Today is Monday, October 22nd, the 296th day of 2012. There are 70 days left in the year.
Highlights in history on this date:
1721 - Peter the Great takes the title 'Czar of All Russia.'
1797 - French balloonist Andre-Jacques Garnerin makes the first parachute descent, landing safely from a height of about 900 meters (3,000 feet).
1836 - Sam Houston is inaugurated as the first constitutionally elected president of the Republic of Texas.
1862 - Garrison in Athens, Greece, revolts, forcing King Otto I to resign.
1873 - Emperors of Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary form alliance.
1883 - The original Metropolitan Opera House in New York holds its grand opening with a performance of Gounod's "Faust."
1918 - The Great Influenza Epidemic begins. During World War I, over 18 million people die from the flu virus.
1934 - Bank robber Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd is shot to death by federal agents at a farm in East Liverpool, Ohio.
1947 - India and Pakistan begin a war over Kashmir.
1953 - France grants independence to the Indochinese kingdom of Laos.
1954 - West Germany joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
1962 - U.S. President John F. Kennedy orders U.S. air and naval forces to quarantine Cuba after concluding that Soviet missile bases are being built on that island.
1968 - Arab guerrilla bombs kill 13 people in Jerusalem market.
1969 - Lebanon's Premier Rashid Karami resigns amid mounting pressure against his government's attempt to suppress guerrilla movement.
1979 - The U.S. government allows the deposed Shah of Iran to travel to New York for medical treatment - a decision that precipitated the Iran hostage crisis.
1981 - The Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization is decertified by the federal government for its strike the previous August.
1987 - Iranian missile crashes into Kuwait's offshore supertanker terminal, setting it ablaze.
1989 - Forty-nine Commonwealth nations agree to enact further sanctions against South Africa if further reforms are not taken within six months. Britain is lone dissenter.
1990 - Kenya breaks off diplomatic relations with Norway, alleging that Norway engaged in illegal activities to destabilize the Kenyan government.
1993 - Haiti's last major gas retailer orders its pumps shut after a U.N.-imposed oil embargo.
1994 - A Maltese oil tanker breaks apart and sinks in the typhoon-churned South Sea, leaving 17 people dead or missing.
1995 - Fidel Castro, in New York for the U.N. anniversary, receives a warm welcome from residents in the Harlem neighborhood.
1996 - A cargo plane bursts into flames shortly after takeoff in Manta, Ecuador, and slams into a church bell tower, killing at least 30 and injuring 80.
1997 - Russia's hard-line Parliament withdraws a motion of no-confidence in President Boris Yeltsin's government, a truce that marks an end to several weeks of confrontation with the Kremlin.
1998 - In a drive to conclude a West Bank accord, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat agree on revising calls in the Palestinian charter for Israel's destruction.
1999 - Maurice Papon, the former Vichy official who fled France rather than face a 10-year-jail sentence for his role in sending Jews to Nazi death camps, is captured in Switzerland. The Swiss expel Papon and he is returned to France.
2000 - Armed Islamic militants kill 24 people in Algeria; bringing the toll to 50 in a week.
2001 - A British Airways Concorde completes a round trip from London to New York, the supersonic jet's first trans-Atlantic flight since service was suspended last year after a crash near Paris killed 113 people.
2002 - An Azerbaijani-owned freight and passenger ferry, the Mercury-2, sinks in storm-tossed Caspian Sea 130 kilometers (80 miles) northeast of Baku, Azerbaijan's capital, killing 40 people.
2005 - Britain urges the European Union to ban imports of wild birds into the 25-nation bloc as British scientists try to determine whether a parrot that died of bird flu had the strain that has killed more than 60 people around the world.
2006 - The Sudanese government orders the chief U.N. envoy out of the country after he writes in his personal Web blog that Sudan's army had suffered major losses in recent fighting in Darfur.
2007 - Osama Bin Laden calls for Iraqi insurgents to unite and avoid divisive "extremism" in an audiotape apparently intended to win over Sunnis opposed to the terror group's branch in Iraq.
2008 - India launches its first mission to the moon to redraw maps of the lunar surface.
2009 - In the largest single strike at Mexican drug operations in the U.S., federal officials announce the arrests of more than 300 people in raids across the U.S. aimed at the newest and most violent cartel.
2010 - A cholera epidemic spreads in central Haiti as aid groups rush doctors and supplies to fight the country's deadliest health crisis since January's earthquake. At least 150 people have died and more than 1,500 others are ill.
2011 — Saudi Arabia's ruling monarchy moves into a critical period of realignment after the death of the heir to the throne opened the way for a new crown prince: most likely a tough-talking interior minister who has led crackdowns on Islamic militants but also has shown favor to ultraconservative traditions such as keeping the ban on women voting.
Bao Dai, former Vietnamese emperor (1913-1997); Franz Liszt, Hungarian-born composer (1811-1886); Sarah Bernhardt, French actress (1844-1923); Ivan Bunin, Russian writer and Nobel laureate (1870-1953); Benjamin Britten, British composer (1913-1976); Joan Fontaine, U.S. actress (1917--); Catherine Deneuve, French actress (1943--); Jeff Goldblum, U.S. actor (1952--); Shaggy, Jamaican reggae rapper (1968--); Doris Lessing, British writer and Nobel laureate (1919--).
Thought for Today:
Moral indignation is in most cases 4 percent moral, 46 percent indignation, and 50 percent envy — Vittorio De Sica, Italian movie director (1901-1974).