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Reuters historical calendar - April 12

Written by: Staff
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London, April 11 (Reuters) Following are some of the major events to have occurred on April 12 since 1900: 1914 - George Bernard Shaw's play ''Pygmalion'' opened in London with Mrs Patrick Campbell as Eliza Doolittle and Sir Herbert Tree as Professor Higgins.

1945 - Franklin D Roosevelt, US president for a record four terms, died in office. Vice President Harry S Truman took over and completed his term of office.

1954 - Bill Haley and the Comets recorded the song ''Rock Around the Clock''. It sold an estimated 25 million copies worldwide, at the time the second-biggest-selling single behind Bing Crosby's ''White Christmas''.

1961 - The Soviet Union put the first man into space.

Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was launched in the spacecraft Vostok I for a single orbit of the Earth in an 108-minute flight.

1980 - Liberian President William Tolbert was assassinated in a military coup. Samuel K Doe was installed as the new head of state.

1981 - Joe Louis, heavyweight boxing champion, died at 66.

He held the world title for a record 12 years and won 68 of his 71 professional fights.

1981 - The world's first re-usable space shuttle, ''Columbia'', was launched at Cape Canaveral.

1989 - US boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, five-time winner of the world middleweight crown and unbeaten welterweight champion, died.

1994 - The entire Rwandan cabinet fled Kigali as the radio urged civilians to support the armed forces in repelling advancing rebels.

1996 - Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers were declared the world's tallest buildings by a committee of experts meeting in the shadow of the previous title-holder, Chicago's Sears Tower.

1997 - Albania's King Leka I returned home after 58 years in exile.

1999 - Fourteen people were killed when a NATO missile hit a train on a bridge over the Grdelica ravine in southeast Serbia, during the conflict over Kosovo.

1999 - Boxcar Willie, Country singing star, who blended a mellow voice with a rough-hewn hobo persona, died at 67.

2001 - China released all 24 crew of a US spy plane after Washington said it was ''very sorry'' for the aircraft's entry into Chinese airspace and for the death of a Chinese pilot.

2002 - Yadollah Sahabi, veteran Iranian opposition leader, died. Sahabi fought against US and British domination and later against Islamic extremism. He was 96.

2005 - Donors promised at least 4.5 billion dollars to help Sudan recover after Africa's longest civil war.

REUTERS SB RN1041

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