2003 - Czech President Vaclav Havel expressed hope that the country’s lawmakers would soon choose his successor. Havel, the dissident playwright who led the “Velvet Revolution”, which toppled Communism peacefully there more than 13 years ago, told reporters that it’s “no catastrophe” that parliament has not yet succeeded in choosing the nation’s second president. The largely ceremonial office will remain vacant, following two unsuccessful attempts by the Czech parliament. Until a new president is chosen, the post will be shared by the prime minister and the speaker of the lower chamber of parliament. Havel met Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla and the speaker of parliament’s lower chamber, Lubomir Zaoralek.
Other important events
1848 - Mexico signs the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
1876 - American baseball’s National League forms with team from eight cities.
1878 - Greece declares war on Turkey.
1913 - Grand Central Terminal opens in New York City.
1919 - Monarchy is proclaimed in Portugal.
1924 - Caliphate is abolished by Turkey’s National Assembly.
1943 - German troops surrender to Russians in Stalingrad.
1971 - Idi Ameen assumes power in Uganda, following a coup that ousted the sitting president Milton Obote.
1989 - South Africa’s last apartheid President P.W. Botha resigns.
1990 - South Africa lifts a 30-year ban on the African National Congress.
1991 - An earthquake jolts Afghanistan and Pakistan, killing at least 109 people.
1992 - Serbian officials and a Serb leader agree to support a UN peace plan for Croatia.
1996 - Hollywood legend Gene Kelly, a dancer and entertainer, dies at 83.
1998 - A Cebu Pacific Air DC-9 aircraft crashes in southern Philippines, killing all 104 aboard.
1999 - A Russian built Antonov-12 transport plane crashes on the houses in Luanda, Angola, kills 28 people.
2002 - Crown Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands weds Argentine Maxima Zorreguieta in a civil ceremony.
2007 - Britain records its first outbreak of potentially lethal H5N1 bird flu in poultry.
2009 - Hillary Rodham Clinton is sworn in as US Secretary of State.
2013 - Suicide bombers attack a military check post in Lakki Marwat, Pakistan, killing 13 soldiers and 11 civilians.
2014 - Scottish Stephen Gallacher becomes the first golfer to defend the Omega Dubai Desert Classic title.
2015 - An Egyptian court sentences 183 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death on charges of killing 16 police officers.
2016 - The World Health Organisation declares an international emergency over the explosive spread of Zika virus.