On this day - April 12
Today is Thursday, April 12, the 103rd day of 2012. There are 263 days left in the year
Highlights in history on this date:
1545 - France's King Francis I orders massacre of Vaudois Protestants.
1606 - Great Britain adopts the Union Jack.
1815 - Austria declares war on Joachim Murat, King of Naples, for occupying Rome.
1850 - French troops restore Pope Pius IX and occupy Rome.
1861 - US Civil War starts as Confederates take Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina.
1945 - US President Franklin D Roosevelt dies at age 63 of a cerebral hemorrhage, and Harry S. Truman is sworn in as his successor.
1955 - The Salk vaccine for polio is declared safe and effective.
1957 - West German nuclear physicists refuse to co-operate in producing or testing of atomic weapons.
1961 - Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man to fly in space, orbit the Earth and make a safe landing.
1966 - US bombers carry out their first strikes against North Vietnam.
1981 - The space shuttle Columbia blasts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on its first test flight.
1983 - Harold Washington is elected Chicago's first black mayor.
1985 - Senator Jake Garn of Utah becomes the first senator to fly in space as the shuttle Discovery lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
1988 - Harvard University is granted the first animal life-form patent, allowing researchers to build a genetically-engineered mouse.
1989 - Relentless artillery battles rage between Christians and Muslims as Lebanon's civil war enters its 15th year.
1990 - East German parliament names Lothar de Maiziere as prime minister, supports swift reunification, apologizes for Holocaust and recognises Polish border.
1991 - Iraqi forces attack Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees suffer from starvation and exposure.
1992 - The United Nations announces a plan to send 100 military observers to Bosnia, where fighting was flaring between Serbs on one side and Muslims and Croats on the other; Euro Disneyland, a $4bn theme park, opens in Marne-La-Vallee, France.
1993 - Nato planes begin patrolling no-fly zone over Bosnia.
1994 - French and Belgian paratroopers evacuate the last group of foreigners from Rwanda as a major rebel force begins pushing into Kigali from the north.
1995 - PLO chief Yasser Arafat widens his crackdown on Islamic militants in the Gaza Strip by ordering them to register guns or face confiscation of the firearms.
1996 - Israeli helicopters fire missiles on Beirut's slums in an effort to wreck the nerve center of Lebanese guerrillas, hitting a Syrian army position and wounding at least 12 Syrian soldiers.
1997 - Pope John Paul II visits Sarajevo on a long-delayed mission of peace to Bosnia. Freshly planted mines are found along his motorcade route.
1998 - Mexico deports 12 foreigners arrested in Chiapas state, where they were visiting rebels.
1999 - Colombian rebels hijack a domestic flight and force the plane to land at a remote airstrip, where they kidnap the 46 passengers and crew.
2000 - An overloaded wooden Philippine ferry boat headed for Malaysia capsizes off the southern Philippines, killing more than 130 people.
2001 - After urging from US President George W Bush, China agrees to release 24 crew members of a US spy plane held by Beijing for 11 days.
2002 - An alliance of Venezuelan military, business and labour leaders oust President Hugo Chavez and install Pedro Carmona Estanga, the head of Venezuela's largest business association, as interim president. Chavez returns to power in 48 hours.
2003 - Philippine troops free the last four Indonesian hostages held on the southern island of Jolo since June 2002 by Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim separatist group.
2005 - Officials recruit tribal elders and musicians to help educate villagers in an area of northern Angola where the Marburg virus, a hemorrhagic virus, has killed more than people.
2006 - Police arrest three people suspected of aiding Italy's No 1 fugitive and reputed Mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano, who is captured a day earlier after more than four decades on the run.
2007 - A suicide attacker blows himself up in the lunchroom at Iraq's Parliament, killing eight people, including at least three lawmakers, in a stunning breach of security in the heart of the US-protected Green Zone.
2008 - Prachanda, the former leader of Nepal's decade-long Maoist insurgency, wins a seat in the country's constitution-writing assembly.
2009 - US Navy snippers open fire and kill three pirates holding an American captain at gunpoint, delivering the skipper unharmed and ending a five-day, high seas hostage drama.
Christopher Smart, English poet (1722-1771); Vajirananavarorasa, prince-patriarch of Buddhism in Siam, institutionalized Thai Buddhism (1860-1912); Montserrat Caballe, Spanish operatic soprano (1933--); Alan Ayckbourn, English playwright (1939--); Herbie Hancock, US jazz musician (1940--); David Letterman, US television personality (1947--); Andy Garcia, US actor (1956--); Claire Danes, US actress (1979--); Shannen Doherty, US actress (1971--).
Thought For Today:
We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are - Anais Nin, French-American author (1903 - 1977).