French President Jacques Chirac shakes hands with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder at the Elysee Palace in Paris during festivities marking the 40th anniversary of the Franco-German treaty. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

2003 France and Germany celebrated 40 years of reconciliation by announcing a series of measures to bring the once-bitter enemies even closer and position themselves at the heart of an expanding Europe. To commemorate a 1963 friendship treaty, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac promised more cooperation on issues from crime to immigration to foreign policy. The countries said they would seek “to adopt common positions” in international bodies, including the UN Security Council. Their joint declaration did not mention Iraq, but at a news conference, the French president said that both France and Germany believed any decision on military force should be made by the UN Security Council, only after UN weapons inspectors have reported on their findings. Among other measures, the two governments said their Cabinets would regularly hold joint meetings and that both sides would appoint a senior official to oversee their cooperation. The countries also said they would push for common European policies on immigration and asylum.

Other important events

1528 England and France declare war on Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

1655 Oliver Cromwell dissolves Britain’s Parliament.

1771 Spain agrees to cede Falkland Islands to Britain.

1811 France’s Napoleon Bonaparte annexes Oldenburg and alienates Russia’s Czar Alexander.

1817 English freighter Diana sinks off Malaysia.

1905 The Russian Czar’s troops massacre more than 100 peaceful protesters in front of the St. Petersburg palace.

1922 Pope Benedict XV dies. He is succeeded by Pius XI.

1924 Ramsay MacDonald becomes Britain’s first Labour Prime Minister.

1949 Chaing Kai-Shek resigns as president of China, following Nationalist Party reversals.

1956 30 die in a train crash in Los Angeles.

1957 Israeli forces complete withdrawal from Sinai Peninsula, but remain in Gaza Strip.

1964 Kenneth Kaunda becomes premier of North-Rhodesia (now Zambia).

1968 NASA launches Apollo 5.

1970 The first regularly scheduled commercial flight of the Boeing 747 begins in New York City and ends in London some 6 1/2 hours later.

1986 Three Sikhs convicted for assassination of India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi are sentenced to death.

1987 US State Treasurer R. Budd Dwyer is shot and killed himself during a press conference.

1992 Roberta Bondar became the first Canadian woman in space, aboard the US space shuttle Discovery.

1995 Two suicide bombers kills 19 people and wounded more than 60 in Beit Lid junction, near Jerusalem.

1997 The US Senate confirms Madeleine Albright as America’s first female secretary of state.

2000 Uzbek President Islam Karimov is sworn in for five more years.

2002 Israeli troops backed by tanks and helicopters seize Palestinian-controlled West Bank city of Tulkarem

2006 New rebel violence kills at least 26 people in Nepal.

2008 Iraq’s parliament passes a law to change the Saddam Hussein-era flag.

2009 A Chinese court sentences two men to death for their role in the production and sale of melamine-tainted milk that killed at least six children.

2014 Gunmen shoot and kills a law professor Sharaf Al Deen, who has been representing Shiite Al Houthi rebels at Yemen’s peace talks.

2015 The British government begin a historic transfer of powers to Scotland.

2016 Four dies in school shooting in La Loche, Saskatchewan in Canada.