Philippine policemen escort town mayor Ronnie Mitra and Chinese national Willy Yao at the Camp Crame police headquarters in Manila. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

2001 - A mayor from a town in central Philippines is facing a death sentence along with his four cohorts, including a Chinese national, after they attempted to smuggle an estimated 498kg of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu to Manila. The shabu haul, one of the biggest drug busts in the country, happened after police accosted an ambulance and a van which sped past their checkpoint in Real town in Quezon province. Police said that when they ordered the occupants of the ambulance and the van that had a plate number marked “Mayor”, to alight, the driver turned out to be Ronnie Mitra, mayor of the island town of Panukulan. Philippines National Police director general Leandro Mendoza presented to the press the shabu smuggling suspects.

Other important events

1915 - Britain declares war on Bulgaria during the First World War.

1917 - Mata Hari, a Dutch dancer who spied for the Germans, is executed by firing squad outside Paris.

1939 - New York Municipal Airport is officially opened by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.

1945 - The former premier of Vichy France, Pierre Laval, is executed.

1946 - Former head of the Nazi air force, Hermann Goering, commits suicide by poison hours before his scheduled execution.

1968 - Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia sign a treaty allowing Soviet troops to remain in Czechoslovakia.

1969 - Somalia’s President Abdul Rashid Ali Shermarke is assassinated.

1970 - Anwar Sadat is elected President of Egypt.

1982 - Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s closest aide Ayatollah Ashrafi Esfahani is assassinated in Iran.

1987 - Fiji’s governor general resigns, ending a decade of allegiance by the South Pacific island to British crown.

1989 - South African government releases eight political prisoners, including Walter Sisulu.

1990 - Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

1994 - The President of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, returns to complete his term in office after three years in exile in South Africa.

1999 - Pakistan’s army chief, General Pervez Musharraf, declares a state of emergency in the country and names himself as the chief executive.

2003 - China launches its first manned spacecraft Shenzhou V with astronaut Yang Liwei. It orbits the Earth 14 times.

2004 - Australian bowler Shane Warne claims a world record of 534 wickets in Test cricket in Chennai.

2008 - Syria and Lebanon sign a joint document in Damascus, announcing the start of diplomatic relations.

2010 - Swiss engineers drilling the world’s longest tunnel break through the last section of rock at Gotthard.

2013 - A 7.1 magnitude earthquake kills 151 people in central Philippines.