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US President George W. Bush welcomed the Dalai Lama to the White House despite Beijing’s stern objections and vowed strong support for the exiled spiritual leader’s efforts to start dialogue with China. Meanwhile, Beijing formally protested “wrongdoing” by Washington in deciding to allow Taiwanese President Chen Shuibian to stop in the United States en route to Latin America. China considers Taiwan a renegade province. While both US moves appeared likely to further strain Sino-US relations, Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer said that “the president continues to believe that we can work with China on issues where we have agreements, such as trade.” While the Dalai Lama’s visit appeared to fall squarely in the latter camp, White House officials took pains to describe it as a “private meeting” with a prominent — not political — figure, in an apparent bid to mollify China.

Other important events

1876 - American baseball player Joe Borden of Boston pitches the first no-hit game in National League history.

1915 - Italy declares war on Austria-Hungary, entering the First World War.

1923 - Stanley Baldwin becomes British Prime Minister

1926 - France declares Lebanon a republic.

1934 - American bank robbers Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker are shot dead by state police in Louisiana.

1945 - Winston Churchill resigns as British Prime Minister.

1949 - German Federal Republic comes into being with capital in Bonn.

1951 - China annexes Tibet.

1969 - Death toll in Malaysia rioting exceeds 500, with 90 per cent of casualties ethnic Chinese.

1971 - An earthquake destroys town of Bingol in eastern Turkey, killing 1,000 people.

1979 - Joe Clark is elected Prime Minister of Canada.

1981 - At least 20 gunmen held several hundred people as hostage in a Barcelona bank

1992 - US and four former Soviet republics sign agreement to implement START missile-reduction treaty.

1992 - General Suchinda Kraprayoon left for Copenhagen after resigning as prime minister of Thailand.

1993 - Republic of Eritrea becomes Africa’s newest independent state.

1993 - Cambodians vote despite Khmer threats.

1996 - A North Korean pilot flies his MiG-19 jet across the world’s most heavily guarded border and defects to South Korea.

1997 - Mohammad Khatami wins Iranian presidential elections by a landslide.

1998 - The people of Northern Ireland vote to accept the Good Friday Agreement, with 75 per cent in favour of a Northern Ireland Assembly.

2000 - Gulf Cooperation Council states sign the Declaration on Cooperation with European Free Trade Association in Brussels.

2003 - US Administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, officially dissolves the Iraqi Army, putting 400,000 troops out of work.

2004 - Horst Koehler, a former head of the International Monetary Fund, is elected Germany’s ninth president.

2005 - Renowned Kuwaiti pioneer Abdul Aziz Hamad Al Saqr dies at the age of 92.

2009 - Nepal’s parliament chooses Nadhav Kumar as the new Prime Minister of the land

2012 - At least 25 people are killed in Andhra Pradesh’s Anantapur district when the Bengaluru-bound Hampi Express rams into a stationary freight train.

2013 - A bomb planted in a rickshaw tears through a truck used by security forces in Quetta, Pakistan, killing at least 13 people.

2014 - A gunman kills seven people in drive-by shooting near a Santa Barbara university campus, California