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1987 - Taiwan freed civilian dissidents held in military jails and announced that hundreds of others would have their sentences commuted after President Chiang Ching-Kuo declared an end to 38 years of martial law. The defence ministry said in a statement 237 civilians, mostly convicted of sedition, were qualified for commutation. Those who had received life sentences would have the terms reduced to 15 years. The statement said 23 prisoners were released and 144 others had been released earlier. Seventy others, though given reduced sentences, would have to finish the rest of their terms. Opposition politicians welcomed the move, but some said the government should have freed them all instead of reducing their sentences. Also the government lifted its eight-year ban on direct travel to Hong Kong and Macao by Taiwan tourists.

Other important events

1789 - Citizens of Paris storm and capture the Bastille prison and release prisoners, marking the start of the French Revolution.

1790 - France’s King Louis XVI accepts the revolutionary constitution.

1900 - International expedition, including US and Japan, takes Tientsin, now Tianjin, in China.

1914 - Dr Robert H. Goddard of Worcester is granted the first patent for a liquid-fuelled rocket design.

1934 - Oil pipeline between Iraq and Lebanon is opened.

1948 - Six RAF De Havilland Vampire planes fly from Britain to Canada, the first jet aircraft to cross the Atlantic.

1958 - Iraq is declared a republic after King Faisal II is killed in a military coup.

1965 - US space probe Mariner 4 flies by Mars, sending back photographs of the Red Planet.

1967 - UN adopts a resolution asking Israel to halt action that was aimed at altering the occupied city of Jerusalem after the Six-Day War.

1976 - Capital punishment is abolished in Canada.

1987 - Two bomb blasts rip through a shopping area in Karachi, killing at least 72 people.

1997 - UN tribunal sentences Bosnian Serb Dusan Tadic to 20 years in prison.

2000 - A powerful solar flare, later named the Bastille Day event, causes a geomagnetic storm on Earth.

2002 - A test launch of a supersonic jetliner envisaged to replace Concorde ends in disaster after exploding in the South Australian desert.

2003 - The USS Ronald Reagan, the first carrier named for a living president, is commissioned.

2006 - Allama Hassan Turabi, chief of the main Shiite political party, is killed in a suicide attack in Karachi.

2008 - Face-scanning system inaugurated at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

2011 - Seven kidnapped Estonian cyclists are freed in Lebanon.

2013 - Seventeen spectators are crushed to death at a boxing match in eastern Indonesia after supporters of the loser rioted.

2014 - Emirates airline signs a $13 billion (Dh47.75 billion) OnPoint contract with General Electric for the maintenance, repair and overhaul of its new GE9 engines.