Today in History
1811 Paraguay declares independence.
1880 One of Europe’s Gothic masterpieces, Cologne Cathedral in Germany, is finally completed.
1898 US forces capture Manila during the Spanish-American War.
1900 International forces capture Beijing, China, relieving foreigners besieged there for 56 days during the Boxer Rebellion.
1932 Italian radio pioneer Gugleilmo Marconi completes work on the first short-wave radio.
1935 The US Social Security Law is established.
1945 Soviet Union signs treaty with Nationalist China, recognising independence of Outer Mongolia.
1947 Pakistan, including what is now Bangladesh, gains independence from Britain.
1949 Military coup in Syria under colonel Sami Hinnawi.
1973 US bombing in Cambodia ends, marking official halt to 12 years of combat in Indochina.
1974 Greece withdraws troops from Nato after breakdown of Geneva peace talks and new fighting on Cyprus.
1980 Shipyard workers at Gdansk, Poland go on strike.
1989 South African President P.W. Botha resigns, three weeks before general election.
1997 The United States grants a visa to Gerry Adams, head of the Sinn Fein party in Northern Ireland.
1998 Congolese President Laurent Kabila flees the capital, Kinshasa, as rebels advance through Congo.
1999 Sweden and Denmark inaugurate a bridge and tunnel connecting the two Scandinavian neighbours for the first time in 7,000 years
2003 A massive power failure hits eight states in the north-eastern and mid-western US and eastern Canada. More than 50 million people are affected.
2004 Attackers with machetes and automatic weapons raid a UN refugee camp in western Burundi, killing 180 people.
2005 Israel withdraws from 21 Gaza colonies as all border posts were sealed.
2006 Second largest blackout to hit modern Japan disrupts train services and snaps power to nearly 1.4 million households.
2007 Kahtaniya bombings kill at least 400 people.
2008 US President George W. Bush signs consumer-safety legislation that bans lead from children’s toys, imposing the toughest standard in the world.
2011 Bollywood actor Shammi Kapoor dies after battling illness for years. He was 79.
2013 More than 500 people are killed in clashes and violence at Rabaa Adawiya square in Cairo.
2015 Astronomers discovers a plant of ‘young Jupiter’ 51Eridani b.
Cosmonauts back to Earth after six months
Two Russian cosmonauts who spent six months on the Mir space station landed safely in the steppes of Kazakhstan after one of the toughest missions in the history of manned space flight. The blackened Soyuz capsule, dangling beneath a huge white and yellow brake parachute, floated smoothly down to the barren Kazakh steppe land. Commander Vasily Tsibliyev and flight engineer Alexander Lazutkin, looking tired but well, smiled broadly as they were escorted from the capsule into the blazing Kazakh sunlight. Tsibliyev, who seemed to be the more animated of the two, said he felt “happy to be back on Earth”. Helicopters bearing rescue teams clattered to the remote site as soon as Soyuz landed. The two men gulped down water and doctors carried out medical checks on them in an orange tent inflated near the site of the landing. There is nothing out of the ordinary,” said Igor Goncharov, the mission head doctor.