In Hong Kong 1958: A former US Army sergeant, who elected to stay in China after the Korean cease-fire, crossed the border into Hong Kong. He said he was leaving China, where he had spent the last five years as a prisoner of war, a student and working on communes, because of homesickness. The man said he was not a communist but had been impressed with the mainland's construction and development. 1969: Mainland troops fired shots at three refugees in an unsuccessful bid to stop them from escaping into British territory. 1984: Hong Kong entered a new era when British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher officially endorsed the return of Hong Kong to China in Beijing. Both sides hailed the signing as a fresh example through peaceful negotiations of problems between nations that are left over from history. Around the world 1741: Vitus Bering, Danish-born explorer, died of scurvy; he gave his name to the Bering Sea and Bering Strait and discovered Alaska. 1848: British poet and writer Emily Bronte, author of Wuthering Heights, died. 1851: Joseph Mallord William Turner, English artist, died. One of the greatest landscape painters, his use of light anticipated French impressionism. 1863: Linoleum, the smooth floor-covering used in working-class kitchens, was patented by Frederick Walton of London. 1910: French writer Jean Genet was born; his novels included Miracle De La Rose and Notre-Dame Des Fleurs. 1915: Edith Piaf, French singer, was born as Edith Giovanna Gassion. The 'Little Sparrow' became legendary for her sad, nostalgic songs including La Vie En Rose and Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien. 1974: Nelson Rockefeller was sworn in as US vice-president. 1990: Lebanese Prime Minister Selim Hoss resigned, clearing the way for the formation of a national reconciliation government including rival warlords. 1992: South African President F W de Klerk said he had sacked or suspended 23 military officers including two generals for illegal and/or unauthorised activities and malpractices, mainly involving racism. 1993: A Pakistani court acquitted Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, of kidnapping two years after he was charged. 1995: Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky and his government tendered their resignations to President Thomas Klestil. 1996: Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni, the quintessential Latin lover and star of many Italian and French films, died at his home in Paris, aged 72. 1997: A Singapore SilkAir Boeing 737-300 airliner crashed near the Indonesian city of Palembangare. All 104 people on board were killed. 1997: Veteran South Korean opposition leader Kim Dae-jung won the presidency in a close vote, succeeding Kim Young-sam. 1997: Janet Jagan was sworn in as the first woman president of Guyana. 1999: Macau ceased to be a Portuguese territory at midnight, reverting to Chinese rule.