The skyline is shown in the background during a blackout in Toronto at dusk. - Gulf News Archives Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

2003 Millions of Americans and Canadians slowly recovered from the largest power failure in North American history, as President George W. Bush called the blackout a “wake up call” and urged the modernisation of antiquated electricity infrastructure. Officials were trying to pinpoint the cause of the breakdown and to discover how it cascaded so quickly through much of the northeastern United States and the Canadian province of Ontario, knocking New York City, Detroit, Cleveland, Ottawa, Toronto and a host of smaller cities back into the pre-electric age. Emergency procedures designed to evacuate people from subways and elevators worked. Police in Ottawa reported some looting and also attributed two deaths to the power outage. New York City reported only one death. The recovery was far from smooth. Air Canada cancelled all flights worldwide yesterday, stranding thousands of passengers in Canadian airports.

Other important events

1811 Paraguay declares independence.

1893 France becomes the first country to introduce vehicle registration plates.

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.

1947 Pakistan, including what is now Bangladesh, gains independence from Britain.

1973 US bombing in Cambodia ends, marking official halt to 12 years of combat in Indochina.

1989 South African President P.W. Botha resigns, three weeks before general election.

1998 Congolese President Laurent Kabila flees the capital, Kinshasa, as rebels advance through Congo.

1999 Sweden and Denmark inaugurate a bridge and tunnel for the first time in 7,000 years.

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.

2007 Kahtaniya bombings kill at least 400 people in Iraq.

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 planet of ‘young Jupiter’ 51Eridani b.