Calendar of 2003


Calendar of 2003
▪ 2004

January
"So long as there is a single Brazilian brother or sister going hungry, we have ample reason to be ashamed of ourselves."
Lula, in his inaugural address as president of Brazil, January 1

January 1
      The Socialist Lula (Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva) takes office as president of Brazil.

      The American Academy of Arts and Letters awards Strauss Livings to writers Gish Jen and Claire Messud; the prizes, for $250,000, are given out every five years.

January 2
      Nature magazine publishes two studies showing that global warming is causing many different species of plants and animals to change their ranges or alter their reproductive habits; the scientists are alarmed at the extent of the change, given the small amount of warming that has taken place and the greater amount that is predicted.

      Officials of Los Alamos (N.M.) National Laboratory announce the resignation of John C. Browne as director; the nuclear weapons laboratory has been under investigation because of apparent corruption and missing equipment.

January 3
      In Caracas, Venez., a peaceful protest against the administration of Pres. Hugo Chávez is intercepted by pro-government demonstrators, and a great street fight ensues, leaving at least two people dead; an antigovernment strike had begun 33 days earlier.

      Brazil suspends the planned purchase of 12 new fighter jets, intending to devote the money to alleviating hunger instead.

      Peru's Supreme Court issues a ruling invalidating some of the antiterrorism laws passed under former president Alberto K. Fujimori; there are expected to be a large number of retrials as a result.

      In the annual postseason Fiesta Bowl, Ohio State University defeats the University of Miami, Fla., 31–24 in double overtime to win the national college football Division I-A championship.

January 4
      India announces that it has created a nuclear command authority, headed by the prime minister; Pakistan already had such an entity, and the countries spent much of 2002 at loggerheads.

      The National Society of Film Critics chooses The Pianist as the best film of 2002.

January 5
      A man steals a small private airplane and threatens to crash it into the European Central Bank building in Frankfurt am Main, Ger.; much of downtown is evacuated, and the city is paralyzed for several hours until the man is talked down, saying he wished to commemorate the American astronaut Judith Resnick, who died in the Challenger explosion in 1986.

      Two suicide bombers set off their bombs in downtown Tel Aviv, Israel, killing 23 people in addition to themselves and injuring scores.

      In the runoff presidential election in Lithuania, the right-wing candidate Rolandas Paksas unexpectedly defeats incumbent Valdas Adamkus, who held the lead in the first round of voting.

January 6
      The International Atomic Energy Agency passes a resolution demanding that North Korea readmit IAEA inspectors lest the agency be required to refer the matter to the UN Security Council.

      Kenyan Pres. Mwai Kibaki's new cabinet is sworn in; it is the first non-KANU cabinet in 39 years.

      The city of Louisville, Ky., merges with surrounding Jefferson county, putting it for the first time among the top 20 U.S. cities in population; other cities are considering similar changes because the metropolitan areas are finding that city and suburbs increasingly have common interests.

      Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India, bans the slaughter of cows, which are held to be sacred by Hindus.

      A large statue of the Hindu deity Krishna, under construction for the past six years and nearly complete, collapses and kills three workers outside New Delhi.

January 7
      Great Britain mobilizes 1,500 reservists in support of a possible war against Iraq.

      For the first time, under a presidential decree, Christmas (today on the Coptic Christian calendar) is celebrated as a national holiday in Egypt, an almost entirely Muslim country.

      Shlomo Koves becomes the first Orthodox Jewish rabbi inaugurated in Hungary since before the Holocaust.

      The Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty rebukes Bjørn Lomborg for his book The Skeptical Environmentalist, finding that it is “clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice.”

      Catcher Gary Carter and switch-hitter Eddie Murray are elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

January 8
      A U.S. court of appeals rules that the government during wartime may detain indefinitely a U.S. citizen captured as an enemy combatant and deny him access to a lawyer.

      The United States Sentencing Commission approves a plan to lengthen prison sentences for people convicted of corporate crimes, such as securities fraud.

      The U.S. opens talks intended to lead to a free-trade agreement with Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Honduras.

January 9
      Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix and International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed El Baradei report to the UN Security Council that Iraq's disclosure of weapons programs was insufficiently informative but that inspectors have found no evidence of weapons or programs.

      Astronomers announce that they have found 26 galaxies and 3 quasars approximately 13 billion light-years away, which means they date from early in the period that light first appeared in the universe.

January 10
      North Korea announces that it is withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty; the following day one million people rally in Pyongyang in support of the decision.

      Mexico's foreign minister, Jorge G. Castañeda, resigns, apparently as a result of his failure to achieve goals regarding relations with the U.S.; Luis Ernesto Derbéz is named as his replacement.

      Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi sign an agreement to improve trade relations and seek a resolution to their long-standing dispute over ownership of the Kuril Islands.

      The Sony Corp. of America names Andrew Lack head of Sony Music Entertainment, replacing Thomas Mottola, who is a top power in the music industry.

January 11
      In the last two days of his term of office, Illinois Gov. George Ryan commutes the death sentences of all 167 people on Death Row in Illinois, saying that the system is flawed.

January 12
      Stephen M. Case resigns as chairman of the media conglomerate AOL Time Warner; on January 16 Richard D. Parsons, the CEO of the company, is named to succeed him. (See January 29.)

      The ceremonial groundbreaking for Hong Kong Disneyland, a new theme park to be located on Lantau Island, takes place, led by Michael Eisner, CEO of Walt Disney.

January 13
      The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reports that astronomers at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile and in Hawaii have detected three new moons orbiting Neptune; this brings the total number of the planet's known satellites to 11.

      FAO Inc., which owns the high-end toy-store chains F.A.O. Schwarz, Zany Brainy, and Right Start, files for bankruptcy protection.

      The Voter News Service, owned by NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News Channel, and the Associated Press, goes out of business; the networks plan to have a new system in place in time for the U.S. presidential election in 2004.

January 14
      Representatives of a newly created Islamic council in France are officially welcomed to a New Year's reception by Pres. Jacques Chirac; the new council will help put Muslims in France on a more equal footing with members of other religions, which have long had their own councils.

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration suspends 27 gene therapy trials after a second child in a gene therapy trial in France has developed a leukemia-like disease.

      General Electric employees nationwide begin a 48-hour strike to protest a company decision to raise employee health care costs; it is the first nationwide strike at the company since 1969.

January 15
      In Paris, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin opens peace talks between the various factions in the civil war in Côte d'Ivoire.

      A UN investigative team says that rebel groups in the Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo last year carried out systematic atrocities, including torture, rape, and cannibalism.

      In a televised address, U.S. Pres. George W. Bush denounces the use of racial preferences in university admission and describes plans to file a brief with the Supreme Court asking that the admissions policies at the University of Michigan, in which race is one of a number of factors considered, be found unconstitutional.

January 16
      The space shuttle Columbia lifts off for a 16-day mission that is the first in three years not connected to the International Space Station or the Hubble Space Telescope; among its crew members is Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut in space. (See February 1.)

      Random House Inc. announces that it is merging two of its units, the Random House Trade Group, known for publishing literature, and Ballantine Books, known for mass-market paperbacks; Ann Godoff, the influential head of the former group, is forced out, and Gina Centrello, the head of the latter, becomes the head of the Random House Ballantine Publishing group.

      UN weapons inspectors in Iraq discover at a storage bunker 11 empty chemical warheads and a 12th that requires further testing.

January 17
      The IMF agrees to allow Argentina to postpone a $1 billion debt payment until August in return for which Argentina agrees to a program of fiscal policies supplied by the IMF.

      The American financier Boris Jordan is fired as CEO of Gazprom Media in Russia and as director general of the popular television station NTV.

January 18
      Tens of thousands of people in cities across the U.S. demonstrate against the U.S. government's threat of war on the Iraqi regime; the biggest demonstration takes place in Washington, D.C.

      Wildfires burning outside the city of Canberra, Australia, spread into town and destroy 402 homes; firefighters are unable to make headway against the fires.

      In an exceptionally mistake-filled U.S. figure-skating championship competition, Michelle Kwan wins for the sixth consecutive time in the women's competition, and Michael Weiss wins the men's competition.

      With their 55th consecutive win, the University of Connecticut Huskies set a new record for women's college basketball.

      Emperor Akihito of Japan undergoes prostate surgery; the open reporting on the subject is a first for the Imperial Household Agency.

January 19
      The Yuzhengong Palace in Hubei province in China burns to the ground; designated a UN World Heritage Site in 1994, it exemplified a millennium of artistic and architectural achievement during the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties.

      At the Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., best picture honours go to The Hours and Chicago; best director goes to Martin Scorsese for Gangs of New York; and the screenplay award goes to Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor for About Schmidt.

January 20
      Iraq makes 10 specific commitments to the UN inspectors in response to their demands; key among them is the promise to press scientists to agree to private interviews with inspectors.

      France announces that it will not support a UN resolution permitting military action against the Iraqi regime, should one be proposed.

      In Geneva at a meeting of the UN Commission on Human Rights, the U.S. insists on a vote for the chairmanship for the first time in the committee's history, and, contrary to the desires of the U.S., Libya is elected.

January 21
      The U.S. Census Bureau announces that the Hispanic population of the U.S. has grown to surpass that of the black population as a percentage of the total; at close to 13%, Hispanics are now the largest minority in the U.S.

      Pres. Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti visits U.S. Pres. George W. Bush in Washington, D.C., and is greeted with red-carpet treatment; Djibouti has become a staging area for U.S. troops in the Middle East.

      North Korean representatives arrive in Seoul in order to resume high-level talks with their South Korean counterparts.

January 22
      In elections in The Netherlands, the conservative Christian Democratic Party of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende comes in with the most votes, followed by the Labour Party, with the Pim Fortuyn List a distant third.

      The U.S. deploys a system called Bio-Watch that uses Environmental Protection Agency air-quality monitoring systems to also check for the presence of germs related to biological warfare.

      Researchers in China announce the discovery of a small feathered dinosaur with four wings and a plumed tail; about 76 cm (30 in) long, the dragonlike animal has been named Microraptor gui.

January 23
      Australian forces begin heading for the Persian Gulf in support of a possible U.S.-led war against Iraq.

      McDonald's Corp., the biggest restaurant chain in the world, reports that in the last quarter of 2002 it posted a loss for the first time in its history.

      It is reported that some 40 librettos of operas by Joseph Haydn dating from his lifetime have been serendipitously discovered in a secondhand bookstore in Budapest; these librettos were believed to have been destroyed in bombings during World War II.

January 24
      Representatives of a number of Palestinian groups meet in Cairo under the guidance of Omar Suleiman, the head of Egyptian intelligence, to discuss a possible Palestinian cease-fire.

      The U.S. plan to inoculate 500,000 health care workers against smallpox gets under way with the vaccination of four doctors in Connecticut.

      A chartered plane carrying members of Kenya's new government crashes on takeoff from the airport at Busia, killing the minister of labour and two others.

January 25
      West African leaders meet in Paris to discuss the peace agreed to by the parties in Côte d'Ivoire, and Ivorian Pres. Laurent Gbagbo accepts the appointment of Seydou Diarra as prime minister to lead the reconciliation government. (See February 10.)

      Serena Williams defeats her sister Venus to win the Australian Open tennis tournament in her fourth straight victory in a major tournament; the following day Andre Agassi defeats Rainer Schüttler to win the men's title.

January 26
      In San Diego, Calif., the Tampa Bay Buccaneers convincingly defeat the Oakland Raiders 48–21 to win Super Bowl XXXVII.

      Winning films at the Sundance Film Festival awards ceremony in Park City, Utah, include Capturing the Friedmans, American Splendor, My Flesh and Blood, and The Station Agent.

January 27
      Hans Blix, the head of the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, reports to the UN Security Council that the Iraqi regime has been insufficiently cooperative and does not appear to accept the need to disarm.

      Kazakhstan reaches an agreement with a consortium led by ChevronTexaco that allows the consortium to run an expansion of the Tengiz oil field.

      A retailing group consisting of Best Buy, Tower Records, Virgin Entertainment Group, Wherehouse Entertainment, Hastings Entertainment, and Trans World Entertainment announces plans to sell music to be downloaded from the Internet.

      In horse racing's 2002 Eclipse Awards, the filly Azeri, trained by Laura De Seroux, is named Horse of the Year.

January 28
      In elections in Israel, there is no significant opposition to Ariel Sharon, and he retains his post as prime minister with a strong showing by Likud, his party.

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush delivers his second state of the union address; he stresses plans to revive the economy and his intentions to address what he portrays as the intolerable threat represented by Pres. Saddam Hussein of Iraq, and he pledges $15 billion to combat AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean.

      A South Korean epidemiologist and expert on diseases associated with poverty, Jong Wook Lee, is named director general of the World Health Organization.

      Claire Tomalin wins the 2002 Whitbread Book of the Year Award—given for books published in the U.K.—for her biography Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self; one of the other books in contention for the prize was the novel Spies, by Tomalin's husband, Michael Frayn.

      Norio Ohga, a longtime driving force behind the company, announces that he is retiring as chairman of Sony Corp.; simultaneously, the company says that it will adopt American-style auditing arrangements.

January 29
      AOL Time Warner announces that CNN founder Ted Turner has resigned as vice-chairman and that for the first time the number of people subscribing to AOL's services has declined. (See January 12.)

      Ukrainian Pres. Leonid Kuchma is elected chairman of the Commonwealth of Independent States; it is the first time since the alliance was created in 1991 that someone other than a Russian has held the post.

      A French court of appeals overturns the conviction for corruption of former foreign minister Roland Dumas; he was convicted as part of the enormous Elf Aquitaine scandal.

      The government of Nepal and Maoist rebels unexpectedly agree to a cease-fire.

January 30
      The World Food Programme says that the food crisis in sub-Saharan Africa has eased everywhere except Zimbabwe, where conditions continue to deteriorate.

      In Boston, Richard Reid, who pleaded guilty in a trial for having attempted to blow up an airplane with a bomb concealed in his shoe, is sentenced to life in prison.

      Irish Minister of Health Michael Martin announces that, beginning next year, smoking will be banned in all places of employment, including restaurants and pubs.

January 31
      A mob of 5,000 people throwing stones invades the airport at Port-Bouët in Côte d'Ivoire, terrorizing hundreds of French residents trying to flee the war-torn country.

      The American Red Cross quarantines almost all of its blood supply for the state of Georgia and some of South Carolina because of unidentified white particles that have been found in some bags of donated blood.

February
"The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth. Yet we can pray that all are safely home."
U.S. Pres. George W. Bush, announcing the loss of the space shuttle Columbia, February 1

February 1
      In New York City's Chinatown, the first day of the Year of the Goat, 4701, is greeted with firecrackers; it is the first time in seven years that the city has allowed the traditional use of firecrackers in the New Year's festival.

      The space shuttle Columbia overheats and burns up on its reentry into the Earth's atmosphere, spreading debris across Texas and Louisiana and killing all seven astronauts aboard. (See January 16.)

February 2
      After 13 years as president of Czechoslovakia and then of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel gives his farewell address.

February 3
      Shops and factories in Venezuela begin reopening after opponents of Pres. Hugo Chávez decide to largely end the national strike that began on Dec. 2, 2002; oil workers continue to strike.

      The trial for treason of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai begins in Zimbabwe; many believe that Pres. Robert Mugabe stole the 2002 presidential election from Tsvangirai.

      Legendary rock-and-roll producer Phil Spector is arrested for the murder of a woman found dead in his home in Alhambra, Calif.

February 4
      The legislature votes Yugoslavia out of existence as the country officially becomes Serbia and Montenegro.

      The new African Union concludes its first meeting, in Addis Ababa, Eth., with plans to create a new peace and security council and plans to send peacekeeping troops to Burundi.

      Marty Mankamyer, the president of the U.S. Olympic Committee, resigns; the committee has been split by bitter infighting since an inquiry early in the year into conflict-of-interest charges against the CEO of the committee.

February 5
      U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell appears before the UN Security Council to present photographs, recordings, and other material as evidence that Iraq possesses forbidden chemical and biological weapons as well as weapons of mass destruction and that the country therefore poses an imminent danger.

      The rebel group Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy advances to within 24 km (15 mi) of Monrovia, Liberia's capital; Pres. Charles Taylor proposes peace talks and suggests that the rebels lay down their arms and run in the presidential election scheduled for October.

      Pres. Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan meets with Pres. Vladimir Putin of Russia in Moscow; it is the first time in 33 years that the leaders of Pakistan and Russia have met.

      Activists, including the first ladies of several African countries, gather in Addis Ababa, Eth., for a conference seeking the end of female genital mutilation, practiced in some 28 countries.

February 6
      Brazil's flagship airline, Varig, announces plans to merge with its main competitor, TAM Linhas Aéreas, to form the biggest airline in Latin America.

      A small private airplane carrying the Colombian minister of social welfare, Juan Luís Londoño, crashes in the Andes Mountains, killing him.

      The Freedom Forum announces that Myanmar (Burmese) activist Aung San Suu Kyi is the winner of its annual Al Neuharth Free Spirit of the Year Award.

February 7
      China and France indicate that they would not support a new security resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq; both governments say they believe UN weapons inspectors should be given more time.

      The U.S. government raises the official terror-alert level from yellow (elevated) to orange (high).

      NASA makes a final—and futile—attempt to contact Pioneer 10, last heard from on January 22; Pioneer 10 was launched in 1972 and left the solar system in 1983.

      In New York City, Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov and the IBM computer Deep Junior agree to a draw in the final game of their six-game series, closing out the competition at a tie (one win each and four draws).

February 8
      Members of the Islamist group Ansar al-Islam assassinate a Kurdish government minister and two other government officials as well as three civilians in Qamesh Tapa in northern Iraq.

      The biggest Winter Asian Games to date come to a close in Aomori, Japan; athletes from 29 countries competed for eight days, with Japan, South Korea, and China winning the most gold medals.

February 9
      Recently reelected Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon officially accepts the task of forming a new government.

      India begins the biggest mass-immunization campaign in its history in an effort to put an end to a polio epidemic in Uttar Pradesh state.

February 10
      France, Germany, and Belgium block efforts led by the U.S. for NATO to begin planning the defense of Turkey in the event that a U.S.-led war against Iraq makes such a defense necessary.

      Seydou Diarra is installed as prime minister of Côte d'Ivoire, as specified in the peace agreement signed the previous month in Paris. (See January 25.)

      Israel completely closes its borders with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, stopping Palestinian travel during the Eid al-Adha holiday.

      Scientists announce the discovery of the first asteroid with a solar orbit between the Earth and the Sun.

February 11
      Philippine Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announces a suspension in the government offensive against Muslim separatists in deference to the Eid al-Adha holiday; the following day fighting erupts again.

      The giant oil company BP agrees to a deal with the Russian oil company Sidanco and others to form a new Russian oil company in which BP will have a 50% stake.

      A U.S. bombing raid is called in by forces under rebel ambush in the mountains of southern Afghanistan; 17 Afghani civilians are killed.

      The English cricket team announces that it will not participate in its first World Cup game, scheduled to take place in Harare, Zimb.; it is the first time ever that a team has boycotted a venue in World Cup cricket.

      The Kerry Blue Terrier Torums Scarf Michael, which had been favoured to win in the previous two years, is finally named Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

February 12
      India successfully test fires a short-range cruise missile from a naval destroyer, raising the already-high tension with Pakistan.

      Protests against a government plan to introduce a graduated income tax explode into riots in La Paz, Bol.; by the following day 27 people have been killed.

      The album Get Rich or Die Trying by the gangsta rapper 50 Cent sells 872,000 copies in its first four days; it is believed to be the fastest-selling first album on a major label ever.

      Scientists studying the monarch butterfly announce that they have found, to their surprise, that the population of that butterfly appears to have nearly fully recovered from the enormous die-off that occurred in winter 2002.

      Adrienne Rich is named the winner of the biennial Bollingen Prize in American Poetry.

February 13
      The board charged with investigating the Columbia disaster releases preliminary findings that a breach in the skin of the space shuttle allowed superheated gases to enter the left wing, causing the breakup; the cause of the breach has not been determined.

      A U.S. government plane carrying four Americans and a Colombian crashes in an area controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC); three Americans are kidnapped and the other two passengers shot to death.

      American microbiologist Carl R. Woese is named winner of the Crafoord Prize, for having demonstrated that the single-celled organisms now called archaea qualify as a separate major domain of life in addition to bacteria and eukaryotes.

      The City Council of New York City approves a ban on the use of mobile telephones in such public places as theatres and museums.

February 14
      Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat announces that he will appoint a prime minister.

      As UN weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed El Baradei report increasing cooperation from Iraq, several members of the Security Council agree with France's proposal to allow the inspectors more time.

      Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal, is euthanized by veterinarians after being found to be suffering from progressive lung disease.

      In London, Sam Mendes wins three Laurence Olivier Awards: best director, for Twelfth Night, best revival, for Uncle Vanya, and special achievement, for his leadership of the Donmar Warehouse Theatre.

February 15
      Millions of people in more than 350 cities throughout the world rally and march against the threatened U.S. invasion of Iraq.

      The Vatican opens archives relating to the activities of Pope Pius XII in the Vatican Secretariat of State in the years 1922–39, before his papacy, in hopes of showing that he did not shirk responsibilities to protect Jews and Roman Catholics during the rise of Nazism in Germany.

      At the Berlin International Film Festival, the Golden Bear goes to the British film In This World, and the Silver Bear is won by the American movie Adaptation.

      It is reported that the Internet search engine Google has bought Pyra Labs, which deals in software for creating Web logs, or blogs; it is believed that this will vastly increase the audience for blogs.

February 16
      Greek Cypriot opposition leader Tassos Papadopoulos handily and unexpectedly defeats the incumbent president, Glafcos Clerides.

      On a rainy day in Daytona Beach, Fla., the shortest Daytona 500 NASCAR race in history (109 of 200 laps), called because of rain, is won by Michael Waltrip.

February 17
      Twenty-one people die in a stampede during a fire at a Chicago nightclub. (See February 20.)

      Uri Lupolianski, a member of Israel's most Orthodox Jewish community, becomes acting mayor of Jerusalem.

      Beginning this day, anyone driving a private vehicle into a demarcated area of central London between the hours of 7:00 AM and 6:30 PM on weekdays must pay a £5 (about $7.85) fee for the privilege.

      Workers in the diamond district in Antwerp, Belg., discover that the largest safe-deposit-box robbery, as well as the largest jewel theft in Belgian history—$100 million worth of gems—has taken place over the previous two days.

February 18
      On a rush-hour subway train in Taegu, S.Kor., a man attempts suicide by fire, igniting the train and killing at least 198 people.

      In North Korea the Korean People's Army releases a statement saying that should the U.S. impose penalties against North Korea for its suspected illegal nuclear arms program, the North Korean military would no longer feel bound by the 1953 armistice agreement ending hostilities in the Korean War.

      The U.S. National Academy of Engineering awards its Draper Prize to Bradford Parkinson and Ivan Getting for their work in developing the Global Positioning System satellites and its Russ Prize to Willem Kolff for his invention of the artificial kidney-dialysis machine.

February 19
      A Russian-made Ilyushin airliner, flying from Zahedan to Kerman in Iran and carrying 302 people, mostly members of the Revolutionary Guards, crashes near Shahdad, killing all aboard; it is the worst air disaster in Iran's history.

      In a trial in Hamburg, Ger., the first person is convicted in relation to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; Mounir al-Motassadeq is found guilty of 3,066 counts of accessory to murder and is sentenced to 15 years in prison.

      It is announced at a NASA briefing that erosional gullies on the Martian surface, revealed in photographs from the Mars Odyssey spacecraft, may be the result of snowmelt running underneath a thick snow covering; a week earlier it had been reported that both polar icecaps on Mars could contain much more water than previously thought.

      It is reported that the human remains in the Lake Mungo region of Australia, previously dated as 62,000 years old, are in fact only 42,000 years old and thus in line with theories that the great human migration out of Africa began 50,000 years ago.

February 20
      More than 100 people die in a stampede during a nightclub fire in West Warwick, R.I. (See February 17.)

      In the midst of a period of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, Israel divides the Gaza Strip into three separate security zones, which leads to fears among Palestinians of a complete takeover.

      A new pan-Arab television news channel, al-Arabiyah, owned by the satellite television station MBC, goes on the air in the United Arab Emirates.

      U.S. officials announce plans to send some 1,700 troops to the southern Philippines to combat the Muslim terrorist group Abu Sayyaf.

      The U.S. government brings charges against eight people, including Sami al-Arian, a professor at the University of South Florida, accusing them of sending financial and logistic support to Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

February 21
      U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell begins a five-day trip to Asia to persuade the leaders of South Korea, China, and Japan to go along with the U.S. approach to North Korea; he also plans to attend the inauguration of Roh Moo Hyun as president of South Korea on February 25.

      UN weapons inspector Hans Blix orders Iraq to dismantle its al-Samoud 2 missiles, which have a range that exceeds UN-imposed limits, by the end of the month; on February 27 Iraq agrees to do so.

      The World Health Organization suggests an increase in preparedness in response to reports that two family members in Hong Kong have contracted avian flu and one has died, though human-to-human transmission of the flu is believed to be rare and difficult.

February 22
      The main Protestant paramilitary group in Northern Ireland, the Ulster Defense Association, declares a 12-month cease-fire and agrees to cooperate with an organization charged with monitoring disarmament of paramilitary groups.

      In Karachi, Pak., gunmen open fire inside a Shiʿite mosque, killing nine people, in the first major sectarian attack since June 2002.

      Sporting a new tattoo covering the left side of his face, Mike Tyson knocks out Clifford Etienne 49 seconds into the heavyweight fight in Memphis, Tenn.

February 23
      Results of the first large-scale trial of an AIDS vaccine indicate that the vaccine is largely ineffective, though it appears to have some small efficacy among African Americans and Asians.

      At the Grammy Awards, which are held in New York City for the first time since 1998, the top winner is Norah Jones, who wins five Grammys, including Record of the Year (“Don't Know Why”), Album of the Year (Come Away with Me), and best new artist; the Song of the Year goes to her recording of “Don't Know Why,” written by Jesse Harris.

February 24
      The U.S., Great Britain, and Spain request that the UN Security Council declare that Iraq has failed to disarm as required, while France, Germany, and Russia ask the Council to give inspectors greater powers and more time.

      In Washington, D.C., the National Governors Association, which pleads that the states are facing their worst financial crisis since World War II, is told by Pres. George W. Bush that the federal government will be unable to provide fiscal assistance to them.

      Frederick Chiluba, who was president of Zambia in 1991–2002, is arrested and accused of stealing from the state treasury.

      The Serbian nationalist paramilitary leader Vojislav Seselj voluntarily surrenders to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

February 25
      Roh Moo Hyun is inaugurated as president of South Korea.

      Two months after deliveries of food aid to North Korea were halted, the U.S. announces that it will resume the shipments but at a reduced level.

      A U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter crashes in a sandstorm in Kuwait, killing all four crew members; the vehicle and crew were part of a troop buildup in Kuwait in anticipation of a war against Iraq.

      The Conference Board, a private business association, reports that consumer confidence in the U.S. fell 15 points in February to its lowest level since 1993.

      The Credit Suisse Group reports a loss of $2.4 billion in 2002, the largest one-year deficit in the bank's history.

February 26
      In a nationally televised address, U.S. Pres. George W. Bush asserts that removing Saddam Hussein as president of Iraq would increase stability in the Middle East and could lead to the creation of a Palestinian state living in peace with Israel; he also suggests that a failure to confront Iraq on the part of the UN Security Council would weaken the authority of the United Nations.

      U.S. intelligence officials say that North Korea has restarted a reactor at its main nuclear complex.

      It is reported that the personal art collection of Pierre Matisse, a son of the artist Henri Matisse, has been donated to New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art; the collection contains more than 100 pieces by the most prominent artists of the 20th century.

      Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon surprises analysts by replacing Benjamin Netanyahu as foreign minister with economist Silvan Shalom.

February 27
      The U.S. government lowers the terror-alert level to yellow (elevated).

      Archbishop Rowan Williams is enthroned as archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Anglican Communion.

      Biljana Plavsic, who served two years as president of the self-proclaimed Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is sentenced to 11 years in prison by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for crimes against humanity.

      Officials in New York City announce that the design submitted by Studio Daniel Libeskind has been chosen for rebuilding on the site of the World Trade Center, destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001.

February 28
      Vaclav Klaus is elected president of the Czech Republic.

      The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refuses a request from the U.S. government that it reconsider its ruling that requiring children in public schools to recite the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional because the pledge contains the words “under God.”

March
"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraqi regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."
U.S. Pres. George W. Bush, in a nationally televised address on the imminence of war against Iraq, March 17

March 1
      Authorities in Pakistan arrest Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who is believed to be one of the top members of al-Qaeda and who is thought to have planned the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

      Iraqi workers begin destroying the illegal al-Samoud 2 missiles under the supervision of UN weapons inspectors.

      Turkey's Grand National Assembly rejects the agreement made by government officials to allow the U.S. to base troops in Turkey in order to wage war in northern Iraq.

      The World Health Organization adopts the final text for the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, aimed at curtailing the use of tobacco products.

March 2
      Tens of thousands of people, mostly militant Muslims, in Islamabad, Pak., demonstrate their opposition to a U.S. war against Iraq and the possibility of Pres. Pervez Musharraf's cooperating with such an action.

      French Pres. Jacques Chirac arrives in Algiers in the first state visit by the leader of France to Algeria since the former French colony became independent in 1962.

      The Swiss team Alinghi, led by Russell Coutts, defeats Team New Zealand to win the America's Cup, the world's most prestigious yacht race; it is Coutts's third consecutive victory (his first two wins were as the skipper for New Zealand).

March 3
      The legislative body of the new country of Serbia and Montenegro holds its first session, in Belgrade, the capital; the body consists of 91 deputies from Serbia and 35 deputies from Montenegro.

      A radio announcer in North Korea reads a statement from leader Kim Jong Il to the effect that an attack on North Korea by the U.S. would lead to nuclear war.

      On about 900 stages of all sizes and sorts in many countries, a reading of Aristophanes' play Lysistrata takes place as an organized worldwide antiwar protest.

      A design by Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman, featuring 184 benches with trees and reflecting pools, is chosen to memorialize the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

March 4
      A bomb explodes at the international airport in Davao City, Phil., killing at least 21 people and wounding 170 more.

March 5
      The foreign ministers of France, Russia, and Germany issue a statement that they would not permit passage of a UN Security Council resolution to authorize the use of force in Iraq, adding that France and Russia, permanent members of the Council, would veto such a resolution.

      An emergency meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Doha, Qatar, which was called to try to find a way to avert a U.S. war against the Iraqi regime, breaks up in acrimony and insults.

      A bomb destroys a city bus in Haifa, Israel, killing at least 15 passengers in the first deadly suicide attack in Israel in two months; the following day Israeli forces attack a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, leaving 11 dead.

      The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of California's “three strikes” law, which mandates lengthy prison terms for anyone who is convicted of the same type of crime three times, regardless of the severity of the crime.

      The Supreme Court of Argentina declares unconstitutional a presidential decree converting all dollars deposited in banks into pesos; the decree had been promulgated a year earlier in an effort to bring stability to the Argentine economy.

March 6
      In his first formal White House news conference in almost 18 months, U.S. Pres. George W. Bush says that Iraqi Pres. Saddam Hussein poses a direct threat to the U.S. and that UN opposition will not deter Washington from attacking Iraq.

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush award the 2002 National Medal of Arts to designer and architect Florence Knoll Bassett, dancer and choreographer Trisha Brown, museum director Philippe de Montebello, actress and educator Uta Hagen, architect and environmental planner Lawrence Halprin, cartoonist Al Hirschfeld (recently deceased), country singer and songwriter George Jones, painter and stage designer Ming Cho Lee, and singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson.

March 7
      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush announces economic sanctions against the leaders of Zimbabwe's government, forbidding Americans to do business with them; the European Union had previously imposed similar measures.

      The legislature of Serbia and Montenegro elects Svetozar Marovic president of the country; Marovic, who also holds the position of prime minister, had been an official in Montenegro's government.

      Almost all of Broadway goes dark as stage musicians in New York City go on strike and actors and stagehands honour the strike, causing nearly all musicals to cancel performances; at issue is the minimum number of musicians a production must employ.

March 8
      Meeting in Accra, Ghana, representatives of the warring parties in Côte d'Ivoire agree to the composition of a national reconciliation government, but fighting breaks out anew in the western region of the country.

      Citizens of Malta approve membership in the European Union; the national referendum is the first among the proposed new members of the EU, so the vote is watched with considerable interest.

      A judge in Argentina issues arrest warrants for four officials of the Iranian government, charging them with responsibility for the bombing of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994, that killed 85 people.

March 9
      Israeli forces kill Ibrahim al-Makadmah, a leader of the Palestinian separatist group Hamas.

      In the biggest demonstrations since 1991, tens of thousands of protesters march in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, to demand the resignation of Pres. Leonid Kuchma.

March 10
      Deutsche Telekom, the German telecommunications company, announces losses in 2002 of about $27.1 billion, the biggest shortfall in European corporate history.

      The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, inducts AC/DC, the Clash, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, the Police, and the Righteous Brothers.

March 11
      The new International Criminal Court holds its inaugural session in The Hague, attended by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and hundreds of other high-ranking officials.

      Turkish Pres. Ahmet Necdet Sezer asks Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the head of the ruling Justice and Development Party, to form a government after Prime Minister Abdullah Gul resigns.

      In a small ribbon-cutting ceremony, the European Union opens its first diplomatic office in Cuba, in Havana; the EU is Cuba's biggest trading partner.

      The head of the U.S. House Administration Committee orders that henceforth the cafeteria in the House of Representatives will serve “freedom fries” and “freedom toast” rather than French fries and French toast; the move is intended to showcase political frustration with the French position against a U.S.-led war in Iraq.

      In National Collegiate Athletic Association women's basketball, the Villanova University Wildcats defeat the University of Connecticut Huskies in the Big East division championship, snapping the Huskies' record winning streak of 70 games.

March 12
      Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic is assassinated by snipers in downtown Belgrade; officials believe the killing is a response to Djindjic's crackdown on organized crime.

      Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped from her home in Salt Lake City, Utah, in June 2002, is found with her kidnappers alive but apparently having been sexually abused.

March 13
      A bomb explodes on a rush-hour train at a station in Mulund, India, a suburb of Mumbai (Bombay), killing 10 people and injuring 75.

      Robert Sorlie of Norway wins the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race; unusual weather had forced the organizers to include a detour that added some 110 km (70 mi) to the race and to cut the final 80 km (50 mi) to the final line in Nome, Alaska.

March 14
      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush says that he will adopt a peace plan, referred to as a “road map,” for Israel and Palestine and will work for its acceptance as soon as Palestine has a new prime minister; he had previously said that he would not address that issue until the situation in Iraq had been resolved to his satisfaction.

      Admitting for the first time that the weakness of Germany's economy is partially due to structural flaws, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder introduces a major reform program.

      Stancliffe's Hotel, a novella written by Charlotte Brontë in 1838, appears in print for the first time, published in its entirety in The Times of London.

March 15
      The World Health Organization issues its first worldwide health alert in a decade, regarding a mysterious respiratory illness, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), that has struck hundreds of people in China, Hong Kong, and Vietnam and has been reported in Canada.

      Hu Jintao is ceremonially named China's new president, replacing Jiang Zemin, who remains head of the People's Liberation Army; the following day Wen Jiabao is named prime minister, replacing Zhu Rongji.

      Opponents of war in Iraq lead large protests in several major American cities.

March 16
      Legislative elections in Finland result in a victory for the conservative Centre Party, led by Anneli Jäätteenmäki, over Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen's Social Democratic Party. (See June 24.)

      A referendum in Liechtenstein increases the already unusually great powers of Prince Hans Adam II, who had said he would leave the country and move to Vienna if the referendum did not pass.

      Zoran Zivkovic is nominated to replace the assassinated Zoran Djindjic as prime minister of Serbia; Zivkovic was a key ally of Djindjic's.

March 17
      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush, in a nationally televised address, declares that Saddam Hussein and his sons must abandon Iraq within 48 hours or suffer a military attack; the U.S. government raises the terror-alert level from yellow (elevated) to orange (high).

      After a weekend coup in the Central African Republic, rebel leader François Bozize declares himself president; French citizens flee the country.

      Spain's Supreme Court bans the militant Basque political party Batasuna; it is the first time since the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975 that a political party has been outlawed in Spain.

March 18
      The aluminum-producing company Alcoa reaches an agreement with Iceland to build an aluminum smelter in Reydarfjorður; the smelter is to be the sole customer for an enormous and controversial hydroelectric project in the wilderness area being undertaken by Landsvirkjun, Iceland's national power company.

      An Egyptian court dismisses all charges against democracy advocate Saad Eddin Ibrahim, whose conviction and imprisonment on the same charges in 2002 evoked international protests.

March 19
      The U.S. begins air strikes against Baghdad, the capital of Iraq; the first target is a complex in which Saddam Hussein was believed to be holding a meeting; even months later, however, Hussein's fate is unknown.

      Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat names Mahmoud Abbas to the new position of prime minister.

      Holmes Rolston III, a Presbyterian minister and professor of philosophy known as a founder of environmental ethics, is named the winner of the Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries About Spiritual Realities.

March 20
      U.S. and British forces push into Iraq from Kuwait, and cruise missiles are directed into Baghdad; the first coalition casualties are reported as the result of a helicopter crash in Kuwait.

      Hundreds of thousands of people in cities throughout the world demonstrate against the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq; the biggest protests take place outside the U.S.

March 21
      Avianca, Colombia's flagship carrier and the oldest airline in Latin America, files for bankruptcy protection in a U.S. court; the company plans to continue operating, however.

      South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission concludes its work, and commission head Bishop Desmond Tutu delivers its multivolume report to Pres. Thabo Mbeki.

March 22
      The French petroleum company TotalFinaElf announces that it is shutting its oil facilities in western Nigeria and evacuating its employees because of increasing ethnic violence; workers at a ChevronTexaco terminal have been stranded by the violence, and ChevronTexaco and Shell have already shut down operations in the area.

March 23
      A U.S. soldier with the 101st Airborne Division in Kuwait attacks command tents with small-arms fire and a grenade, killing one person and wounding 15.

      The Academy Awards ceremony is only slightly overshadowed by the war in Iraq; the gala is hosted by Steve Martin, and Oscars are won by, among others, Chicago, director Roman Polanski, and actors Adrien Brody, Nicole Kidman, Chris Cooper, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

      In two referenda in Slovenia, citizens vote strongly in favour of their country's joining both NATO and the European Union.

      A Russian-sponsored referendum on a new constitution is held in Chechnya; reported results are 96% in favour of the proposal, which envisions an elected government and a continuation of the republic's status as part of Russia.

      Australia defeats India by 125 runs to win a record third Cricket World Cup; Australia's score of 359 for 2 is that country's highest-ever one-day total.

      At the close of the Third World Water Forum in Japan, UNESCO announces the creation of the Water Cooperation Facility in partnership with the World Water Council; the new organization will promote mechanisms for sustainable water development and will mediate disputes over international access to fresh water.

March 24
      U.S. forces enter and fight for control of the Iraqi city of Al-Nasiriyah.

      The Qatar-based television network al-Jazeera launches an English-language Web site, starting with coverage of the war in Iraq; the site is almost immediately hijacked by hackers.

      In India, gunmen enter the Kashmiri village of Nadi Marg, spraying gunfire; 24 Hindu civilians are killed.

March 25
      Officials of the World Health Organization say that China has not allowed its team of investigators to enter Guangdong province, where the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic is believed to have begun; China says the outbreak in that province has already died out.

      Boris Berezovsky, once one of the most influential people in Russia and now an expatriate billionaire in Great Britain, is arrested by British authorities for possible extradition to Russia on fraud charges.

      The U.S. Air Force announces that the top four commanders of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., will be replaced; the action comes after months of complaints by female cadets who reported being sexually harassed or abused and claimed they themselves, rather than their attackers, were investigated.

      A group of figure-skating professionals, including coaches, judges, and skaters, announce the formation of the World Skating Federation; the new organization hopes to replace the International Skating Union as the governing body of the sport, believing the older organization to be hopelessly corrupt.

March 26
      U.S. forces fighting in Iraq open a northern front with 1,000 paratroopers.

      Health officials in China double their estimate of the number of cases and deaths from SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in Guangdong province as of the end of February; there are widespread complaints about the cooperation of Chinese officials in sharing information about the disease, about which almost nothing is known.

      The World Trade Organization rules that the steel tariffs imposed by the U.S. in early 2002 are illegal under the agreements made by the organization's members.

March 27
      Amnesty International reports escalating violence on the part of the government of Zimbabwe against opposition figures; hundreds have been arrested, and there is evidence of torture.

March 28
      Japan launches a rocket to place into orbit two spy satellites; the move evokes strenuous objections from North Korea, whose recent bellicose policies were likely one factor behind the launching.

      The UN Security Council places UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in charge of Iraq's oil-for-food program for the time being; some 60% of Iraq depends on this program.

      Argentina's government announces that it will lift the freeze on savings accounts in banks over the next three months and that depositors will get back some 80% of their assets; the freeze has been in place since 2001.

March 29
      In Washington, D.C., Michelle Kwan wins her fifth world figure-skating championship.

      Moon Ballad, owned by Sheikh Muhammad al-Maktoum and ridden by Frankie Dettori, wins the Dubai World Cup, the richest horse race in the world.

March 30
      A law banning cigarette smoking in all places of employment, including restaurants and bars, goes into effect in New York City.

      Tens of thousands of people attend opening ceremonies for the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara in London; it is the largest Sikh temple outside India, with a capacity of 3,000 people.

      Susan Gibson, a chemist at King's College, London, is named the first recipient of the Rosalind Franklin Award, established by the British government to honour exemplary women in science.

March 31
      The parliament of the Czech Republic approves the treaty permitting the country to become a member of the European Union.

      Some 100,000 city workers in Jerusalem go on strike, joining national government employees who are staging a work slowdown to protest layoffs and salary cuts promulgated by Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

      Chicagoans are stunned to find that during the night city crews have dug up the runways of the city's Meigs Airport; Mayor Richard M. Daley says the move was necessary to prevent small planes from flying over downtown in a time when the threat of terrorism is omnipresent.

      The Calder Hall nuclear reactor in Cumbria, Eng., ceases the production of electricity after 47 years of operation.

April
"I now inform you that you are too far from reality."
Iraqi Information Minister Muhammad Said al-Sahhaf, after weeks of steadfastly insisting that Iraq was routing the invaders, just before the fall of Baghdad, April 9

April 1
      American forces advance to within 80 km (50 mi) of Baghdad, Iraq.

      Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey announces a new initiative to reunite Cyprus, which is seen as necessary not only to all of Cyprus joining the European Union but also to Turkey's ability to join the union.

      Air Canada files for bankruptcy protection, though it continues to operate.

April 2
      A peace accord is signed by the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Congolese rebel groups in Sun City, S.Af.

      China acknowledges that it has almost 400 more suspected cases of and 12 more deaths from SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) than it had said; for the first time, Beijing allows World Health Organization workers into Guangdong province, the epicentre of the disease.

      In Davao City, Phil., a bomb explodes in a waiting area near a ferry terminal, killing at least 16 people and wounding dozens more; the following day, bombs go off at three of the city's mosques.

      U.S. forces take custody of Jessica Lynch, a 19-year-old army private, who had been captured on March 23 with 14 others after the vehicle in which they were traveling made a wrong turn.

April 3
      The bodies of 26 villagers who had been kidnapped and executed are found in Assam state in northeastern India; the killings are believed to be part of an ongoing struggle for power in the area between the Dimasa and Hmar peoples.

April 4
      The Ituri Pacification Commission, bringing together representatives of all the groups that have tried to gain control over the northeastern district of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is ceremonially inaugurated; three days later Pres. Joseph Kabila assumes power as interim head of state under the peace accord signed in Sun City, S.Af.

      As violence subsides in the western Niger delta, two of the three oil companies that had shut down operations in the previous months announce plans to return gradually to their previous levels of production.

      Authorities in Serbia and Montenegro announce that an arrest warrant for Mirjana Markovic, wife of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, will be issued as part of the crackdown on organized crime that has been part of the response to the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.

      Macedonia becomes the 146th member of the World Trade Organization.

April 5
      U.S. forces strike Baghdad, Iraq.

      A fistfight between rival gang members in a prison in Honduras soon escalates into riots that leave 86 inmates dead.

April 6
      UN officials say that attacks in the Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the previous week left some 966 people dead.

      In the worst “friendly fire” incident of the war in Iraq so far, U.S. forces mistakenly bomb a convoy of American and Kurdish soldiers and journalists, killing 18 Kurds.

      David Hempleman-Adams becomes the first person to walk alone and unaided to the geomagnetic North Pole.

April 7
      In Iraq, U.S. forces bomb a compound in Baghdad where they believe Pres. Saddam Hussein may be meeting with his advisers; British forces report that they have taken control of the city of Basra.

      In New York City the winners of the 2003 Pulitzer Prizes are announced: journalistic awards go to, among others, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, and winners in arts and letters include Robert Caro in biography and John Adams in music.

      Danish architect Jørn Utzon, famed for his design of the Sydney (Australia) Opera House, is named the winner of the 2003 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

      The National Collegiate Athletic Association championship in men's basketball is won by Syracuse (N.Y.) University, which defeats the University of Kansas 81–78; in the women's final on the following day, the University of Connecticut defeats the University of Tennessee 73–68 for its second consecutive championship.

April 8
      The Caprices, a collection of stories by Sabina Murray, wins the 2003 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction.

      It is reported that studies of mitochondrial DNA show that springtails (class Collembola) are not the ancestors of insects but rather arose as a separate group before the crustaceans and insects diverged.

April 9
      U.S.-led forces in Iraq effectively take control of Baghdad.

      Negotiators for the U.S. and South Korea agree that the headquarters of the U.S. Army in South Korea should be moved out of Seoul as soon as it is feasible.

      The News Corp., owned by Rupert Murdoch, agrees to buy the satellite-television distributor DirecTV from General Motors; the News Corp. owns the Fox Network and the Fox News Channel.

      It is reported that in India Satyabhama Mahapatra, age 65, has given birth to a son, which makes her the oldest woman in the world to give birth; the previous record holder was 62 years old.

April 10
      Kurdish militiamen take over the city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq.

      British Airways and Air France announce that they will both retire their fleets of Concorde supersonic jets this year; the Concorde first flew in commercial service in January 1976.

      Haiti officially recognizes voodoo as a religion; henceforth the state will accept as legal voodoo baptisms, marriages, and other sacraments.

April 11
      The World Health Organization issues a statement saying that the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak appears to be under control, though it cautions that not enough is known about its spread in China; the causative agent has not been determined but is believed to be a coronavirus.

      Ten men being held on suspicion of belonging to al-Qaeda, including two of those believed responsible for the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, escape from the facility where they were imprisoned in Aden, Yemen.

April 12
      As a three-day looting spree in Baghdad abates, it appears that the National Museum of Iraq has been thoroughly and catastrophically plundered; by the end of the month, however, it is clear that the damage is far less extensive than originally feared.

      China allows a team of World Health Organization investigators to visit hospitals in Beijing for the first time; on April 16 the investigators announce that the prevalence of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in Beijing has been significantly underreported.

      In legislative elections in Malta, the governing party, led by Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami, is reelected.

      In Brussels, Prince Laurent of Belgium marries Claire Coombs, a British-born surveyor.

April 13
      Rebel spokesmen say that five of the nine ministers who have been approved for Côte d'Ivoire's new coalition government have gone to the capital, Abidjan, to take up their posts; violence in the West African country continues, however.

      As U.S. marines approach the Iraqi city of Tikrit, Iraqi soldiers abandoned by their commanding officers lead Americans to seven American prisoners of war; no other Americans are believed to have been captured.

      The left-handed Canadian golfer Mike Weir comes from behind to win the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga.

      British runner Paula Radcliffe smashes her own world record as she finishes first among the women at the London Marathon with a time of 2 hr 15 min 25 sec; the fastest man there is Ethiopian champion Gezahegne Abera, with a time of 2 hr 7 min 56 sec.

      Cypress Gardens, a theme park in Florida that first opened in 1936 and was best known for its water-skiing shows, closes for the last time.

April 14
      After U.S. forces take control of Tikrit, Iraq, the Pentagon declares that major combat operations in the country have been concluded; at the same time, U.S. government officials accuse Syria of harbouring terrorists and biological and chemical weapons.

      The Association of Computing Machinery announces that the winners of the A.M. Turing Award are Ronald L. Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard M. Adleman, for their work in public-key cryptography.

      In San Francisco the Goldman Environmental Prize is presented to Nigerian forest activist Odigha Odigha, Filipino air-pollution activist Von Hernández, Peruvian community activist María Elena Foronda Farro, Spanish physicist and economist Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, Australian Aboriginal elders Eileen Kampakuta Brown and Eileen Wani Wingfield, and American environmental activist Julia Bonds.

      The German radio and television manufacturer Grundig files for bankruptcy protection.

      Scientists from laboratories in China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, and the U.S. announce that they have now fully sequenced the human genome to an accuracy of 99.999% and that the work of the Human Genome Project has been completed.

April 15
      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush declares that the government of Saddam Hussein in Iraq has fallen; the following day he calls on the UN to lift sanctions against Iraq that have been in place since 1991.

      U.S. forces in Baghdad capture Abu Abbas, the leader of the faction of the Palestine Liberation Front that attacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985.

      The Walt Disney Co. agrees to sell its Major League Baseball championship team, the Anaheim Angels, to Arturo Moreno, a businessman from Arizona.

April 16
      The World Health Organization confirms that the causative agent of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) is a new coronavirus first detected in Hong Kong on March 21; the agent is to be called the SARS virus, and already the genome of the virus has been mapped.

      The U.S. government lowers the terror-alert level from orange (high) to yellow (elevated).

      At the European Union summit meeting in Athens, the leaders of the 10 member states slated to join the EU in 2004 ceremonially sign accession treaties.

      Partisan Review, a respected and influential political and literary journal first published in 1934, announces it is ceasing publication.

      At the age of 40, Michael Jordan, widely regarded as the best player in the history of basketball, plays his last game with the Washington Wizards and retires for the third time in his career. (See May 7.)

      The Bayer pharmaceutical company pleads guilty to having engaged in a plot to overcharge Medicaid for the antibiotic Cipro and agrees to pay $257 million, a record Medicaid fraud settlement.

April 17
      The first major contract for the postwar rebuilding of Iraq is granted to the Bechtel Group by the U.S. government.

      U.S. forces in Baghdad, Iraq, capture Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, a half brother of Saddam Hussein.

      Anneli Jäätteenmäki is sworn in as prime minister of Finland, leading a centre-left coalition government; Finland becomes the second country, after New Zealand, to have women heads of both state and government.

      Carnival Corp. takes over P&O Princess Cruises; P&O Princess had spent years fending off advances from Carnival.

      The personal art collection of Surrealist André Breton is sold at auction in Paris, many pieces for record-breaking prices; the government of France, which had declined to procure the collection outright, purchased pieces for 33 museums.

April 18
      Poland signs a deal to buy Lockheed Martin F-16s to upgrade its forces to a standard acceptable to NATO, which Poland joined in 1999.

      The world premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean takes place at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

April 19
      In presidential elections in Nigeria, Pres. Olusegun Obasanjo is reelected, defeating some 19 opposition candidates.

      Some 3.5 million Belarusians participate in a day of voluntary unpaid work mandated by the government in order to raise money to build a new wing for the National Library of Belarus.

April 20
      The government of China admits that the incidence of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in the country is much greater than had been reported and dismisses the health minister and the mayor of Beijing.

April 21
      Jay Garner, who has been appointed U.S. administrator of Iraq, arrives in Baghdad.

      Hundreds of thousands of Shiʿite Muslims make pilgrimage to Karbala, Iraq, to observe an important religious holiday on the Shiʿite calendar; it is the first time in a quarter century that they have been allowed to make this pilgrimage.

      Azerbaijani Pres. Heydar Aliyev collapses twice while giving a televised speech; he comes back each time and finishes the speech, however, and returns to work the following day.

      The 107th Boston Marathon is won by Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot of Kenya, with a time of 2 hr 10 min 11 sec; the winning woman is Svetlana Zakharova of Russia, with a time of 2 hr 25 min 20 sec.

      The 46th annual Dance Magazine Awards are presented to the choreographer William Forsythe, the dancers Susan Jaffe and Jock Soto, and the festival directors Charles and Stephanie Reinhart.

April 22
      France's ambassador to the UN proposes that UN sanctions against Iraq be dropped.

      The Yukos Oil Co., the biggest oil producer in Russia, announces that it will purchase the fifth largest company, Sibneft; YukosSibneft will be the fifth largest publicly traded oil company in the world.

      A subtropical storm in the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean develops into a tropical storm; dubbed Ana, this is the first tropical storm to occur in April since record keeping began.

April 23
      On the authorization of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, checkpoints in the divided city of Nicosia, capital of Cyprus, open for the first time since 1974; thousands of people immediately line up at both sides of the border, and the flow of visitors continues for days.

      Alan Greenspan accepts a fifth term as chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board; he has served in that position for nearly 16 years.

      The World Health Organization adds Beijing and Toronto to its list of places that travelers should avoid because of the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak.

      A three-day general strike is called for by labour unions in Zimbabwe, and most major stores and factories close.

April 24
      China imposes quarantines on thousands of people in the Beijing area in order to combat the spread of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), sealing a hospital complex with 2,000 workers and patients inside; the following day it broadens the quarantine dramatically.

      North Korean officials tell U.S. diplomats that the country has nuclear weapons and is making bomb-grade plutonium.

      Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz surrenders to U.S. forces in Baghdad.

      Japanese researchers announce that the substance pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ), discovered in 1979, plays a role in fertility in mice and is probably a B vitamin; it is the first new vitamin to be identified in more than 50 years.

April 25
      Representatives of 11 Iraqi opposition groups meet in Madrid to discuss how to create a new government for Iraq.

      The John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association, given out every two years to the leading U.S. economist under the age of 40, is awarded to University of Chicago professor Steven D. Levitt.

April 26
      At a cache of munitions collected and guarded by U.S. soldiers on the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq, an explosion evidently set off by a flare fired into the dump kills at least six Iraqi civilians and wounds dozens more.

      Rome inaugurates a water-taxi service on the Tiber River, which had not been navigated in nearly a century.

April 27
      Nicanor Duarte Frutos, of the ruling Colorado Party, is elected president of Paraguay; he will take office on August 15.

      Presidential elections in Argentina result in a near tie between Néstor Kirchner and Carlos Menem, leading a field of 18 candidates; a runoff is scheduled for May.

      U.S. forces in Iraq arrest Muhammad Mohsen Zobeidi, who had placed himself in charge of Baghdad, in order to make clear that challenges to U.S. authority will not be tolerated.

      U.S. military officials announce that the headquarters of U.S. air operations in the Middle East will be moved from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to an air base in Qatar.

      A week after they were originally scheduled, talks open between the government of Nepal and the leaders of a Maoist insurgency.

      In Washington, D.C., trombonist Andre Hayward wins the annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition; the competition focuses on a different instrument each year.

April 28
      Some 15 people are killed by U.S. forces during an anti-American rally in Falluja, Iraq; the occasion is the birthday of Saddam Hussein, which had traditionally been celebrated as a holiday in Iraq.

      Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan hold a summit meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, to create the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which is intended to help address terrorism and narcotics issues affecting all the states.

      It is reported that, for the first time since magazines began being published on the World Wide Web, a Web-based magazine, Slate, made more money than it spent.

April 29
      In Qatar a new constitution that provides for an elected legislature is overwhelmingly approved in a referendum.

      The U.S. announces that it will withdraw all its combat forces from Saudi Arabia over the summer; the forces had been there since the Persian Gulf War in 1991 in order to contain Iraq.

      Police in Serbia and Montenegro charge 45 people with conspiracy in the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.

April 30
      The U.S., Russia, the UN, and the European Union present to leaders of Israel and Palestine the “road map” for peace, a document that contains detailed steps to be taken by each entity.

      An open-ended general strike begins in Israel, prompted by austerity measures taken by Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

      The presidency of Burundi is transferred from the Tutsi Pierre Buyoya to the Hutu Domitien Ndayizeye, as called for by the Arusha accords signed in 2000.

      The government of Libya formally accepts responsibility for having caused the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scot.; this is a step toward the ending of UN sanctions against Libya.

May
"If those murderers believe that their bloody crimes will shake even one hair on the body of this nation and its unity, they are deceiving themselves."
Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah, addressing the nation on May 13, a day after the terrorist bombings in Riyadh

May 1
      Trade unionists, communists, anarchists, and various protesters march in cities throughout Europe to mark May Day, the international labour day; this is usually the biggest holiday of the year in Beijing, but fear of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), in addition to quarantines already in effect, keeps the streets and subways almost empty.

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush announces that the military phase of the Iraq war has ended, referring to it as “one victory in a war on terror”; on the same day, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Afghani Pres. Hamid Karzai announce that major combat operations in Afghanistan are over.

      Côte d'Ivoire signs a comprehensive cease-fire agreement with rebels and representatives of Liberia, including an agreement for a joint Ivorian-Liberian patrol along the border between the two countries.

      After questions have been raised about the integrity of his writing, Jayson Blair, a New York Times reporter whose work has been featured prominently in the newspaper, resigns. (See May 28.)

May 2
      Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announces that India will restore diplomatic relations with Pakistan, broken off in December 2001 after an attack on Parliament; within hours Pakistani officials say that Pakistan will also restore normal diplomatic relations with India.

      Nigerian oil workers on strike release the first of the 250 foreign oil workers they have held hostage on oil rigs since April 19; they agree to release all hostages.

May 3
      It is agreed by the leadership of the World Health Organization, of which mainland China is a member, that WHO inspectors will be permitted to visit Taiwan to fight the outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) there.

      FIFA, the association football (soccer) governing authority, withdraws the Women's World Cup tournament from China, where it was to have been played in the fall, because of the SARS epidemic. (See May 26.)

      Pope John Paul II, in a visit to Spain, makes a moving plea for peace to the half million people gathered to hear him speak; the following day at an open-air mass in Madrid, he names five new saints.

      In the 129th running of the Kentucky Derby, the gelding Funny Cide, a long shot, outruns favourite Empire Maker by 13/4 lengths to win.

      It is found that the Old Man of the Mountain, a famous natural granite formation on Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire, has fallen; the formation resembled a face and had been an icon of the state.

May 4
      The astronauts who had been stranded in the International Space Station by the grounding of the U.S. space shuttle fleet return to Earth in a Russian Soyuz capsule, landing in Kazakhstan.

May 5
      When Colombian troops try to rescue hostages held by Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas, the guerrillas execute 10 of the hostages, including a provincial governor and a former cabinet member.

      Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi testifies in his own defense in a courtroom where he is being tried on charges of bribery; it is the first time that a sitting Italian prime minister has ever testified as a criminal defendant.

      U.S. and Iraqi officials say that just before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, one of Iraqi Pres. Saddam Hussein's sons and an adviser removed some $1 billion in cash from the central bank.

May 6
      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush makes L. Paul Bremer III the chief U.S. administrator of Iraq, supplanting Jay Garner.

      The discount retail chain Kmart Corp. (now Kmart Holding Corp.) emerges from bankruptcy, minus 600 stores and with a new management team.

      A spokesman for Liberian Pres. Charles Taylor says that Liberian forces have killed Sam Bockarie, one of West Africa's most notorious warlords.

      A new passenger terminal combining traditional Khmer and modern styles opens at Pochentong international airport near Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

      Avery Fisher career grants are awarded to violinists Colin Jacobsen and Giora Schmidt, violinist and violist Scott St. John, flutist Demarre McGill, and pianist Natalie Zhu.

May 7
      U.S. officials say that the government is asking members of the International Atomic Energy Agency to declare Iran to be in violation of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

      Michael Jordan, who had planned to return to his former job as president of basketball operations for the National Basketball Association team the Washington Wizards after retiring as a player, is fired by team owner Abe Pollin. (See April 16.)

      At the National Magazine Awards ceremony, the surprise big winner is Parenting; other awards for general excellence go to ESPN the Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Texas Monthly, Architectural Record, and Foreign Policy.

May 8
      In Morocco, Princess Salma Bennani, wife of King Muhammad VI, gives birth to a son, Hassan, who will be the chief heir to the throne.

      Georgia's new state flag, featuring the Star and Bars of the Confederacy, which is viewed as less inflammatory than the Confederate battle flag featured on the previous two flags, flies over the capitol building for the first time.

      In an extremely rare double birth, a woman in Cariacica, Braz., who has two wombs produces a boy and a girl, one from each womb.

May 9
      William W. Parsons is appointed to take over management of the space shuttle program for NASA and to get the three remaining shuttles back in service; he replaces Ron D. Dittemore, who announced his resignation in April.

      Officials in Saudi Arabia announce publicly that after a shootout during a raid on a building in Riyadh that contained a very large cache of arms, they are seeking 19 militants who are believed to be connected to al-Qaeda and to have been planning a major attack.

May 10
      The Russian play Nord-Ost, which was playing to packed houses in Moscow before Chechen terrorists took over the theatre in October 2002, closes after having reopened in February; audiences were staying away from the theatre.

May 11
      In the third round of voting, after the abolishment of the 50% threshold that invalidated two earlier elections, Filip Vojanovic is elected president of Montenegro.

      The incomparable Saliera, a sculptured golden saltcellar by Benvenuto Cellini, is stolen from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

      In Racine, Wis., the new Racine Art Museum, housing an internationally recognized collection of contemporary crafts, opens with an installation of baskets by glass artist Dale Chihuly.

May 12
      A truck bomb blows up a residential complex in the town of Znamenskoye in the Russian republic of Chechnya, killing at least 59 people.

      Suicide bombers strike three residential compounds in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, killing 35 people from a variety of countries and injuring more than 200.

      Clare Short, secretary for international development, becomes the second member of the British cabinet to resign because of Prime Minister Tony Blair's unstinting support of U.S. policy toward Iraq.

May 13
      An interview with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is published in which he says the dismantling of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory is not being contemplated; dismantling settlements built after March 2001 is one step on the road map for peace.

      France is paralyzed as more than one million people walk off their jobs and march in the streets to demonstrate their disagreement with proposed reforms to the state pension system.

      The U.S. declares 14 Cuban diplomats personae non gratae; it is one of the largest diplomatic expulsions ever ordered by the U.S.

      The U.S. Treasury Department unveils a new design for the $20 bill, featuring colours other than green in the background.

May 14
      A suicide bomber detonates her weapon at a religious festival in Iliskhan-Yurt in the Russian republic of Chechnya in an apparent attempt to assassinate the pro-Russian regional administrator, Akhmad Kadyrov; at least 15 people are killed.

      Taiwan's top hospital, the National Taiwan University Hospital, utterly overwhelmed by an outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), shuts down as thousands are quarantined; three weeks after the last reported case of SARS in Toronto, the World Health Organization removes that city from its travel advisory list.

      Three top executives of Banco Intercontinental, the Dominican Republic's second biggest commercial bank, are arrested after the discovery of a scheme that resulted in the embezzlement of $2.2 billion.

      Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi officially lays the first foundation stone for the massive Venice dike project, scheduled to be completed by 2011 in order to save the low-lying city from flooding.

May 15
      As part of an effort to make it clear that China is serious about stopping the spread of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), the country temporarily suspends almost all foreign adoptions; China is a major provider of adopted babies to Westerners.

      British forces in Iraq formally turn over control of the port city of Umm Qasr to a council made up of Iraqi volunteers.

      France lodges a formal complaint with the U.S. government against what it sees as a formal campaign of false and hurtful information against the French being published in U.S. news sources and frequently attributed to anonymous administration sources.

May 16
      Japan's House of Representatives passes three bills intended to strengthen the military; though Japan renounced the right to wage war in 1947, the perceived threat from North Korea has impelled lawmakers to improve Japan's defensive capabilities.

      Suicide bombings occur at five different places nearly simultaneously in Casablanca, Mor., killing at least 41 people, including many foreigners.

May 17
      The Vatican acknowledges for the first time that Pope John Paul II has Parkinson disease.

      Peace talks between representatives of the government of Indonesia and separatist groups in the breakaway Indonesian province of Aceh open in Tokyo in an effort to salvage the peace agreement made in December 2002.

      The referendum on joining the European Union passes comfortably in Slovakia.

      Funny Cide, the Kentucky Derby winner, wins the Preakness Stakes by 93/4 lengths.

May 18
      Four attacks by Palestinians kill nine Israelis; Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon cancels a trip to the U.S. and indicates that the simultaneous concessions by each side called for by the road map for peace will be impossible.

      Indonesian Pres. Megawati Sukarnoputri puts Aceh province under martial law; the following day the national government begins a major military offensive in the area.

      The curtain falls for the final time after the 6,680th performance of Les Misérables on Broadway; the show, which opened in March 1987, was Broadway's second longest-running show, after Cats.

May 19
      Thousands of Shiʿites march in downtown Baghdad in opposition to the U.S. occupation of Iraq; a number of other groups feel that change is coming too slowly.

      MCI, as WorldCom has now been renamed, agrees to a settlement of fraud charges brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; the telecommunications company will pay $500 million.

      The Annual International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award goes to My Name Is Red; the prize will be split between the Turkish author, Orhan Pamuk, and his translator, Erdag Goknar.

      Ari Fleischer, U.S. Pres. George W. Bush's press secretary, announces that he is stepping down.

May 20
      Mad cow disease is diagnosed in a cow in Canada; a ban on all beef imports from Canada is immediately imposed in the U.S.

      The U.S. government raises the terror-alert level from yellow (elevated) to orange (high).

May 21
      The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is unanimously adopted by the World Health Organization, committing all 192 member countries to strict limits on the advertising and sale of tobacco products; the convention will come into force once it is ratified by 40 of those countries.

      The European Commission fines Deutsche Telekom €12.6 million (about $14 million) for having charged competitors higher prices for access to its telecommunications lines than it charged customers; though the German phone industry was deregulated five years ago, Deutsche Telekom still holds 95% of the market.

      Jong-Wook Lee, an epidemiologist and expert on vaccines, is elected director general of the World Health Organization, replacing Gro Harlem Brundtland; he will take office on July 21.

      Christine Todd Whitman announces her resignation as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

May 22
      The UN Security Council passes a resolution granting to the U.S.-led coalition the military occupation and administration of Iraq and abolishing economic sanctions against Iraq; an interim administration is to be set up by the Iraqi people.

      The results of two studies published in The New England Journal of Medicine show that people on the low-carbohydrate Atkins diet for several months lower their triglycerides, blood fats that tend to clog arteries, and raise their HDL, or good cholesterol; researchers are surprised by these findings.

      Annika Sörenstam becomes the first woman to play in a PGA Tour event since Babe Didrikson Zaharias in 1945 when she starts at the Colonial golf tournament; she fails to make the cut for the final two rounds, however.

May 23
      Negotiators for the government and the opposition in Venezuela reach an agreement to hold a referendum on the presidency of Hugo Chávez after August 19 in an attempt to curtail the conflict that has been going on since last year.

      Researchers in Hong Kong and at the World Health Organization say they have identified a virus that is at least very similar to the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus in palm civets, which are eaten in Asia, and in a raccoon dog and a badger; meanwhile, WHO lifts its travel advisory for Hong Kong and for Guangdong province in China, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reinstates the advisory for Toronto.

      Georgian Pres. Eduard Shevardnadze ceremonially lays the first section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.

May 24
      Tens of thousands of trade-union members march in rallies across Germany to protest government plans to cut unemployment benefits and loosen job protections.

      At the annual Eurovision song competition, held this year in Riga, Latvia, the Turkish singer Sertab Erener wins first place with her song “Every Way That I Can.”

May 25
      Néstor Kirchner is sworn in as president of Argentina.

      Controversial legislative elections in Armenia result in a win for Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan's Republican Party of Armenia.

      The cabinet in Israel gives its qualified approval for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to pursue the steps of the road map for peace, which calls eventually for the creation of a Palestinian state.

      At the Cannes International Film Festival, American director Gus Van Sant's film Elephant wins the Palme d'Or, and the Grand Prix goes to Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan for Uzak (Distant).

      Brazilian Gil de Ferran wins the Indianapolis 500 auto race by 0.2990 sec over his teammate Helio Castroneves, who was trying to win an unprecedented third consecutive Indy.

May 26
      FIFA, the association football (soccer) governing body, chooses the U.S. to host the 2003 Women's World Cup; officials believe it will still be possible to hold the tournament within the original time frame. (See May 3.)

May 27
      Belgium, France, Great Britain, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, and Turkey join forces to acquire 180 military transport planes from Airbus in one of Europe's biggest military projects.

      The official celebration of the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg begins with fireworks, a laser show, and balloons; it continues with lavish parties attended by the leaders of the world's countries.

May 28
      A new tax law is signed by U.S. Pres. George W. Bush in which a last-minute revision prevents low-income parents from taking the child-tax credit.

      Health authorities in Toronto quarantine some 2,000 students and staff of a parochial school where a student attended classes for two days while she had symptoms of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

      Pres. Alejandro Toledo declares a state of emergency in Peru as strikes and protests spread throughout the country.

      A second reporter for the New York Times, Rick Bragg, resigns after a controversy arises over the extent of his reliance on a freelance journalist for his reporting of a story. (See May 1.)

      AC Milan defeats Juventus Turin by a score of 3–2 in the final match in Manchester, England, to win the association football (soccer) Champions League competition.

      Krispy Kreme Doughnuts announces that its first-quarter profit grew an astonishing 48% compared with the first quarter of the previous year.

May 29
      Scientists announce that for the first time an equine has been cloned; the baby mule, born May 4, has been dubbed Idaho Gem.

      A gala dinner in Kathmandu attended by Sir Edmund Hillary is only one of many celebrations taking place in Nepal and elsewhere in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the first successful ascent of Mt. Everest, by Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.

      In the Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee, Sai R. Gunturi of Dallas spells pococurante correctly to win the prize.

May 30
      The U.S. government lowers the terror-alert level from orange (high) to yellow (elevated).

      The U.S. opens a new embassy in Beirut, Lebanon; there has not been a U.S. consulate there since the old U.S. embassy was blown up in 1983.

May 31
      Eric Rudolph, sought since 1996 in connection with a bombing at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga., that year, is caught in Murphy, N.C.

      The pioneering Menninger Clinic, which opened in Topeka, Kan., in 1925, closes its doors; it will reopen in Houston, Texas, in partnership with the Baylor College of Medicine and the Methodist Hospital.

      The world premiere of the opera The Little Prince, based on the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and scored by Rachel Portman, opens at the Houston (Texas) Grand Opera.

June
"We ask the international community, most specifically the United States, to do everything within its power to help Liberia and Liberians out of this mess."
Liberian Pres. Charles Taylor, in a radio address to the country, June 27

June 1
      A second attempt by British forces occupying Basra, Iraq, to install a governing council is thwarted by protesters incensed that the council was chosen by the British and by disagreements between members of the council.

      The sluice gates of the Three Gorges Dam on the Chang Jiang (Yangtze River) in China are closed, and the water level quickly rises.

June 2
      The European Space Agency successfully launches the Mars Express orbiter and the Beagle 2, a landing vehicle, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan; the vehicles are expected to reach Mars in December.

      Authorities in Zimbabwe arrest Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, charging him with contempt of court for planning antigovernment demonstrations; he is taken into custody again on June 6.

      Jonathan Ive, the designer of Apple Computers' iMac personal computer, wins the Design Museum of London's first Designer of the Year award.

June 3
      Most of Zimbabwe is shut down by a general strike that is an attempt to force Pres. Robert Mugabe to resign, but security forces effectively prevent demonstrations from taking place.

      A wave of strikes takes place in cities in France, Austria, Italy, and Germany; workers object to government proposals to cut back on retirement benefits.

      Sammy Sosa, the only Major League Baseball player ever to hit 60 home runs in three different seasons, is ejected from a game when his bat breaks and reveals the presence of cork inside it; cork is thought to enhance batter performance, and its use is prohibited.

June 4
      After a meeting with U.S. Pres. George W. Bush in Aqaba, Jordan, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon agrees to dismantle some unauthorized outposts of Israeli settlements in Palestinian areas; Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas agrees that the armed uprising on the part of Palestinians must end.

      A UN Special Court in Sierra Leone announces that it has indicted Liberian Pres. Charles Taylor for war crimes.

      The European Union agrees to send a force of peacekeepers, under France's leadership, to the Democratic Republic of the Congo; it is the first time the union has marshaled a force on its own to operate outside Europe.

      In a televised speech to the country, Argentine Pres. Néstor Kirchner calls for the impeachment of the Supreme Court.

      Good-living advocate Martha Stewart is indicted by the U.S. federal government on charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and securities fraud; she resigns as chairman and CEO of her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.

June 5
      A suicide bomber kills at least 18 people in addition to herself on a bus carrying military and civilian workers to a Russian air base just outside the republic of Chechnya.

      The UN Security Council lifts sanctions against the import of diamonds from Sierra Leone, in the belief that Sierra Leone has taken the steps necessary to ensure that diamonds exported from the country have not been sold to finance guerrilla military activity.

      Pope John Paul II arrives in Croatia for a five-day visit on the 100th trip of his papacy. (See June 22.)

June 6
      The U.S. and Chile sign a free-trade agreement, the first such accord ever signed between the U.S. and a country in South America.

      Leaders of Hamas, a Palestinian militia, break off cease-fire talks with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, feeling that Abbas had become too supportive of Israel.

      Volkswagen announces that the company will cease production of the original Beetle by summer's end; the classic car, first produced in 1934, is now made at one plant, in Puebla, Mex.

June 7
      A car bomb strikes a bus carrying German troops from an international security force in Kabul, Afg., killing at least 4 soldiers and injuring 29.

      An amnesty goes into effect in Russia's separatist republic of Chechnya; rebels who turn in their weapons will be guaranteed freedom from prosecution.

      Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium defeats her countrywoman Kim Clijsters to win the women's French Open tennis title; the following day Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain defeats Martin Verkerk of The Netherlands to win the men's title.

      Empire Maker surprises observers by winning the Belmont Stakes horse race on a wet and sloppy track; Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide runs third.

      The two-day referendum on joining the European Union gets under way in Poland; the results are a resounding “yes” to membership.

June 8
      The 57th annual Tony Awards are presented in Radio City Music Hall in New York City; winners include the plays Take Me Out, Hairspray, Long Day's Journey into Night, and Nine and the actors Brian Dennehy, Vanessa Redgrave, Harvey Fierstein, and Marissa Jaret Winokur.

      Annika Sörenstam of Sweden wins the Ladies Professional Golf Association championship on the first play-off hole, defeating Grace Park of South Korea.

June 9
      Mexican Pres. Vicente Fox signs a bill that outlaws discrimination based on race, sex, age, or religion in all sectors of society.

      During an investigation into questionable accounting practices at Freddie Mac, the federal mortgage insurer that is crucial to the housing market, David Glenn, the company president, is suddenly fired, and the chairman and CEO and the chief financial officer resign.

      French forces land in Monrovia, Liberia, to evacuate hundreds of foreigners as the rebel group Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy continues a battle for the northern suburbs of the capital.

      After two days of fighting in Nouakchott that followed a crackdown on Muslim extremists, the government of Mauritanian Pres. Maaouya Ould Sidi Ahmad Taya succeeds in averting an attempted coup.

      The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announces that the number of cases in an outbreak of monkeypox, the first ever in the Western Hemisphere, has risen to 33, with most cases occurring in Wisconsin.

      The New Jersey Devils defeat the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to win the Stanley Cup, the National Hockey League championship; the score of the final game is 3–0.

      With much hoopla, Living History, an autobiography of U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, goes on sale; some 200,000 copies are sold the first day.

June 10
      Israel fires missiles into Gaza in an attempt to kill Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi; the U.S. government views the move as undermining attempts at peace.

      In Santiago, Chile, the members of the Organization of American States vote to deny the U.S. a representative on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

      A rocket takes off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying a robotic probe called Spirit to Mars; the robot will be looking for evidence of water.

June 11
      A Hamas suicide bomber blows up a rush-hour bus in Jerusalem, killing 16 people in addition to himself and wounding nearly 100; meanwhile, Israeli helicopter strikes in Gaza kill 10 Palestinians.

      At a press conference in Ethiopia, it is revealed that three skulls found in the Afar region of the country and dated at 160,000 years old are the oldest-known fossils of Homo sapiens.

      Four UN monitors arrive in Tbilisi, Georgia, following their release by their kidnappers in the Kodori Gorge area some six days after they were kidnapped for ransom.

June 12
      British Prime Minister Tony Blair abolishes the post of lord chancellor, a position that existed for 1,400 years.

      In the first major battle since the end of the war in Iraq was announced, U.S. forces attack a site believed to be a training ground for the Iraqi resistance in an area about 145 km (90 mi) northwest of Baghdad.

      Several items taken from the collections of the Iraqi National Museum are returned by unidentified men; the items include the Warka Vase, a particularly important artifact dating from some 5,000 years ago that depicts scenes of everyday life in ancient Uruk.

      Investigators say that a mass grave containing the remains of hundreds of people has been uncovered at a construction site at Ulaanbaatar, Mong., dating from the 1930s, when Stalinist purges killed some 30,000 people in Mongolia.

      A five-day celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Ford Motor Co. gets under way in Dearborn, Mich.

June 13
      In Brussels, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, head of the Convention on the Future of Europe, announces that the convention has adopted a first draft of a constitution for the European Union.

      Science magazine publishes a report by geologists detailing evidence for what they believe was a major meteor impact on the Earth some 380 million years ago that may have caused a mass extinction of fishes.

June 14
      A railroad linking North and South Korea is ceremonially reopened; the connection had been severed after the Korean War.

      Sheikh Khalid ibn Saqr al-Qassami is deposed as crown prince of Raʾs al-Khaymah in the United Arab Emirates in favour of his younger brother.

      British Queen Elizabeth II publishes the list of those appointed Officers of the Order of the British Empire; they are association football (soccer) star David Beckham, musicians Sting and David Gilmour, actors Helen Mirren and Roger Moore, and fashion designer Alexander McQueen.

      Somewhat to the surprise of their leaders, voters in the Czech Republic firmly vote in favour of joining the European Union in a binding referendum.

June 15
      The top investigator of the UN Special Court in Sierra Leone announces that Johnny Paul Koroma, a former ruler of Sierra Leone whom the court had indicted for war crimes, has been killed in Liberia.

      The San Antonio Spurs defeat the New Jersey Nets 88–77 to win the National Basketball Association championship; Tim Duncan of the Spurs is named Most Valuable Player of the finals.

      At the U.S. Open golf tournament at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club, Jim Furyk emerges as the winner as he ties the scoring record for the tournament.

      At the Baden-Baden (Ger.) Pentecost music festival, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter is awarded the first Herbert von Karajan Award for outstanding contemporary musicians.

June 16
      The death of a black motorcyclist in a high-speed police chase touches off two days of rioting in the small, mostly African American, and desperately poor town of Benton Harbor, Mich.

      The world's first offshore tidal-energy turbine is launched off the coast of Devon in England; the turbine works on the principle of a windmill but uses water currents to generate energy.

      At the Paris Air Show, Emirates Airline agrees to buy 41 new airplanes, among them 21 giant A380s, from Airbus Industrie; it is among the largest civil aircraft orders ever placed.

June 17
      The government of Liberia and representatives of a rebel group sign a cease-fire agreement in which Pres. Charles Taylor promises to yield power.

      Britons are aghast to learn that association football (soccer) sensation David Beckham is leaving Manchester United to play for Spain's Real Madrid.

June 18
      Military officials announce that U.S. forces in Iraq have captured Abid Hamid Mahmoud al-Tikriti, believed to be Saddam Hussein's top aide.

      The Italian Parliament passes a law making the top five government officials immune from prosecution while they hold office; this effectively stops the corruption trial of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

      Israel's Antiquities Authority announces that the Aramaic inscription on a 2,000-year-old stone box made public in October 2002 suggesting that it might be the ossuary of James, the brother of Jesus, is a modern forgery.

June 19
      The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo signs a cease-fire agreement in Burundi with two rebel groups backed by the government of Rwanda.

      McDonald's Corp. announces that it will instruct its meat suppliers throughout the world to reduce their use of antibiotics in stock raising; because the fast-food chain is one of the world's largest meat purchasers, this decision is expected to cause widespread change in farming practices.

June 20
      Pres. Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan signs into law a controversial reform measure that for the first time permits private ownership of land.

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the over-the-counter sale of the top-selling prescription medicine Prilosec, used for heartburn and ulcers.

June 21
      The long-awaited and closely guarded novel Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix goes on sale; by the end of the day, a record five million copies have been sold.

      The World Economic Forum, which prior to 2002 held its annual conference in Davos, Switz., convenes in Suweima, Jordan.

      After months of work to dress Paris's Eiffel Tower in 20,000 new lights, the lights are switched on in a festive ceremony; the light show will be played on the tower every night.

June 22
      At an open-air mass in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Pope John Paul II apologizes for crimes committed by Roman Catholics in the lands of the former Yugoslavia and exhorts his listeners to forgiveness and reconciliation in order to bring healing to the country. (See June 5.)

      Voters in Tajikistan approve a number of changes to the constitution, including one that will permit Pres. Imomali Rakhmonov to serve two more seven-year terms.

      A law goes into effect in Turkmenistan preventing people from holding both Russian and Turkmen passports; panicky Russians have been fleeing Turkmenistan for weeks.

June 23
      In a pair of landmark decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that it is constitutional for universities to consider race in deciding admissions but that the numerical weighting of “underrepresented” races is too mechanistic and therefore not permissible. (See June 26.)

June 24
      Matti Vanhanen is chosen by the Finnish legislature as the new prime minister, replacing Anneli Jäätteenmäki, who resigned on June 18 after a scant two months in office.

      During a visit of Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to Beijing, it is announced that India and China have agreed to reopen a border crossing between India's Sikkim state and the Tibet Autonomous Region of China that had been closed since 1962; China does not recognize India's sovereignty over Sikkim.

June 25
      The U.S. Federal Reserve Board lowers short-term interest rates by one-quarter of a percentage point, to 1%; rates have not been this low since 1958.

      The U.S. Internal Revenue Service releases a report showing that the 400 wealthiest taxpayers had more than doubled their share of the nation's wealth over the past eight years, while the percentage of their income that they paid in taxes dropped significantly.

      Battles break out in the streets of Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, as rebel troops intent on overthrowing Pres. Charles Taylor attack the city.

      The Indian Memorial at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Montana is dedicated in ceremonies that attract thousands of Native Americans; the memorial commemorates for the first time the Indian warriors who died in the 1876 Battle of Little Bighorn, in which Lieut. Col. George A. Custer and all his men perished.

June 26
      In another landmark decision (see June 23), the U.S. Supreme Court rules that states may not forbid private homosexual conduct; this overturns the precedent in this regard set in 1986.

      Authorities in Saudi Arabia arrest Ali Abd al-Rahman al-Faqasi al-Ghamdi, believed to be the top al-Qaeda operative in the country and also thought to be behind the bombings in Riyadh in May.

June 27
      The day after U.S. Pres. George W. Bush called on him to step down, Liberian Pres. Charles Taylor gives a radio address in which he asks for international help and declares that he will not resign, stressing his commitment to peace and security; the following day UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan calls for a peacekeeping force to be sent to Liberia.

      A national registry for people who wish not to receive telemarketing calls opens in the U.S.; the registry is immediately overwhelmed by the volume of requests.

      Negotiators for Israel and Palestine reach an agreement whereby Palestinian leaders will attempt to prevent attacks and Israel will begin withdrawing its troops from the Gaza Strip.

June 28
      At a party in a three-story apartment building in Chicago, the overcrowded back decks collapse, killing 13 people.

      Two men enter an Indian army barracks outside the city of Jammu in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and launch an attack with assault rifles and grenades; 12 unarmed Indian soldiers are killed and 7 wounded.

June 29
      Hamas and Islamic Jihad declare a three-month cease-fire, and al-Fatah follows suit with a six-month moratorium; in response, Israeli troops begin pulling back from the Gaza Strip.

      China and Hong Kong conclude an economic-partnership agreement in which China agrees to open its markets to a wide variety of goods from Hong Kong.

      France defeats Cameroon 1–0 to win the Confederations Cup in association football (soccer) in Saint-Denis, France; the occasion is overshadowed, however, by the death the previous week of Cameroon's Marc-Vivien Foe during a semifinal game against Colombia.

June 30
      It is reported that particle physicists in Japan researching mesons may have produced subatomic particles containing five quarks; such particles are theoretically possible but have up to now not been detected.

      The 50th anniversary of the iconic Corvette sports car is observed.

July
"Each life that is lost is a human tragedy. No more suffering, no more death, no more pain."
Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, before his fourth meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in Jerusalem, July 1

July 1
      The rotating presidency of the European Union passes from Greece to Italy.

      Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas appear publicly together for the first time; they express mutual respect and hope for peace before beginning a fourth round of negotiations.

      Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrate in Hong Kong against a planned national security law that would ban subversion and other crimes against the state.

      Pope John Paul II appoints Bishop Sean P. O'Malley to head the archdiocese of Boston, replacing Bernard Cardinal Law.

      English association football (soccer) fans are aghast when the Spanish club Real Madrid signs Manchester United star David Beckham.

July 2
      The European Parliament passes a law that, once ratified by the member states of the European Union, will require that food and animal feed containing genetically altered ingredients be labeled as such to alert consumers.

      The International Olympic Committee awards the right to host the 2010 Winter Games to Vancouver, B.C.

      The accounting firm Ernst & Young reaches an agreement with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to pay $15 million in penalties for having failed to register certain transactions properly.

      Argentina's Boca Juniors association football (soccer) club defeats Brazil's Santos FC to win the Libertadores Cup; it is a record-setting fourth Libertadores title for the team's coach, Carlos Bianchi.

July 3
      The U.S. government announces a reward of as much as $25 million for the capture or proven death of Saddam Hussein and $15 million each for his sons, Uday and Qusay. (See July 22.)

      Astronomers announce the discovery of a solar system 90 light-years away in the constellation Puppis centred on the star HD70642; the solar system could include terrestrial planets and thus support life.

      The World Heritage Committee inscribes 24 new sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List; among them are the Bamiyan valley in Afghanistan, where two Buddha statues were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001, James Island in The Gambia, an important site in the historical slave trade, and the White City of Tel Aviv in Israel.

      The U.S. National Park Service and the Nature Conservancy buy the 46,874-ha (115,828-ac) Kahuku Ranch on the slopes of Mauna Loa volcano, increasing the size of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park some 50%.

July 4
      A bomb and grenade attack at the main Shiʿite mosque in Quetta, Pak., kills 47 people and wounds 65; Shiʿite Muslims riot in response.

      An audiotape of a voice claiming to be Saddam Hussein and exhorting Iraqis to continue to resist the American occupation is broadcast on the al-Jazeera television channel.

      Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant is arrested in Eagle, Colo., on charges of having sexually assaulted a woman.

      The National Constitution Center, a museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution, opens in Philadelphia.

July 5
      The World Health Organization declares that the respiratory disease SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) has been contained worldwide, with the last case reported to the agency on June 15; 812 people have died of the disease since the outbreak began.

      Two bombs explode at the entrance to an annual rock festival at the Tushino Aerodrome outside Moscow, killing at least 16 people and wounding some 60 others.

      A bomb goes off at the graduation ceremony for the first U.S.-trained Iraqi police class, killing 7 of the new police officers and wounding 70.

      In parliamentary elections in Kuwait, Islamic traditionalists gain seats at the expense of liberals, who had hoped that with the removal of the threat from Iraq, some modernization might be possible.

      Serena Williams defeats her sister Venus to take the Wimbledon women's tennis championship for the second consecutive year, and the following day Roger Federer of Switzerland defeats Mark Philippoussis of Australia for the men's title; Todd Woodbridge and Jonas Bjorkman capture the men's doubles in what is Woodbridge's eighth doubles title at Wimbledon, a feat that had not been achieved since 1905.

July 6
      After a 90-minute meeting at the airport on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, Pres. Charles Taylor of Liberia and Pres. Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria announce that Taylor will resign as president and accept an offer of safe haven from Nigeria.

      In a referendum, citizens of Corsica reject a restructuring plan intended to increase the island's autonomy from France.

      Sghair Ould M'Bareck, a former slave, replaces Cheikh El Afia Ould Mohamed Khouna as prime minister of Mauritania; slavery was abolished in Mauritania in 1980.

      Tiger Woods wins the Western Open golf tournament with a score of 267, matching the 72-hole course record set by Scott Hoch in 2001.

July 7
      After numerous delays, a rover called Opportunity is launched; it is the second of two NASA probes intended to explore Mars.

      Little-known American golfer Hilary Lunke wins the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament by one stroke.

      An Iranian government official confirms Israeli press reports that Iran has successfully completed testing on a midrange missile; Israel and U.S. troops stationed in Saudi Arabia are within range of the new missile.

July 8
      Iranian sisters Ladan and Laleh Bijani, 29-year-old twins conjoined at the head, both die after prolonged surgery to separate them in Singapore.

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush begins his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa in Senegal; the five-day trip will also include stops in Botswana, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda.

July 9
      Tens of thousands of people demonstrate before the legislative building in Hong Kong, calling for the resignation of chief executive Tung Chee-hwa and for the institution of democratic elections.

      Speaking to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, the recently retired head of U.S. Central Command forces in Iraq, Tommy Franks, says that the troop level in Iraq cannot be reduced for the foreseeable future; Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld raises the estimated cost for the occupation from $2 billion to $3.9 billion per month.

      The Canadian government says that it will supply marijuana to people authorized to use the drug for medical reasons.

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announces that, beginning in 2006, food nutrition labels must include the amount of trans-fatty acids in the food; trans-fatty acids have been found to increase LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol in the body.

July 10
      Astronomers report that a massive planet, more than twice as big as Jupiter, has been detected by the Hubble Space Telescope in a globular star cluster in the constellation Scorpius; the planet is believed to have formed 12.7 billion years ago, not long after the big bang.

      The Great Mosque of Granada, overlooking the Alhambra, opens in the city that was once the capital of Moorish Spain; it is the first mosque to open in Spain since the end of Muslim rule in 1492.

      In France the annual Avignon theatre festival is canceled because of an ongoing strike by performers and technicians over unemployment benefits.

July 11
      Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet publicly accepts responsibility for having allowed Pres. George W. Bush in his state of the union address to assert that Iraq tried to purchase uranium from an African country, an assertion based on faulty information. (See July 30.)

      The World Trade Organization issues a formal finding that the steel tariffs that the U.S. imposed in 2002 violate the rules of the organization, of which the U.S. is a member.

July 12
      Guy Verhofstadt is sworn in for a second term as Belgium's prime minister.

      As the second annual meeting of the African Union comes to a close in Maputo, Mozambique, the delegates urge the member states to ratify a parliament for the continent by year's end.

      Françoise Durr, Nancy Richey, Brian Tobin, and Boris Becker are inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.

July 13
      Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Jabir al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah names his brother, Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah, prime minister, replacing Crown Prince Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Salim al-Sabah; it is the first time the post of prime minister has not been held by the heir to the throne.

      Iraq's new governing council takes its first action, abolishing six national holidays, including the annual celebration on July 17 of the rise to power of the Arab Socialist Baʿth Party, and declaring April 9, the day Saddam Hussein was ousted, a national holiday.

July 14
      It is reported that North Korea claims that it has acquired the capability to make several nuclear bombs and that it is proceeding to do so as quickly as possible.

      The head of Iran's Oil Development and Engineering Company says that an oil field containing an estimated 38 billion bbl of oil has been discovered near the port city of Bandar-e Bushehr.

      After an outbreak of the West Nile virus, Mexico declares a state of emergency; the horse population has been particularly hard hit, and people are asked to have their horses vaccinated.

July 15
      The U.S. Office of Management and Budget projects a budget deficit for fiscal year 2003 of $455 billion, much higher than previously predicted and by far the biggest in U.S. history.

      Hurricane Claudette makes landfall north of Corpus Christi, Texas, killing two people and causing damage.

July 16
      Rebel troops seize the government of São Tomé and Príncipe in a bloodless coup while Pres. Fradique de Menezes attends a regional conference in Nigeria. (See July 24.)

      Regina Ip, secretary of security, and Antony Leung, secretary of finance, announce their resignations from the government of Hong Kong; the two, who are viewed as especially close to Beijing, were among those criticized at the huge July 1 demonstration.

      In a ceremony attended by hundreds of pilgrims as well as celebrities, the new Church on the Blood is consecrated on the site where Tsar Nicholas II and his family were killed in 1918 in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

July 17
      On the newly banned Baʿthist holiday in Iraq, an audiotape of Saddam Hussein exhorting his countrymen to resist the U.S. forces and the new governing council in Iraq is broadcast on al-Arabiyah television.

      Government ally Yerodia Ndombasi, opposition leader Arthur Z'Ahidi Ngoma, and rebel leaders Jean-Pierre Bemba and Azarias Ruberwa are sworn in as vice presidents in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's transitional power-sharing government.

      After two days of open warfare between rival gangs in shantytowns on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro that left at least nine people dead, several battalions of police are called out to surround the area in an effort to keep the violence from growing.

July 18
      David Kelly, a British weapons expert, is found to have committed suicide; Kelly had been questioned by the government as to whether he was the source for a BBC story asserting that the government had made unsubstantiated claims about chemical and biological weapons in Iraq in order to gain support for the U.S.-led war.

      Science magazine publishes a report that states that the amount of Caribbean coral has declined 80% over the past 30 years, to a great extent owing to human activities.

July 19
      A cease-fire goes into effect between forces of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in order to facilitate the resumption of peace talks, which were suspended in March.

      Rebel forces in Liberia advance into Monrovia, the capital.

      Gabon's Parliament adopts a constitutional amendment permitting the president to run for reelection an unlimited number of times; Pres. Omar Bongo has held the office for 36 years.

July 20
      Ben Curtis, an American golfer appearing in his first major tournament, wins the British Open.

July 21
      Lee Jong Wook, who has announced plans to institute a division of epidemiologists trained to deal with outbreaks of contagious diseases, takes office as director general of the World Health Organization.

      Two bombs explode in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, killing 6 and wounding 38 pilgrims on their way to a Hindu temple; the following day an Indian army base is attacked, and 8 soldiers die.

      U.S. marines land in Monrovia, Liberia, in order to evacuate Americans and other foreigners and protect the U.S. embassy, while Liberians take the bodies of people killed in the ongoing warfare to the embassy's gates in an effort to persuade the U.S. to intervene.

July 22
      U.S. forces kill Uday and Qusay Hussein, the sons of Saddam Hussein, who are among the most-wanted former regime officials, in a house in Mosul, Iraq. (See July 3.)

      Elders of Easter Island appear before the UN to seek independence from Chile, of which Easter Island has been a dependency since 1888.

July 23
      A spokesman for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) announces that the organization will divert 774 peacekeeping troops from Sierra Leone to Liberia and that Nigeria will send in 650 soldiers.

      The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly overturns a Federal Communications Commission measure that would have increased the number of broadcast networks a single entity may own.

      A new performing arts festival, Bard SummerScape, opens at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., with the American premiere of Leos Janacek's opera Osud (“Fate”), featuring a stage design by Frank Gehry.

July 24
      After extensive negotiations between coup leaders and international diplomats, Pres. Fradique de Menezes returns to office in São Tomé and Príncipe, having agreed to address the concerns that prompted the coup on July 16.

      An international peacekeeping force begins arriving in the Solomon Islands in an attempt to restore order; the force, which will eventually number 2,500 troops, is led by Australians and represents the highest deployment of Australian forces in the Pacific since World War II.

      A joint panel of intelligence committees from both houses of the U.S. Congress releases a lengthy report detailing many opportunities that were missed by intelligence services to discover or disrupt the plot that led to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and suggesting substantial changes to intelligence agencies.

      France's legislature passes a controversial pension-reform law requiring workers to remain on the job longer before becoming eligible to draw a full pension.

July 25
      Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas meets with U.S. Pres. George W. Bush in the White House.

      Argentine Pres. Néstor Kirchner revokes the decree preventing extradition of people accused of crimes related to Argentina's “dirty war” (1976–83).

      At the world swimming championships in Barcelona, Spain, American swimmer Michael Phelps, who had set two world records earlier in the meet, breaks standing records for the 100-m butterfly and the 200-m individual medley; with the U.S. win in the men's 400-m medley relay on July 27, Phelps becomes the first person to establish five world records in a single championship meet.

      It is reported that scientists studying the Y chromosomes of Siberians and American Indians have concluded that the first human migration to the Americas across what is now the Bering Strait happened no later than 18,000 years ago.

      India's National AIDS Control Organization releases a report indicating that some 4.58 million people in India have been infected with HIV and that the disease has moved beyond sex workers and truck drivers and is making inroads in the general population.

July 26
      Two earthquakes measuring magnitude 5.5 and 6.2 strike Japan's northern Miyagi district hours apart, causing a great deal of damage but no fatalities.

July 27
      In parliamentary elections in Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party wins a majority of the seats.

      Lance Armstrong becomes only the second person ever to have won the Tour de France bicycle race five consecutive times, coming in 1 min 1 sec ahead of Jan Ullrich.

      Players Gary Carter and Eddie Murray, broadcaster Bob Uecker, and sportswriter Hal McCoy are inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

      Veteran American comedian Bob Hope dies at the age of 100.

      Former White House aide Jeb Stuart Magruder is the first to state publicly that U.S. Pres. Richard M. Nixon personally approved the 1972 break-in at the Democratic Party headquarters in order to install electronic eavesdropping equipment, the action that launched the Watergate Scandal.

July 28
      The UN Security Council extends for one year and strengthens its peacekeeping mandate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, adding troops and permitting the use of force.

      Indonesia gives notice that it will not seek to renew its loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund when it expires this year, believing it has reached a state of economic good health.

      The two biggest U.S. banks, J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup, reach a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission and New York City's district attorney whereby they will pay some $300 million in fines and penalties to avoid prosecution on charges of having assisted Enron Corp. in concealing its precarious financial position.

      New York City officials announce that Harvey Milk High School, the first public school in the U.S. exclusively for gay students, will open in the fall.

      For the first time, Bride's magazine runs a feature article on same-sex commitment ceremonies.

July 29
      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush signs into law the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act, which imposes harsh economic sanctions on the government of Myanmar in response to a campaign by the government to discredit opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been held in prison since May 30.

      Members of the American Geophysical Union announce that instruments measuring the ozone layer have detected a slowdown in the rate of deterioration of the ozone in the upper stratosphere.

      For the second day in a row, a number of fires sweep through the French Riviera, leaving at least four people dead; though wildfires are common this time of year, arson is suspected as the cause of many of these fires.

July 30
      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush takes personal responsibility for the unsupported claim in his state of the union address that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from an African country; two other members of his administration had previously accepted blame for passing on the statement. (See July 11.)

      A group of organizations headed by the Iraqi Oil Ministry and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announces a plan to repair and rehabilitate the infrastructure of Iraq's oil industry in hopes of resuming significant production by the end of the year.

      In response to U.S. threats to move NATO headquarters out of Belgium, that country's Chamber of Representatives votes to rescind the right of Belgians to bring war-crimes charges against anyone in any country for incidents that take place anywhere in the world.

      The last original-style Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the assembly line in Puebla, Mex., with a small farewell ceremony featuring a mariachi band; it is the 21,529,464th Beetle produced.

      One of the biggest rock festivals in North American history takes place in Toronto; attended by some 430,000 fans and featuring the Rolling Stones, Justin Timberlake, Rush, and AC/DC, the concert—unofficially referred to as SARSfest—is intended to counter adverse publicity the city received during the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic.

July 31
      Following the release of three of their leaders, Maoist rebels agree to resume peace talks with the government of Nepal.

      Israel passes a law that forbids Palestinians who marry Israeli citizens to reside in or become citizens of Israel; besides Palestinians, the law primarily affects Israeli Arabs.

      Former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, believed to be behind some of the worst atrocities in the country's history, registers himself as a candidate for president.

August
"I invite all to join in my prayers for the victims of this calamity, and I exhort all to raise to the Lord fervent entreaties so that he may grant the relief of rain to the thirsty Earth."
Pope John Paul II, responding to the catastrophic heat wave and drought gripping Western Europe, August 10

August 1
      A suicide truck bombing takes place at a military hospital in Mozdok, Russia, a military staging area for the campaign in Chechnya; 50 people are killed.

      The U.S. and North Korea announce that regional talks involving South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia, concerning North Korea's nuclear-weapons program, will take place; previously North Korea had resisted regional talks, insisting on only bilateral talks.

      The UN Security Council passes a resolution to send a multinational force to Liberia to keep peace until a new government can be formed; it is to be followed no later than October 1 by a UN peacekeeping force.

      The upper house of Belgium's legislature passes changes to the country's war-crimes law that would require that either the victim or the perpetrator be a Belgian resident in order for a crime to be charged; the new law will become effective after it is signed by the king.

      The opening ceremony for the Pan American Games takes place in Santo Domingo, Dom.Rep.; it is the first time the Dominican Republic has hosted the games, and Juan Marichal, the only Dominican in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, and Pedro Martinez of the Boston Red Sox take part in the ceremony.

August 2
      Liberian Pres. Charles Taylor announces that he will leave office on August 11 in spite of ECOWAS demands that he leave a week earlier than that and says he will leave only if his war-crimes indictment is rescinded.

      The U.S. suspends two programs under which air travelers from other countries could fly through the U.S. and change planes within the U.S. without a U.S. visa provided that the connecting flight was to a destination outside the U.S.; the programs were seen as a security loophole.

      The three-year-old trotter Amigo Hall, running fourth at the top of the homestretch, comes from behind to win the Hambletonian final at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey.

August 3
      Bolivia announces that it has seized more than 5 tons of cocaine in the largest intercept in its history; the previous record was a seizure of 1.1 tons of the drug in 1985.

      With her victory over Pak Se Ri in the Women's British Open golf tournament, Annika Sörenstam becomes the sixth female golfer to win a career Grand Slam.

      The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, inducts running back Marcus Allen, defensive end Elvin Bethea, offensive guard Joe DeLamielleure, wide receiver James Lofton, and coach Hank Stram.

      With a parade and reenactments, the Japanese city of Yokosuka concludes its three-day festival to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry to open Japan to the West.

August 4
      Azerbaijan's legislature elects as prime minister Ilham Aliyev, the son of Pres. Heydar Aliyev.

      A series of wildfires threatens the region around Kamloops, B.C., while other fires burn out of control in Alberta; the fires are thought to be the worst in 50 years.

August 5
      A car bomb explodes, destroying the lobby of the JW Marriott Hotel, a top hotel in the Jakarta, Indon., suburb of Kuningan that is popular with foreign business executives; 14 people are killed and 150 are wounded.

      The Episcopal Church in the U.S. approves the selection of V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay clergyman, as bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire.

August 6
      The ruling coalition government in Ecuador collapses when Pachakutik, a party comprising mostly indigenous peoples, walks out with the intention of joining a new left-of-centre bloc.

      Brazilian Pres. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva wins a key legislative victory when the Chamber of Deputies approves by a large majority a needed overhaul of the country's overburdened public pension system.

      Didier Ratsiraka, the former president of Madagascar living in exile in France, is sentenced in absentia to 10 years at hard labour for embezzlement.

      A very small contingent of U.S. marines lands in Liberia to provide assessments of the circumstances and coordinate support services for the international peacekeepers.

August 7
      A car bomb kills 19 people and wounds at least 65 outside the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.

      A raid in the southern Afghani city of Deshu kills six Afghani soldiers and a driver for an American relief agency; the raid is believed to have been carried out by members of the resurgent Taliban movement.

      A court in Indonesia sentences to death Amrozi, a suspected member of the militant Islamist organization Jemaah Islamiyah, after convicting him of involvement in the planning of the nightclub bombing in Bali in October 2002.

August 8
      In a dramatic change in policy, the government of South Africa announces that it will begin offering antiretroviral drugs to combat HIV/AIDS through its public health system no later than October 1.

      Pres. Ludwig Scotty of Nauru loses a no-confidence vote; he is replaced by René Harris; this is the country's fifth change of presidents in 2003.

August 9
      Amid a severe heat wave in Europe, the temperature in Roth, Ger., reaches 40.4 °C (104.7 °F), the highest temperature ever recorded in Germany.

      The Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq announces the capture of former Iraqi interior minister Mahmoud Diab al-Ahmad.

      In Anniston, Ala., the U.S. Army begins incinerating the first of thousands of tons of chemical weapons dating from the Cold War.

August 10
      For the first time since 1659, when records began being kept, the temperature in London exceeds 100 °F, topping out at 37.9 °C (100.2 °F).

      During two days of riots over fuel shortages in Basra, Iraq, UN officials warn that the refinery problems that are causing the shortage of gasoline will almost certainly cause a shortfall as well in kerosene, which is used for heating homes, in the coming winter.

      Yury I. Malenchenko, aboard the International Space Station, marries Yekaterina Dmitryeva, who is at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas; the ceremony is the first wedding conducted for a person in space via video hookup.

August 11
      Charles Taylor hands over the presidency to his vice president, Moses Blah, and departs from Liberia for exile in Nigeria.

      Riduan Isamuddin, known as Hambali, is arrested in Ayutthya, Thai.; he is believed to have been involved in a number of bombings and has been the most-wanted fugitive in Asia since the bombing on Bali, Indon., on Oct. 12, 2002.

      In its first major military operation outside Europe, NATO takes command of the UN-authorized peacekeeping force in Kabul, Afg.

August 12
      The government of Serbia and Montenegro adopts a document that calls for autonomy but not independence for the UN-administered province of Kosovo.

      A computer worm known as Blaster, designed to take advantage of vulnerabilities in recent versions of Microsoft's Windows operating systems, infects tens of thousands of personal and business computers worldwide.

      Two Israelis are killed in suicide bombings in a grocery store and at a bus stop after a month of relative calm while the road map to peace is being discussed.

      The ongoing drought in Europe causes water levels in Lake Constance to drop to the point that eight unexploded British and American bombs that had been underwater for some 50 years are exposed; German military experts remove them.

August 13
      A bomb kills 15 people on a bus in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, and violence in other parts of the country kills more than 40 additional people.

      On a ballot to recall California Gov. Gray Davis, 135 people register as candidates to replace him should citizens vote him out of office.

      Police ruthlessly suppress protests as the Commonwealth summit meeting opens in Mbabane, Swaziland.

August 14
      The power grid covering a vast swath of eight U.S. states from Michigan to Massachusetts and part of southeastern Canada crashes, dousing lights and shutting down air conditioners and refrigerators; it is the worst infrastructure collapse that the U.S. has ever suffered.

      Bomb blasts and shootouts in remote northeastern India on the eve of Independence Day celebrations leave 34 people dead.

      A magnitude-6.4 earthquake takes place off the Greek island of Lefkada in the Ionian Sea, injuring some 50 people.

      The MT Tasman Spirit, a Greek oil tanker that ran aground on a beach off Karachi, Pak., on July 27, breaks in two, spilling some 12,000 metric tons of oil and creating an ecological disaster.

August 15
      Nicanor Duarte Frutos is sworn in as president of Paraguay; he pledges to fight corruption.

      Libya formally accepts responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scot., in 1988; the UN Security Council will now likely end sanctions against the country.

      Saboteurs in Iraq blow up part of an oil pipeline between Kirkuk and the Turkish city of Ceyhan only three days after the pipeline was reopened.

August 16
      Idi Amin, the former dictator of Uganda, dies in exile in Saudi Arabia.

      At the annual summit meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum in Auckland, N.Z., Australian diplomat Greg Urwin is elected the organization's secretary-general.

      At the Locarno (Switz.) International Film Festival, the top prize, the Golden Leopard, is awarded to Pakistani director Sabiha Sumar's film Khamosh pani (Silent Waters).

August 17
      Son Kil Seung, the chairman of scandal-ridden South Korean trading company SK Global, resigns under pressure after being convicted of fraud.

      Shaun Micheel defeats Chad Campbell by two strokes to win the first Professional Golfers' Association of America championship game he has ever played.

      The 44th Edward MacDowell Medal for outstanding contribution to the arts is awarded to choreographer Merce Cunningham at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H.

August 18
      Lucien Abenhaim, France's director general for health, resigns in the face of the huge death toll caused by the record-breaking heat wave; by mid-September some 14,000 heat-related deaths have been recorded in France.

      In Ghana, under Nigerian mediator Abdulsalami Abubakar, a peace accord between the government of Liberia and representatives of the two main rebel groups is signed.

      Fourteen European tourists who had been kidnapped by members of a militant organization in Algeria some six months earlier are released in Tessalit, Mali.

      In Singapore Ma Li Hua sets a new world record for solo domino toppling after having spent 45 days setting up 303,621 dominoes and 4 minutes knocking them down.

August 19
      A truck bomb explodes at the headquarters of the UN in Baghdad, Iraq, killing at least 22 people, among them Sergio Vieira de Mello, the secretary-general's special representative in Iraq.

      U.S. officials announce the capture of Taha Yassin Ramadan, a former vice president of Iraq regarded as one of the most ruthless members of the deposed government.

      A suicide bomber detonates his weapon on a crowded bus in Jerusalem, killing at least 20 people.

August 20
      A helicopter carrying government officials of Sakhalin oblast, including Gov. Igor P. Farkhutdinov, to the Kuril Islands disappears after takeoff from the Kamchatka Peninsula; the wreckage, with no survivors, is found on August 23.

      As U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld makes an official visit to Colombia, U.S. officials announce that flights backed by the U.S. government intended to intercept the trade in illegal drugs would resume over Colombia after a two-year hiatus.

August 21
      U.S. military officials announce the capture in Iraq of Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as “Chemical Ali” for having ordered the 1988 poison-gas attack that killed 5,000 Kurds in Halabja, which is on the border with Iran.

      Israel fires missiles from a helicopter gunship onto a busy street in Gaza, killing Hamas leader Ismail Abu Shanab and two others and wounding 17; Hamas and Islamic Jihad declare an end to their cease-fire.

      Negotiators in Accra, Ghana, choose Charles Gyude Bryant, a leader in the Episcopal Church and a businessman, to be chairman of the interim government planned for Liberia; he will take over from Moses Blah in October.

August 22
      The Nigerian Red Cross says that five days of sectarian violence in the port city of Warri have caused the death of some 100 people; another 1,000 people are injured.

      A rocket being tested by the Brazilian space agency for a planned launch the following week explodes at the Alcantara Space Centre in the northeastern state of Maranhão; at least 16 people are killed.

August 23
      Some 30,000 people are forced to flee the city of Kelowna, B.C., to escape a relentless forest fire that began with a lightning strike on August 16; British Columbia is suffering its worst fire season in decades.

      John J. Geoghan, a defrocked priest convicted of child molestation, is killed by a fellow prisoner at a correctional centre in Massachusetts; he was accused of having molested more than 100 children over a period of decades and was emblematic of the sex scandal that rocked the Roman Catholic Church, in particular the archdiocese of Boston, in 2002.

August 24
      The Musashi-Fuchu Little League team from Tokyo becomes the 57th Little League world champion when it defeats the team from Boynton Beach, Fla., 10–1.

      The Washington Freedom wins the Women's United Soccer Association championship in an exciting 2–1 overtime victory over the Atlanta Beat.

      In Amsterdam the Dutch team defeats Australia 4–2 to win the Champions Trophy in men's field hockey for the second consecutive year.

August 25
      Two taxis wired with bombs explode in separate crowded areas in Mumbai (Bombay), killing at least 52 people.

      Pres. Paul Kagame of Rwanda is overwhelmingly elected to an additional seven years in office; he has served as president since 2001, when he became head of an interim government.

      Khin Nyunt is appointed prime minister of Myanmar (Burma) by the head of state, Than Shwe, who had previously held both posts concurrently himself.

August 26
      With the death of a U.S. soldier killed by a bomb near Baghdad, the number of Americans killed in Iraq since U.S. Pres. George W. Bush declared the end of major combat on May 1 has exceeded the number killed during active combat.

      The Columbia Accident Investigation Board releases its final report on the causes of the space shuttle Columbia disaster in February; it blames a culture of complacency and poor communication at NASA.

      Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien signs an agreement with leaders of the Tlicho Nation (formerly the Dogrib First Nation) granting the Indian group 39,000 sq km (15,210 sq mi) of land between Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories; the grant includes two diamond mines.

August 27
      Mars passes within 55,758,004 km (34,646,418 mi) of the Earth, the closest the two planets have been in some 60,000 years.

      During the Kumbh Mela festival in Nasik, India, as tens of thousands of pilgrims attempt to bathe in the waters of the Godavari River, a stampede breaks out that leaves 33 people dead.

      Maoist rebels announce their withdrawal from peace talks with the government of Nepal and the end of the cease-fire that has been in place for seven months.

      A painting by Leonardo da Vinci, Madonna of the Yarnwinder, is stolen from a private collection in Scotland during a public viewing.

August 28
      The World Council of Churches chooses Samuel Kobia, a minister in the Methodist Church in Kenya, to replace Konrad Raiser of Germany as secretary-general in January 2004.

      Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission reports that between 1980 and 2000, some 69,000 people were killed, slightly over half by Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) guerrillas and the rest by the three governments that ruled Peru during those years; the vast majority of the victims were Quechua-speaking Indians.

August 29
      In Iraq's worst atrocity since the fall of Saddam Hussein in April, a car bomb explodes outside a major Shiʿite mosque in Najaf; at least 80 people, including Shiʿite leader Ayatollah Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim, are killed.

August 30
      A Russian nuclear submarine that had been decommissioned in 1989 sinks in the Barents Sea while being towed to a scrap yard; nine crewmen are killed, and a sole survivor is left.

      The World Trade Organization agrees on a plan that will allow poor countries to import lifesaving medicines at low cost; the U.S., which had blocked a similar proposal in December 2002, agreed to the plan at the 2003 meeting.

August 31
      The centennial celebration of the motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson roars to an end in Milwaukee, Wis.; the four-day gala was attended by some 250,000 bikers from all over the U.S. and beyond.

      Kenya rescinds the ban, formally in place since 1950, on the Mau Mau movement, which fought against British colonial rule in the country.

September
"Colombia weeps but does not surrender."
Colombian Pres. Álvaro Uribe, in response to a terrorist bombing in Florencia, September 28

September 1
      In his annual state of the union address, Mexican Pres. Vicente Fox, uncharacteristically subdued, admits that he has not succeeded in producing the sweeping changes to the political system in Mexico that he believes are necessary.

      Djibouti's ambassador to Ethiopia announces that Djibouti plans to expel more than 100,000 illegal immigrants, which amounts to about 15% of the country's population.

      Pharmacists in The Netherlands begin offering cannabis as a prescription drug to treat those with HIV, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and Tourette syndrome; The Netherlands is the first country in the world to allow pharmacies to dispense the drug.

September 2
      A truck bomb explodes outside the office of the police chief of Baghdad, Iraq, killing one officer and wounding 26 others; it is the fourth car bomb to go off in a month in Iraq.

      Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt says that Belgium plans to build the headquarters for a proposed European Union military command in 2004.

      The Red Cross announces that the Polisario Front in Western Sahara released 243 Moroccan prisoners, some of whom the guerrilla organization had held for 28 years; it continues to hold 914 other prisoners, however.

      Ave Maria University, established by Domino's Pizza founder Thomas Monaghan, opens in Naples, Fla.; it is the first new Roman Catholic university to open in the U.S. in 40 years.

September 3
      A cabinet of 25 ministers chosen by the Iraqi Governing Council is sworn in, and control of five provinces is handed to a multinational force under Polish command.

      The Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea unanimously reelects Kim Jong Il chairman of the National Defense Commission (effectively head of state) for a five-year term; spontaneous expressions of euphoria are orchestrated in Pyongyang.

      At the Latin Grammy Awards in Miami, Fla., Colombian rock artist Juanes wins five awards, including Song of the Year and Record of the Year, both for “Es por ti,” and Album of the Year for Un día normal.

September 4
      U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld arrives in Iraq and outlines plans to train and deploy former officers in Iraq's army to increase security in the country.

      The CP Open Biennale opens with great success in the National Gallery in Jakarta, Indon.; it largely features paintings and sculptures by Asian artists.

September 5
      Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa announces the withdrawal of proposed internal-security legislation that had been pressed on Hong Kong by the government of China and massively protested against by the populace in Hong Kong.

      Jacques Klein, the UN special representative to Liberia, says that ousted president Charles Taylor, as he departed for exile in Nigeria, stole $3 million that had been donated for the disarming of militias; a few weeks later it is revealed that Taylor stole about $100 million during his administration, which left Liberia the poorest country in the world.

      Two bombs explode at the main courthouse in Athens; officials believe the incident is a response to the ongoing trials of members of the terrorist group November 17.

September 6
      Unable to gain the degree of authority he deems necessary, Mahmoud Abbas resigns as Palestinian prime minister; also, Israel drops a large bomb in an attempt to assassinate the head of the guerrilla organization Hamas.

      Tens of thousands of people demonstrate in Taipei, Taiwan, to demand that the name of the country be changed from Republic of China to Taiwan; most demonstrators are native Taiwanese, who have long resented the 1949 takeover of their country by the Nationalist government of China.

      Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium defeats her countrywoman Kim Clijsters to win the U.S. Open tennis championship (see June 7); the following day Andy Roddick of the U.S. defeats Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain to win the men's tournament.

September 7
      In a nationally televised address, U.S. Pres. George W. Bush says that he plans to ask Congress for $87 billion in emergency spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat nominates Ahmed Qurei, the speaker of the Palestinian legislature, to replace Mahmoud Abbas as prime minister; three days later Qurei accepts the position.

September 8
      The Recording Industry Association of America files 261 lawsuits against individuals for copyright infringement, accusing them of unauthorized sharing of files containing copyrighted material.

      The IUCN World Parks Congress, which meets once every 10 years, opens in Durban, S.Af.; the 10-day meeting of nearly 3,000 government officials and conservationists from 140 countries will address the challenge of preserving biodiversity through protected areas worldwide.

September 9
      Argentina defaults on a loan from the International Monetary Fund for $2.9 billion; it is the biggest default the IMF has ever suffered.

      Six different bombs explode in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal; a 12-year-old boy is killed and a dozen people wounded.

      The U.S. Army announces that the tours of duty of 20,000 Army Reserve and National Guard troops stationed in and around Iraq will be extended to as much as a year; in the meantime, Pentagon officials at a hearing before Congress say that U.S. forces in Iraq are somewhat overextended.

      Two suicide bombers in Israel, one at a bus stop near Tel Aviv and one at a café in Jerusalem, kill 15 people.

September 10
      The border between Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso, closed in 2002 after the outbreak of civil war in Côte d'Ivoire, is reopened; nearly a third of the people in Burkina Faso had relied on cross-border trade with Côte d'Ivoire.

      The Prince of Asturias Award for Concord is granted to British author J.K. Rowling; the award is one of eight Prince of Asturias Awards given annually in different endeavours since 1981.

September 11
      Popular Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh dies a day after being stabbed in a department store in Stockholm, to the sorrow and horror of the Swedish public.

      The government of Israel announces a decision in theory to remove Yasir Arafat, though no particulars are spelled out.

September 12
      The UN Security Council votes to lift sanctions on Libya that had been imposed after the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scot.; Libya has met the conditions for ending the sanctions.

      U.S. soldiers in Iraq mistakenly kill 10 Iraqi policemen and a Jordanian security guard in a firefight in Falluja.

      Paul Kagame is sworn in to a seven-year term as Rwanda's first elected president since 1994.

      Police in Harare, Zimb., shut down the Daily News, the largest daily newspaper in the country and one of a shrinking number of independent media outlets.

September 13
      UN Security Council negotiations on the future of Iraq reach an impasse; France will not compromise on its insistence that the UN oversee Iraq's transition to independence, and the U.S. will not compromise on its insistence that it oversee the transition.

September 14
      A World Trade Organization meeting held in Cancún, Mex., ends without agreement after five days of negotiation, during which industrialized countries and less-developed countries were unable to compromise on a variety of issues.

      In a referendum, Swedish voters firmly reject adoption of the euro as their currency, to the profound disappointment of Prime Minister Goran Persson and officials of the European Union.

      The army chief of staff, Gen. Verissimo Correia Seabre, seizes power from Pres. Kumba Ialá in Guinea-Bissau the day after Ialá postponed elections for the fourth time since he dissolved the government in November 2002; a transitional government pending elections is named.

      At the International Athletic Foundation Gala, Moroccan runner Hicham El Guerrouj and South African high jumper Hestrie Cloete are named male and female World Athlete of the Year; it is an unprecedented third consecutive win for El Guerrouj.

      Lithuania defeats Spain 93–84 to win the European basketball championship for the first time since 1939.

      The winners of the 2003 Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards are announced; they are Robert G. Roeder for basic medical research, for his work on gene transcription; Marc Feldmann and Ravinder N. Maini for clinical research, for discoveries leading to treatments for autoimmune disorders; and actor Christopher Reeve for public service.

September 15
      The Women's United Soccer Association suspends operations after three seasons; although regarded as the world's best league for association football (soccer) for women, it was unable to attract enough corporate sponsorship to keep going.

      The first commercial flight between North and South Korea since the division of the country takes place when a North Korean Air Koryo airliner flies a South Korean tour group from Inch'on, S.Kor., to Pyongyang, N.Kor.

September 16
      OPEC announces that representatives of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council will take Iraq's seat at OPEC meetings, though Iraq's role may be limited, given the low production of oil as a result of constant sabotage of the infrastructure.

      The White House reopens for tours by the general public for the first time since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

      Great Britain's Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, inaugurates the Francis Rose Reserve, an area of sandstone outcrops that will serve as home for rare native cryptogams (spore-producing plants), including mosses, liverworts, and lichens; it is believed to be the first such botanic reserve in Europe.

      The Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow fires celebrity ballerina Anastasiya Volochkova, maintaining that she is overweight; charges and countercharges keep the dispute on the front pages of newspapers.

September 17
      Richard Grasso resigns as chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange after several weeks of complaints that his remarkably high compensation package ($187.5 million) was set by some of the people whom he was responsible for regulating.

      The scandal-plagued Dutch food retailer Royal Ahold announces the resignation of its chairman and the scaling down of its CEO's pay package in the face of widespread anger over the exceptionally high pay for the CEO coupled with deep layoffs at the company's grocery chain.

      Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar visits Tripoli, Libya, to meet with Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi; Aznar is the first Western leader to visit Libya since international sanctions were imposed more than 10 years earlier.

September 18
      A general strike called by Maoist rebels shuts down most of Nepal.

      Hurricane Isabel makes landfall in North Carolina, knocking out power to millions of people in several seaboard states, cutting a wide swath of damage, and killing at least 23 people before turning north and starting to fade.

      AOL Time Warner announces that it will change its name to Time Warner; prior to the merger with AOL in 2001, the company was also known as Time Warner.

September 19
      In Yalta, Ukraine, the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine sign an agreement to constitute themselves a single economic and trade zone.

      The UN Security Council approves the deployment of a peacekeeping force to Liberia, which will take over from the force from countries of the Economic Union of West African States on October 1.

      Paleontologists report that a rodent skeleton dating to eight million years ago discovered in Venezuela has been determined to be a 680-kg (1,500-lb) ancestor of the pacarana; called Phoberomys pattersoni, it is by far the largest rodent ever found.

September 20
      Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is resoundingly reelected leader of the Liberal Democratic Party.

      Latvia approves membership in the European Union in a referendum; it is the last of the 10 proposed new members to hold a vote.

      In Bosnia and Herzegovina a memorial centre is opened to commemorate the 8,000 victims of the massacre at Srebrenica in 1995 during the 1992–95 civil war in the country; former U.S. president Bill Clinton is among those on hand.

      Akila al-Hashemi, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council, is attacked by nine gunmen and shot while on her way to work; she dies five days later.

      Miss Florida, Ericka Dunlap, wins the title of Miss America in Atlantic City, N.J.

September 21
      The Galileo spacecraft concludes its 14-year mission to Jupiter by diving into the planet's atmosphere and disintegrating; the destruction of the spacecraft was to avoid possible contamination of the moon Europa, which data from Galileo suggest may have conditions for possible life.

      The Emmy Awards are presented in Los Angeles; winners include the television shows Everybody Loves Raymond and The West Wing (its fourth win) and the actors Tony Shalhoub, James Gandolfini, Debra Messing, Edie Falco, Brad Garrett, Joe Pantoliano, Doris Roberts, and Tyne Daly.

      Jamaican Prime Minister Percival J. Patterson announces his goal of changing the country to a republic with an elected head of state; the country is a member of the Commonwealth, and the British monarch is the head of state.

September 22
      Dutch Foreign Minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is named to take over as secretary-general of NATO when Lord Robertson's term of office ends on Jan. 1, 2004.

      A report is published in Geophysical Research Letters saying that the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf on the north coast of Canada's Ellesmere Island has broken up; the feature was the biggest ice shelf in the Arctic and had endured for 3,000 years.

      Researchers at Decode Genetics in Reykjavík, Ice., say that they have discovered a gene that is linked to common forms of stroke.

September 23
      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush addresses the UN General Assembly, defending U.S. policy on Iraq and asking for financial support to rebuild that country.

      The worst power failure in 20 years shuts down southern Sweden and eastern Denmark for several hours.

      The leaders of the coup in Guinea-Bissau name Henrique Rosa interim president and Antonio Artur Sanha prime minister; Sanha was affiliated with the ousted president.

September 24
      Delegates from 18 religions meet in Astana, Kazakhstan, to create an organization dedicated to reducing violent confrontations between different religions.

September 25
      UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan orders most of the non-Iraqi UN staff in Baghdad to leave the country, citing the uncertain security situation.

      International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors in Iran report finding traces of unreported highly enriched uranium at an electrical plant outside Tehran.

      In Naivasha, Kenya, representatives of the government of The Sudan and of the Sudan People's Liberation Army sign an accord in which the government agrees to withdraw its troops from rebel-held areas and begin the process of integrating the government's armed forces with those of the rebels.

      Ceremonies are held in both Darwin and Sydney to mark the completion of the trans-Australia railroad, which travels between Adelaide and Darwin and is the first rail link between the north and south coasts of Australia; it has been in the works for 145 years.

      In Nigeria an appeals court overturns Amina Lawal's conviction and sentence of death by stoning for adultery, citing irregularities in her previous trial; her case had become an international cause.

September 26
      As families sit down to celebrate the Jewish New Year, in a settlement in the West Bank a Palestinian gunman opens fire on a family, killing two people, one a baby.

      Science magazine publishes a report that researchers in France have succeeded in cloning rats, a goal that had eluded scientists.

      All 6,000 Segway Human Transporters are recalled because the devices have a tendency to tip forward under certain conditions when the batteries are low; the company that manufactures them intends to modify them so that they become inoperable before that point is reached.

September 27
      In Afghanistan, Taliban guerrillas kill seven bodyguards in an apparent attempt to assassinate the governor of Helmand province, and in Nangarhar province suspected Taliban members burn down a coeducational secondary school.

      Three missiles hit the heavily barricaded Rashid Hotel in downtown Baghdad, Iraq, which has been converted into the main compound for Americans; there are no casualties.

      The European Space Agency launches its first vehicle to study the Moon, from Kourou, French Guiana; the probe, called Smart-1, is expected to go into orbit around the Moon in about 15 months.

      The Brisbane Lions defeat the Collingwood Magpies 20.14 (134) to 12.12 (84) in the Australian Football League Grand Final; it is an unprecedented third consecutive title for Brisbane.

      In Sibiu, Rom., over her tearful objections, Ana-Maria Cioaba, the 12-year-old daughter of self-proclaimed Roma (Gypsy) king Florin Cioaba, is united with a 15-year-old boy in an arranged marriage that ignites outrage in Europe and North America.

September 28
      Pope John Paul II creates 31 new cardinals, bringing the number of electors (those who may vote to choose a pope in the event of a vacancy) from 109 to 135.

      A remote-controlled bomb kills 11 people and injures at least 40 on a crowded street in Florencia, Colom.; guerrillas in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia are blamed.

      A power outage touched off by a tree branch in Switzerland leaves almost the entire country of Italy without electricity for several hours; in Rome the White Night festival, during which many cultural attractions are open all night, is ruined.

      India defeats Pakistan 4–2 to win the Asia Cup in field hockey for the first time in the tournament's history.

September 29
      The U.S. formally rejoins UNESCO, from which it had withdrawn in 1984; first lady Laura Bush represents the U.S. in a flag-raising ceremony to signal the country's return to the organization.

      China and Hong Kong sign off on the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, which gives preference to Hong Kong service companies in accessing the Chinese market.

September 30
      Paul Berenger is sworn in as prime minister of Mauritius in accordance with the provisions of a power-sharing agreement; he is the first non-Hindu to hold the position.

      The heads of Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announce plans to merge to create Europe's biggest airline.

      In an Israeli court, three Israeli militants are sentenced to a minimum of 12 years in prison for having attempted to blow up a Palestinian girls' school with a car bomb.

October
"I will not disappoint the motherland. I will complete each movement with total concentration. And I will gain honour for the People's Liberation Army and for the Chinese nation."
Chinese astronaut Yang Liwei, shortly before becoming the first Chinese person to orbit the Earth, October 15

October 1
      British Energy, the biggest power company in Great Britain, reaches an agreement with its creditors that will allow the government to bail the company out in order to avoid a bankruptcy filing.

      The U.S. Border Patrol reveals that 151 people died while attempting to cross illegally into the U.S. from Mexico at the border with Arizona during the fiscal year that just ended; this number is the most in one year and six more than in the previous fiscal year.

      Some 900 trade-union members and activists in the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, demonstrating for change in U.S. immigration law and amnesty for illegal immigrants, arrive in Washington, D.C., after stops in dozens of cities throughout the country.

      Israel approves a plan to expand the project to wall off the West Bank from Israel to include barriers built well into the West Bank that will protect several Jewish settlements.

      Dutch cyclist Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel rides 46.065 km (28.623 mi) in Mexico City to beat the world hour record set by Jeannie Longo in 2000.

October 2
      The Nobel Prize for Literature is awarded to J.M. Coetzee of South Africa.

      In Rwanda's first multiparty legislative elections since independence, the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front wins the majority of seats.

      Some 70,000 people demonstrate in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, against a power-sharing agreement; the demonstrators believe that power should remain with the government and not be shared with rebels.

      The fourth consecutive day of protests against a plan to export natural gas to the U.S. shuts down all transportation into and out of La Paz, Bol.

October 3
      The George Bush Presidential Library Foundation announces that the 2003 recipient of the George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service will be liberal U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy.

      The World Health Organization reports that by using newer diagnostic tests, Taiwan has lowered the number of people who contracted SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) during the outbreak from 665 to 346, with only 37, rather than 180, deaths.

      During a popular magic act featuring white tigers and lions in Las Vegas, Nev., Roy Horn of the duo Siegfried and Roy is attacked and critically injured by one of the tigers; the following day a man is found to have been keeping a Bengal tiger in an apartment in a housing project in New York City.

October 4
      A suicide bomber attacks a crowded restaurant in Haifa, Israel, killing at least 19 people and injuring 50.

      Oman for the first time holds elections in which all citizens are eligible to vote; the elections are for the Consultative Council, which serves in an advisory capacity.

      Iraq's central bank unveils new dinar notes, to go into circulation on October 15; the new notes, which feature Iraqi scenes rather than portraits of Saddam Hussein, are part of an attempt to stabilize Iraq's currency and reduce counterfeiting.

October 5
      Israel conducts an air raid in Syria for the first time in 30 years, hitting a site outside Damascus that Israel asserts, and Syria denies, is a terrorist training camp.

      Elections are held in the breakaway Russian republic of Chechnya; the hand-picked incumbent and winner, Akhmad Kadyrov, faces almost no opposition and is backed by heavy-handed intimidation.

      In the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, the most prestigious Thoroughbred horse race in Europe, the winner is Dalakhani; he had previously won the French Derby.

October 6
      The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine is awarded to Paul C. Lauterbur and Sir Peter Mansfield for their work that led to the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

      Maulana Azam Tariq, a hard-line Sunnite politician and member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, is assassinated in Islamabad.

October 7
      The Nobel Prize for Physics is awarded to Alexei A. Abrikosov and Vitaly L. Ginzburg for their theoretical work on the nature of superconductivity and to Anthony J. Leggett for his work on the superfluid behaviour of the isotope helium-3.

      Voters in California choose to recall Gov. Gray Davis and install movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor in his stead.

October 8
      The Nobel Prize for Chemistry is awarded to Roderick MacKinnon, for having deduced the molecular structure of ion channels in cell membranes and to Peter C. Agre for his discovery of aquaporins, membrane channels that convey water, while the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences goes to Robert F. Engle and Clive W.J. Granger.

      India's National Anti-Malaria Programme reports an alarming upsurge in cases of dengue fever, with the number of infected in the vicinity of 5,000 and 78 deaths; Kerala state is bearing the brunt of the epidemic.

      Transparency International for the third year in a row names Bangladesh the most corrupt country in the world; the least corrupt is Finland.

October 9
      In Baghdad, Iraq, a car bomb explodes in a police compound in a Shiʿite slum, killing at least 8 people and wounding 40, and, on the other side of town, a diplomat at the Spanish embassy is assassinated at his home.

      A British High Court judge denies a claim by islanders and their descendants for monetary compensation for having been forced by the British government to leave their homes on Diego Garcia between 1967 and 1973; Diego Garcia is now a U.S. military base.

      The Liberty Bell is moved to its home in the newly built Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia in time for ceremonies dedicating the building in the year of the 250th anniversary of the casting of the bell.

October 10
      The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Iranian lawyer and human rights activist Shirin Ebadi; the committee cites her work on behalf of women and children.

      The Chad-Cameroon Oil Development and Pipeline Project is officially inaugurated in a ceremony in Kome, Chad, attended by the presidents of Chad and Cameroon; the pipeline will carry oil from wells in Chad to ports in Cameroon.

      Norwegian driver Petter Solberg wins the world rally championship when he comes in first at the Rally of Great Britain.

October 11
      A gala celebration and opening-night concert featuring Itzhak Perlman and a world premiere by Jonathan Holland marks the opening of the new home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Max M. Fisher Music Center.

October 12
      A car bomb explodes in Iraq outside the Baghdad Hotel, which is used by members of the Iraqi Governing Council as well as Americans; 6 Iraqi security guards die, and at least 35 people are wounded.

      Five protesters are killed in La Paz, Bol., after Pres. Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada calls in troops in an effort to restore order. (See October 17.)

      Germany wins the Women's World Cup in association football (soccer) when it defeats Sweden 2–1 in Carson, Calif.; the tournament had been moved from its planned venue in China because of fears of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

      The Royal Institute of British Architects announces that the Stirling Prize for 2003 goes to Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron for the Laban dance centre in London.

October 13
      Saudi Arabia announces plans to hold municipal elections; these will be the first popular elections ever held in the country.

      Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad ibn Khalifah al-Thani officially opens Education City, an enormous project outside Doha that will contain branch campuses of the world's leading universities and is intended to be a hub for the entire Middle East; it is due to be completed in 2008.

October 14
      The Man Booker Prize for Fiction, Great Britain's top literary award, goes to Australian writer DBC Pierre for his first novel, Vernon God Little.

      Charles Gyude Bryant is sworn in as Liberia's new transitional leader.

October 15
      China joins the space race more than 40 years after it got under way as it launches its first manned space flight, from a base in the Gobi Desert; the Shenzhou 5 carries astronaut Yang Liwei into orbit around the Earth.

      NATO formally inaugurates its new rapid-response force, which consists of 9,000 troops from all member countries and all branches of the service under a unified command; its first head is British Gen. Jack Deverell.

      In elections in Azerbaijan, Prime Minister Ilham Aliyev is elected to succeed his father, Heydar Aliyev, as president.

      Anglican church leaders from throughout the world gather in an emergency meeting in London called by Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, in an effort to avoid a schism in the communion occasioned by the election of an openly gay bishop by the American province.

      The Royal Swedish Academy announces that the winners of the Polar Music Prize, established in 1989, are B.B. King and Gyorgy Ligeti.

      Jazz luminaries and politicians attend the opening ceremonies of the Louis Armstrong House in Queens, N.Y., where Armstrong lived from 1943 until his death in 1971; the National Historic Landmark has been renovated and serves as a museum.

October 16
      Pope John Paul II officially celebrates 25 years on the Throne of Peter with a twilight mass in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.

      The UN Security Council adopts a resolution that authorizes a multinational force to go to Iraq under the command of the U.S. and requires the Iraqi Governing Council to produce a timetable for a transition to democracy by December 15.

      Tonga's Legislative Assembly passes amendments to the country's constitution, which dates from 1875, that increase governmental control over the media and increase the monarch's power, which is already nearly absolute.

      U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton signs an agreement that will divert water from the Colorado River away from farms in the Southwest toward large cities in southern California.

      Patricia Ireland, a former president of the National Organization of Women, is dismissed just a few months after having been named CEO of the YWCA after her efforts to change the organization's goals prove too divisive.

October 17
      After days of increasingly passionate demonstrations against a government plan to export natural gas, Bolivian Pres. Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada announces his resignation; his vice president, Carlos Mesa, assumes the presidency. (See October 12.)

      The German Bundestag (parliament) passes a much-needed but unpopular reform bill intended to bolster the economy and ease the country's stubborn recession.

      In Taipei, Taiwan, a topping-out ceremony is held for the skyscraper called Taipei 101; the building, scheduled for completion in late 2004, will replace Malaysia's Petronas Towers as the tallest building in the world.

      A fire breaks out in the 35-story Cook County Administration Building in downtown Chicago, and six people die of smoke inhalation in a stairwell, trapped by locked doors above and the fire below.

October 18
      A Soyuz rocket takes off from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, carrying American C. Michael Foale, Russian Aleksandr Yu. Kaleri, and Spaniard Pedro Duque to the International Space Station to relieve the crew, who have been on the station for six months.

October 19
      Tens of thousands of people gather in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City to witness Pope John Paul II's beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

      American illusionist David Blaine, after having spent 44 days without food in a Plexiglas cube suspended near London's Tower Bridge, is lowered to the ground and released before a large crowd; the stunt attracted a great deal of attention, not all of it favourable.

October 20
      Beset by allegations of corruption, ʿAli Abu al-Raghib abruptly resigns as prime minister of Jordan.

October 21
      The Co-op, a British agricultural giant, declares that it will ban the production and use of genetically modified crops both for animal feed and for food sold to the public.

      The government of Iran signs an agreement with the foreign ministers of France, the U.K., and Germany to allow increased inspection of nuclear sites and to suspend its program of uranium enrichment.

      Louise Glück assumes her duties as U.S. poet laureate, succeeding Billy Collins.

      France's Prix Goncourt is bestowed on Jacques-Pierre Amette for his novel La Maîtresse de Brecht.

October 22
      Ukraine offers a show of force to prevent Russian workers from building a sea wall in the Kerch Strait, between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea; the border between Ukraine and Russia in the strait has not been agreed upon.

      After the killing of several international aid workers, the UN orders its staff in the self-declared republic of Somaliland in Somalia to remain in Hargeisa, the capital, and observe an early curfew.

      The Nuna II, a solar vehicle designed by a Dutch team, wins the World Solar Challenge in Australia, covering the 3,010-km (1,870-mi) course in a record 30 hr 54 min.

October 23
      The Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry, opens in Los Angeles; critics find it both architecturally and acoustically pleasing.

      The first Russian military base in a foreign country since the end of the Soviet Union opens in Kyrgyzstan, only about 30 km (nearly 20 mi) from a U.S. base from which the U.S. stages operations in Afghanistan.

      Algeria, Benin, Brazil, the Philippines, and Romania are selected as nonpermanent members of the UN Security Council.

      U.S. government agents raid 60 Wal-Mart stores in 21 states, arresting at least 250 illegal aliens employed at the stores through outside contractors.

      Two days after the start of the Grand Prix wildfire in southern California, hundreds of people are ordered to evacuate their homes; the fire, one of three in the area, has burned some 1,000 ha (2,500 ac) of the San Bernardino National Forest.

October 24
      The final Concorde flights, for British Air, take off from Edinburgh and New York City; after their landing in London's Heathrow Airport, the supersonic era of air transport is concluded.

      U.S. officials say they have persuaded countries and institutions to contribute a total of $13 billion for the reconstruction of Iraq's infrastructure; much of the pledged money is to be loaned, rather than donated.

October 25
      The wild-card Florida Marlins defeat the New York Yankees in New York City 2–0 in the sixth game of the World Series to win the Major League Baseball championship; Marlins pitcher Josh Beckett is named series Most Valuable Player.

      In response to a suit brought by a Muslim man whose sons attended an elementary school in L'Aquila, Italy, a judge rules that a crucifix should not be displayed in the classrooms of public schools, in spite of a 1923 law requiring them; public opinion is inflamed.

      Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, head of the Yukos oil company and reputed to be the wealthiest man in Russia, is arrested and charged with fraud and tax evasion.

      In the Breeders' Cup Classic Thoroughbred race at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., previously underachieving Pleasantly Perfect outruns several big-name horses to win; earlier, in the Juvenile Fillies race, Julie Krone had become the first woman jockey to win a Breeders' Cup race, riding Halfbridled to victory.

October 26
      With the start of Ramadan, U.S. military forces lift the nightly curfew in Baghdad, Iraq, in order to accommodate observation of the Islamic fast.

      A barrage of missiles strikes the Al-Rashid Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, home to U.S. military officers; U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, in Iraq to highlight positive news stemming from the U.S. occupation, is a guest in the hotel but is unhurt.

      The sixth annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor is presented to Lily Tomlin in a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

October 27
      A coordinated assault of suicide bombings in Baghdad, Iraq, targeting police stations and the Red Cross headquarters, kills at least 34 people and injures some 200.

      Three states in Nigeria suspend a World Health Organization polio-immunization program on the grounds that there is widespread belief that the vaccine causes AIDS, cancer, and infertility.

      Bank of America, which is under investigation for its role in the burgeoning mutual-funds mismanagement scandal, and FleetBoston Financial announce that they plan to merge to become the second largest American bank.

      The Fukuoka Daiei Hawks defeat the Hanshin Tigers 6–2 in game seven to win the Japan Series baseball championship.

      France's Prix Femina is awarded to Chinese-born author Dai Sijie for his novel Le Complexe de Di.

      King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia attend the opening of the Museu Picasso in Málaga, Spain, the town where Pablo Picasso was born.

      Cuban Minister of Culture Abel Prieto unveils a life-size bronze statue of Ernest Hemingway by José Villa Soberón; the statue sits on Hemingway's customary bar stool at the Havana bar Floridita.

October 28
      In response to a proposal from India to reestablish various links between the countries, Pakistan agrees to resume sports matches with India and to discuss air links, and it proposes to restore rail links and embassy staffs.

      Australia announces plans to withdraw forces from the Solomon Islands, saying that its mission to restore order has been successfully accomplished.

      After two years of searching, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra announces that Neeme Jarvi will become principal conductor and music director.

October 29
      One of the biggest solar storms ever recorded takes place, but in spite of widespread fears, very little disruption of electrical systems on Earth takes place.

      Iain Duncan Smith is voted out as leader of the U.K.'s Conservative Party after two years of heading the Tories; he is replaced by Michael Howard on November 6.

      Officials in New York City announce that they have removed 40 names from the list of victims killed in the World Trade Center in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, bringing the total down to 2,752.

      It is reported that an important Mayan altar, stolen by looters from an archaeological site at Cancuén, Guat., has been recovered by a team of archaeologists working with undercover agents.

October 30
      Italy's highest court overturns the conviction of former prime minister Giulio Andreotti for conspiracy to murder a journalist.

      A series of wildcat postal strikes bottle up mail delivery in Scotland and England, with downtown London especially affected.

      Cooler, damper weather offers some relief in southern California, where wildfires have consumed 295,000 ha (729,000 ac) and more than 3,000 buildings, most of them houses; the death toll stands at 20.

October 31
      Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad, who is in many respects the father of the country, resigns, handing the reins of government to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

      In spite of a warning from Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail M. Kasyanov publicly expresses his doubts about the wisdom of the freezing of shares of the Yukos oil company.

November
"Democracy needs steering. It is not good to have too much democracy."
Eduard Shevardnadze, after being forced to resign the presidency of Georgia, November 23

November 1
      In Sri Lanka the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam release a proposal for an interim governing structure for LTTE-controlled territories in the country as a step toward restarting negotiations with the government.

      A woman with three children in her car manages to breach a security cordon and crashes into the building in which U.S. Pres. George W. Bush has just spoken in Southhaven, Miss.

November 2
      In the deadliest single attack on U.S. forces since the start of the war in Iraq, a helicopter carrying soldiers starting furloughs is shot down outside Fallujah; 16 are killed.

      Ignoring the threat of schism in the Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Church U.S.A. consecrates the openly gay V. Gene Robinson bishop of New Hampshire.

      The American Academy of Arts and Letters names composer Stephen Hartke the third winner of its triennial Charles Ives Living award.

November 3
      The draft of a proposed constitution for Afghanistan is formally presented to Mohammad Zahir Shah, the country's former king; it will then be voted on in the loya jirga.

      For the first time since 1969, Spain closes its border with the British enclave of Gibraltar, prompting complaints from the U.K.; the cause is the docking at Gibraltar of a cruise ship on which about a third of the passengers are ill with an intestinal virus.

      It is reported that deCODE genetics, a company based in Iceland, has identified a gene linked to osteoporosis, with variants of the gene found to increase the odds of getting the disease threefold; a test for the gene variants is being developed.

      James Murdoch is named CEO of the British Sky Broadcasting Group, which controls most pay-television service in Great Britain; his father, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, is chairman.

      The French electronics company Thomson announces plans to combine its television and DVD units with those of China's TCL International Holdings to create TCL–Thomson Electronics, the biggest manufacturer of television sets in the world.

November 4
      Sri Lankan Pres. Chandrika Kumaratunga suspends Parliament and fires several government ministers in an apparent move against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe; the following day she declares a state of emergency.

      Alan Jackson and Johnny Cash (who died in September) each win three Country Music Association Awards, Jackson for entertainer, male vocalist, and event of the year and Cash for single, album, and video of the year; Cash also wins the Irving Waugh Award of Excellence.

      The Giller Prize, awarded for the best novel or short-story collection published in English in Canada, is awarded to M.G. Vassanji for his novel The In-Between World of Vikram Lall; he also won the prize in 1994, for The Book of Secrets.

      In a federal court in Birmingham, Ala., the U.S. Department of Justice indicts Richard M. Scrushy, the founder and former CEO of the hospital company HealthSouth, on 85 counts for defrauding investors in the company.

November 5
      Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan sign a treaty to reduce the ecological damage to the Caspian Sea, which all the countries border.

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush, in a well-publicized ceremony, signs into law a measure banning a rarely used method for late-stage abortions.

      In Seattle, Wash., Gary Ridgway pleads guilty to the murder of 48 women during the 1980s, putting an end to the mystery of the Green River killings; he is the deadliest serial killer on record.

      The first John W. Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Human Sciences, established by the U.S. Library of Congress to honour achievements in fields not covered by the Nobel Prizes, is awarded to Leszek Kolakowski, a Polish-born anticommunist philosopher.

November 6
      Michael Howard is elected to lead Great Britain's Conservative Party.

      National Public Radio announces that it is the beneficiary of the enormous bequest of at least $200 million from the estate of Joan B. Kroc, the widow of the longtime head of McDonald's Corp.

      Bertelsmann and Sony reach an agreement to merge their music units under the name of Sony BMG and under the chairmanship of Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, with Andrew Lack as CEO. (See November 19.)

November 7
      Presidential elections are held in Mauritania; Pres. Maaouya Ould Sidi Ahmad Taya is declared the winner the following day.

      A Black Hawk helicopter crashes in Tikrit, Iraq, apparently shot down, killing six U.S. soldiers; it is the third time in two weeks that an American helicopter has been brought down in Iraq.

November 8
      A car bomb explodes at a residential compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, killing at least 17 people and injuring some 120.

      A daughter, later named Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary Mountbatten-Windsor (to be known as Lady Louise Windsor), is born to Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, in Surrey, Eng.

November 9
      Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's coalition retains power in parliamentary elections, but the size of its majority is reduced.

      Presidential elections in Guatemala result in the need for a runoff between Oscar Berger and Álvaro Colom; former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt is out of the running.

      France's minister of culture announces that the country is undertaking a massive 20-year renovation of the 17th-century Palace of Versailles and its gardens.

November 10
      For the third day in a row, thousands of protesters in Tbilisi, Georgia, demand the resignation of Pres. Eduard Shevardnadze.

      The World Trade Organization rules that the tariffs on steel imposed by the U.S. in 2002 are illegal under the rules of the organization; the European Union is thus entitled to impose sanctions on goods from the U.S.

November 11
      The Dominican Republic is brought to a halt by a general strike, and protesters fight with police in several cities; the economic situation in the country has been deteriorating badly.

      The Movado Watch Co. says that it is withdrawing its funding for American Ballet Theatre, transferring it to the New York City Ballet, citing financial mismanagement at ABT.

November 12
      A car bomb destroys a compound housing an Italian police base in Nasiriyah, Iraq, killing at least 26 people, 19 of them Italian.

      The death penalty is abolished in Turkey; the step is a prerequisite for membership in the European Union.

      The U.S. National Medal of Arts is awarded to Ron Howard, Suzanne Farrell, Tommy Tune, Leonard Slatkin, Beverly Cleary, Buddy Guy, George Strait, Rafe Esquith, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the television show Austin City Limits.

November 13
      On his first official visit to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Pres. Svetozar Marovic of Serbia and Montenegro apologizes to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the war in 1992–95.

      Pres. Henrique Rosa of Guinea-Bissau ceremonially opens Amilcar Cabral University, the first public university in the country; the first students will be admitted in January 2004.

      The Hawaiian island of Kahoolawe is formally returned to the state of Hawaii by the U.S. Navy, which had used the island for weapons testing and practice from shortly before World War II until 1994, after which it began restoring the environment; the island has great meaning to indigenous Hawaiians.

November 14
      The U.S. Central Command announces that it is enlarging its forward headquarters in Qatar, more than doubling its staff by transferring personnel from the main headquarters in Florida.

      The Corsican National Liberation Front Combatants' Union, the main militant group seeking independence for the French enclave, announces an unconditional cease-fire.

      The first phase of the newest contender for the title of tallest building in the world, the Taipei 101, is formally opened in Taiwan.

November 15
      Car bombs explode nearly simultaneously outside two synagogues in Istanbul during morning prayers, leaving at least 23 people dead and injuring 300.

      Two American helicopters crash into each other over Mosul, Iraq; at least 17 U.S. soldiers are killed.

      Grenades are thrown into two adjacent nightclubs in Bogotá, Colom., injuring dozens of people, including many tourists, but killing only one.

      A Jewish school in the Paris suburb of Gagny is burned to the ground in the night; it is the first attack against a Jewish facility in France in close to a year.

November 16
      Taliban gunmen in Ghazni, Afg., attack and kill a female worker for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees; the agency immediately suspends operations in the area.

      In local elections the ruling Convergence and Union coalition and the opposition Socialist Party of Catalonia both lose seats to the small Republican Left party, which favours independence from Spain for Catalonia.

      In Serbia's third attempt at a presidential election, the turnout is again too low for the balloting to be valid; technically the republic now has neither president nor legislature.

      The Edmonton Eskimos defeat the Montreal Alouettes 34–22 in Regina, Sask., to capture the franchise's 12th Canadian Football League Grey Cup.

      Donald Gordon, founder of the insurance company Liberty Life Group and the retail conglomerate Liberty International, makes the largest private gift to the arts in British history in donating some $34 million to be shared between the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and the under-construction Wales Millennium Centre.

November 17
      Conrad Black, who built Hollinger International into an empire of conservative newspapers, including London's Daily Telegraph, the Jerusalem Post, and the Chicago Sun-Times, resigns as CEO after admitting that he and his partners were given $32 million without shareholder authorization.

      The insurer St. Paul Companies takes control of the much larger Travelers Property Casualty Corp. to create an insurance behemoth to be known as St. Paul Travelers Companies.

      Toys “ß” Us announces that because of declining revenues it will close all of its freestanding Kids “ß” Us clothing stores and Imaginarium educational-toy stores.

November 18
      The Supreme Court of Massachusetts finds that the state constitution does not permit it to deny the benefits of civil marriage to same-sex couples.

      It is reported that scientists at the High Energy Acceleration Research Organization in Tsukuba, Japan, have discovered a meson, a type of subatomic particle, that does not conform to any known theory of energy and matter; the new meson has been dubbed X(3872).

      At the age of 14, Ghanaian association football (soccer) phenomenon Freddy Adu signs a contract with Major League Soccer in the U.S., becoming simultaneously the youngest and the best-paid player in the league.

      Barry Bonds becomes the first player in Major League Baseball history to win three consecutive Most Valuable Player awards when the National League names him its 2003 season MVP.

November 19
      The government of South Africa approves a plan to give antiretroviral medicine free of cost to people infected with HIV.

      Law-enforcement personnel in California announce that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of pop star Michael Jackson on suspicion of child molestation.

      The U.S. National Endowment for the Arts presents its annual Jazz Masters awards to Jim Hall, Chico Hamilton, Herbie Hancock, Nancy Wilson, Nat Hentoff, and Luther Henderson.

      The National Book Awards are presented to Shirley Hazzard for her novel The Great Fire, Carlos Eire for his nonfiction book Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy, C.K. Williams for his poetry collection The Singing, and Polly Horvath for her young-adult book The Canning Season; suspense novelist Stephen King is given the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

      In a disagreement over Bertelsmann's agreement with Sony Music, Bertelsmann's chairman, Gerd Schulte-Hillen, resigns. (See November 6.)

November 20
      The British consulate in Istanbul and the Istanbul headquarters of Britain's HSBC Bank are both destroyed by truck bombs; at least 27 are killed and 450 injured.

      Tens of thousands of protesters demonstrate in London's Trafalgar Square in opposition to the policies of U.S. Pres. George W. Bush on the occasion of his state visit to the U.K.

      Georgia's Central Election Commission reports that parties that support Pres. Eduard Shevardnadze have won the majority of seats in the parliamentary elections on November 2; opposition politicians declare the results fraudulent.

      It is reported that researchers have succeeded in producing a draft map of protein interactions in the fruit fly; after DNA decoding, protein modeling is the next step toward understanding the processes of life.

      Nature magazine publishes a report by Japanese scientists who, in studying whales caught during the 1970s, believe they have found a previously unnamed species of rorqual whale similar to but distinct from the Bryde's whale; they dub it Balaenoptera omurai.

November 21
      Across the Middle East, Muslims observe Jerusalem Day, as they have done for many years on the last Friday of Ramadan in support of Palestinian claims to Jerusalem.

      Brazilian Pres. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announces that he plans an ambitious land-redistribution project that will give parcels to 400,000 landless families.

      A paper in Science magazine describes rock shards found in Antarctica that date from the Permian-Triassic boundary and that some scientists believe are fragments from a meteor as bolstering the theory that a meteorite caused the extinction of 90% of the Earth's species at the end of the Permian Period, about 245 million years ago.

November 22
      Protesters in Tbilisi, Georgia, storm Parliament just as Pres. Eduard Shevardnadze is beginning to address the body; he is forced to flee.

      In Sydney, Australia, England defeats Australia 20–17 to win the Rugby Union World Cup, the first team from the Northern Hemisphere ever to do so.

November 23
      Georgian Pres. Eduard Shevardnadze peacefully relinquishes power; parliamentary speaker Nino Burdzhanadze becomes acting president, and the opposition guarantees the security of the deposed president and his family.

      Parliamentary elections in Croatia result in a return to power of the nationalist Croatian Democratic Union led by Ivo Sanader; the party reportedly has purged itself of its more hard-line elements since it lost power in the 2000 election.

      The San Jose Earthquakes win their second Major League Soccer title in three years with a 4–2 victory over the Chicago Fire in the MLS Cup.

      Subway train service to the stop at the site of the former World Trade Center in New York City resumes for the first time since the station was destroyed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

      Pakistani Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali announces that Pakistani troops patrolling the Line of Control in Kashmir will begin a cease-fire at Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

November 24
      A jury in Virginia Beach, Va., sentences John A. Muhammad to death for having directed the sniper killings that terrorized the area around Washington, D.C., in October 2002.

      A group of investors led by media figure and Seagram's heir Edgar Bronfman, Jr., buys the Warner Music division of media conglomerate Time Warner.

      A long-awaited new rule that permits mobile-phone customers to change service providers without changing their telephone numbers goes into effect in the U.S.

      Leo F. Mullin unexpectedly announces that he will step down from his position as CEO of Delta Air Lines; he will be replaced by Gerald Grinstein.

November 25
      A bill that will drastically revamp the Medicare system, which provides medical insurance coverage for the elderly, is approved in the U.S. Congress.

      Israel announces that the U.S. is rescinding a small portion of its loan guarantees to Israel because of the continued building of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

November 26
      Legislative elections in Northern Ireland give the largest share of seats to the hard-line Protestant Democratic Unionist Party at the expense of the more moderate Ulster Unionist Party.

      The International Atomic Energy Agency passes a resolution in which it deplores Iran's 18 years of covering up its nuclear program.

      It is reported that four children in the U.S. state of Colorado have died of influenza in the past week, which suggests that an unusually severe flu season is in store; the worst of the flu season usually occurs in January and February.

      A Russian court orders the Bolshoi Ballet to reinstate its star ballerina, Anastasia Volochkova, who has been appearing in concerts throughout Russia since the Bolshoi fired her. (See September 16.)

November 27
      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush surprises U.S. troops—as well as the media and all but his closest advisers—by joining the soldiers in a Thanksgiving dinner at the mess hall at Baghdad International Airport in Iraq.

      Association football (soccer) star David Beckham is presented with the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

November 28
      Pres. Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe threatens to pull his country out of the Commonwealth if that organization's member states continue to shut Zimbabwe out.

      A study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the number of new cases of HIV infection is increasing, with by far the greatest number of new cases occurring among Hispanic men.

November 29
      Separate attacks in Iraq kill seven intelligence officers from Spain and two diplomats from Japan.

      More than 40,000 people attend an all-star concert to raise money for AIDS in Cape Town, S.Af.; the highlight is a duet between Bono and Beyoncé.

November 30
      Thousands of people in Venezuela line up at various venues to sign petitions seeking a recall of Pres. Hugo Chávez; if 20% of registered voters—about 2.4 million persons—sign the petition, a recall referendum must be initiated.

      In the Davis Cup team tennis tournament, Mark Philippoussis of Australia defeats Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain to give Australia its 28th Davis Cup victory; a week earlier France, led by Amelie Mauresmo, had won its second Fed Cup.

      The Iraqi Governing Council agrees that a general election should be held in June 2004 to choose an interim government and appoints a committee to examine whether it will be possible to hold such an election.

December
"Ladies and gentlemen, we got him."
L. Paul Bremer III, U.S. administrator in Iraq, on December 14, announcing the capture of Saddam Hussein

December 1
      Former Israeli minister of justice Yossi Beilin and former Palestinian minister of information Yasir Abed Rabbo unveil a far-reaching proposal for peace between Israel and Palestine.

      The Boeing Co. announces the resignation of its CEO, Philip M. Condit; the aerospace giant has been accused of a number of ethical violations.

December 2
      Russia signals that it will not ratify the Kyoto Protocol to limit greenhouse gases; with the cooperation of neither Russia nor the U.S., which has already announced its intention not to ratify, the treaty would not take effect.

      A maglev train outside Tokyo on a test run reaches a speed of 581 km/hr (360 mph), breaking its own world speed record for the third time in three weeks.

December 3
      The Canadian government approves a royal proclamation recognizing the suffering caused when some 11,000 French speakers, called Acadians, were expelled from British Canada in 1755 for refusing to swear allegiance to Great Britain; many Acadians settled in other British colonies, notably Louisiana (where they became known as Cajuns).

      After storms lashing southern France cause flooding that leaves at least 5 people dead, the area around Marseille is declared a disaster zone.

December 4
      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush rescinds the steel tariffs that he put in place in 2002 in violation of World Trade Organization rules.

      Interpol puts deposed Liberian president Charles Taylor on its most-wanted list by posting a so-called red notice on its Web site. (See September 5.)

      South Korea's National Assembly overrules Pres. Roh Moo Hyun's veto of a measure ordering an independent investigation of corruption charges against former aides of the president; it is the first time in 49 years that a presidential veto has been overturned.

      In Rome a synod of Chaldean Catholic bishops elects Emmanuel-Karim Delly patriarch of Babylon, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, more than half of whose members live in Iraq; he will serve under the name Emmanuel III Delly.

      The U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded to Robert L. Bartley, who for some 30 years was the editorial-page editor of The Wall Street Journal; Bartley dies a few days later, on December 10.

December 5
      U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz, citing “essential security interests,” issues a directive barring companies from countries that did not support the U.S.-led war in Iraq—which include France, Germany, and Russia—from bidding on contracts to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure.

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush names veteran statesman James A. Baker III his personal envoy to persuade creditor countries in Europe and the Middle East to restructure Iraq's foreign debt.

      A suicide bombing takes place aboard a Russian commuter train traveling between Kislovodsk and Mineralnye Vody, near Chechnya; at least 42 people are killed, and more than 150 are injured.

      The 22nd biennial Southeast Asian Games open in Hanoi; it is the first major international sports event to be held in Vietnam.

December 6
      In a strike intended to kill a suspected terrorist, a U.S.-led military force in Afghanistan kills nine children but not, apparently, the intended target.

      Saudi Arabia releases the names and photos of its most-wanted terrorists; the U.S. embassy staff in Riyadh is warned to remain in diplomatic quarters.

December 7
      A Commonwealth summit in Nigeria declines to lift the suspension of Zimbabwe from the group, and Zimbabwean Pres. Robert Mugabe terminates Zimbabwe's membership in the Commonwealth.

      Parliamentary elections are held in Russia, and the United Russia party, which is loyal to Pres. Vladimir Putin, wins the largest percentage of seats; observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe say that the party's advantages in access to resources distorted the vote.

      Arnoldo Alemán, who was president of Nicaragua in 1997–2002, is sentenced to 20 years in prison for, among other crimes, fraud and embezzlement.

      Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife, Princess Maxima, become the parents of a baby girl, who will be known as Amalia; she is second in line to the throne of The Netherlands.

      The annual Kennedy Center Honors are presented in Washington, D.C., to television star Carol Burnett, film and stage director Mike Nichols, and musicians James Brown, Loretta Lynn, and Itzhak Perlman.

      Britain's Turner Prize is presented to the transvestite ceramics artist Grayson Perry.

December 8
      A court in Athens finds 15 members of the militant group known as November 17 guilty of 23 killings and acquits 4 others; the group had operated virtually at liberty from 1975 to 2001.

      In an unusually blunt statement on the subject, U.S. Pres. George W. Bush warns Taiwan against holding a referendum in support of independence from China.

      The Right Livelihood Awards are presented in Stockholm to former New Zealand prime minister David Lange, for his work to rid the world of nuclear weapons; Walden Bello and Nicanor Perlas, Filipinos who work against corporate globalization; the Citizens' Coalition for Economic Justice, a South Korean organization that fosters inclusive economic development and promotes reconciliation with North Korea; and SEKEM, an Egyptian biodynamic farming corporation that promotes social and cultural development.

      U.S. Rep. Bill Janklow of South Dakota is convicted of manslaughter in a case stemming from an automobile accident in which a motorcyclist was killed; Janklow says he will resign from Congress.

December 9
      Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao is received with high honours in the White House, where he and U.S. Pres. George W. Bush discuss the crisis with North Korea and China's trade surplus with the U.S.

      A suicide bomber detonates her weapons outside the historic National Hotel in downtown Moscow, killing at least 5 people and injuring 13, as well as destroying cars and shattering windows in the lobby of the hotel, which is located only a few hundred metres from the Kremlin.

      The Iraqi Governing Council votes to create a national tribunal to try members of Saddam Hussein's administration on any charges stemming from that regime's crimes against humanity.

December 10
      The U.S. Supreme Court holds that a provision of a 2002 campaign finance law that bans the unregulated donation of money to candidates for federal office or to national parties and restricts political advertising by interest groups near election time does not violate constitutional provisions protecting free speech.

      Australia's High Court rules that British- and Irish-born people who immigrated to Australia any time after 1948 and did not become Australian citizens may have their permanent visas rescinded and be deported; immigrants from those countries previously had been accorded a special status almost indistinguishable from citizenship.

      The UN Human Rights Prize, granted every five years, is awarded to Sérgio Vieira de Mello, who was killed in Iraq; Enriqueta Estela Barnes de Carlotto of Argentina; Deng Pufang of China; Shulamith Koenig of the U.S.; the Family Protection Project Management Team of Jordan; and the Mano River Women's Peace Network of West Africa.

December 11
      U.S. military officials reveal that an audit seems to show that Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of the Halliburton Co., overcharged the U.S. government more than $60 million for fuel delivered to Iraq.

      Shares of the Italian food-manufacturing giant Parmalat fall nearly 50% amid a financial crisis that includes a $590 million investment loss, the resignation of the chief financial officer, a decision to sell off its American bakery assets, and a three-day suspension in stock trading. (See December 24.)

      A French commission charged with making recommendations to keep state and religion separate and prevent religious turmoil turns in its report to Pres. Jacques Chirac; its most explosive recommendation is to ban the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols in schools, including yarmulkes by Jewish boys and headscarves by Muslim girls.

      A judge in Hamburg, Ger., orders the release of Abdelghani Mzoudi, a Moroccan on trial for having aided the planners of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, saying that the U.S.'s refusal to make Ramzi ibn al-Shibh, a chief witness, available for examination makes it impossible to evaluate evidence in the case.

      Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer announces that the country will send nearly 300 police officers and officials to Papua New Guinea to help restore order.

December 12
      Jean Chrétien retires as prime minister of Canada; Paul Martin assumes the office.

      Rock singer Mick Jagger is knighted in a ceremony led by Prince Charles in London.

      Keiko, the killer whale that was the star of the 1993 movie Free Willy and two sequels, dies of pneumonia at the age of 27 in the coastal waters of Norway.

      An assault takes place on the state television station in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, but security forces successfully repel the attackers in a battle that leaves 18 dead; the identity of the attackers is unclear.

December 13
      A tip leads U.S. soldiers to a farm outside Tikrit, Iraq, where they find Saddam Hussein hiding in a “spider hole” and arrest him; the capture is announced to the world the following day.

      Meeting to vote on a proposed draft constitution for the European Union, the leaders of EU member states and those that will join the union in May 2004 adjourn without agreement; at issue is apportionment of voting power.

      The 2003 Heisman Trophy for college football is awarded to University of Oklahoma quarterback Jason White.

December 14
      In Turkish Cypriot parliamentary elections, the vote is about evenly divided between supporters of Rauf Denktash, who rejected a UN plan to reunify Cyprus in a loose federation, and supporters of the plan.

      Pakistani Pres. Pervez Musharraf narrowly escapes an assassination attempt when a bomb explodes on a bridge near his home in Rawalpindi just 30 seconds after his motorcade has passed that point. (See December 25.)

      A gala concert marks the reopening of La Fenice Opera House in Venice, rebuilt after having been destroyed by arson in 1996.

December 15
      Bhutan begins a military campaign to remove training camps of Indian militants who conduct attacks in the Indian states of Assam and West Bengal.

      Microsoft announces that it will no longer sell or support older products, including Windows 98, Windows NT 4, and Outlook 2000, all of which contain Java code that Microsoft agreed with Sun Microsystems to remove from its products.

      At Washington Dulles International Airport, the Smithsonian Institution opens its Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, housing most of the collection of the National Air and Space Museum and more.

December 16
      The legislature of Lithuania begins impeachment proceedings against Pres. Rolandas Paksas, who is accused of having ties with organized-crime figures.

      CEO Harry Stonecipher announces that the Boeing Co.'s first new airplane model in more than 10 years, the 7E7 Dreamliner, will be produced in the area of Seattle, Wash.

      In Hirtshals, Den., most of the North Sea Museum, including its most popular attraction, the Oceanarium, is destroyed by fire; the Oceanarium is Europe's biggest aquarium.

      Afghani Pres. Hamid Karzai ceremonially cuts a ribbon to declare the reconstructed Kabul–Kandahar highway open; Taliban violence has made most of the highway too dangerous to use, however.

December 17
      The U.S. signs the Central American Free Trade Agreement with Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua; Costa Rica declines to join the accord.

      The beleaguered Russian oil company Yukos and the more successful Sibneft report that they have agreed not to go forward with the merger that they had announced earlier in the year. (See April 22.)

      Former Illinois governor George Ryan, known for having emptied the state's death row in January, is indicted on 18 wide-ranging counts of corruption.

      In celebration of the centennial of the first flight, dignitaries including U.S. Pres. George W. Bush gather at Kill Devil Hills, N.C., to watch a replica of Wilbur and Orville Wright's 1903 Flyer attempt to duplicate the feat; the attempt is unsuccessful.

      In a ceremony attended by a number of celebrities, the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport in Burbank, Calif., is officially renamed the Bob Hope Airport.

      The AirTrain, a light-rail service that will run from stations adjacent to some of New York City's mass transit stations to John F. Kennedy International Airport, opens.

      The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King opens simultaneously in 20 countries, breaking opening-day box-office records in a number of them.

December 18
      A U.S. Court of Appeals in New York City declares that the government does not have the right to hold indefinitely José Padilla, a U.S. citizen who has been detained as an enemy combatant since June 2002, and must release or charge him; on the same day, a federal appeals court in San Francisco finds that holding detainees at the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, without access to legal protections is unconstitutional.

      NASA releases the first images from its Space Infrared Telescope Facility, launched August 25, and renames it the Spitzer Space Telescope; by operating at only about 5 °C above absolute zero, the telescope will be able to detect objects with very faint warmth.

      Iran signs a protocol to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty that will permit the International Atomic Energy Agency to make intrusive inspections to verify that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program.

      Teenager Lee Malvo is convicted on two counts of murder in the sniper killings in the area of Washington, D.C., in fall 2002; on December 23 he is sentenced to life in prison. (See November 24.)

December 19
      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair announce that Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi has admitted that his country has tried to create banned weapons and that he has promised to dismantle the program and permit nuclear inspections.

      The design for Freedom Tower, intended to anchor the replacement for the World Trade Center in New York City, is unveiled.

      Former Argentine president Carlos Saúl Menem is charged with tax fraud.

      Finland's state prosecutor says that he will prosecute former prime minister Anneli Jäätteenmäki for her part in the leaked-document scandal that forced her resignation.

      Fisheries ministers of the European Union reach an agreement on long-term protection of dwindling stocks of various fishes and set catch quotas for 2004.

December 20
      The long-awaited Hong Kong West Rail, linking the northwestern New Territories with Kowloon, opens.

      In Boston the southbound portion of the Interstate 93 tunnel, part of the massive “Big Dig” Central Artery/Tunnel project, opens.

December 21
      As expected, Lansana Conté wins election to a third term as president of Guinea.

      Representatives of the government of The Sudan and of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army reach an agreement on the sharing of oil wealth; the question of access to natural resources has been fueling conflict in the country.

      The U.S. government raises the country's terror alert level to orange, or high, for the first time since May.

December 22
      A magnitude-6.5 earthquake with an epicentre near San Simeon rattles central California, collapsing a building in Paso Robles and killing two people but causing relatively little damage because of the low population in the area.

      The Chinese government makes public a proposed amendment to the constitution stating that legally obtained private property is not to be violated; it is the first time since the beginning of communist rule that private property has had legal protection.

      A rebel group announces that it will end its three-month boycott of the interim government in Côte d'Ivoire and again participate in the government.

December 23
      U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman announces that a cow slaughtered two weeks ago near Yakima, Wash., has been found to have had bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, the first case of the disease detected in the U.S.; a number of countries immediately ban the import of American beef.

      Vivendi Universal agrees to pay $50 million to settle a suit brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

December 24
      Parmalat files for bankruptcy protection under a new decree passed by the Italian government to assist the troubled food giant. (See December 11 and 28.)

      Air France, in response to concerns on the part of U.S. officials, cancels six flights between Paris and Los Angeles.

      Spanish officials say they have arrested a man who was carrying a bomb and tried to board a Madrid-bound train in San Sebastián and that later on the same train a bomb was found with a timer that would have detonated it soon after it arrived in one of Madrid's busiest train stations the same evening.

      The U.S. Department of State announces that the U.S. will give 60,000 metric tons of additional agricultural produce to North Korea through the World Food Programme.

December 25
      Pakistani Pres. Pervez Musharraf survives a second assassination attempt in as many weeks (see December 14) when two suicide bombers drive into the presidential motorcade in Rawalpindi; at least 14 people, including the bombers, are killed.

      The British-made Beagle II unmanned lander fails to signal its safe arrival on Mars as scheduled, but European scientists are pleased that the European Space Agency's Mars Express vehicle, which released the probe and will search for subsurface water, achieved orbit around the planet.

December 26
      A massive earthquake measured in the U.S. at a magnitude of 6.6 nearly destroys the ancient Iranian city of Bam; estimates of the death toll reach 41,000, but that number is later revised down to 26,271.

December 27
      China increases health screenings of travelers in response to news that a man in Guangzhou is being treated for possible SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

      Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, arrives in Tripoli, Libya, with a team of weapons inspectors.

December 28
      The runoff presidential election in Guatemala is won by conservative Oscar Berger.

      In parliamentary elections in Serbia, the biggest proportion of the seats goes to the extreme nationalist Serbian Radical Party.

      An arrest order for Calisto Tanzi, the founder and former chairman of Parmalat, is issued. (See December 24.)

December 29
      The U.S. issues an emergency order requiring foreign airlines flying into, out of, or over the U.S. to put air marshals aboard the flights if so requested.

      Japan announces that it will forgive most of Iraq's huge debt to it if other Paris Club countries will do the same.

December 30
      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issues a ban on the sale of the herbal supplement ephedra, which has been linked to heart attacks and sudden death.

      U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft recuses himself from the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation into the leak of the name of a covert CIA operative to a newspaper columnist; U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is named as special counsel to direct the investigation.

      Ukraine's Constitutional Court rules that Pres. Leonid Kuchma may run for a third term as president in 2004.

December 31
      The U.S. lifts most restrictions on sending assistance to Iran for a 90-day period to allow donations in response to the December 26 earthquake.

      In Great Britain's annual New Year Honours list, actress Joan Plowright is made a dame, while the designation of CBE goes to director Stephen Daldry, musicians Eric Clapton and Ray Davies, and wildlife activist Virginia McKenna.

      In Baghdad, Iraq, a car bomb explodes in the Nabil Restaurant, which is filled with people celebrating New Year's Eve; five Iraqis are killed.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

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