Today is Friday, October 12, the 286th day of 2012. There are 80 days left in the year.
Highlights in history on this date:
1492 - Christopher Columbus makes his first landfall in the New World, in present-day Bahamas.
1822 - Brazil becomes independent of Portugal.
1908 - South Africa Constitutional Convention meets in Durban.
1915 - English nurse Edith Cavell is executed by the Germans in occupied Belgium during World War I.
1933 - Bank robber John Dillinger escapes from a jail in Allen County, Ohio, with the help of his gang.
1934 - Peter II becomes King of Yugoslavia following the assassination of his father, King Alexander.
1938 - Japanese troops seize Canton, severing the railway to the temporary Chinese capital in Wuhan.
1942 - American forces defeat the Japanese in Battle of Cape Esperance on Guadalcanal in World War II.
1945 - Allied Control Council in Germany orders dissolution of Nazi Party after World War II.
1951 - Under attack by French planes, the Viet Minh rebels suffer one of their worst defeats of the civil war with 1,200 dead and 5,000 captured, in an attempt to take Nghialo.
1956 - Britain tells Israel the English will assist Jordan if Israel attacks that country.
1960 - Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev upsets the decorum of U.N. General Assembly by pounding the desk with his shoe during a dispute.
1962 - India's Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru says Indian army has been ordered to oust Chinese forces from Indian territory near Tibetan border.
1964 - U.S. forces take control in South Vietnam, ousting government of Maj. Gen. Nguyen Khanh.
1969 - Soviet Union launches Soyuz VII spacecraft with three men aboard to join two men in orbit in Soyuz VI.
1973 - U.S. President Richard Nixon nominates House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford to succeed Spiro T. Agnew as vice president. Agnew resigned after the Justice Department revealed he had taken kickbacks.
1975 - Pope Paul VI canonizes an Irish archbishop, Oliver Plunkett, who was executed by the British in 1681.
1977 - Sweden agrees to cancel over US$200 million in debts owed by eight Third World nations.
1984 - An Irish Republican Army bomb explodes at a hotel in Brighton, England, where Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was attending a conference, killing five people.
1989 - Rejecting democratic reforms, a high-ranking East German official says socialism will continue to dominate society.
1991 - Pope John Paul II makes his second visit to Brazil in an effort to renew interest in the Roman Catholic Church at a time when it is losing many Brazilian adherents to Protestant groups and African mystical cults.
1992 - A strong earthquake near Cairo kills 450 people and injures 4,000.
1993 - German Chancellor Helmut Kohl pledges to move most of nation's government to Berlin from Bonn, the current capital, by the end of the year 2000.
1994 - The U.S. spacecraft Magellan, launched in 1989 on a mission to study the planet Venus, concludes its mission with a final experiment, to make a suicidal descent toward Venus's surface, where temperatures reach 482 degrees Celsius (900 degrees Fahrenheit).
1995 - Panama grants asylum to Haiti's Raoul Cedras, who had taken power in a 1991 coup.
1996 - Commander Ramona of the Zapatista rebel movement marches into Mexico City at the head of a demonstration by indigenous people on the 504th anniversary of Columbus' arrival in America.
1997 - Cuban President Fidel Castro appoints his brother Raul as successor and urges the party to be unified in maintaining communism.
1998 - Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic agrees to withdraw his forces from Kosovo, initiate peace negotiations with ethnic Albanians and allow international observers to ensure U.N. demands are met.
1999 - A military coup throws Pakistan into political disarray as conflict with India continues over the disputed Kashmir territory. Army Chief Gen. Pervez Musharraf becomes the new leader and promises to hold elections.
2000 - Seventeen sailors are killed in a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. destroyer Cole in Yemen.
2001 - The United Nations and its secretary-general, Kofi Annan, win the Nobel Peace Prize.
2002 - A bomb explodes in a resort area on the Indonesian island of Bali, destroying two nightclubs, killing more than 180 people and wounding nearly 300 others.
2004 - Nine bodies in Tokyo are found in two parked cars with charcoal stoves at their feet and the windows sealed from inside in what is believed to be Japan's largest group suicide pact.
2005 - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatens to kick some Christian missionaries out of the country, as he presents property titles to indigenous groups who he said had been robbed of their ancient homelands.
2006 - Britain and Ireland announce they will present a plan to Northern Ireland's rival leaders spelling out how to resurrect a Catholic-Protestant administration as the province's peace deal intended.
2007 - Former Vice President Al Gore and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change win the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
2008 - A Soyuz spacecraft with two Americans and a Russian on board lifts off from Kazakhstan for the international space station.
2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vows never to allow Israeli leaders or soldiers to stand trial on war crimes charges over their actions during last winter's military offensive in the Gaza Strip, furiously denouncing a U.N. report in a keynote address to parliament.
2010 - A U.S. prosecutor tells a jury a man accused of helping to build a truck bomb used in a 1998 terror attack on a U.S. embassy in Africa was a member of an al-Qaida cell that was determined to kill Americans. Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani is the first Guantanamo Bay detainee to face a civilian trial.
2011 - BlackBerry users across the world are exasperated as an outage of email, messaging and Internet services on the phones spread to the U.S. and Canada and stretch into the third day for Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa.
England's King Edward VI (1537-1553); Pedro I, first emperor of Brazil (1798-1834); James Ramsey MacDonald, British prime minister (1865-1937); Edith Stein, German Roman Catholic saint (Saint Teresa Benedicta Of The Cross) (1891-1942); Ralph Vaughan Williams, English composer (1872-1958); Luciano Pavarotti, Italian tenor (1935-2007), Kirk Cameron, U.S. actor (1970--).
Thought For Today:
The wise man is astonished by anything — Andre Gide, French author and critic (1869-1951).