Gen. Rios Mont (centre) held a Press conference in Guatemala City, to announce the formation of a junta to rule the country. Gen. Horacio Maldonado (left) and Col. Luis Francisco Gorallio are the other junta members. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

1982 - Guatemala’s new military rulers, who took power in an apparently bloodless coup, have abolished congress and suspended the constitution. A junta, led by Brigadier-General Efrain Rios Mont, pledged to guarantee peace and security in the Central American republic where more than 4,000 people are reported to have died in political violence over the past two years. He also called on leftist guerrillas to lay down their arms. By nightfall after the coup, traffic in the streets of the capital was down to a minimum. The military officers staged the coup because they said presidential elections less than three weeks ago were manipulated by a corrupt minority. Deposed president Romeo Lucas Garcia was ordered out of the country, the junta leader said.

Other important events

1801 - Russia’s Czar Paul I is assassinated and is succeeded by Alexander I.

1808 - Napoleon’s brother Joseph ascends the throne of Spain.

1857 - The world’s first passenger elevator, built by Elisha Otis, goes into service in New York City.

1919 - Benito Mussolini founds the Fascist Party in Italy.

1933 - Germany’s Reichstag grants Adolf Hitler dictatorial powers until April 1937.

1943 - Germans counter-attack on US lines in Tunisia.

1950 - The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) is established in Geneva, Switzerland.

1956 - Pakistan becomes an independent republic within the British Commonwealth.

1976 - The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights comes into effect.

1987 - An Irish Republican Army car bomb explodes at a British Army base in Rheindahlen, West Germany.

1988 - Contra guerrillas sign a ceasefire agreement with the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

1994 - Mexican presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio is assassinated at an election rally in Tijuana.

1996 - Lee Teng-hui is elected President of the Republic of China.

2001 - The Mir space station returns to Earth, ending its 15-year, 3.5 billion-kilometre odyssey.

2006 - Najah Al Attar is appointed Second Vice-President of Syria, the first woman to hold such a high position.

2008 - UAE announces plans to set up a nuclear agency.

2010 - US President Barack Obama signs into law a drastic overhaul of the US health care system.

2011 - Hollywood actress Elizabeth Taylor dies at 79.