Today is the 3rd day of 2014. There are 362 days left in the year.
1977: International Monetary Fund gives largest loan in its 30-year history — almost US$4 billion — to Britain to bolster the country’s currency.
1521: Martin Luther is excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.
1648: English military leader Oliver Cromwell condemns King Charles I before Parliament. The Royalists soon take up arms again and the Second Civil War begins.
1739: Convention of the Pardo to settle Anglo-Spanish disputes opens.
1777: General George Washington’s army defeats the British in the Battle of Princeton, New Jersey.
1815: Austria, Britain and France form defensive alliance against Prussia and Russia.
1868: The Meiji Restoration re-establishes the authority of Japan’s emperor and heralds the fall of the military rulers known as shoguns.
1915: Rebellion breaks out in Albania.
1921: First Indian Parliament meets.
1925: Benito Mussolini, prime minister and leader of Italy’s Fascists, assumes responsibility for the murder of an opposition politician and dares Parliament to prosecute him. He launches a crackdown that makes him dictator of Italy.
1938: The March of Dimes campaign to fight polio is organised in the United States.
1947: US Congressional proceedings are televised for the first time as viewers in Washington, Philadelphia and New York City see some of the opening ceremonies of the 80th Congress.
1959: US President Dwight Eisenhower signs a proclamation admitting Alaska as 49th US state.
1961: United States severs diplomatic relations with Cuba.
1962: Indonesia’s President Sukarno proclaims West New Guinea an independent province.
1974: Kuwait reaches agreement with Gulf Oil and British Petroleum companies for 60 per cent takeover of their operations in Gulf state.
1990: Ousted Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega surrenders to US forces, 10 days after taking refuge in the Vatican’s diplomatic mission.
1993: US President George H W Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin sign an arms control treaty to reduce nuclear weapons by two-thirds.
1997: A Rwandan court sentences two Hutu men to death, the first verdict in the massacres of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans, most of them Tutsis, in 1994.
1999: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif escapes an apparent assassination attempt when a bomb explodes on a bridge as he is about to pass. Four die in the explosion.
2003: Street protests turn deadly in Caracas, Venezuela, as police struggle in vain to separate battling supporters and opponents of President Hugo Chavez. At least two people are shot to death and 78 others injured.
2005: President George W Bush enlists two former presidents, his father George H W Bush and Bill Clinton, for an ambitious private fund-raising drive for victims of the deadly tsunamis in south Asia.
2006: US rescuers push deep into a West Virginia mine shaft in a desperate search for 13 coal miners trapped after an explosion. Only one miner is found alive.
2007: Myanmar’s repressive military government frees 2,831 prison inmates, including about 20 political prisoners, ahead of the 59th anniversary of its independence from Britain.
2009: After seven days of pummeling Gaza from the air, Israel unsheathes its land forces, raising its war against Gaza’s Hamas rulers to a new level.
2011: Iran invites Russia, China, the European Union and its allies among the Arab and developing world to tour its nuclear sites, in an apparent move to gain support ahead of a new round of talks with six world powers.
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Italian musician (1710-1736); Clement Attlee, British statesman (1883-1967); David W Griffith, pioneer US film producer (1875-1948); J R R (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien, British fantasy writer (1892-1973); Victor Borge, Danish pianist-humorist (1909-2000); John Paul Jones, English bassist w/rock group Led Zeppelin (1946-); Mel Gibson, US-Australian actor (1951-) — AP