Today in history

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 December, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 December, 2000, 12:00am

In Hong Kong

1958: Lo Man and Poon Tung-ming won the Radio Hongkong 'Beginners Please' singing contest with their version of All I Have To Do Is Dream.

1964: Welsh golfer Brian Huggett defeated Irishman Christy O'Connor by four strokes in an exhibition at Fanling. Both players are now tasting success on the European PGA Senior Tour.

1965: Oriental Booking Corporation announced a two-show engagement with the original lineup of 50s vocal group, The Platters. Tickets were $6 to $30.

Around the world

1250: Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Germany and Sicily, died and was succeeded by Conrad IV.

1577: Francis Drake began a voyage from Plymouth, England, in the Golden Hind that was to take him around the world.

1784: Dr Samuel Johnson, English writer and lexicographer, died; regarded as one of the outstanding figures of English 18th century life and letters.

1816: German inventor Ernst Werner von Siemens was born. He and his three brothers founded the giant Siemens electrical firm.

1884: The first coin-operated weighing machine was patented by Percy Everitt.

1915: South African statesman Johannes Vorster was born; he became prime minister in 1966 after Hendrik Verwoerd was assassinated.

1920: Former US Secretary of State George Shultz was born; he helped chart a dramatic new era in US-Soviet relations as the second longest-serving secretary of state since World War II.

1925: US entertainer Dick van Dyke was born; he starred in long-running television series and in the films Mary Poppins and Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang.

1937: Prince Karim Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the world's 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims and one of the world's richest men, was born.

1937: Japanese forces took the Chinese city of Nanking (Nanjing). Over the following six weeks, in one of the worst atrocities of the Sino-Japanese War, they killed an estimated 200,000 Chinese in what became known as the 'Rape of Nanking'.

1941: British forces retreated to Hong Kong island as the invading Japanese army took Kowloon and the New Territories.

1967: King Constantine of Greece and his family fled the country after a counter-coup failed to topple the military-backed government.

1981: The Polish Government imposed martial law and in doing so took its strongest step so far to stifle Solidarity's unprecedented challenge against Communist rule.

1982: An earthquake measuring six on the Richter scale killed 3,000 people and injured 2,000 in Yemen. The earthquake devastated Dhamar province 96km southeast of Sanaa.

1991: North and South Korea signed a non-aggression accord intended to open a new chapter in their often bitter relations.

1995: Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng, a 1995 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, was imprisoned for 14 years for subversive acts.

1997: Giovanni Alberto Agnelli, heir to the dynasty of Italian car giant Fiat, died after a battle with cancer at the age of 33.