Indonesian Muslim leader Amien Rais launches his party of National Mandate Party founder. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

1998 - Indonesia’s popular Muslim leader Amien Rais launched his new National Mandate Party (NMP) before 20,000 supporters, promising to fight for pluralism, equality and reform. “The National Mandate Party is a party that supports and respects pluralism,” Rais told supporters at Senayan Stadium in central Jakarta. Only three political parties have official recognition in Indonesia. In the wake of the political and social unrest that led to the resignation of President Suharto in May, his successor B.J. Habibie has promised to relax the rules. More than 50 parties have been launched since Habibie took office.

Other important events

1788 - British found settlement in Sierra Leone, Africa, 
as asylum for freed slaves.

1846 - United States annexes New Mexico.

1864 - 12 nations sign the First Geneva Convention.

1922 - Michael Collins, the Irish Sinn Fein leader, is gunned down near Cork by militant nationalists.

1955 - A US Navy patrol plane with 16 men aboard is shot down off mainland China by Chinese Communist aircraft.

1978 - Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta dies.

1986 - Former Turkish president Celal Bayar dies in Istanbul, at the age of 104.

1993 - Former Algerian prime minister Kasdi Merbah is assassinated.

2005 - Last Israeli colonists leave Gaza Strip ending 38 years of occupation.

2010 - Thirty-three miners are trapped in a shelter 688 metres underground after a mine collapses in San Jose, Chile.

2016 - Rio hands Olympic flag to 2020 host Tokyo.