From the South China Morning Post this week in 1984 With a stroke of a pen, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher officially endorsed the return of Hong Kong to China - to take effect after 155 years of British rule over the territory. The agreement would take immediate effect within six months and a joint liaison group would be formed to oversee the transfer of sovereignty on July 1, 1997. Both Chinese and British leaders hailed the signing as a fresh example of nations solving problems left over from history through peaceful negotiations. Nearly all influential members of the Chinese Politburo attended the signing ceremony in the Great Hall of the People. They included China's top leader, Deng Xiaoping , prime minister Zhao Ziyang and president Li Xiannian. This was taken as a sign that Chinese leaders were staking their own credibility on the agreement. The British representatives included foreign secretary Geoffrey Howe and other delegation members who took part in the negotiations with China. In her speech, Thatcher pledged her government would do all in its power to make the agreement a success. Zhao also stressed that the 'one country, two systems' concept for solving the Hong Kong question was national policy and not an expedient measure. Deng told Thatcher the signing of the agreement had cleared a shadow over the question of Hong Kong for the past 150 years. Later, before bowing out of Hong Kong, Thatcher left officials puzzled over the future role of governor Sir Edward Youde. Sir Edward looked flustered and confused as Thatcher announced at a press conference that he would be a member of the joint liaison group scheduled to start meeting in July. He interrupted the prime minister mid-sentence to say that his position had not been decided. But Thatcher would not take no for an answer and declared there was no question that Sir Edward would be part of the five-man British team. Senior government officials had stressed repeatedly there had been no decision yet on the makeup of the team. Cathay Pacific flights were suspended indefinitely following a strike by flight attendants. The 1,200-strong CPA flight attendants union stepped up its action immediately after negotiations over working conditions between its representatives and management broke down. Thousands of passengers were stranded at the airport when 13 flights were cancelled. The company managed to transfer some passengers to other airlines, but the arrangements were far from satisfactory, as all other carriers were fully booked for the holiday season. Flights were resumed after a secret deal was made between the two sides. Singapore's two main opposition parties celebrated their success in denying prime minister Lee Kwan Yew's People's Action Party total control of parliament for the first time since independence. The Workers' Party and the Singapore Democratic Party, which won one seat each in the 79-member legislature, said their triumph would put the island state firmly on the road to democracy. Lee said he was surprised at the outcome of the elections. The Vatican threatened to expel 24 nuns from their orders unless they 'publicly retracted' their published statements claiming Roman Catholics held diverse views on abortion. The Vatican demanded that 'every single nun' involved issue a public declaration retracting the abortion statement, which appeared as an advertisement in The New York Times. Canadian Inuit children living near the North Pole had their first Christmas trees - they won eight in a television contest. The 35 children, who lived hundreds of kilometres above the tree-line in the high Arctic, sent in drawings to a Halifax television station of autumn leaves falling. The drawings were accompanied by the following message: 'We never see a tree up here. We could only imagine how falling leaves might look.'