Today is the 74th day of 2012. There are 292 days left in the year.
2002: Serbia and Montenegro, the two republics that comprise the Yugoslav federation, sign an accord to restructure their ties and formally drop the name Yugoslavia.
1558: Ferdinand I assumes title of Holy Roman Emperor without being crowned by the Pope.
1689: Convention Parliament meets in Scotland, and William and Mary are proclaimed King and Queen of England.
1794: American Eli Whitney receives a patent for the cotton gin.
1840: Constitution in Rome is promulgated by Pope Pius IX.
1844: Carlos Antonio Lopez sworn in as first constitutional president of Paraguay.
1900: US Congress ratifies the Gold Standard Act.
1923: US President Warren Harding becomes the first chief executive to file an income tax report.
1939: The Republic of Czechoslovakia is dissolved, opening the way for Nazi occupation.
1964: A jury in Dallas finds Jack Ruby guilty of murdering Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected assassin of US President John F Kennedy, in November 1963.
1988: Iran and Iraq unleash missiles on each other's capitals as so-called "war of the cities" erupts.
1991: Emir returns to Kuwait after more than seven months in exile and more than two weeks after his country was freed from Iraqi occupation.
1992: The warring parties in Croatia pledge to cooperate to end the civil war ahead of the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force.
1993: An independent UN-sponsored commission releases a report blaming the bulk of atrocities committed during El Salvador's civil war on the country's military.
1994: In a setback to longtime ruler Gnassingbe Eyadema, the opposition is declared victorious in Togo's first democratic parliamentary election.
1995: Astronaut Norman Thagard becomes the first American to enter space aboard a Russian rocket as he and two cosmonauts blast off aboard a Soyuz spacecraft, headed for the Mir space station.
1996: A Congressional committee approves a resolution urging the United States to defend Taiwan. Clinton administration officials said they have received assurances from China that it has no plans to invade.
1998: India's Congress party appoints as its president Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born widow of assassinated prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
1999: Afghanistan's Taliban Islamic group and opposition factions agree in principle to a create a coalition government and end decades of fighting.
2003: South Korea urges North Korea to defuse its nuclear standoff through multilateral talks. The US warns the communist country is just months away from enriching uranium to make atomic bombs.
2004: Brushing off US criticism of a one-sided election campaign, Russian President Vladimir Putin claims victory after voters hand him an expected landslide 71 per cent win for a second four-year term.
2007: A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency visits North Korea for the first time since the country kicked inspectors out in 2002, a significant first step toward renewed relations. IAEA officials say North Korea is committed to nuclear disarmament.
2008: Protests by Buddhist monks in Tibet turn violent. Shops and vehicles are set on fire and gunshots are heard in the streets of the capital, Lhasa. The Dalai Lama calls on China to stop using force against protesters.
2009: Three foreign aid workers abducted in Sudan's lawless Darfur region are released unharmed three days after their abducion at gunpoint led international groups to question how they can continue to work in the area.
2010: French voters scarred by economic crisis deal President Nicolas Sarkozy and his conservative leadership a stern blow by strongly favoring leftist candidates in regional elections.
2011: The US Embassy in Tel Aviv says it is "deeply concerned" by Israel's plans to build hundreds of new homes in the West Bank following a deadly attack on a settler family, calling Israeli settlements "illegitimate" and an obstacle to peacemaking.
Casey Jones, US railroad engineer (1864-1900); Maxim Gorky, Russian novelist (1868-1936); Albert Einstein, German-born physicist (1879-1955); Michael Caine, English actor (1933- ); Quincy Jones, US music producer (1933- ); Wolfgang Petersen, US director (1941- ); Billy Crystal, US actor/comedian (1948- ).