Nasa astronaut Edward Lu (left), Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko (centre) and ESA astronaut Spaniard Pedro Duque are surrounded by Russian specialists after the Soyuz TMA-2 landed near the town of Arkalyk. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

2003 - Three astronauts landed safely on the Kazakh steppe after blasting back from the International Space Station, but then had to endure the frustrations of bad weather back on earth. The Soyuz capsule carrying the trio - a Russian, an American and a Spaniard - made what a Nasa spokesman called a “dream landing” in Arkalyk. But when they were being transported by helicopter to Astana bad weather closed in near the Kazakh capital.

Other important events

1886 - The Statue of Liberty, a gift from the people of France, is dedicated in New York Harbour.

1918 - Czechoslovakia gains independence from Austria-Hungary.

1922 - Benito Mussolini takes control of Italy.

1980 - Saudi Arabia breaks off diplomatic relations with the Libyan Jamahiryah.

1989 - UAE qualifies for Fifa World Cup 1990 finals for the first time.

2000 - Dubai Internet City is inaugurated.

2015 - Nepal elects Bidhya Bhandari as country’s first female president.