's Alleluia rings out as Silvio Berlusconi resigns as Italian premier, ending a tumultuous 17-year political era and setting in motion a transition aimed at bringing the country back from the brink of economic crisis.


1554: Britain's Parliament re-establishes Roman Catholicism.

1603: Sir Walter Raleigh's high treason trial opens in Winchester, England.

1812: Napoleon Bonaparte's army reaches Russian city of Smolensk in retreat from Moscow.

1833: The great Leonid meteor shower, in which hundreds of thousands of meteors are observed in one night, is seen all over North America, initiating the first serious study of meteor showers.

1859: The first flying trapeze act is performed, by Jules Léotard, without a net, in Paris; a one-piece garment that he popularised was named after him.

1912: Spanish Prime Minister José Canalejas is assassinated by the anarchist Manuel Pardiñas.

1918: One day after Emperor Charles's abdication, the National Assembly of Austria resolved unanimously that “German Austria is a democratic republic” and “German Austria is a component part of the German republic”.

1920: In the United States, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis is elected baseball's first commissioner.

1927: Leon Trotsky is expelled from Communist Party in Russia, and Josef Stalin becomes its undisputed ruler.

1930: The first Round Table Conference, called by the British Government to consider the future constitution of India, opened in London.

1931: Abbey Road Studios opens in London and was later made famous by the Beatles, who recorded most of their albums there.

1933: Nazis dominate German elections.

1937: Japanese troops occupy Chinese city of Shanghai.

1941: Soviet troops halt Germans at outskirts of Moscow in World War II.

1944: The Tirpitz, the last of the major German battleships, is sunk by British bombers.

1948: Japan's former Premier Hideki Tojo and other Japanese World War II leaders are sentenced to death by a war crimes tribunal.

1954: Ellis Island closes after processing more than 20 million immigrants since opening in New York Harbour in 1892.

1955: The first 101 soldiers and officers are named by Defence Minister Theodor Blank for West Germany's new post-war armed forces, the Bundeswehr.

1962: Guam, in the Pacific, is devastated by a typhoon.

1965: UN Security Council calls on all nations to refuse recognition to Rhodesia after it unilaterally declares independence from Britain.

1970: The worst rainy season in Colombia in 40 years kills as many as 500 people, with more than a thousand others missing and 30,000-60,000 people homeless. The Bhola cyclone strikes East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), killing hundreds of thousands of people in the densely populated Ganges-Brahmaputra delta; it was perhaps the deadliest tropical cyclone in recorded history and one of the greatest natural disasters.

1980: The US space probe Voyager 1 reaches the planet Saturn.

1987: The American Medical Association issues a policy statement saying it is unethical for a doctor to refuse to treat someone solely because that person has AIDS or is HIV-positive.

1990: Emperor Akihito ascends the throne in Japan.

1991: Troops in East Timor fire on pro-independence demonstrators, killing dozens.

1993: Pop star Michael Jackson cancels world tour, citing painkiller addiction.

1994: A million people march in Rome to protest government austerity measures. Sprinter Wilma Rudolph, who overcame crippling childhood illnesses to become the first American woman to win three track-and-field gold medals in a single Olympics, dies in Tennessee.

1995: Britain ends arms sales to Nigeria.

1996: A Saudi jumbo jet collides shortly after take-off from New Delhi with a Kazak airliner making its landing approach, killing 349 people.

1997: Ramzi Yousef is found guilty of masterminding the 1993 bombing of New York's World Trade Center.

1999: Four members of the banned Falun Gong meditation movement are convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison in China.

2000: Hijack drama on a Russian airliner ends after a mentally unstable man from the Russian republic of Dagestan holds up the flight and forces the pilot to fly it to Israel. The 57 passengers and crew are released unhurt.

2002: In an audiotaped message aired across the Arab world, a voice purported to be that of Osama bin Laden praises terrorist strikes in Bali, Indonesia, and Moscow, and warns US allies against following the “oppressive American Government” in the war against terror.

2003: A vehicle packed with explosives explodes outside the Italian military police station in Nasiriyah, killing at least 18 Italians and 13 Iraqis and wounding at least 100 others. The incident is the deadliest attack on foreign troops allied with the US since the start of the invasion of Iraq.

2005: Police clash with some 2,000 neo-Nazis outside of Germany's largest World War II soldiers cemetery, where the extremists had hoped to stage a demonstration in honour of the Nazi soldiers.

2008: Britain is facing a sperm donor shortage after reversing confidentiality laws and limiting the number of women who can use sperm from one donor, fertility experts warn.

2009: US Government prosecutors take steps to seize four US mosques and a New York skyscraper owned by a non-profit Muslim organisation long suspected of being secretly controlled by the Iranian Government.

2010: Supporters of Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi hold a vigil on the eve of expiration of her house arrest order, hoping to see the Nobel Peace Prize laureate taste freedom for the first time in seven years.

2013: Israel's prime minister abruptly halts a plan to explore the potential construction of thousands of new homes in West Bank settlements, saying it had created an “unnecessary confrontation” with the international community that threatened to weaken his campaign against Iran's suspect nuclear programme.

2018: American comic book writer Stan Lee — who helped create such iconic characters and teams as the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the Avengers, and the X-Men for Marvel Comics — dies at age 95.


Auguste Rodin, French sculptor (1840-1917); Dr Sun Yat-Sen, founder of Chinese Republic (1866-1926); Princess Grace of Monaco (1929-1982); Kim Hunter, US actress (1922-2002); Neil Young, Canadian singer/musician (1945- ); Nadia Comaneci, Romanian gymnast (1961- ); Ryan Gosling, Canadian actor (1980- ); Anne Hathaway, US actress (1982-); Charles Manson, American criminal and cult leader (1934-2017)

— AP

Cult leader Charles Manson was born on this day in history.

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