Dates of 2004

Dates of 2004
▪ 2005

"It turns out we were all wrong, probably, in my judgment."
— David Kay, former U.S. chief weapons inspector in Iraq, in testimony to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, January 28

January 1

      Haitian Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide leads a smaller-than-planned observance of the bicentennial of Haiti's independence from France; rebellions against Aristide's rule force curtailment of the celebrations.

      Pakistan's electoral college ratifies Pervez Musharraf's presidency, allowing him to remain in office into 2007; opposition parties boycott the election.

      A law pardoning those who were punished for violating Switzerland's neutrality laws by assisting victims of Nazi Germany goes into effect in Switzerland.

      In the annual college football postseason Rose Bowl, the top-ranked University of Southern California defeats the University of Michigan 28–14. (See January 4.)

January 2

      British Airways cancels a flight scheduled from London to Washington, D.C.; it is the seventh international flight to the U.S. in less than a week halted because of security concerns.

      The seven countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation agree to a framework for a free-trade zone; the following day the leaders of those countries arrive in Islamabad, Pak., for a formal meeting of the organization.

      Eritrea rejects the appointment of Canadian diplomat Lloyd Axworthy to mediate its border dispute with Ethiopia, which refuses to accept a border designated by an international commission under the terms of a peace agreement.

      NASA's Stardust spacecraft successfully makes a flyby of the comet Wild 2, a recent arrival in the inner solar system, taking photographs of the nucleus and collecting samples of dust ejected by the comet; the spacecraft is expected to deliver the samples to Earth in 2006.

January 3

      NASA's robotic rover Spirit arrives on Mars; the following day it begins transmitting photographs.

      The National Society of Film Critics chooses American Splendor as the best film of 2003.

January 4

      Mikhail Saakashvili, who drove Eduard Shevardnadze from power, is overwhelmingly elected president of Georgia; he takes office on January 25.

      Afghanistan's Loya Jirga (assembly) agrees to a new constitution; it provides for a presidency with two vice presidents and a bicameral legislature, declares men and women to be equal, makes local languages official in their own areas, and forbids laws that are contrary to Islam; the document is signed by Pres. Hamid Karzai and enters into force on January 26.

      Louisiana State University defeats the University of Oklahoma 21–14 in college football's annual Sugar Bowl to win the Bowl Championship Series trophy; LSU shares the unofficial national championship with the University of Southern California. (See January 1.)

January 5

      The U.S. begins a program of fingerprinting and photographing all passengers from certain countries arriving at a major airport or ship port in the U.S.

      China announces a decision to kill all palm civets being held in Guangdong province in an effort to head off another outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which has been diagnosed in one person in 2004.

      At a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Atlanta, Ga., scientists report that the giant star LBV 1806-20, on the far side of the Milky Way Galaxy, is by far the biggest object ever seen—at least 150 times larger than the Sun and at least 5 million times brighter.

January 6

      A design called “Reflecting Absence,” featuring a grove of trees and deep reflecting pools in the footprints of the Twin Towers, is chosen as the memorial to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center in New York City.

      Woodside Petroleum Ltd. of Australia announces that in the future it will develop an oil field that was discovered off the coast of Mauritania in 2001, which will make Mauritania, one of Africa's poorest countries, also one of its few oil exporters.

      An Iranian government official declares that Iran and Egypt have decided to restore diplomatic relations, which were broken off in 1979 because of Egypt's agreement to the Camp David Accords and its role in hosting Iran's exiled shah.

      Hitter Paul Molitor and pitcher Dennis Eckersley are elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

January 7

      The government of The Sudan signs an agreement with the Sudan People's Liberation Army to split both oil and non-oil revenues equally throughout the six years of the planned interim government; this has been the most important issue standing in the way of peace.

      Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Simitis surprises observers by announcing plans to hold a parliamentary election on March 7 and to resign the day following the balloting.

      A cyclone with winds reaching 298 km/h (185 mph) nearly destroys Alofi, the capital of Niue, a Pacific island state.

January 8

      A U.S. Army helicopter is shot down near Fallujah, Iraq, leaving nine soldiers dead, less than a week after another U.S. helicopter was shot down in the same region.

      American blue jeans manufacturer Levi Strauss & Co. closes its last two sewing plants in the U.S., in San Antonio, Texas; the company's presence in the U.S. is now reduced to headquarters, design, sales, and distribution.

      The sale of the urban clothing brand Phat Fashions, founded by hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons, to the Kellwood Co., a large traditional clothing producer, is announced.

January 9

      The U.S. names captured Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein a prisoner of war, which means that he must be treated in accordance with the terms of the Geneva Conventions.

      The U.S. government lowers the terror alert level to yellow, or elevated; it had been at orange, or high, since Dec. 21, 2003.

      Libya agrees to pay $1 million to the heirs of each of the 170 victims of a French airliner that was shot down over the Ténéré desert in the central Sahara in 1989.

January 10

      Six members of South Korea's National Assembly and Son Kil Seung, chairman of the troubled business conglomerate SK Group, are arrested in an investigation into a bribery and corruption scandal.

January 11

      Israel begins building a concrete barrier around Jerusalem, walling it off from Palestinian suburbs.

      In Iran the Guardian Council disqualifies half the candidates for election to the Majlis (legislature), including about one-third of the sitting members of the assembly; elections are scheduled for February 20.

      New York Film Critics awards are presented; The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King wins top honours.

January 12

      Scientists from Brookhaven National Laboratory describe an experiment that they believe produced a predicted dense, puddinglike state of subatomic matter called a colour glass condensate in which gluons briefly merge.

      It is reported that some 6,000 chickens on a farm in Yamaguchi prefecture in Japan have died of the highly contagious H5 strain of avian flu.

      In the field of children's literature, the Newbery Medal is awarded to Kate DiCamillo for The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread, and Mordicai Gerstein wins the Caldecott Medal for his picture book The Man Who Walked Between the Towers.

      The new Cunard cruise liner Queen Mary 2, the biggest cruise ship in every dimension that has ever been floated, departs Southampton, Eng., on its maiden voyage.

January 13

      The Constitutional Court of Italy invalidates a law that protected top officials in the government from prosecution while they held office; the law had primarily protected Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi from having to stand trial on charges of bribery.

      The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reports that it has found numerous instances of mutual funds' illegally paying off brokers to steer unwitting investors in their direction.

      At the Summit of the Americas in Monterrey, Mex., Haitian Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide announces plans to hold legislative elections within six months; the terms of most members of the parliament had expired the previous day.

January 14

      The U.S. conglomerate J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. agrees to acquire Bank One Corp., a consumer bank, creating a company close in size to Citigroup Inc., the country's largest bank.

      France's National Assembly approves a plan to change the status of French Polynesia from “overseas territory” to “overseas country,” a status that grants the entity greater autonomy.

      The UN announces that Libya has ratified the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty; the country has also agreed to join the Chemical Weapons Convention.

      In a speech at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., U.S. Pres. George W. Bush calls for a program to return to the Moon by 2020 and build a base there from which astronauts would travel to Mars.

      Officials from the Russian Ministry of Culture announce that the two Rodin bronzes that were stolen from a Volgograd museum three years ago, The Kiss and Jealousy, have been recovered.

January 15

      In a response to a suicide bombing that killed four Israelis the previous day, Israel seals off the Gaza Strip.

      NASA's rover Spirit makes its first foray from its landing platform on Mars as planned, rolling down a ramp and forward about 3 m (10 ft).

      Germany's federal office of statistics reveals that the country's economy shrank by 0.1% in 2003, its worst year since 1993.

January 16

      NASA decides to cancel a planned maintenance mission to the Hubble Space Telescope, upsetting scientists and the public, who lament that astronomy's best resource will be allowed to deteriorate into uselessness.

      Taiwanese Pres. Chen Shui-bian changes the terms of a referendum scheduled for March 20; instead of asking whether China should renounce the use of force against Taiwan, it will ask if Taiwan should strengthen its defensive capabilities and whether negotiations should take place between Taiwan and China.

      The government of Myanmar (Burma) claims to have released from detention 26 members of the opposition National League for Democracy; it is unclear whether they are among the people arrested in May 2003 with Aung San Suu Kyi.

      U.S. authorities seize a portrait bust of the Roman emperor Trajan from Christie's auction house, which had sold the sculpture at auction the previous month; the bust is believed to be one stolen from the Capitoline Museum in Rome in 1998.

January 17

      Pakistani Pres. Pervez Musharraf makes his first address before the parliament since he seized power in 1999; though he is heckled throughout, he maintains that it is necessary for the country to fight religious extremism and to attempt to negotiate peace with India.

      Three men are executed in Lebanon; it is the first time in five years that capital punishment has been carried out in the country.

January 18

      A truck bomb explodes at the main gate of the headquarters of the U.S. occupation in Baghdad, Iraq, killing at least 31 people, mostly Iraqi civilians, and wounding at least 120 others.

      Conrad M. Black agrees to sell his controlling stake in Hollinger International, which publishes a number of prominent newspapers, to British entrepreneurs David and Frederick Barclay; the board of directors, which believes Black has misappropriated $200 million, opposes the move.

      The 26th annual Dakar Rally finishes; the winners are French driver Stéphane Peterhansel (a previous motorcycle division winner), in a Mitsubishi Pajero, Spanish driver Nani Roma, on a KTM LC4 660 motorcycle, and Russian driver Vladimir Chagin, in a Kamaz 4911 truck.

January 19

      The Communist Party of China publishes a massive plan in the People's Daily to improve workplace safety in China; almost 15,000 people died in industrial accidents in China in 2003.

      Ten of thousands of people march peacefully through Baghdad, Iraq, in support of Shiʿite cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's demands that the interim government for Iraq be chosen by direct election rather than by the caucuses planned by the U.S.

      U.S. and British weapons experts return to Libya to begin the dismantling of illegal weapons under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

      Members of the Episcopalian Church in the U.S. who opposed the consecration of openly gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson meet in Plano, Texas, to form the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes, a conservative movement within the American Anglican Council.

January 20

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush delivers his third state of the union address; he stresses that the U.S. is still vulnerable to terrorism and condemns the idea of gay marriage.

      China's National Bureau of Statistics reports that the country's economy grew an astonishing 9.1% in 2003.

      The estate of Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald's Corp. head Ray Kroc, announces a gift to the Salvation Army of approximately $1.5 billion, which is to be used to build and maintain community centres in the U.S.

January 21

      The European Commission releases a report saying that the European Union has lost momentum in reaching its goal of creating a single market from its 15 members' economies and is likely to miss deadlines it set for itself.

      Some 20,000 people march in Port-au-Prince in support of Haitian Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide; those demanding his ouster are driven away with tear gas.

      Norway's Crown Prince Haakon and his wife, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, become the parents of a daughter, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, who, as a result of a 1990 constitutional amendment, is the first female in line to inherit the throne in six centuries.

January 22

      In honour of the Chinese New Year, as well as of its partnership with the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai, the Eiffel Tower in Paris is lit with red light and begins hosting a series of Chinese cultural events; this is the Year of the Monkey.

      Chea Vichea, a prominent member of Cambodia's opposition Sam Rainsy Party, is shot to death in Phnom Penh; the party has refused to join in a coalition with the Cambodian People's Party, which does not hold enough legislative seats to rule alone.

January 23

      The infrared camera of the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter confirms the presence of water ice at the south pole of Mars; also, the NASA rover Spirit sends signals that suggest it may be broken, though not fatally.

      Thailand reports its first cases of avian flu in humans; the news causes alarm in the World Health Organization, which says the scale of the avian flu outbreak throughout Asia is unprecedented and could presage a human pandemic.

      David Kay resigns as chief weapons inspector for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency; in subsequent interviews he indicates that Iraq's weapons programs had been in a great state of disarray, with scientists proposing and getting funding for imaginary systems. (See January 28.)

January 24

      Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi celebrates the 10th anniversary of his political party, Forza Italia.

      Winning films at the Sundance Film Festival awards ceremony in Park City, Utah, include DiG!, Primer, Born into Brothels, and Maria Full of Grace.

January 25

      NASA's second Mars rover, Opportunity, successfully lands on the opposite side of the planet from Spirit and begins sending back images.

      At the Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., best picture honours go to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Lost in Translation; best director goes to Peter Jackson for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; and the screenplay award goes to Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation.

      Costa Rica agrees to join the Central American Free Trade Agreement a month after having withdrawn from negotiations with the countries that agreed to the pact with the U.S.—El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

January 26

      In Thoroughbred horse racing's 2003 Eclipse Awards, Mineshaft is named Horse of the Year.

      Celebrity interviewer Barbara Walters announces that she is leaving the television newsmagazine 20/20 after 25 years on the show.

January 27

      UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announces that the organization will send a team to Iraq to help negotiate the means of transferring power from the U.S. to an Iraqi government as soon as its security can be guaranteed.

      Mark Haddon wins the 2003 Whitbread Book of the Year Award, given for books published in the U.K., for his young-adult murder mystery The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

      The multimedia presentation “Salvador Dalí and Mass Culture” opens at the Caixa-Forum in Barcelona, Spain, as the beginning of a planned yearlong celebration of the centennial of Dalí's birth.

January 28

      Former chief weapons inspector in Iraq David Kay testifies before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that he has concluded that Iraq did not possess stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons before the U.S.-led invasion, nor was it close to nuclear capability. (See January 23.)

      A judge on Great Britain's Royal Courts of Justice rules that Prime Minister Tony Blair's government did not deliberately mislead the public over the threat represented by Iraq prior to the U.S.-led invasion and that the BBC had been wrong to suggest otherwise in a May 2003 broadcast; BBC chairman Gavyn Davies immediately resigns.

January 29

      A prisoner swap between Israel and the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah takes place in Cologne, Ger., after which Israel releases hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

      Somalian warlords sign an agreement in Nairobi, Kenya, to establish a national parliament in Somalia as a start toward creating a national government; Somalia has been without a government since 1991.

      Lieut. Charlotte Atkinson takes over command of HMS Brecon, becoming the first woman to command an operational warship in the history of the British Royal Navy.

      It is announced that a woman in Gujarat, India, has given birth to her own twin grandchildren; she was acting as a surrogate for her daughter, who has no uterus.

January 30

      Former French prime minister Alain Juppé is convicted of corruption in a ghost payrolling and graft scheme; Juppé, who is head of the centre-right Union for a Popular Movement party, is barred from public office for 10 years.

      At a news conference, scientists say the Mars rover Opportunity appears to have found evidence of iron oxide, which strongly suggests the possibility that water was present at one time.

      Science magazine publishes a study by scientists who analyzed the genome of the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus; they found that it evolved in 15 weeks from being a primarily animal pathogen to being one ideally suited to attacking and spreading among humans.

January 31

      British Airways and Air France cancel five flights to the U.S. over security fears rather than acquiesce to U.S. suggestions of putting armed air marshals on the flights.

      Abdul Qadeer Khan, known as the “father of the Islamic bomb,” is removed as special adviser to Pakistan's prime minister in the ongoing investigation of links between Pakistan's nuclear program and those of other countries, including Libya, Iran, and North Korea that have initiated programs in contravention of international agreements. (See February 5.)

      Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne defeats her countrywoman Kim Clijsters to win the Australian Open tennis tournament in her third major tennis tournament victory; the following day Roger Federer of Switzerland defeats Marat Safin of Russia to win the men's title.

      Quarterback John Elway, running back Barry Sanders, tackle Bob Brown, and defensive end Carl Eller are elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"The Constitution cannot be drowned in the blood of the Haitian people. For that reason, tonight I am resigning in order to avoid a bloodbath."
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in his letter of resignation as president of Haiti dated February 28

February 1

      Suicide bombers attack the offices of the two main Kurdish political parties in Irbil, Iraq, killing at least 101 people.

      In Mina, Saudi Arabia, at least 251 people are trampled to death in a stampede during the ritual stoning of the devil, a part of the annual hajj.

      In Houston, Texas, the New England Patriots squeak by the Carolina Panthers 32–29 to win Super Bowl XXXVIII; the football game is upstaged somewhat by a moment in the halftime show when singer Justin Timberlake rips away part of the costume of performer Janet Jackson, revealing her right breast.

February 2

      Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon astonishes observers by announcing plans to evacuate nearly all Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip.

      The leader of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, the main reformist political party in Iran, announces that the party will boycott the legislative elections scheduled for later in the month on the grounds that the elections will not be legal. (See February 20.)

      In the wake of a scandal involving unauthorized currency trading as well as other financial missteps, Frank Cicutto resigns as CEO of National Australia Bank Ltd., the country's biggest banking company.

February 3

      The U.S. and North Korea reach an agreement to resume six-party talks about North Korea's illegal nuclear weapons program; the talks had been stalemated since the first round in August 2003. (See February 28.)

      The International Crisis Group reports the emergence of a new militant Islamic group, the Mujahidin Kompak, in Indonesia; the new group is said to have splintered from Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaeda affiliate.

      The U.S. Senate shuts down its three office buildings after powdered ricin, a lethal poison, is discovered in the office of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

      A passenger train for the first time arrives in the northern port city of Darwin in Australia three days after it left the southern port city of Adelaide; the train, called the Ghan, traveled on newly built tracks from Alice Springs to Darwin and was the first to cross the north–south expanse of the country.

      French yachtsman Francis Joyon breaks the record for a solo trip around the world, completing the journey in just under 73 days; the previous record was 93 days.

February 4

      Following a bitterly divisive debate, the supreme court of Massachusetts rules that the terms of the state constitution will not be satisfied by permitting “civil unions” for same-sex partners; instead, full matrimony must be made available to same-sex as well as heterosexual couples. (See February 12.)

      Angola's minister of the interior announces that the government is seeking a knowledgeable mediator to assist in the ongoing crisis with the breakaway exclave of Cabinda, separated from the rest of Angola by part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

      The U.S. National Academy of Sciences releases a report saying that the technology to produce hydrogen-fueled cars, a goal promoted by U.S. Pres. George W. Bush, is decades away from being useful enough for mass production.

      Sotheby's auction house announces that the Forbes family has sold its collection of Fabergé objets d'art—including the Imperial Easter eggs commissioned by Tsar Alexander III as gifts for his wife—to Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian oil businessman.

February 5

      Latvia's Parliament passes a law requiring that at least 60% of public-school classes be taught in Latvian; there are widespread protests because about one-third of the country's population is Russian.

      Pakistani Pres. Pervez Musharraf grants a full pardon to Abdul Qadeer Khan. (See January 31.)

      Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is questioned by police in a bribery scandal that is taking centre stage in Israel; in January a developer was indicted on charges of having bribed the prime minister through his son to gain approval of a project.

February 6

      A bomb explodes on a crowded subway train in downtown Moscow, killing at least 41 people and injuring some 130 others; authorities blame a suicide bomber.

      The Licey Tigers of the Dominican Republic clinch the championship of the baseball Caribbean Series; it is the Dominican Republic's 15th title in the four-nation tournament and the 9th for Licey.

      The destruction of 12,000 chickens is ordered in Delaware after a strain of avian flu is detected there.

February 7

      Pres. Chandrika Kumaratunga of Sri Lanka dissolves Parliament and sets elections for April 2, three years early; she is at odds with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

      A team of electoral experts from the UN arrives in Baghdad, Iraq, to assess whether it will be possible to hold direct elections for the interim government to which the U.S. plans to hand over power on June 30.

February 8

      At the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, the top winner is Beyoncé, who wins five awards; the award for record of the year is won by Coldplay's “Clocks”; for album of the year, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below by OutKast; for song of the year, Luther Vandross's “Dance with My Father”; and for best new artist, Evanescence.

      American Chad Hedrick unexpectedly wins the world all-around speed-skating championship in Hamar, Nor.; Renate Groenewold of The Netherlands captures the women's title.

February 9

      On the Indonesian island of Bali, a panel of judges finds Suranto Abdul Ghoni guilty of having helped plan the attacks and create the bombs that killed 202 people in Bali nightclubs in October 2002 and sentences him to life in prison.

      King Abdullah of Jordan and Pres. Bashar al-Assad of Syria unveil a plaque at the Yarmuk River in northern Jordan to mark the beginning of the building of a hydroelectric dam that will provide water to Jordan and electric power to Syria.

      Outside Montevideo, Uruguay, work begins to raise the World War II German warship Admiral Graf Spee from the mouth of the Río de la Plata, where it was scuttled after a battle in 1939.

February 10

      A car bomb explodes outside the police station in Iskandariya, Iraq, killing at least 54 people standing in line to apply for jobs; the following day a similar attack kills some 47 job applicants in Baghdad.

      France's National Assembly, the lower house of its legislature, approves by an overwhelming majority a ban on the wearing or display of religious symbols, such as Muslim head scarves or Jewish yarmulkes, in public schools.

      Darbydale's All Rise Pouchcove, a black Newfoundland, wins Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

February 11

      Israel makes two raids in the Gaza Strip, an action that leads to major gun battles that leave 15 Palestinians dead.

      Comcast Corp., the biggest cable television company in the U.S., makes a hostile takeover bid for the entertainment giant Walt Disney Co.; Disney rejects the deal on February 16.

February 12

      Two scientists at Seoul (S.Kor.) National University, Woo Suk Hwang and Shin Yong Moon, report that they have cloned human embryos and extracted stem cells from them in order to advance medical research.

      In response to a request from Mayor Gavin Newsom, the county clerk of San Francisco begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and more than 50 such couples exchange vows; the first to be wed are Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, a lesbian couple who have been living together for more than 50 years. (See February 4 and 20.)

      Four people, including the personal trainer of baseball star Barry Bonds, are indicted on charges of having provided steroids and other illegal performance-enhancing substances to professional athletes.

      A contingent of 33 Armenian troops joins NATO-led peacekeeping forces in the Serbian province of Kosovo; it is the first time that Armenia has contributed troops to a military mission outside the country.

February 13

      Greek Cypriot Pres. Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash agree to a plan created by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that would lead to the reunification of Cyprus before May 1, when Cyprus is scheduled to become a member of the European Union. (See April 1.)

      Blizzards, among the worst in decades, sink ships in the Aegean Sea and paralyze Istanbul under 35 cm (14 in) of snow and Athens under as much as 50 cm (20 in).

      South Korea's legislature approves a plan to send 3,000 troops to support U.S. peacekeeping efforts in Iraq beginning at the end of March.

      The U.S. Department of Commerce releases a report showing that in 2003 the country's trade deficit reached a record $489.4 billion, by far the highest it has ever been.

February 14

      Guerrilla fighters attack the police station in Fallujah, Iraq, killing at least 23 Iraqi police officers and freeing about 87 prisoners.

      Tunisia defeats Morocco 2–1 to capture its first association football (soccer) African Cup of Nations championship.

      Four staff members of Afghanistan's agency to clear the country of land mines are set upon and killed in an ambush that is part of an ongoing campaign to destabilize the government.

February 15

      It is reported that Turkey has seized 219 companies belonging to the powerful Uzan family, whom the government accuses of massive bank fraud; members of the family, in hiding in the U.S., respond that the government is pursuing a political vendetta against them.

      In Daytona Beach, Fla., three years after the death of his father in the same race, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., wins the Daytona 500; it is his first victory in NASCAR's premier race.

February 16

      A new program of national service gets under way in Malaysia at 44 camps around the country, attended by some 85,000 high-school graduates chosen at random to participate in a three-month program that includes physical training, community service, and classes on nation building.

      Israel's Knesset (legislature) approves $22 million in new spending on housing, the vast majority of which is to support Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

February 17

      Just under the wire, Cingular Wireless undercuts Vodafone's bid to acquire AT&T Wireless and wins the takeover contest; the merger will make Cingular the biggest cellular telephone provider in the U.S.

      A UN report is released describing a burgeoning AIDS crisis in Eastern Europe; the countries with the fastest rate of increase are Estonia, Russia, and Ukraine.

February 18

      Russia suspends all gas supplies to Belarus as well as to countries that receive gas through the Beltransgaz pipeline, in response to Belarus's refusal either to pay more for the gas or to allow the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom a controlling stake in the pipeline.

      In an unusually outspoken statement, the International Committee of the Red Cross denounces the barrier that Israel is building in the West Bank as being extremely damaging to the Palestinian people living in the area and as thus against international law regarding the treatment of people in occupied territory.

      Pres. Azali Assoumani ceremonially opens the University of the Comoros in Moroni, the capital; it is the first university in the country.

February 19

      Swaziland's prime minister declares a state of national emergency, citing the combination of drought, poverty, and the high incidence of HIV/AIDS.

      At a conference in Marina del Rey, Calif., French astrophysicists describe findings from a European X-ray satellite, the XMM-Newton, of large star clusters that seem to behave in a way that is at odds with prevailing theories about the composition of the universe.

      Simon Wiesenthal, who devoted most of his life to finding and bringing to justice former Nazi war criminals, is awarded an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

February 20

      Parliamentary elections are held in Iran; the turnout is low, and hard-liners win 156 of the 290 seats, a major victory in an election boycotted by reformists. (See February 2.)

      A judge on San Francisco's Superior Court declines to enter an injunction prohibiting the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, saying that he is unconvinced that the weddings are causing damage; some 3,000 same-sex couples have already been issued licenses. (See February 12 and 24.)

      Mexico and the U.S. sign an agreement related to security at the border between the two countries; one provision requires the U.S. to return intercepted illegal immigrants to their homes rather than simply across the Mexican border.

      U.S. scientists report on evidence from the Hubble Space Telescope that indicates that the strength of dark energy, or antigravity, remains more or less constant over time, which suggests that the universe will neither be ripped apart nor collapse but rather will gently expire.

February 21

      Members of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army attack a refugee camp in northern Uganda, leaving more than 190 people dead.

      Pres. Vaira Vike-Freiberga of Latvia appoints as prime minister Indulis Emsis of the Greens and Farmers Union to replace Einars Repse, who lost his position when he jettisoned a member of his coalition; Emsis is the first member of a Green party to become prime minister of a European country.

      Israel announces that it will dismantle eight kilometres (five miles) of its barrier so that two Palestinian villages in the West Bank will no longer be completely sealed off.

February 22

      Insurgents opposed to the regime of Haitian Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide seize control of Cap-Haïtien, Haiti's second biggest city. (See February 28.)

      The Iraqi Governing Council allows that it is unable to negotiate an agreement on the role of the U.S. military under a future Iraqi government, though the plan to return sovereignty to Iraq requires that such an agreement be reached prior to the selection of an interim government.

      In London, Jerry Springer—the Opera wins four Laurence Olivier Awards: best actor in a musical (David Bedella), best sound design, best performance in a supporting role in a musical (the chorus), and best new musical.

      Parties are held throughout New York City as friends and family gather to watch the final episode of Sex and the City, a cable television show that became a cultural phenomenon during its six-year run.

February 23

      Ralph Nader announces that he will run independently as a candidate for president of the United States; he ran on the Green Party ticket in 2000.

      Hearings before the International Court of Justice begin on the legality of the barrier that Israel is building to seal itself off from the West Bank.

      KorAm Bank, the sixth largest bank in South Korea, announces that it will be sold to Citigroup Inc., the world's biggest financial concern; KorAm thus becomes the first bank in South Korea to be owned by a foreign bank.

      Volunteers begin a three-day polio vaccination drive in nine African countries in an attempt to stop the spread of polio from the regions in Nigeria where religious leaders have banned vaccination, falsely claiming that it causes infertility in girls.

February 24

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush openly declares that he believes the U.S. Constitution should be amended in order to prohibit same-sex marriage. (See February 20.)

      Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin suddenly fires Prime Minister Mikhail M. Kasyanov—as well as the rest of the cabinet—without naming a successor.

February 25

      Director Mel Gibson's much-hyped and very controversial movie The Passion of the Christ opens in theatres across North America.

      The Zayed International Prize for the Environment, the richest such award in the world, is given in Dubai to the BBC for its coverage of environmental issues; the prize, named for the president of the United Arab Emirates, was first awarded to former U.S. president Jimmy Carter in 2001.

February 26

      Macedonian Pres. Boris Trajkovski is killed in an airplane crash in Bosnia and Herzegovina while on his way to attend a conference in the Bosnian city of Mostar.

      Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani releases a statement demanding that elections be held in Iraq before the end of the year and that the interim government that will be installed on June 30 devote itself to arranging for the election of a legitimate government within a few months.

      A Delaware state judge denies Conrad Black the right to sell his controlling stake in the newspaper publisher Hollinger International, Inc., to David and Frederick Barclay, ruling that the right to dispose of the company's assets belongs to its board of directors instead.

      Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin formally opens the final link of the transcontinental highway, running 10,000 km (6,000 mi) from Moscow to Vladivostok; the last segment completed connects Chita and Khabarovsk in the Far East.

      A report in the New England Journal of Medicine says that sickle-cell disease has been shown to be linked to pulmonary hypertension, a lung condition that often proves fatal even in mild cases; it is recommended that all sickle-cell patients be screened for the condition.

February 27

      The UN Security Council approves a peacekeeping force of some 6,000 members to be sent to Côte d'Ivoire.

      In Caracas, Venez., protesters seeking the removal of Pres. Hugo Chávez fight with government troops; at least two people are killed.

      Shoko Asahara, head of the AUM Shinrikyo cult—which in 1995 carried out an attack using sarin nerve gas on subway trains in Tokyo that killed 12 people and injured more than 5,000—is found guilty on 13 counts, including the killing of 15 other people, and is sentenced to death by a court in the Japanese capital.

February 28

      Haitian Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide yields to internal and external pressure and signs a letter of resignation; the following day, escorted by U.S. military personnel, he boards a jet that takes him to the Central African Republic. (See February 22.)

      At a summit meeting in Sirte, Libya, the African Union agrees to form a multinational peacekeeping force.

      The Iraqi Governing Council misses an agreed-upon deadline for producing an interim constitution for the country, but its members continue working on the document and produce it only one day late.

      The second round of six-way talks between the U.S., Russia, China, Japan, and North and South Korea ends with no conclusions being reached, but this round is said to have been more productive than the first, and another round is contemplated. (See February 3.)

February 29

      Academy Awards are won by, among others, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (which wins 11 awards) and its director, Peter Jackson, as well as actors Sean Penn, Charlize Theron, Tim Robbins, and Renée Zellweger.

      At St. Justin Church in Pittsburgh, Pa., the Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania's orchestra premieres In Memoriam: A Requiem for Mr. Rogers, a piece composed by Luke Mayernik in memory of children's television star Fred Rogers, who died in February 2003.

"March 11 now has its place in the history of infamy."
Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar,on the terrorist train bombings in Madrid, March 11

March 1

      Rebels pour into Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti; the previous day Boniface Alexandre was sworn in as interim head of government. (See February 28 and March 2 and 8.)

      Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin confounds commentators when he names a low-profile man of wide competency, Mikhail Fradkov, the new prime minister.

March 2

      Explosions in the Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Karbala kill some 170 Shiʿite Iraqis celebrating the last day of Ashura, on which Shi‘ites commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, in Karbala.

      Three people attack a procession of Shiʿites observing Ashura in Quetta, Pak., causing the death of at least 43 people; fighting then breaks out between Shi‘ites and Sunnites.

      Rebel leader Guy Philippe declares that he is in charge of Haiti; rebel forces begin destroying artwork from a museum designed to honour Haiti's bicentennial in 2004.

      The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft is launched from Kourou, French Guiana; Rosetta is meant to reach Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014; there it will conduct investigations about the comet's chemistry and geology from orbit and by means of a small lander sent to its surface.

March 3

      A new government with former Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica as prime minister is approved by Serbia's parliament.

      Multnomah county in Oregon (including the city of Portland) begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

      The board of Walt Disney Co. votes Michael Eisner out as chairman, although he retains his post as CEO.

March 4

      The U.S. government lifts the ban on U.S. citizens' traveling to Libya; the ban had been in effect since 1981.

      The National Book Critics Circle Awards are won by Paul Hendrickson, for Sons of Mississippi: A Story of Race and Its Legacy, Edward P. Jones, for The Known World, William Taubman, for Khrushchev: The Man and His Era, Susan Stewart, for Columbarium, and Rebecca Solnit, for River of Shadows; the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Studs Terkel.

March 5

      Lifestyle entrepreneur Martha Stewart is found guilty on all four counts of obstructing justice and making false statements in relation to her sale of ImClone stock just before the stock's price plummeted in reaction to bad news about ImClone's cancer-treatment drug. (See March 15.)

      France reportedly has completed an inspection of some 32,190 km (20,000 mi) of railroad in reaction to letters sent to the government claiming that bombs had been planted along the country's rail network.

      Science magazine publishes a report by scientists saying that a group of fossils discovered in 2002 has been classified as a new, very early hominid species, Ardipithecus kadabba, dating to 5.5 million years ago.

March 6

      Twelve Russian scientists whose research station was destroyed when the ice shelf on which it was located began breaking up are rescued from an ice floe in the Arctic Ocean; the station had been built in April 2003 to study climate change.

March 7

      Tropical Cyclone Gafilo makes landfall on Madagascar; over the next three days, it leaves at least 74 people dead and 200,000 homeless.

      Parliamentary elections in Greece result in a victory for the conservative New Democracy Party, which ousts the socialist PASOK from power; Konstantinos Karamanlis is sworn in as prime minister on March 10.

      In the Austrian province of Carinthia, the Freedom Party, led by ultranationalist Jörg Haider, wins the most seats in the provincial legislature.

      Gene V. Robinson takes the crozier in a ceremony in Concord, N.H., to become the first openly gay Episcopalian bishop.

March 8

      After much last-minute politicking, 25 members of the Iraqi Governing Council or their representatives ceremonially sign the interim Iraqi constitution; immediately afterward the Shi‘ite members of the council say they intend to amend it.

      Boniface Alexandre is ceremonially installed as interim president of Haiti as a council set up under a Caribbean Community plan interviews candidates for interim prime minister; on March 9 Gérard Latortue, a businessman who has lived outside Haiti since 1988, is selected. (See March 1.)

March 9

      In a courtroom in Manassas, Va., John A. Muhammad, who terrified the Washington, D.C., area in October 2002 with a series of sniper killings, is sentenced to death.

      Five British citizens who were held for two years at the U.S. Guantánamo Bay military base in Cuba arrive back in Great Britain after having been released into government custody; by the following day, all have been freed without charge.

      French yachtsman Jean-Luc Van den Heede breaks the world record for sailing around the world westbound, arriving in Oessant, France, after 122 days 14 hours 3 minutes 49 seconds at sea.

March 10

      The Internet providers America Online, Earthlink, Yahoo!, and Microsoft announce that they have filed the first lawsuits under the federal antispam law in an attempt to shut down the largest disseminators of unwanted e-mail solicitations, or spam.

      The U.S. House of Representatives passes a measure, popularly known as the Cheeseburger Bill, that bans lawsuits against producers and sellers of food and soft drinks based on obesity claims.

      Authorities in Zimbabwe say that they are holding 64 men who were traveling on a charter plane seized three days earlier in Harare because they have been found to be mercenaries planning to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea.

      The European Parliament adopts a number of laws that will make it easier for a citizen of any European Union country to settle in another EU country.

March 11

      Bombs explode on trains in three railway stations in Madrid, killing 191 people and wounding more than 1,400 during the morning rush hour; most of the damage occurs at the huge Atocha station; the government initially blames the Basque terrorist organization ETA. (See March 13.)

      The Supreme Court of the state of California orders San Francisco to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, pending review of lawsuits filed with regard to the practice.

March 12

      South Korea's National Assembly, for the first time in its history, votes to impeach the president and suspends his powers; Pres. Roh Moo Hyun is accused of illegal campaigning. (See May 14.)

      Greece requests that NATO assist in providing security for the Olympic Games in Athens in August.

      Bowling against Sri Lanka, Australian cricketer Shane Warne becomes only the second person ever to have bowled 500 Test wickets; Warne only recently completed a 12-month suspension for taking a banned diuretic. (See March 16.)

March 13

      In response to a motion of censure by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran suspends international inspection of its nuclear facilities, suggesting that inspections might again be permitted beginning in late April.

      Unrest caused by Kurdish demonstrations for increased rights spreads through cities in northeastern Syria; some 25 people are killed over two days.

      Spain reveals that a videotape has surfaced in which al-Qaeda claims responsibility for the train bombings in Madrid. (See March 11 and 19.)

      The Indian team plays its first cricket match against Pakistan in Pakistan for the first time in 15 years; on March 24 India wins the one-day series 3–2.

      As part of a series of farewell concerts leading to his retirement in 2005, famed Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti sings the role of Cavaradossi in Tosca, his last appearance in an opera at New York City's Metropolitan Opera House.

March 14

      In Spain's parliamentary elections, the opposition Socialist Workers' Party unexpectedly defeats the ruling centre-right Popular Party.

      Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin wins reelection by a landslide, to the surprise of no one.

      China's National People's Congress adopts constitutional amendments that protect human rights and guard private property.

      Two Palestinian suicide bombers kill 10 Israelis in Ashdod, Israel; Israel fires rockets into Gaza City, and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon cancels a planned meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei.

March 15

      After soldiers refuse to allow Georgian Pres. Mikhail Saakashvili to enter Ajaria, a mostly Muslim region that seeks to secede from Georgia, Saakashvili orders a blockade of the province; the blockade is lifted three days later, however.

      Researchers describe the discovery of a planetoid in the far reaches of the solar system with an aphelion (maximum distance from the Sun) of 135 billion km (84 billion mi); the body, not much smaller than Pluto, is tentatively named Sedna.

      The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, inducts the performers Jackson Browne, George Harrison, Prince, and Bob Seger, the bands The Dells, Traffic, and ZZ Top, and Rolling Stone magazine founder and publisher Jann Wenner.

      Martha Stewart resigns her posts as director and chief creative officer of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. (See March 5.)

March 16

      Lithuania's Constitutional Court begins impeachment hearings against Pres. Rolandas Paksas, who is accused of abusing his powers in multiple ways.

      Mitch Seavey of Seward, Alaska, wins Alaska's annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, arriving in Nome 9 days 12 hours 20 minutes 22 seconds after departing from Anchorage.

      In a match against Australia in Kandy, Sri Lanka, Muttiah Muralitharan becomes only the third bowler in Test history to have taken 500 wickets; he completes the feat in far fewer matches than had either Courtney Walsh or Shane Warne, who previously reached the 500-wicket mark. (See March 12.)

March 17

      An enormous explosion destroys the Mount Lebanon Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, killing at least 27 people and wounding more than 40.

      The worst violence since 1999 breaks out in several places in the UN-administered enclave of Kosovo in Serbia and Montenegro; 22 people are killed, and NATO arranges to send in reinforcements.

      Charles A. McCoy, Jr., is arrested in Las Vegas, Nev., in connection with a series of random shootings on Interstate 270 in Ohio that have unnerved residents and drivers since spring 2003.

      George F.R. Ellis, a South African theoretical cosmologist, is named the winner of the Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries About Spiritual Realities.

March 18

      The Pan-African Parliament, planned to have representatives from all 53 members of the African Union, is inaugurated in Addis Ababa, Eth.

      The U.S. files the first-ever case against China with the World Trade Organization, accusing China of unfair taxes against imported semiconductors.

      U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell announces that Pakistan will be designated a major non-NATO ally of the U.S.; the new status will enable Pakistan to buy advanced weaponry from the U.S.

      An asteroid some 30 m (100 ft) in diameter passes within 42,640 km (26,500 mi) of the Earth, the closest encounter between an asteroid and the planet ever recorded, though scientists believe closer encounters occur without being noticed.

March 19

      Three Moroccans and two Indians are charged in Spain with responsibility for the train bombing in Madrid; several other people have been arrested but not yet charged in connection with the attack. (See March 13.)

      Taiwanese Pres. Chen Shui-bian and Vice Pres. Annette Lu are shot and slightly wounded while riding in a campaign motorcade in Tainan.

      India tests a medium-range nuclear-capable missile with a range of 200 km (125 mi), enough to reach Pakistan; 10 days earlier Pakistan had tested a Shaheen 2 missile, which could deliver a nuclear warhead into India.

      The UN warns Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan that to avoid an international ban on the importation of caviar, they must prove by June that they are working to protect the sturgeon population.

March 20

      Taiwan's Central Election Commission declares that Pres. Chen Shui-bian is the winner of the presidential election by a razor-thin margin; his opponent, Lien Chan, calls for a recount.

      Brig. Gen. Mark Kinnon announces charges against six soldiers in connection with reported abuse of Iraqi prisoners being held in Abu Ghraib prison, notorious for torture under the regime of Saddam Hussein; 11 others have been suspended from duty.

March 21

      Antonio Saca, of the ruling rightist, pro-U.S. ARENA party, wins El Salvador's presidential election.

      In parliamentary elections in Malaysia, the moderate coalition of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi easily wins the majority of seats.

      Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia wins the world cross country championship in Brussels, finishing the 12-km course in 35 minutes 52 seconds and becoming the first person ever to have won both the long- and short-course titles three consecutive times.

March 22

      Israeli military forces target and kill Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the paraplegic founder and head of the militant Palestinian organization Hamas, in the Gaza Strip.

      Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani makes public a letter he delivered to UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi warning that he will not cooperate with the UN in any way if the UN endorses the recently signed interim constitution; Shi‘ites, the majority in Iraq, object to provisions that would increase the powers of minorities, in particular Sunnites and Kurds.

      The UN's humanitarian coordinator for The Sudan says that ethnic cleansing is taking place in the Darfur region, with the complicity of the government, and that since hostilities began in February, it has become the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world.

      Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid is named the winner of the 2004 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

March 23

      The Palestinian organization Hamas chooses the firebrand Abdel Aziz Rantisi as its new leader.

      In parliamentary elections in Antigua and Barbuda, the opposition United Progressive Party wins 12 of the 17 seats, and Baldwin Spencer is sworn in as prime minister the following day.

      David Hempleman-Adams reaches an altitude of 12,800 m (42,000 ft) in an open-basket hot-air balloon over Greeley, Colo., setting a new record for gas and hot-air balloons; the previous record, 11,737 m (38,507 ft), was set in 1999.

      NASA scientists report that data from the Mars rover Opportunity indicate that there were once shallow salty seas on Mars; investigators believe the rover is exploring on the shore of one such sea.

March 24

      A railway worker in France discovers a bomb buried under the rail line that runs between Paris and Basel, Switz.; this is the second bomb found since the obscure group AZF starting making threats.

      The European Commission approves a decision by the EU's competition commissioner, Mario Monti, that Microsoft must pay a fine of €497 million, offer a version of Windows that is not bundled with MediaPlayer audiovisual software, and reveal software codes to competitors.

      The World Trade Organization rules in a suit brought by Antigua and Barbuda that the U.S. ban on cross-border gambling on the Internet violates international trade agreements.

March 25

      British Prime Minister Tony Blair makes an official visit to Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi, signaling the end of Libya's long international isolation.

      An antigovernment protest in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, is met by harsh measures, and some 25 people are killed in the worst outbreak of violence since the peace accord was implemented in January 2003.

      The Olympic torch is ceremonially lit in Olympia, Greece; for the next 78 days, it will be carried around the world before arriving in Athens for the Olympic Games.

      Project Phoenix—a 10-year search for radio signals from intelligent extraterrestrial life conducted by the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico with the support of Jodrell Bank Observatory in England—comes to an end; no signals were received, but scientists nonetheless plan to begin a new search.

March 26

      As many as 16 people, including a television cameraman, die in gun battles in Fallujah, Iraq.

      Protests against the certification of Pres. Chen Shui-bian as the winner of the election in Taiwan turn violent, and China warns that it will not tolerate deterioration of the situation.

      A court in Moscow bans activities on the part of Jehovah's Witnesses in the city on the basis of, among other things, the charge of sowing religious discord.

March 27

      On the last day of the world figure-skating championships, in Dortmund, Ger., Shizuka Arakawa of Japan wins the gold medal in the ladies' competition; earlier Yevgeny Plushchenko of Russia had won in the men's program for the second consecutive year.

      France wins the round-robin Rugby Union Six Nations without a single defeat.

      Pleasantly Perfect, winner of the Breeder's Cup Classic in 2003, outruns favourite Medaglia d'Oro to win the Dubai World Cup, the richest horse race in the world.

March 28

      Attacks take place on several military posts and broadcast facilities in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; they are believed to be an attempted coup.

      In Baghdad, Iraq, U.S. authorities shut down Al-Hawza, a popular extremist Shi‘ite newspaper, accusing it of inciting violence; thousands of Iraqis take to the streets in protest.

      A hurricane makes landfall in South America, causing extensive damage in Brazil's southern Santa Catarina state and killing at least two people; this is the first time on record that a hurricane has formed in the South Atlantic Ocean, so no name for it was immediately available.

      New Zealand launches a Maori television station, in which at least half of the programming will be in the Maori language.

March 29

      In a ceremony in Washington, D.C., U.S. Pres. George W. Bush welcomes seven countries—Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia—as members of NATO; a later ceremony will be held in Brussels.

      Suicide bombers in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, kill at least 19 people; the following day government forces kill at least five people identified as terrorists in the village of Yalangach.

      The state legislature of Massachusetts approves an amendment to the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage but permit civil union; it must be passed in another legislative session and in a public referendum to become law.

      A ban on smoking in any place of work, including restaurants and pubs, goes into effect in Ireland.

      The storied Liechtenstein Museum, containing one of the world's richest private collections of art, reopens in Vienna.

March 30

      Two days after the ruling party in France was trounced in regional elections, Pres. Jacques Chirac accepts the resignation of Prime Minister Pierre Raffarin but then immediately reappoints him.

      Solomon D. Trujillo steps down as CEO of Orange, the wireless branch of France Telecom and the biggest wireless carrier in France and Great Britain.

March 31

      In Fallujah, Iraq, four American men working for a private security company are ambushed and killed; within minutes a large mob forms, burning the cars and then, with apparent jubilation, mutilating the corpses.

      An international donors' conference in Berlin pledges $4.4 billion in donations and low-cost loans to help Afghanistan rebuild in the next year, with $8.2 billion in pledges over the next three years.

      The International Court of Justice rules that the rights of 51 Mexican citizens sentenced to death in the U.S. were violated and orders U.S. courts to review the sentences.

      The U.S. Navy's Roosevelt Roads Naval Station outside Ceiba, P.R., closes; the navy had maintained the base on the island since 1940, and it was an important factor in the local economy.

"You can't create one nation out of two. You can allow them to begin living together by treating them as equals, allowing trust to grow between them."
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, after the failure of a referendum on a UN unification plan for Cyprus, April 24

April 1

      No agreement is reached after three days of negotiations between representatives of Greece, Greek Cyprus, Turkey, Turkish Cyprus, and the UN on a plan created by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the unification of Cyprus; nonetheless, the plan will be presented in a referendum to the people of Cyprus. (See February 13 and April 24.)

      Some 50,000 people march in protest against King Gyanendra's policies in Kathmandu, Nepal, demanding the return of democratic policies.

      The KTX high-speed train begins service in South Korea between Seoul and Taegu, with service to be extended to Pusan; the train travels at 298 km/h (185 mph) and is expected to halve the travel time to Pusan.

April 2

      In parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka, Pres. Chandrika Kumaratunga's party, the People's Alliance, wins the highest number of seats, though not enough to form a government on its own. (See April 6.)

      The UN director for relief in The Sudan tells the UN Security Council that ethnic cleansing is taking place in the Darfur region, near the border with Chad, against black Muslim Africans, with the tolerance of the Sudanese government.The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announces that as of September 30, travelers to the U.S. from 27 industrialized countries must be photographed and fingerprinted on arrival.

April 3

      As Spanish authorities get ready to raid an apartment building in Madrid where four suspects in the train bombings of March 11 are said to be, the suspects set off an explosion and blow themselves up.

      The winner of the Grand National steeplechase horse race in Great Britain is 12-year-old Amberleigh House, ridden by Graham Lee and trained by Donald “Ginger” McCain, trainer of three-time winner Red Rum.

April 4

      In the Iraqi cities of Baghdad, Najaf, Kufa, and Amara, thousands of supporters of the anti-American Shiʿite cleric Moktada al-Sadr—many of them members of his militia, the Mahdi Army—rise up, and eight U.S. soldiers are killed; the previous day, the insurgents had marched in Baghdad as a show of strength.

      In Formula 1 auto racing, Ferrari's driver Michael Schumacher is the winner of the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix.

April 5

      The Canadian government orders the slaughter of 19 million chickens, turkeys, and ducks, approximately 80% of British Columbia's poultry, in a desperate attempt to contain an outbreak of avian flu.

      In New York City the winners of the 2004 Pulitzer Prizes are announced; journalistic awards go to, among others, the Los Angeles Times, which wins five awards; winners in arts and letters include Edward P. Jones in fiction and Doug Wright in drama.

      The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship in men's basketball is won by the University of Connecticut (UConn), which defeats Georgia Tech 82–73; the following day UConn defeats the University of Tennessee 70–61 for its third consecutive women's NCAA title.

      Elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame are players Clyde Drexler, Lynette Woodard, Maurice Stokes, and Drazen Dalipagic, coach Bill Sharman, and owner Jerry Colangelo.

      American adventurer Steve Fossett breaks the around-the-world sailing record, traveling 35,020 km (21,760 mi) in a 38-m (125-ft) catamaran with a 12-member crew in 58 days 9 hours; the previous record, set by Bruno Peyron in 2002, was 64 days 8 hours.

April 6

      Lithuanian Pres. Rolandas Paksas is removed from office after he is impeached; he is the first European leader to be so removed.

      Mahinda Rajapakse is sworn in as prime minister of Sri Lanka, at the head of a minority government. (See April 2.)

      Canada wins its eighth consecutive world championship in women's ice hockey, defeating the U.S. 2–0 in Halifax, N.S.

April 7

      Afghani Pres. Hamid Karzai orders Afghan National Army troops to the northern province of Faryab in order to retake the area from a militia loyal to the Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum.

      Mounir el-Motassadeq, the only person convicted for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 (his conviction was overturned), is released in Hamburg, Ger., pending a new trial.

April 8

      Three Japanese civilians—two aid workers and a journalist—are kidnapped in Iraq, and their captors threaten to execute them unless Japan withdraws its 550 troops from Iraq; the hostages are released unharmed on April 15.

      The government of The Sudan and two rebel groups in the Darfur region agree to a 45-day cease-fire to allow relief groups into the region.

      Abdelaziz Bouteflika is reelected president of Algeria in a landslide.

April 9

      L. Paul Bremer III, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, orders a cease-fire in Fallujah.

      As 25,000 people demonstrate against the rule of King Gyanendra, more than a thousand people are arrested in Kathmandu, Nepal, for defying a ban on public gatherings.

      Some 10,000 people demonstrate in downtown Yerevan, Armenia, to demand the resignation of Pres. Robert Kocharian.

      Science magazine publishes an article in which French researchers posit that a burial of a person together with a wildcat dating to 7500 BC in Cyprus suggests that domestication of the cat began some 9,500 years ago, 5,000 years earlier than previously thought.

April 10

      In Taipei, Taiwan, a large demonstration demanding an investigation into the presidential election turns violent, and skirmishes with riot police go on for an hour after sunset.

      Mud slides near Machu Picchu in Peru strand some 1,500 tourists, 11 of whom cannot be found.

April 11

      In his annual Easter mass, Pope John Paul II prays for peace in Africa and the Middle East and enjoins the people of the world to unite against terrorism.

      As Iraqi intermediaries seek a negotiated solution with insurgents, U.S. troops stand down outside three cities in Iraq that have fallen to the insurgents.

      Crowd favourite Phil Mickelson wins the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., his first victory in a major tournament.

April 12

      Canada begins its biggest seal hunt in 50 years, with a quota of 350,000 baby harp seals; the hunting of seals was ended 25 years ago because of popular revulsion over the killing of the baby seals, but this year's hunt includes new guidelines meant to minimize cruelty.

      Brian Lara of the West Indies becomes the first person ever to hold the record for the highest Test score in cricket twice when his 400 not out against England in Antigua surpasses the 380 Australia's Matthew Hayden scored against Zimbabwe in October 2003.

      The 2004 Avery Fisher Prize for outstanding achievement in music is awarded to the Emerson String Quartet.

April 13

      Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat crosses the border into Greek Cyprus to campaign in favour of the UN unification plan.

      San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds hits his 661st career home run in San Francisco against the Milwaukee Brewers, passing Willie Mays to become third on the roster for most career home runs in Major League Baseball.

April 14

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush startles world opinion when, in a joint statement with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, he fully accepts the withdrawal of settlements from Gaza and the maintenance of settlements in the West Bank and agrees that Palestinians do not have a right to return to their former home.

      France-Albert René retires as president of Seychelles, and his vice president, James Michel, is sworn in as president; René had been head of state in Seychelles since he seized power in 1977.

      Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church, formally accepts the apology offered by Pope John Paul II in 2001 for the sacking of Constantinople by Crusader armies from 1204.

April 15

      The U.S. agrees to a proposal put forward by UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi that the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council be supplanted by a transitional government named by the UN on June 30, the date the U.S. chose for the transfer of sovereignty to Iraq.

      Legislative elections in South Korea place the legislature in the hands of liberals for the first time in 43 years and implicitly rebuke the National Assembly for its impeachment of Pres. Roh Moo Hyun; on the following day the Constitutional Court announces that impeachment proceedings will go forward anyway.

      General elections in South Africa are, as expected, swept by the African National Congress.

      The Finnish Technology Award Foundation names Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, the winner of its inaugural Millennium Technology Prize, which carries an award of €1 million (about $1.2 million).

      At 508 m (1,667 ft), the Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taiwan is declared the tallest building in the world.

April 16

      José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero receives a majority vote in the lower house of parliament and the following day is sworn in as prime minister of Spain.

      Medical test results suggest that a second actor in the American pornographic film industry may have been infected with HIV after the industry was shut down for testing.

      India wins its first cricket Test series outside India since 1993 by defeating Pakistan 2–1; the event is also remarkable because it marks India's first tour to Pakistan in 15 years and because political tensions between the two countries were not carried over onto the pitch or into the grandstands.

April 17

      Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the newly named head of the Palestinian militant organization Hamas, is killed by an Israeli helicopter strike on his car in Gaza City.

      Ernst Welteke resigns as president of Germany's Bundesbank.

April 18

      New Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero orders all Spanish troops in Iraq to return home.

      Ivan Gasparovic is elected president of Slovakia.

      In his first London Marathon, Evans Rutto of Kenya wins with a time of 2 hr 6 min 18 sec; the fastest woman there is Margaret Okayo of Kenya, also in her first London Marathon, with a time of 2 hours 22 minutes 35 seconds.

      World auto rally champion Petter Solberg of Norway wins the Rally of New Zealand.

April 19

      King Abdullah of Jordan cancels a planned visit with U.S. Pres. George W. Bush in response to Bush's approval of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's policy toward Palestine.

      North Korean leader Kim Jong Il arrives in Beijing for a secret visit to discuss the international crisis surrounding North Korea's nuclear arms program.

      The 108th Boston Marathon is won by Timothy Cherigat of Kenya with a time of 2 hr 10 min 37 sec; Catherine Ndereba of Kenya is the women's winner for the third time, with a time of 2 hours 24 minutes 27 seconds.

      In San Francisco the Goldman Environmental Prize is presented to Indian industrial responsibility activists Rashida Bee and Champ Devi Shukla, American industrial responsibility activist Margie Eugene-Richard, Ghanaian water activist Rudolf Amenga-Etego, East Timor environmentalist Demetrio do Amaral de Carvalho, Colombian rainforest activist Libia Grueso Castelblanco, and Georgian environmentalist Manana Kochladze.

April 20

      A circuit court judge in Oregon orders Multnomah county to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples but rules that the 3,000 licenses issued so far are to be treated as valid.

      The telecommunications company WorldCom emerges from bankruptcy under the name MCI.

      Gravity Probe B is launched into a polar orbit from a rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California; in a yearlong mission the spacecraft will test predictions of Einstein's general theory of relativity about the way gravity affects space and time.

April 21

      Car bombs go off outside three police stations and a police academy in Basra, Iraq, killing 50 people, many of them schoolchildren.

      A suicide car bomb is detonated outside a police station in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 4 people are killed and 148 are injured.

      The prison sentences of four Kurdish members of the Turkish parliament who had been convicted in 1994 of being connected with an illegal Kurdish political party are upheld in a retrial in Turkey; EU officials immediately condemn the outcome.

April 22

      A huge explosion rocks the city of Ryongchong, N. Kor., when three railcars carrying ammonium nitrate and fuel oil collide. There are 154 known dead, 1,300 injuries, and 8,000 people left homeless.

      Photographs of flag-draped coffins of U.S. soldiers killed in the war in Iraq are published on the Web site Memory Hole; the publication of such photos is in contravention of U.S. policy, and the Pentagon responds quickly, sternly, and negatively.

      China's government reports that at least two people have been hospitalized with possible SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and five others who had been in contact with one of them have been hospitalized with fever.

April 23

      In an outbreak of violence among the Muslim population of southern Thailand, some 50 buildings, including more than a dozen schools, are set on fire, and two people are killed.

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush authorizes the establishment of a U.S. diplomatic post in Libya and relaxes sanctions against that country.

      Nepal becomes the 147th member of the World Trade Organization.

April 24

      In separate referenda on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's plan for the reunification of Cyprus, Turkish Cypriots vote for reunification and Greek Cypriots vote against it, so the plan does not pass and only Greek Cyprus will be permitted to join the EU. (See April 1.)

      The Manzanar National Historic Site, a museum describing the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, opens in Manzanar, Calif., the site of one of the camps where people of Japanese ethnicity were held.

      In Los Angeles heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko of Ukraine is ruled the winner over Corrie Sanders of South Africa when the match is stopped in the eighth round; Klitschko thereby assumes the World Boxing Conference heavyweight title that was vacated by Lennox Lewis of the U.K.

April 25

      The Social Democrat candidate, Heinz Fischer, is elected to the presidency of Austria.

      Hundreds of thousands of activists demonstrate in Washington, D.C., in support of abortion rights, which many feel are in danger of being curtailed by administration policies in the U.S.

      Driving for Ferrari, Michael Schumacher wins the San Marino Grand Prix for his fourth consecutive win in Formula 1 auto racing.

      In Gävle, Swed., in the world curling championships, Sweden defeats Germany 7–6 to win the men's championship; in the women's game Canada defeats Norway to win its eighth straight championship.

April 26

      Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi makes his first visit to Europe in 15 years; European Commission Pres. Romano Prodi meets him upon his arrival in Brussels.

      The U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council reveals the new flag it has chosen for the country; the flag, which triggers considerable opposition, is not adopted by the Iraqi authorities and is later simply dropped.

      China rules that Hong Kong may not vote directly for its president in the election scheduled for 2007 and that legislative voting by the general public may not be expanded in the election of 2008.

      In Shanghai at a meeting of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, 23 countries sign the Asian Highway Agreement, which commits them to planning and building a highway that will run from Tokyo to Istanbul and traverse several landlocked countries along the way.

      Desmond Cardinal Connell, who has been criticized for his handling of accusations of sexual abuse on the part of Irish clergy, is replaced as archbishop of Dublin by Diarmuid Martin.

      The Boeing Co. announces that it has received its largest order ever—50 new 7E7 Dreamliner jets for All Nippon Airways.

April 27

      Morocco rejects the idea of sovereignty for Western Sahara, which it annexed in 1975; UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has committed himself to trying to resolve the international dispute over the area.

      A bomb goes off in a neighbourhood of foreign embassies in Damascus, Syria, and a gun battle ensues.

      On Israel's Independence Day some 70,000 Israelis travel to Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip to protest Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plans to remove Israeli settlements from Gaza.

April 28

      Photographs of Iraqi prisoners being tortured and sexually humiliated by U.S. military personnel in the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad are broadcast on the CBS television show 60 Minutes II.

      The UN Security Council approves a resolution calling on all member countries to take steps to prevent chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons from being available to “non-state actors,” or terror groups.

      In a runoff presidential election, centre-left candidate Branko Crvenkovski is elected president of Macedonia.

      Tipped off ahead of time, authorities in southern Thailand are ready for an attack by Muslim insurgents and kill 107 of them; 5 members of the Thai military and police forces are killed.

      The final Oldsmobile to be produced, an Alero, rolls off a General Motors assembly line in Lansing, Mich.; the first mass-produced Oldsmobile, the Curved Dash, debuted in 1901.

April 29

      The U.S. Senate agrees to extend a ban on taxing access to the Internet until 2007.

      Google announces that it will conduct its stock offering in the form of an auction intended to make it easy for individual buyers to invest.

April 30

      The UN Security Council approves a multinational peacekeeping mission to be sent to Haiti to replace the U.S.-led force; the UN force, to be led by Brazil, is to arrive on June 1 and stay for a minimum of six months.

      As outrage over the broadcast photos of Iraqi prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad is expressed worldwide, U.S. Pres. George W. Bush publicly declares his disgust at the treatment of the prisoners.

      Carlos Slim Helú, believed to be the wealthiest man in Latin America, steps down as chairman of Teléfonos de Mexico, handing the reins to his son, Carlos Slim Domit.

      Popular National Public Radio talk-show host Bob Edwards hosts the show Morning Edition for the last time.

"I was always certain that if I ever found myself in the position I am today, I would follow my inner voice. Today, that voice tells me that I must humbly decline this post."
Indian National Congress party president Sonia Gandhi, turning down the post of prime minister of India, May 18

May 1

      In a ceremony in Dublin, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, president of the European Union, formally welcomes 10 new members into the union.

      Terrorist gunmen attack several locations in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, killing five workers from the U.S., Great Britain, and Australia in an engineering office.

      In the 130th running of the Kentucky Derby, the undefeated Smarty Jones wins by 23/4 lengths.

May 2

      Martín Torrijos, the son of former dictator Omar Torrijos, is elected president of Panama.

      The unpopular and scandal-plagued Leszek Miller resigns as prime minister of Poland and is replaced by Marek Belka.

      Militias of the Christian Tarok people raid the largely Muslim Hausa-Fulani town of Yelwa in Nigeria's Plateau state and kill some 630 people; the raid is allegedly in retribution for an earlier Muslim raid on Christian communities. (See May 12.)

      Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud Party rejects his plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.

May 3

      Air France merges with the Dutch airline KLM to form the largest airline in the world in terms of sales; in terms of passenger traffic, Air France–KLM ranks third, behind American Airlines and United Airlines.

      Taliban ambushes kill at least 10 Afghani police and military personnel near Kandahar.

      U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft dedicates a federal building in Oklahoma City, Okla., that replaces the one that was destroyed by a terrorist bombing in 1995.

      In England, Ronnie O'Sullivan wins a second world snooker championship.

      A new character is officially added to Morse Code, designed by the International Telecommunication Union: @, which is to be rendered by ∙ – – ∙ – ∙ .

May 4

      Rodrigo Rato, former Spanish minister of finance, is named head of the International Monetary Fund to replace Horst Köhler. (See May 23.)

      Taiwan's parliament passes a law requiring official documents to be written horizontally and from left to right in order to conform to international standards; works of art and literature may still use the right-to-left or top-to-bottom format.

May 5

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush appears before an Arab-speaking audience on al-Arabiyah television to denounce the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American guards at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

      A two-week protest march by some 10,000 Maori activists against plans to put coastal areas under national ownership concludes in Wellington, N.Z.; the Maori say that by custom and treaty the coastal areas belong to them.

      Picasso's Boy with a Pipe, from his short-lived Rose Period, sells to an anonymous bidder at a Sotheby's auction for more than $104 million, eclipsing by more than $20 million the 1990 record price for a painting sold at auction.

      At the National Magazine Awards ceremony, Esquire wins four awards and The New Yorker three; other awards for general excellence go to Newsweek, Popular Science, and Budget Living.

May 6

      Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives in Greece for talks with Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis; it is the first time in 16 years that a Turkish prime minister has visited Greece.

      Ajarian separatist leader Aslan Abashidze flees Ajaria for Russia, and the locals celebrate as the mostly Muslim republic on the Black Sea coast is returned to Georgian control.

      Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor are convicted of having injected hundreds of children with HIV-infected blood products to start an AIDS epidemic in Libya, and they are sentenced to death; Western doctors believe that an outbreak in that hospital predated the arrival of the condemned personnel.

      Seven former executives of Mitsubishi Motors are arrested in Japan, accused of having falsified reports of defects in wheel hubs on trucks in order to avoid a recall; the defect caused a number of accidents, one of them fatal.

      Ending a 10-year run, the final episode of the popular American TV sitcom Friends airs.

May 7

      A bomb kills at least 14 people, including the head cleric, at a Shiʿite mosque attached to a school in Karachi, Pak.

      Surya Bahadur Thapa resigns as prime minister of Nepal after weeks of demonstrations against the royalist rule of the country; Thapa had been installed as prime minister at the behest of the king.

May 8

      To the surprise of observers, Iran's Guardian Council approves a bill—passed by the outgoing reformist Majlis (legislature)—forbidding the use of torture in interrogation; three similar bills had previously been rejected by the council.

      In a match against Zimbabwe in Harare, Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan bowls his 520th Test wicket, breaking the record set by Courtney Walsh three years earlier; Muralitharan is known for his controversially unconventional delivery.

May 9

      A bomb explodes in a stadium in Grozny, the capital of the Russian republic of Chechnya, killing the republic's president, Akhmad Kadyrov, and at least 13 others.

      Construction on the first tunnel to be built under the Bosporus begins in Istanbul; it is expected to be completed in 2008.

      In Prague, Canada defeats Sweden to win the gold medal in the ice hockey world championship tournament.

May 10

      Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is the winner in a very close presidential election in the Philippines.

      Carlos Gomes, Jr., is sworn in as prime minister of Guinea-Bissau at the head of the country's first government since a coup eight months earlier.

      Monsanto Co. announces that it is discontinuing its effort to introduce genetically modified (GM) wheat designed to resist a herbicide that the company also manufactures; corporate spokesmen pointed to a reluctance on the part of farmers to sow GM wheat out of fear that there would be no market for it.

May 11

      An Islamist Web site posts a video showing the decapitation of American civilian Nicholas Berg by a man believed to be Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush imposes economic sanctions against Syria, saying it has done nothing to stop or contain terrorism.

May 12

      Muslim mobs attack Christians in Kano, Nigeria, in revenge for the massacre in Yelwa and kill at least 30 people. (See May 2 and May 18.)

May 13

      Election results in India reveal an unforeseen defeat for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party; Atal Bihari Vajpayee resigns as prime minister.

      Pres. Sam Nujoma of Namibia and Pres. Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia officially dedicate a highway and bridge across the Zambezi River connecting the two countries; the projects are part of the Trans-Caprivi Highway, which provides an Atlantic port link to landlocked countries of southern Africa.

      South Africa grants asylum to deposed Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

      Kay Ryan is awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in Chicago.

May 14

      South Korea's Constitutional Court dismisses impeachment charges against Pres. Roh Moo Hyun and restores his presidential powers. (See March 12.)

      Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark marries Australian Mary Elizabeth Donaldson.

      Metropolitan Laurus, head of the body known as the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, meets with Patriarch Aleksey II of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow in the first trip to Russia by a leader of the sect, which broke from the Russian church after the 1917 revolution.

      Piers Morgan resigns as editor of the Daily Mirror in London after an investigation concluded that photographs published by the paper on May 1 that purported to show British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners had been staged.

      Nature morte a la charlotte, a small work by Picasso that was being restored, is found to be missing from a workshop of the Pompidou Centre in Paris; it is assumed to have been stolen.

May 15

      Smarty Jones, the Kentucky Derby winner, wins the Preakness Stakes by 11 1/2 lengths, the biggest margin of victory in the history of the race.

      South Africa is chosen to host the 2010 World Cup association football (soccer) championship tournament.

      The North London association football (soccer) club Arsenal becomes the first team in England's Premier League in 115 years to finish a season without a single defeat when it triumphs over Leicester by a score of 2–1 in the final game of the season.

May 16

      Voters in the Dominican Republic, which is in the throes of an economic crisis, elect the opposition candidate, former president Leonel Fernández Reyna.

      China, led by Lin Dan, defeats Denmark for the Thomas Cup world team badminton championship in Jakarta, Indon.; the previous day, in women's badminton, China beat South Korea for the Uber Cup.

May 17

      A suicide attack at a U.S. checkpoint in Baghdad, Iraq, kills at least seven people, among them Ezzedine Salim, president of the Iraqi Governing Council under the rotation system.

      An official of the Iraqi National Congress, a group headed by Ahmad Chalabi that had been favoured by the U.S. Department of Defense, says that the U.S. has decided to halt payments to the group for gathering intelligence after sovereignty is transferred to an interim government at the end of June. (See May 20.)

      In compliance with a ruling by the state's Supreme Judicial Court, Massachusetts begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples; it is the first U.S. state to permit same-sex couples to marry legally.

      The Civilian Space eXploration Team successfully launches a rocket with a payload into space, where it remains for several minutes before falling back to Earth; the rocket, called the GoFast rocket, is the first privately built rocket to achieve this milestone.

      The International Commission on Stratigraphy officially gives the name Ediacaran to the geologic period between 600 million and 542 million years ago; often previously called the Vendian, the Ediacaran immediately precedes the Cambrian Period and is the first new division to be added to the geologic time scale in 120 years.

      Appa Sherpa breaks his own record, set last year, by successfully climbing Mt. Everest for the 14th time. (See May 21.)

May 18

      Sonia Gandhi stuns her fellow citizens when she unexpectedly declines the post of prime minister of India.

      Avery Fisher career grants are awarded to violinist Tai Murray, cellist Clancy Newman, bassoonist Peter Kolbay, and harpist Bridget Kibbey.

      Nigerian Pres. Olusegun Obasanjo declares a state of emergency in Plateau state in central Nigeria because of the violence between Christians and Muslims; the move suspends civil government there, and Obasanjo installs a retired general as administrator. (See May 12.)

      A largely Israeli Arab association football (soccer) club from Sakhnin, Israel, wins Israel's State Cup and with it the right to represent Israel in the UEFA Cup tournament in 2005; the unprecedented achievement causes jubilation among the Israeli Arab minority.

May 19

      Manmohan Singh, who is credited with having salvaged India's economy as minister of finance in the early 1990s, is named prime minister.

      The Spanish association football (soccer) club Valencia CF defeats Olympique de Marseille from France to win the UEFA Cup in Göteborg, Swed.

      Movie theatres in Iran bow to pressure from religious hard-liners and cancel showings of an immensely popular satiric film, The Lizard, about a thief who disguises himself as a mullah and finds the many benefits of his new life.

      The RSPCA's National Animal Valor Award goes to Lulu the kangaroo, which saved its owner's life in September 2003 by summoning help after he was felled by a tree branch in Australia's Victoria state; Lulu is the first marsupial to win the award.

May 20

      In presidential elections in Malawi, Bingu wa Mutharika wins with some 36% of the vote; though his four opponents claim that the election was unfair, Mutharika is sworn in on May 24.

      U.S. and Iraqi forces raid the headquarters of Iraqi Governing Council member and erstwhile U.S. favourite Ahmad Chalabi; he is accused of having passed U.S. intelligence secrets to Iran.

May 21

      Russia signs a trade agreement with the European Union, which promises support for Russia's membership in the World Trade Organization; in return, Russia agrees to ratify the Kyoto environmental treaty.

      Pemba Dorje Sherpa sets a new speed record for ascending Mt. Everest, reaching the summit in 8 hours 10 minutes; the previous record, set in May 2003 by Lakpa Gelu Sherpa, was 10 hours 46 minutes. (See May 17.)

May 22

      The members of the Commonwealth of Nations agree to end the suspension of Pakistan, which had been barred from the organization since 1999, when Pres. Pervez Musharraf took power in a coup.

      The Arab League summit meeting, postponed from March, opens in Tunis, Tun.; Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi walks out in disagreement with the entire agenda.

      Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visits North Korea, promising medical aid and supplies of rice and returning to his country with five of the children who were born to Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea in the 1970s.

      Spain enjoys the gala wedding of Crown Prince Felipe and the television journalist Letizia Ortiz.

      At the Cannes film festival, American director Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11 wins the Palme d'Or; the Grand Prix goes to South Korean director Park Chan Wook's Oldboy.

      In the annual trination Super 12 Rugby Union championship, Australia's Brumbies defeat New Zealand's Crusaders 47–38 to take the crown.

May 23

      Horst Köhler is elected president of Germany. (See May 4.)

      In the deadliest incident in several months in the disputed Kashmir region between India and Pakistan, a bus carrying Indian soldiers and their families from the summer to the winter capital hits a land mine; at least 28 passengers are killed.

      A section of the roof of the new terminal at the Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris collapses, killing four people.

      The new Central Library, designed by Rem Koolhaas's architectural firm, opens in Seattle, Wash.

May 24

      The U.S. and Great Britain introduce a draft resolution to the UN Security Council for the transfer of authority to an interim government in Iraq.

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush makes a speech laying out his goals for the United States in Iraq: to relinquish authority on June 30, to remain in the country to provide security and help build infrastructure, to encourage international assistance, and to work toward a national election.

May 25

      Catastrophic flooding and mud slides caused by three days of rain and complicated by deforestation continue in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and the death toll rises to nearly 2,000.

      The governor of Kano state in northern Nigeria agrees, after an eight-month ban, to allow the World Health Organization to vaccinate children against polio.

      A fire that broke out the previous day in a warehouse in London is extinguished, but not before much of the valuable collection of contemporary art owned by Charles Saatchi has been destroyed.

      MTV Networks announces plans to start a cable channel aimed specifically at gay viewers; the channel, to be called Logo, is expected to begin broadcasting in February 2005.

May 26

      A far-reaching peace agreement is signed in Naivasha, Kenya, between the government of The Sudan and Christian and animist rebels from the southern region that will end 21 years of civil war in the area; the UN, however, warns of a crisis in the Darfur region of western Sudan.

      It is reported that residents of Singapore are permitted for the first time since 1992 to purchase and use chewing gum; citizens must register, however, for permission to acquire gum.

May 27

      Iraqi leaders succeed in brokering a truce between the militia of Moktada al-Sadr and U.S. forces in Najaf.

      Riots over the rising cost of living, in particular the price of fuel, break out in and around Beirut, Lebanon; five people are killed by police in a suburb.

      Pope John Paul II appoints Bernard Cardinal Law, who resigned from the archdiocese of Boston because of his mishandling of sexual-abuse charges against priests in his jurisdiction, to head a major basilica in Rome.

May 28

      To the surprise of many observers, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council, Ayad Allawi, is named prime minister of the incoming interim government of Iraq.

      Thousands of opponents of Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chávez go to voting centres in an effort to verify enough signatures to make a recall petition valid.

      The U.S., Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua formally sign the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

      A court in Chile revokes the immunity from prosecution that former dictator Augusto Pinochet has enjoyed since 2002, as doubt has been cast on claims that Pinochet is too frail to withstand the stress of a trial.

      The last link of the span of the Millau bridge in France is completed; soaring 270 m (885 ft) over the Tarn River, it is the tallest bridge in the world.

May 29

      Four armed militants enter and take control of a luxury residential complex housing mostly Western oil company executives in Khobar, Saudi Arabia; the following day Saudi armed forces storm the complex, freeing most of the residents (though 22 had been killed by the militants) but failing to apprehend three of the terrorists.

      The Kurdistan Workers Party in Turkey announces that as of June 1 its five-year cease-fire will come to an end.

      The long-awaited World War II Memorial, located between the Reflecting Pool and the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., is dedicated; tens of thousands of people attend the ceremony.

May 30

      Mufti Nizammudin Shamzai, a prominent pro-Taliban Sunni cleric in Pakistan, is assassinated in Karachi, which prompts a rampage on the part of his supporters.

      Luca Cordero di Montezemolo is named to replace Umberto Agnelli, who died two days earlier, as chairman of the Italian automobile company Fiat; Giuseppe Morchio promptly resigns as CEO of the company.

      The 88th Indianapolis 500 auto race is won by Buddy Rice, the first American to do so since 1998.

      Call Me Ishmael, an English-language opera based on the Herman Melville novel Moby Dick, with lyrics from the novel, premieres in Amsterdam; music and libretto are by Gary Goldschneider.

May 31

      A bomb in a Shiʿite mosque in Karachi, Pak., kills some 20 people and injures nearly 40 others.

      The governing party of Singapore ratifies the appointment of Lee Hsien Loong as the next prime minister; Lee, the son of Lee Kuan Yew, who held the post from 1959 to 1990, will take office in July when Goh Chok Tong steps down in his favour.

"Dear Free People: Our dear Iraq is now at a setback, but it is a very temporary setback, and we will rise up after that like mountains, standing up very firm."
Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, on accepting sovereignty documents from outgoing CPA head L. Paul Bremer III, June 28

June 1

      An interim government of 33 ministers is named in Iraq; after naming Ghazi al-Yawar president of the interim government, the Iraqi Governing Council dissolves itself.

      The U.S. military forces begin turning over control of a reeling Haiti to UN peacekeeping forces.

      Authorities in Rio de Janeiro report that at least 30 inmates and one guard have been killed in a three-day riot that began the previous weekend in a new detention centre and ended only with the intervention of Marcos Pereira da Silva, a popular evangelical minister.

      Mel Karmazin resigns as president and chief operating officer of the media conglomerate Viacom Inc.

June 2

      Five aid workers with Doctors Without Borders are ambushed and killed in northwestern Afghanistan; a Taliban spokesman claims responsibility.

      King Gyanendra of Nepal reappoints Sher Bahadur Deuba prime minister.

June 3

      George Tenet resigns as U.S. director of central intelligence.

      Venezuela's National Electoral Council says that petitions for a recall of Pres. Hugo Chávez are valid, which means that a recall referendum must be held.

      The day after rebel military commanders seized control of the city of Bukavu, protesters storm UN facilities in towns throughout the country, angry that UN peacekeepers had failed to prevent Bukavu from falling into the hands of the rebels. (See June 6.)

      In San Francisco, former Ukrainian prime minister Pavlo Lazarenko is convicted of extortion and money laundering; he faces murder charges in Ukraine.

      In the Scripps National Spelling Bee, David Tidmarsh of South Bend, Ind., spells autochthonous correctly to win the contest.

June 4

      A bomb explodes in an outdoor market in Samara, Russia, killing at least nine people and injuring dozens.

      Authorities in Kano, Nigeria, cancel an annual parade held to celebrate the birth of the founder of the Quadiriyah Sufi sect of Islam because of recent violence against Christians by Muslims in the city.

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush meets with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.

June 5

      Former U.S. president Ronald W. Reagan dies at the age of 93, 10 years after having been diagnosed with Alzheimer disease.

      The 225th Derby (now the Vodafone Derby) at Epsom Downs in Surrey, Eng., is won by North Light, ridden by Kieren Fallon.

      Birdstone squashes Smarty Jones's bid to win Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown by overtaking the favourite 100 yd from the finish line and winning the Belmont Stakes by one length.

      Anastasiya Myskina of Russia defeats her countrywoman Yelena Dementyeva to win the French Open tennis title; the following day Gaston Gaudio of Argentina defeats Guillermo Coria, also of Argentina, in the finals to win the men's title.

June 6

      World leaders gather on the Normandy coast of France to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the D-Day invasion; for the first time, leaders of both Germany and Russia take part in the observances.

      As rebel commanders report that they are withdrawing from Bukavu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, two UN peacekeepers are shot to death in an ambush outside Goma. (See June 3.)

      Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wins limited approval to prepare for withdrawal from Gaza and, to a lesser degree, from the West Bank, though not approval for actual withdrawal of any settlements.

      The 58th annual Tony Awards are presented in New York City; winners include the plays I Am My Own Wife, Avenue Q, Henry IV, and Assassins and the actors Jefferson Mays, Phylicia Rashad, Hugh Jackman, and Idina Menzel.

June 7

      Former Rwandan president Pasteur Bizimungu is sentenced to 15 years in prison for having embezzled money and fomented ethnic strife.

      The Japan Arts Association awards the Praemium Imperiale to Georg Baselitz of Germany for painting, Abbas Kiarostami of Iran for film, Bruce Nauman of the U.S. for sculpture, Oscar Niemeyer of Brazil for architecture, and Krzysztof Penderecki of Poland for music.

      The Tampa Bay Lightning defeats the Calgary Flames to win the Stanley Cup, the National Hockey League championship; the score of the final game is 2–1.

      The Council of Fashion Designers of America awards Menswear Designer of the Year to rap impresario Sean (“P. Diddy”) Combs for his Sean John line of clothing.

June 8

      The planet Venus transits the face of the Sun for the first time since 1882.

      The UN Security Council approves a U.S. and British resolution to transfer authority to an interim government in Iraq but continue to provide security as part of a multinational force.

      Emir Sheikh Hamad ibn Khalifah al-Thani approves Qatar's first constitution, which will permit elections to an advisory body when the new basic law takes effect in 2005.

      A Zimbabwean official announces that the government plans to nationalize all remaining privately held land.

      The Orange Prize for Fiction, honouring women writers, is awarded to Andrea Levy for Small Island.

      Mathematician Louis de Branges de Bourcia of Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., claims to have proved the Riemann hypothesis regarding the distribution of prime numbers; the hypothesis, put forth in 1859, seems to be true but has resisted proof.

June 9

      At the Group of Eight summit meeting in Sea Island, Ga., U.S. Pres. George W. Bush meets Ghazi Ajil al-Yawar, the new Iraqi interim president.

      An appeals court in Turkey releases from prison four former members of the Grand National Assembly, who had spent 10 years behind bars for belonging to an illegal Kurdish party; laws seeking to repress Kurdish national and cultural expression have been repealed over the past few years.

      Walt Disney Co. theme parks throughout the world celebrate the 70th birthday of Donald Duck.

June 10
      The journal Nature publishes a report by the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica, which has extracted an ice core providing a climate record of the past 740,000 years; initial analysis suggests that Earth is a little less than halfway through its present interglacial warm period, which has lasted 12,000 years.

June 11

      Pres. Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo reports that his government has successfully averted a coup attempt by members of his own bodyguard.

      Polish Pres. Aleksander Kwasniewski again nominates Marek Belka to the post of prime minister, in spite of Belka's earlier rejection by the Sejm (parliament). (See June 24.)

      Pakistan reports that three days of fighting in South Waziristan, a mountainous tribal area near the Afghanistan border that government forces have attacked in an effort to root out Islamist militants affiliated with al-Qaeda, have left at least 53 people dead, with casualties on both sides.

      A report commissioned by Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the first time admits that the government of the republic had responsibility for the 1995 massacre of some 7,000 Muslims in Srebrenica.

      The Prince of Asturias Award for Letters goes to Claudio Magris, an Italian novelist and essayist.

June 12

      In a referendum in Ireland, voters choose to end a constitutional provision that confers Irish citizenship on any baby born in Ireland regardless of how recently the parents may have arrived.

      In the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the World War II Battle of Saipan and Tinian includes an exhibit of panels narrating the experiences of Chamorro and Carolinian people in World War II, showing for the first time the islanders' perspective on the battle.

June 13

      A suicide car bomb in Baghdad, Iraq, apparently targeting a police patrol, kills at least 12 Iraqis, among them 4 policemen; also, for the second day in a row, an Iraqi ministry official is killed.

      A truck bomb rams a convoy of foreign power-plant workers in Baghdad, Iraq, killing at least 13 people, while two other bombings elsewhere kill 8 more people.

      For the fourth time in a little less than 18 months but the first time since a rule requiring a 50% voter turnout was rescinded, a presidential election is held in Serbia; the results require a runoff. (See June 27.)

      Annika Sörenstam of Sweden wins the Ladies Professional Golf Association championship for the second consecutive year, defeating Ahn Shi Hyun of South Korea.

June 14

      Maoist rebels attack two police trucks in Nepal, killing 21 policemen.

      The pro-independence Oscar Temaru is elected president of French Polynesia.

      The Aventis Prize for popular science writing goes to American travel writer Bill Bryson for A Short History of Nearly Everything.

      Denmark's Tom Kristensen, driving with Japanese driver Seiji Ara for #5 Audi Sport Japan Team Goh, wins the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race for the sixth time, equaling the record of Belgian driver Jacky Ickx.

June 15

      Afghani Pres. Hamid Karzai and U.S. Pres. George W. Bush appear together at a press conference in Washington, D.C., where Bush declares Afghanistan a success in the war on terrorism and reaffirms U.S. commitment to democracy in Afghanistan.

      The Detroit Pistons defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 100–87 to win the National Basketball Association championship; Chauncey Billups of the Pistons is named Most Valuable Player of the finals.

June 16

      Scientists report that two separate teams have succeeded in teleporting atoms—that is, transferring the physical characteristics, in the form of information, of an atom to another atom and thereby making it a replica of the original atom.

      Iranian Pres. Mohammad Khatami says that if the International Atomic Energy Agency passes a resolution criticizing Iran for lack of cooperation, Iran will no longer feel morally bound not to resume uranium enrichment, a precursor to the development of a nuclear weapons program.

      The petroleum conglomerate BP says that in spite of a sharp increase in consumption, the world's reserves of crude oil are plentiful enough to cover usage for the next 41 years.

      The trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former chairman of Yukos Oil and the wealthiest man in Russia, on charges of fraud and tax evasion gets under way in Moscow.

      More than 1,000 people gather in Dublin to reenact the actions described in James Joyce's novel Ulysses in celebration of the centenary of Bloomsday, named for the novel's main character, Leopold Bloom.

June 17

      A car bomb explodes outside an Iraqi army recruiting station in Baghdad, killing at least 32 Iraqis waiting to enlist and wounding well over 100.

      In a case that has riveted and appalled Belgium since the mid-1990s, Marc Dutroux, a convicted pedophile, is found guilty of having kidnapped and repeatedly raped six girls and of having murdered an accomplice and two of the girls; his ex-wife is convicted of the murder of two of the other girls.

      The Archer Daniels Midland Co. settles a class-action suit against it for price-fixing in the corn-sweetener market for $400 million; the plaintiffs included Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.

      Scientists describe the findings of the Stardust spacecraft mission to Comet Wild 2 at a NASA news conference: to their astonishment, the surface of the comet's nucleus features numerous craterlike depressions, mesas and canyons, and jets of dust and gas spewing into space.

      The annual International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award goes to This Blinding Absence of Light; the prize will be split between the Moroccan author, Tahar Ben Jelloun, and his translator, Linda Coverdale.

June 18

      Leaders of the 25 members of the European Union approve a constitution for the organization that has been four years in the making; it must now be ratified by each member country.

      The kidnapped American Paul M. Johnson is beheaded by his captors in Saudi Arabia; within hours Abdelaziz al-Muqrin, the leader of the group that claimed responsibility for this as well as other attacks on foreign workers in Saudi Arabia, is killed by Saudi security forces.

      Japan, for the first time, approves the use of Japanese troops in a multinational peacekeeping and rebuilding force approved by the UN to work in Iraq after sovereignty is handed over to the interim Iraqi government.

June 19

      Sudanese Pres. Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir orders the complete disarming of all illegal militias, including the Janjaweed, who have been attacking black Africans in Darfur.

      U.S. forces conduct an air strike on houses in Fallujah, Iraq, killing at least 17 people; accounts differ as to whether the targeted houses contained insurgents or civilians.

      A single ticket wins $145 million, the biggest jackpot in the history of the Lotto Texas drawing.

June 20

      Algeria's official news agency reports that an offensive on the part of Algerian forces has taken out the leadership of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, believed to be the biggest and best-organized Islamic terrorist group in North Africa.

      South African golfer Retief Goosen wins the U.S. Open golf tournament by two strokes.

June 21

      Iran seizes three British Royal Navy boats in the Shatt al-Arab, a waterway that forms part of the border between Iraq and Iran and gives access to the Persian Gulf, and arrests the eight sailors aboard the boats.

      A private spacecraft, dubbed SpaceShipOne, carrying a civilian test pilot, Michael W. Melvill, is carried aloft by a specially designed aircraft, White Knight, released and flown on a suborbital mission to the outer edge of Earth's atmosphere, and then piloted back to Earth.

      Under investigation for corruption, John G. Rowland announces his resignation as governor of Connecticut.

      In Barcelona, Spain, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees' 50th annual Nansen Refugee Award, for people or organizations that work on behalf of refugees, is presented to the Russian Memorial Human Rights Centre.

      In Iran a ban on the use of the hookah—a water pipe that is used throughout the Middle East for smoking tobacco—in any public place goes into effect.

June 22

      Kim Sun Il, a South Korean interpreter who had been kidnapped five days earlier near Fallujah, Iraq, is beheaded by his captors when South Korea fails to comply with their demand that it cancel a planned deployment of troops to Iraq.

      The UN High Commissioner for Refugees opens an office in the Darfur region of The Sudan; the agency's offices in Chad are operating eight camps for refugees from the region.

      It is reported that a large militia from the Russian republic of Chechnya conducted an overnight raid into Nazran and two other towns in the neighbouring republic of Ingushetia, killing at least 75 people and escaping with a cache of weapons.

June 23

      At the beginning of the third round of six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program in Beijing, the U.S. proposes to North Korea a program of aid and security guarantees in return for a phasing out of its nuclear weapons development program.

      Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, announces that the court is opening its first investigation, into possible war crimes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

      NASA scientists report that data from the Cassini spacecraft have confirmed that Saturn's strangely behaving farthest moon, Phoebe, is an object, possibly a comet, captured from the Kuiper belt on the outskirts of the solar system.

June 24

      A series of apparently coordinated attacks in five cities in Iraq leaves dead at least 100 people, both Iraqis and Americans.

      A bomb explodes on a crowded bus in Istanbul, killing 4 people and seriously injuring some 15 more; authorities believe the bomb went off prematurely while being transported to its true target.

      Poland's Sejm (parliament) approves Marek Belka as prime minister. (See June 11.)

June 25

      The UN takes military command of peacekeeping troops in Haiti, though authority was officially transferred weeks ago.

      The Norwegian government invokes emergency laws to end an eight-day strike by oil and gas workers over pensions and job security after employers threatened a lockout that would have shut down the entire industry; the strike has contributed to escalating oil prices worldwide.

June 26

      Pakistani Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali announces his resignation; in a move seen as orchestrated by Pres. Pervez Musharraf, Chaudry Shujaat Hussain is to be his interim replacement.

      A bus carrying women election registration workers in Jalalabad, Afg., is blown up and two of the women killed, with 11 wounded; the bomb seems to have been set off by the driver.

June 27

      Runoff presidential elections in Serbia result in victory for Boris Tadic, the former minister of defense for Serbia and Montenegro, over Tomislav Nikolic; Tadic is the leader of the Democratic Party and had the support of the federal government. (See June 13.)

      The Japanese-born dance duo Eiko and Koma are awarded the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award, honouring lifetime achievement in contemporary dance.

      The underdog Titans of California State University, Fullerton, win the College World Series of baseball against the University of Texas Longhorns.

June 28

      In an unannounced low-key, secret ceremony, U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer III dissolves the Coalition Provisional Authority, hands over power to the interim Iraqi government two days early, and flies out of the country; shortly afterward the members of the interim government are sworn in.

      The U.S. Supreme Court rules that those deemed “enemy combatants,” both in the U.S. and at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, must be given the right to challenge the legality of their detention before a judge or other neutral party.

      The U.S. restores direct diplomatic relations with Libya and opens a liaison office in Tripoli.

      Parliamentary elections in Canada prove not to be as close as anticipated; Prime Minister Paul Martin emerges with a plurality but not a majority.

June 29

      The interim government of Iraq announces that on June 30 it will take legal, though not physical, custody of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein as well as 11 of his top associates and will file charges against them.

      South Korea's National Assembly approves the appointment of Lee Hai Chan as prime minister, replacing Goh Kun, who resigned in May.

      The U.S. Army announces plans to activate the Individual Ready Reserve, consisting of people who were honorably discharged from the service before completing eight years of active duty.

      A 24-hour subway strike begins at 6:30 PM in London on all 12 lines, leaving three million riders without service.

      A Singapore Airlines Airbus A340-500 airliner lands in Newark, N.J., more than 18 hours after it took off in Singapore, ending the longest nonstop commercial flight ever made.

      William F. Buckley formally relinquishes control of National Review, the influential conservative political journal that he founded in 1955.

June 30

      New U.S. rules go into effect that drastically limit the frequency with which U.S. citizens may visit relatives in Cuba and restrict the amount of goods that can be remitted to relatives.

      Israel's Supreme Court orders that a portion of the barrier being built to wall Israel off from the West Bank be rerouted in order to reduce the harm imposed on Palestinians living in the West Bank who have been cut off from their farmland by the barrier.

"I'm sorry to disappoint science fiction fans, but if information is preserved, there is no possibility of using black holes to travel to other universes."
cosmologist Stephen Hawking,addressing the 17th International Conference ofGeneral Relativity and Gravitation in Dublin, July 21

July 1

      The presidency of the European Union rotates from Ireland's prime minister, Bertie Ahern, to the prime minister of The Netherlands, Jan Peter Balkenende.

      The International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, intended to help safeguard the world's ports from terrorism, comes into force.

      Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrate in Hong Kong, demanding greater democracy from the government of China.

      Sir Peter Davis resigns as chairman of J Sainsbury, the oldest supermarket chain in Great Britain, as a result of a dispute over a large bonus granted to him in spite of the poor financial performance of the company.

      The Motion Picture Association of America chooses Dan Glickman, a former secretary of agriculture and a former representative in Congress, to replace Jack Valenti as president of the organization.

      To the astonishment of prognosticators, the Colombian club Once Caldas defeats the defending champions Boca Juniors of Argentina to win the South American association football (soccer) Libertadores Cup.

July 2

      Outbreaks of violence leave 22 people dead in several incidents in Kashmir.

      A rocket attack is launched against two hotels in Baghdad that housed foreign workers and journalists; three Iraqi security guards are injured.

      After the resignation of Vladimir Spidla as prime minister of the Czech Republic, Pres. Vaclav Klaus names Stanislav Gross to the position.

      The Cassini spacecraft returns its first close-up (from about 322,000 km [200,000 mi] away) pictures of Saturn's giant moon Titan; analysis of the photos throws into doubt many assumptions about the nature of the satellite.

      It is reported that the Berlin Symphony Orchestra will merge with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin in 2006.

July 3

      Pres. Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir of The Sudan pledges to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that his government will take steps to disarm the Arab Janjaweed militia and any other militias that have been attacking black Africans in the Darfur region and will send government troops to protect the displaced.

      Russian tennis player Mariya Sharapova defeats defending champion Serena Williams of the U.S. to take the All-England (Wimbledon) women's tennis championship; the following day Roger Federer of Switzerland wins the men's title for the second consecutive year when he defeats American Andy Roddick.

July 4

      The cornerstone of Freedom Tower is ceremonially laid at the site of the former World Trade Center in New York City; the tower is expected to be completed in 2008.

      The team from Greece defeats the heavily favoured team from Portugal to win the UEFA association football (soccer) European Championship in Lisbon.

      In golf, American Meg Mallon wins the U.S. Women's Open tournament in South Hadley, Mass.; Stephen Ames defeats Steve Lowery by two strokes to win the Western Open in Lemont, Ill.; and in Straffan, Ire., South African Retief Goosen wins the European Open.

July 5

      Indonesia's first-ever direct presidential election results in no candidate's receiving a majority of votes; the top two vote getters, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Pres. Megawati Sukarnoputri, will contest a runoff election. (See September 20.)

      José Manuel Durão Barroso resigns as prime minister of Portugal in preparation for assuming the presidency of the European Commission.

      An official of the African Union announces that the organization is preparing to send hundreds of troops to protect unarmed observers in the troubled Darfur region of The Sudan.

July 6

      Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi signs a law giving him the power to declare emergency martial law anywhere in the country.

      During the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Eth., Pres. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea and Pres. Omar Bongo of Gabon agree to conduct joint explorations for oil in Corisco Bay while UN mediators decide on the border dispute in the bay.

      Japan's defense agency announces plans to publish its annual defense White Paper in the form of a manga, or comic book, in order to increase public understanding.

      The archdiocese of Portland, Ore., files for bankruptcy protection in the face of growing claims from victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests; it is the first Roman Catholic diocese in the U.S. to take this step.

July 7

      The Parliament of the World's Religions meets for the fourth time since 1893, in Barcelona, Spain.

      Charges relating to the collapse of the energy company Enron Corp. are brought against Kenneth Lay, its former chairman and CEO.

      The painting Young Woman Seated at the Virginals, believed for decades to be a probable fake but recently determined to be a genuine painting by Dutch master Johannes Vermeer, is sold at auction by Sotheby's for $30 million.

July 8

      Heinz Fischer becomes president of Austria two days after the death of his predecessor, Thomas Klestil.

July 9

      It is reported that the number of military deaths in the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq since the invasion began in March 2003 has passed 1,000.

      The International Court of Justice rules that most of the barrier that Israel is building to wall itself off from the West Bank violates international law because it is built on Palestinian land; it also rules that Palestinians on whose land the wall is built must be compensated.

      Portuguese Pres. Jorge Sampaio announces that he will appoint Pedro Santana Lopes, mayor of Lisbon, prime minister.

      In a general cabinet shake-up, Atef Ebeid resigns as prime minister of Egypt, and Pres. Hosni Mubarak chooses Ahmed Nazif to replace him.

      In a U.S. federal court, the dominant diamond company De Beers agrees to plead guilty to charges of price fixing; the admission is expected to allow De Beers to reenter the U.S. market, from which it had departed almost 50 years ago.

      Paul Klebnikov, the editor in chief of Forbes Russia, a Russian edition of the American business magazine, and an investigative journalist who had written extensively on the business climate in Russia, is shot and killed outside the magazine's offices.

July 10

      The World Health Organization's first progress report on the so-called 3 by 5 program, intended to deliver antiretroviral treatment to three million people infected with HIV by the end of 2005, estimates that 440,000 persons worldwide are receiving treatment, about 60,000 behind target, though the organization believes it can still achieve its overall goal.

July 11

      Boris Tadic takes office as the first president in two years of the republic of Serbia in Serbia and Montenegro.

      The 15th International AIDS Conference opens in Bangkok, with speeches by Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

July 12

      In Serbia and Montenegro the legislature in Montenegro adopts a flag, national anthem, and statehood day.

      Minutes before the trial is to start, the major securities company Morgan Stanley agrees to settle a sex-discrimination suit for $54 million.

      In the Ardoyne section of Belfast, N.Ire., a Protestant march to commemorate the Battle of the Boyne (1690) erupts in stone-throwing violence between Protestants and Roman Catholics, marring what had been a remarkably peaceful marching season in Northern Ireland.

July 13

      A bomb explodes as the motorcade of Sergey Abramov, acting president of the separatist Russian republic of Chechnya, passes in Grozny.

      Rustam Kasimjanov of Uzbekistan wins two tie-breaking matches against Michael Adams of England to win the Fédération Internationale des Échecs world chess championship in Tripoli, Libya; almost all the world's top players boycotted or were banned from taking part in the tournament, however.

July 14

      In response to threats by Iraqi insurgents that they will behead a Filipino hostage unless Philippine troops are withdrawn from Iraq earlier than planned, the Philippines begins pulling out its 51 troops.

      A suicide car bombing at the gates of the U.S.-occupied zone in Baghdad, Iraq, kills at least 10 people, while elsewhere the governor of the province of Nineveh is assassinated.

      Afghani Pres. Hamid Karzai issues a decree ordering severe punishments for those who fail to cooperate with the UN disarmament program or retain allegiance to private militias rather than Afghanistan's official armed forces.

      Swedish director Ingmar Bergman announces his retirement from the theatre; his last production, for the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Sweden, was in 2002.

      The Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía wins the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts.

July 15

      Hun Sen is formally approved as Cambodia's prime minister by the National Assembly almost a year after legislative elections that gave no party a majority.

      Officials of the World Food Programme say that the organization has an agreement with Libya that will allow it to transport food through Libya to Sudanese refugees in the Darfur area and Chad.

      Collapsed and disgraced energy giant Enron wins approval to emerge from bankruptcy protection as a much smaller collection of assets to be known as Primsa Energy International.

      James F. Parker surprises industry observers by resigning as CEO of the extremely successful Southwest Airlines; he is replaced by Gary C. Kelly.

July 16

      Amid increasing lawlessness in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian militants briefly kidnap and hold four French aid workers and two Palestinian security officials, including the chief of police; the following day the Palestinian National Security Council declares a state of emergency in Gaza.

      In the wake of the disappearance of two computer storage devices containing classified information as well as several other security and safety lapses, all work at the Los Alamos, N.M., nuclear research facility is halted pending a thorough security review.

      Legendary chess great Bobby Fischer is arrested in Tokyo for trying to travel on an expired passport; he has been in exile from the U.S. since his indictment on charges of violating sanctions against Yugoslavia for playing a chess match there in 1992.

      Lifestyle entrepreneur Martha Stewart is sentenced to five months in prison and five months of house arrest, the minimum possible; she remains free pending her appeal of her conviction.

      U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton announces plans to take the eastern gray wolf off the endangered species list, saying the population of wolves has recovered sufficiently.

      In downtown Chicago the long-awaited Millennium Park, featuring gardens, theatres, and public sculpture, has its grand opening.

July 17

      Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei submits his resignation, but Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat refuses to accept it.

July 18

      In a referendum in Bolivia, voters approve Pres. Carlos Mesa Gisbert's plan for development of the country's hydrocarbon reserves, which includes leaving them in the hands of foreign energy companies.

      Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi approves a U.S. air strike against insurgents in Fallujah and reopens Al-Hawza; the newspaper—affiliated with rebel cleric Moktada al-Sadr—had been shut down by U.S. administrators in March.

      Three American men—Jack Idema, Brent Bennett, and Edward Caraballo—appear in court on charges of running a private jail and acting as vigilantes in Afghanistan; the men claim to be working for the U.S. and Afghani governments, but officials of both governments deny it.

      The relatively unknown American golfer Todd Hamilton wins the British Open tournament in Troon, Scot., defeating Ernie Els of South Africa in a four-hole play-off.

      In the Nagoya Basho in Japan, Asashoryu defeats Kaio to win his fourth consecutive Emperor's Cup in sumo.

      In Taipei, Taiwan, Alex Pagulayan of Canada wins the World Pool-Billiard Association world nine-ball championships.

July 19

      Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin dismisses Gen. Anatoly Kvashnin, chief of the general staff of armed services, and three top officials in charge of security in the Caucasus.

      Officials of the Aredor mining company in Guinea confirm that a good-quality 182-carat diamond, four times the size of the Hope diamond, has been found.

      India's Supreme Court rules that the $325 million compensation for the catastrophic gas leak at a Union-Carbide plant in Bhopal in 1984 that killed at least 5,000 people should be paid directly to the victims rather than continue being held by the government.

      The European Commission approves the proposed merger of the recorded-music arms of the Sony Corp. and Bertelsmann, to be called Sony BMG.

July 20

      The UN General Assembly passes a resolution calling on Israel to obey the World Court ruling requiring it to remove the barrier being built on the West Bank.

      Greece agrees to allow U.S. Special Forces soldiers to carry arms under NATO auspices at the Olympic Games in Athens in August.

July 21

      The cosmologist Stephen Hawking concedes at a conference in Dublin that he lost a bet he made with the physicist John Preskill in 1997 regarding his assertion that information about matter that disappears into a black hole is destroyed when the black hole evaporates, which violates the laws of quantum physics; Hawking says he has since concluded that information can escape from a black hole.

      A lesbian couple who married in Ontario on June 18, 2003, files for divorce; Canada's Divorce Act, however, does not take into account same-sex marriages, which are legal in several provinces.

July 22

      After a 19-month investigation, the congressional 9/11 Commission, headed by Thomas Kean, releases its final report; it finds that the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, “should not have come as a surprise” and that a thorough overhaul of U.S. intelligence services should be undertaken.

      In response to the kidnapping in Iraq of three Kenyans, the government of Kenya orders all Kenyans in Iraq to leave that country.

      A court in Germany acquits Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann and five other defendants of betraying stockholders by granting excessive bonuses to the management of the communications conglomerate Mannesmann; the court does not look kindly on the bonuses, however.

      A merger is announced between the U.S. beer company Adolph Coors and Canada's largest brewer, Molson.

July 23

      Celebrations including dancers, high divers, and fireworks mark the reopening of the Stari Most, the 16th-century bridge at Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina; rebuilding of the bridge, which had been blown up in 1993 during the civil war, made use of much the same materials and methods used by its original Ottoman Turkish builders.

      Slavs riot in Struga, Macedonia, over a redrawing of municipal boundaries that many see as gerrymandering that will increase the power of ethnic Albanians.

      In China 52 people are convicted of organized trafficking in babies; some are sentenced to death and others to prison.

July 24

      A group that identifies itself as the European branch of al-Qaeda says that both Italy and Australia can expect to be attacked if they do not end their military presence in Iraq.

      It is revealed that Mohammad Reza Aghdam Ahmadi has been acquitted of the killing in 2003 of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi; four days later the Iranian judiciary declares that the acquittal means the death must have been the result of an accident.

July 25

      Spain's Banco Santander Central Hispano reaches an agreement to buy Great Britain's Abbey National Bank; the combined entity will be the eighth biggest bank in the world.

      American Lance Armstrong becomes the first person to win the Tour de France six times as he coasts to his sixth consecutive victory in the bicycle race 6 min 19 sec ahead of German Andreas Klöden.

      In an exciting game, Brazil defeats Argentina in a penalty shoot-out in Lima, Peru, to win the Copa América in association football (soccer) for the seventh time.

      The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., inducts pitcher Dennis Eckersley and hitter Paul Molitor; broadcaster Lon Simmons and sportswriter Murray Chass are honoured for their contributions to baseball.

July 26

      In Iraq a kidnapped Egyptian diplomat is freed, two Jordanian truck drivers are kidnapped, an official of the Ministry of the Interior and two of his bodyguards are killed, two Iraqi cleaning women with British employers are killed, and three Iraqis are killed by a car bomb outside an American base.

      Guatemalan Pres. Oscar Berger orders 1,600 soldiers into action in an attempt to combat violent crime in Guatemala City.

      AltaVista, Lycos, Yahoo!, and Google search engines are disrupted by the latest version of the MyDoom computer worm, which queries search engines to identify valid e-mail addresses.

July 27

      Spain announces that a joint Spanish-Moroccan peacekeeping mission will be sent to Haiti; it is the first-ever joint mission between the two countries, which have frequently been at odds.

      In the Chilean embassy in San José, Costa Rica, a Costa Rican guard takes 10 people hostage; after hours of negotiation, police storm the embassy and find that the hostage taker has killed four people, including himself.

      Four French citizens who have been held for more than two years at the U.S. military base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are released to France, which detains them under antiterrorism laws.

July 28

      A suicide bombing in a public square near a police station kills at least 70 people in Baʿqubah, Iraq, while fighting in south-central Iraq between insurgents and Iraqi and foreign forces leave some 42 people dead.

      The operational director of Doctors Without Borders announces that it is withdrawing from Afghanistan, where it has provided assistance for 24 years, because of the failure of the government to prosecute those who killed five of the organization's staffers in June and because of fears for the safety of its remaining workers.

      In his third state of the nation address, Peruvian Pres. Alejandro Toledo invites auditors to look into his bank accounts in response to an accusation that he accepted a $5 million bribe; Toledo has been engulfed in a corruption scandal.

      China opens its first Arctic research station, the Yellow River Station, on Spitsbergen in Norway.

July 29

      Democratic Party delegates, meeting at their national convention in Boston, nominate John Kerry, senator from Massachusetts, and John Edwards, senator from North Carolina, as the party's candidates for U.S. president and vice president, respectively.

      The U.S. Internal Revenue Service releases figures showing that personal income in the U.S. shrank for two consecutive years (2001 and 2002) for the first time since World War II, falling a total of 9.2% over the two years.

July 30

      The UN Security Council passes a resolution demanding that The Sudan show progress in disarming and bringing to justice Arab militias in the Darfur region within 30 days or face punitive measures.

      During a World Trade Organization meeting in Geneva that is part of the Doha Round, the U.S. and other wealthy nations agree to cut some of their farm subsidies by 20%.

      In spite of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that military detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, do have the right to file petitions challenging their detention, the Department of Justice rules that the detainees do not have the right to speak to their lawyers.

July 31

      The government of Iran confirms that it has resumed building centrifuges for the purpose of enriching uranium in view of the failure of France, Germany, and the U.K. to resolve questions about Iranian compliance with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"These have been unforgettable dream Games. These Games were held in peace and brotherhood. These were the Games where it became increasingly difficult to cheat and where clean athletes were better protected."
IOC president Jacques Rogge at the closing ceremonies of the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens, August 29

August 1

      The World Trade Organization agrees that its new framework for global trade rules will include the elimination of farm subsidies in rich countries, including the U.S.

      In Iraq, bombs explode near four Christian churches in Baghdad and one in Mosul, all during Sunday services; at least 12 people are killed.

      U.S. government officials announce that several financial institutions in and around New York City and Washington, D.C., have been found to be in imminent danger of terrorist attack; news later emerges that the information was originally received several years previously.

      The Warsaw Rising Museum, commemorating the 63-day rebellion against the Nazis in which 200,000 died in the summer of 1944, opens in the Polish capital.

      Karen Stupples of England defeats Rachel Teske of Australia to win the British Women's Open golf tournament.

August 2

      The government of Colombia offers to create a safe haven for two rival right-wing paramilitary groups if they declare a cease-fire and begin to disarm.

August 3

      Voters in the U.S. state of Missouri approve an amendment to the state constitution that permits only a marriage between a man and a woman to be legally recognized.

      NASA launches the space probe Messenger, which is scheduled to enter orbit around Mercury in 2011 and spend a year collecting data.

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush signs a free-trade agreement with Australia.

August 4

      The African Union agrees to expand its peacekeeping mission in the Darfur region of The Sudan, while tens of thousands of people in Khartoum demonstrate against the United Nations, which has threatened to take action if the ethnic cleansing does not stop.

      Swarms of locusts, which have been devastating large areas of North Africa and West Africa, inundate Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania. (See August 10.)

      Over the objections of Spain, the inhabitants of Gibraltar celebrate 300 years of British ownership of the peninsula.

August 5

      Israel pulls back its troops in northern Gaza and says that it will open the border checkpoint between Gaza and Egypt, where some 2,000 Palestinians have been stranded since Israel closed the crossing in mid-July.

      The World Trade Organization issues a preliminary ruling that subsidies paid by the European Union to assist its sugar producers violate trade rules.

      Peruvian Pres. Alejandro Toledo formally inaugurates a 731-km (462-mi) gas pipeline that links the gas field at Camisea to Lima.

      Scientists report that the Cassini spacecraft observing Saturn from orbit around the planet has returned data showing the unexpected presence of a radiation belt between the innermost of Saturn's rings and the outer edge of its atmosphere.

August 6

      After two days of battle in Najaf, Iraq, against forces loyal to rebel cleric Moktada al-Sadr, U.S. military spokesmen report that some 300 Iraqis have been killed.

      An appeals court in Indonesia overturns the convictions of four of the five people found guilty of war crimes in the violence that led to the death of some 1,500 people after East Timor elected to become independent; the sentence of the fifth person is reduced.

      The U.S. signs an agreement with Denmark and the home-rule government of Greenland to upgrade the early-warning radar system at the base at Thule, near the North Pole; the U.S. intends Thule to be part of its missile-shield plan.

      It is reported that poachers have reduced the last known population of northern white rhinoceroses in the wild by about half, leaving no more than 22 of them in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

August 7

      Violent anti-Japanese protests erupt outside Worker's Stadium in Beijing after Japan defeats China 3–1 there to win the Asian Cup title in association football (soccer).

      Windsong's Legacy, driven by Trond Smedshammer, wins the Hambletonian, the first contest in harness racing's trotting Triple Crown.

      Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi orders the television network al-Jazeera to close its Baghdad bureau for at least a month, saying the network's coverage of kidnappings and executions has encouraged the terrorists.

      In South Africa the New National Party, the successor to the apartheid-era ruling National Party, announces that it will dissolve itself and merge with the now-ruling African National Congress.

August 8

      A magistrate in Iraq orders the arrest of former American protégé Ahmad Chalabi on charges of counterfeiting.

      The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, inducts offensive tackle Bob Brown, defensive end Carl Eller, quarterback John Elway, and running back Barry Sanders.

      A birder on Martha's Vineyard, Mass., spots what proves to be a red-footed falcon; native to Eastern Europe and West Africa, the bird has never before been seen in the Western Hemisphere.

August 9

      The power-sharing cabinet of Côte d'Ivoire meets for the first time since opposition ministers walked out in late March, but the country remains divided in half by civil strife.

      The bankrupt Italian dairy conglomerate Parmalat files suit against the Italian branch of Deutsche Bank, seeking to recover money it paid back to the bank on credit lines.

      Steam leaks from a turbine after a pipe bursts at the Mihama nuclear power plant in Fukui prefecture, Japan, killing four people; officials say that no radiation escaped and there is no danger to the surrounding area.

      The Velebit Speleological Society announces that what is believed to be the world's deepest vertical drop has been found in a cave in the Velebit mountain range in Croatia; the drop has been measured at 516 m (1,693 ft).

August 10

      The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announces plans to give border patrol agents power—without judicial oversight—to deport illegal aliens arriving over the borders with Mexico and Canada.

      Election officials in Afghanistan approve a total of 18 candidates to contest the presidential election scheduled for October 9.

      Mauritania's minister of defense makes a radio broadcast saying that during the previous week the government foiled a coup attempt by renegade soldiers.

      Chad and Niger ask for international aid in fighting the locust infestation that threatens the area with food shortages. (See August 4.)

August 11

      South Korean Prime Minister Lee Hai Chan announces that the government has chosen the Yeongi-Kongju region of South Ch'ungch'ong province as the location for the new administrative capital of the country; construction is planned to begin in 2007, with completion set for 2030. (See October 21.)

      Macedonia's legislature approves a redrawing of municipal boundaries to increase the power of the Albanian minority in the country, as required by the 2001 peace agreement.

      Residents of Pitcairn Island, a British dependency in the Pacific Ocean, are ordered to surrender their firearms by September 7; authorities fear that the upcoming trial of seven men on sex-crime charges could lead to violence.

      The head of Brazil's anti-AIDS program announces that the government plans to distribute three billion free condoms annually in order to decrease the transmission of HIV/AIDS.

August 12

      A tentative accord is reached for Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group, the second biggest bank in Japan, to acquire UFJ Holdings; the combined company would be the largest bank in the world.

      Lee Hsien Loong is sworn in as prime minister of Singapore.

      Gov. James E. McGreevey of New Jersey announces that he is a practicing homosexual and that he will resign from office.

      The Vatican shuts down the Roman Catholic seminary of Sankt Pölten, Austria; in recent months the seminary had been revealed to have become a hotbed of forbidden sexual activity.

      California's Supreme Court rules that the 4,000 same-sex marriages that took place in San Francisco in February and March are legally invalid.

      Two bombs explode in Spain, one in downtown Santander and one at a beach in Gijón; coupled with two other bombs four days earlier, this marks the first incidence of violence by the Basque separatist group ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) since the spring.

      Ted Kooser of Nebraska is named U.S. poet laureate.

August 13

      Opening ceremonies for the Olympic Games thrill 75,000 spectators in Athens.

      A refugee camp in Burundi housing ethnic Tutsi who fled from the Democratic Republic of the Congo is attacked by a Burundian Hutu militia, who kill nearly 200 of the refugees.

      Hurricane Charley, with 233-km/hr (145-mph) winds, makes landfall in western Florida and the Punta Gorda–Port Charlotte area is devastated; a powerful typhoon makes landfall in China, leaving 115 people dead.

August 14

      The Iraqi interim government declares that truce talks with forces loyal to rebel cleric Moktada al-Sadr have failed.

      Government officials in Afghanistan say that battles have broken out in Herat province as its forces have invaded in an attempt to dislodge the governor and warlord Ismail Khan; 21 people have died in the fighting.

      At a ceremony in Namibia, a German government official for the first time offers a formal apology for the massacre of some 65,000 Herero in quelling a rebellion against German rule in 1904 and describes the events as genocide.

      At the Olympic Games in Athens, American swimmer Michael Phelps breaks his own world record in the 400-m individual medley with a time of 4 min 8.26 sec.

August 15

      The referendum to recall Pres. Hugo Chávez in Venezuela fails; Chávez wins the right to remain in office by a wide margin in a vote that international observers certify as free and fair.

      In rowing at the Olympic Games in Athens, both the U.S. men's and women's eights break the 2,000-m-race records.

      Vijay Singh defeats Justin Leonard and Chris DiMarco in a three-hole play-off to win his second Professional Golfers' Association of America championship; Jane Park, age 17, wins the U.S. women's amateur golf championship.

      Michael Schumacher wins the Hungarian Grand Prix Formula 1 auto race, a record seventh consecutive victory on the Grand Prix circuit.

August 16

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush announces plans to realign the deployment of U.S. troops around the world; some 70,000 troops currently stationed in Europe and Asia are expected to be moved.

      Leonel Fernández is sworn in as president of the Dominican Republic for the second time.

      Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein transfers day-to-day responsibility for government to his son, Crown Prince Alois, although Hans-Adam does not intend to abdicate.

      Kalkot Mataskelekele is elected president of Vanuatu.

      NASA scientists report that the Cassini spacecraft has discovered two previously unseen moons orbiting Saturn, bringing the total number known to 33.

      Archaeologists in Israel announce that near the village of Ain Karim, they have found a cave they believe John the Baptist may have used for baptizing followers.

August 17

      Delegates from the national conference in Baghdad, Iraq, are turned away from Najaf by Moktada al-Sadr; they had gone to ask him to join the political process.

      India's Supreme Court orders the reopening of 2,472 cases arising from the violence between Hindus and Muslims in Gujarat state in 2002; half the cases had been dismissed, and half had resulted in acquittals.

      Serbia's legislature replaces its coat of arms and national anthem, which were those of Yugoslavia, with the ones it used before 1918, when it was an independent kingdom.

August 18

      Iraq's national conference succeeds in choosing an interim national congress.

      Maoist rebels in Nepal declare a blockade on all roads leading to Kathmandu.

      Paul Hamm becomes the first American gymnast ever to take the Olympic gold medal in the men's all-around competition; the U.S. women's relay swim team sets a new record in the 4 × 200-m freestyle event.

August 19

      After an unexpectedly low-priced IPO, shares of Google skyrocket on the first day of trading, making it the third richest IPO in Nasdaq history.

      Insurers estimate the insured damage caused by Hurricane Charley in Florida at $7.4 billion, making it the second most expensive hurricane in U.S. history, behind Hurricane Andrew (1992).

      Alaska's Interagency Coordinating Center reports that wildfires have exceeded a record that has stood since 1957 for acreage destroyed; so far more than two million hectares (five million acres) have been burned, and more than 100 wildfires are still burning.

August 20

      Mongolia's Great Hural (legislature) elects Tsakhiagiyn Elbegdorj prime minister.

      A Chinese health official reports to a World Health Organization conference in Beijing that the strain of avian influenza that killed 23 people in Asia has been found in pigs at several farms; pigs are believed to have been the source of influenza pandemics such as the Spanish flu in 1918–19.

August 21

      Several bombs explode at a rally for the opposition Awami League Party in Dhaka, Bangladesh; at least 19 people are killed, and the following day violence spreads to other cities.

      At the Olympics, Belarusian runner Yuliya Nesterenko wins the gold medal in the women's 100-m sprint; the American men's swim team sets a new world record in the 4 × 100-m medley relay.

August 22

      In Nairobi, Kenya, where peace negotiations among the warring factions in Somalia have been taking place, the Transitional Federal Assembly, Somalia's new provisional legislature, is sworn in.

      Thieves steal The Scream and Madonna, Edvard Munch's best-known paintings, from the wall of the Munch Museum in Oslo in front of startled viewers.

      The 45th Edward MacDowell Medal for outstanding contribution to the arts is awarded to video artist Nam June Paik at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H.

August 23

      Israel announces plans to expand its West Bank settlements in the Jerusalem area.

      Controversial new rules governing who is eligible for overtime pay go into effect in the U.S.

      Panama recalls its ambassador to Cuba; at issue is the treatment of four anti-Castro Cubans in prison in Panama, who Cuba fears will be pardoned.

      The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, a museum and learning centre, is ceremonially opened in Cincinnati, Ohio.

August 24

      Within three minutes, two passenger planes that departed the same airfield in Moscow explode and crash, killing 90 people; the incidents are later discovered to have been the work of Chechen terrorists.

      Police in Nairobi, Kenya, turn back Masai demonstrators attempting to march to the British High Commission to protest white ownership of land that was taken from their people during the colonial era.

      Maoist insurgents in Nepal announce that they are lifting their blockade of Kathmandu.

August 25

      Wealthy businessman Ferenc Gyurcsany is named to replace Peter Medgyessy as prime minister of Hungary.

      Interim Prime Minister Chaudry Shujaat Hussain of Pakistan resigns in favour of Shaukat Aziz, who takes office three days later.

      Sir Mark Thatcher, the son of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, is arrested in South Africa on suspicion of having provided financial support for a plot to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea in March.

      Meeting in Tripoli, Libya, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi agree on measures to stop the flow of illegal immigrants from Africa through Libya.

August 26

      Hours after returning to Iraq after medical treatments abroad, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani proposes an agreement to end the fighting in Najaf; it is accepted by the interim Iraqi government and rebel cleric Moktada al-Sadr.

      The Chiron Corp., a California-based company that manufactures influenza vaccines in a plant in Liverpool, Eng., and supplies about half of the vaccine used in the U.S., announces that it has detected contamination in its new supply; Chiron says the problem will delay delivery of flu vaccine.

August 27

      It is reported that Enzo Baldoni, an Italian journalist working for Diario della Settimana who was kidnapped in Iraq while traveling to Najaf, has been beheaded by his captors.

      Members of the Mahdi Army, loyal to rebel cleric Moktada al-Sadr, abandon the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf to the control of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

      An icon known as Our Lady of Kazan, first seen in the city of Kazan, Tatarstan, is returned to Aleksey II, patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church; the icon disappeared from Russia about 1917 and had hung in the private chapel of the Roman Catholic pope since the 1970s. (See November 27.)

August 28

      The day after a large anti-American demonstration against his proposed visit, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell cancels plans to attend the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Athens.

      Argentina wins the men's association football (soccer) championship at the Olympic Games as well as a gold in men's basketball, defeating Italy 84–69.

August 29

      A car bomb explodes at the offices of an American contractor in Kabul, Afg., that provides security guards and training for the Afghan police force; at least seven people are killed.

      The Games of the XXVIII Olympiad close in Athens.

      The Pabao Little League team from Willemstad, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, becomes the first team from the Caribbean to win the Little League World Series when it defeats the Conejo Valley Little League team from Thousand Oaks, Calif., 5–2.

August 30

      The UN-imposed deadline for The Sudan to begin credibly disarming the Arab Janjawid militia in the Darfur region passes without significant progress.

August 31

      A suicide bomber blows herself up outside a subway station in Moscow, killing at least 9 people and injuring 50; responsibility is claimed by a Chechen group.

      Fighting erupts when some 2,000 police officers attempt to evict some 3,000 armed squatters occupying a ranch near Champerico, Guat.; at least seven people are killed.

      Cambodia joins the World Trade Organization.

      The UN Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora bans exports of caviar from countries bordering the Caspian Sea, as the countries have not complied with a 2001 agreement to protect sturgeon stocks.

"We are dealing with the direct intervention of international terror against Russia, with total and full-scale war.…In these conditions, we simply cannot, we should not, live as carelessly as before."
Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin, addressing the country after viewing the carnage at Middle School No. 1 in Beslan, North Ossetia, September 4

September 1

      At the Republican national convention in New York City, U.S. Pres. George W. Bush and Vice Pres. Richard Cheney are nominated as the party's candidates in the upcoming presidential election.

      On the first day of school at Middle School No. 1, serving students from ages 6 to 16 in Beslan, North Ossetia, Russia, some 30 terrorists invade the school and take all 1,200 people inside hostage, rigging the building with explosives.

      Millions of Sikhs, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, gather in their holy city of Amritsar in northern India to celebrate the 400th anniversary of their scripture, the Adi Granth, which is believed to have been placed in the Golden Temple on this date in 1604 by the fifth Guru, Arjun, who compiled the book.

      Martin Torrijos is sworn in as president of Panama shortly after his predecessor, Mireya Moscoso, pardoned four Cuban exiles accused of plotting to assassinate Cuban Pres. Fidel Castro, which led both Cuba and Venezuela to break diplomatic relations with Panama.

      Microsoft introduces MSN Music, its first entry into the digital music download market that is dominated by Apple's iTunes.

September 2

      On the first day of the new school year in France, the controversial ban on the wearing of religious symbols in school, including head scarves by Muslim girls, goes into effect, although two French reporters have been kidnapped in Iraq and their captors threaten to behead them if the ban is not repealed.

      Junichiro Koizumi becomes the first sitting Japanese prime minister to travel to see the Kuril Islands—known in Japan as the Northern Territories and owned by Russia—since the end of World War II.

      Malaysia's High Court overturns the conviction of former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim on sodomy charges, and he is released; he had been fired and then jailed in 1998 by Mahathir Mohamad, then prime minister, on what were widely believed to have been trumped-up accusations.

      The judges in the UN war crimes tribunal trying former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic revoke his right to conduct his own defense, imposing on him the two British lawyers who had been his assigned advisers heretofore.

September 3

      In Middle School No. 1 in Beslan, North Ossetia, Russia, two explosions lead to a gun battle that ends the hostage siege; at least 330 people, mostly students, teachers, and parents, are killed.

      Lebanon's parliament passes an amendment to the constitution extending the term of the president by three years, a move dictated by Syria but opposed by all segments of society in Lebanon.

September 4

      In the worst of several attacks in Iraq, a car bomb kills at least 17 people, 14 of them policemen, outside a police academy in Kirkuk.

      The huge and slow-moving Hurricane Frances makes landfall in Florida, working its way across the state over the next two days.

September 5

      Two earthquakes with magnitudes of 6.9 and 7.3 shake sparsely populated areas of western Japan; the following day a strong typhoon hits Japan.

      The inaugural Rally of Japan automobile race, in Tokachi, Hokkaido, is won by Norwegian Petter Solberg.

September 6

      Former U.S. president Bill Clinton undergoes a quadruple coronary bypass operation.

      Vijay Singh of Fiji surpasses Tiger Woods to become the top golfer in the World Golf Ranking with his win in the Deutsche Bank championship; Woods had held the position for five years, since Aug. 8, 1999.

      Indian officials release the results of India's census sorted by religion; it shows that the demographic growth rate for Christians and Muslims exceeded that for Hindus in 1991–2001.

September 7

      NASA officials report that Hurricane Frances caused major damage to several Kennedy Space Center buildings at Cape Canaveral, Florida, in particular the hangar in which space shuttles are prepared for flight.

      Hurricane Ivan lays waste to Grenada, leaving half the population homeless, destroying the cocoa and nutmeg crops, and killing at least 39 people.

      The number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq since the beginning of the invasion passes 1,000, and military officials reveal that several areas in the country are in the control of insurgents.

September 8

      Families of victims of the Washington-area sniper attacks in 2002 win a large settlement with the manufacturer and dealer of the gun used in the attacks; it is the third time (all in the past few months) that a gun dealer has paid for allowing a gun to fall into the hands of a criminal and the first time that a manufacturer has paid for such negligence.

      NASA's Genesis space capsule, which spent more than two years collecting samples of the solar wind, returns to Earth as scheduled, but its parachutes fail to deploy and it crashes into the ground at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah; although the plates that contain the samples are shattered, scientists are optimistic that important information can still be learned.

September 9

      Costa Rica withdraws from the U.S.-led coalition for Iraq after a court ruling that such inclusion violates a constitutional prohibition against military action not authorized by the UN.

      Al-Muhtadee Billah Bolkiah, crown prince of Brunei, marries Sarah Salleh, the 17-year-old daughter of a Bruneian and a European, in an opulent ceremony in Bandar Seri Begawan.

      A car bomb explodes outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta, Indon.; at least nine people, all Indonesian, are killed.

      U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says that he has concluded that genocide has taken place and may continue to take place in the Darfur region of The Sudan; it is the first time that a member of the administration in the U.S. has applied the term in this situation.

September 10

      Hurricane Ivan reaches Jamaica, roaring along the southern coast during the night and next morning and leaving at least 15 people dead; though Kingston is hit hard, a change of course by the storm spares the island a direct hit.

      The embattled CEO of Walt Disney Co., Michael Eisner, announces that he will retire at the end of his contract, in September 2006.

September 11

      A helicopter carrying a religious delegation headed by Patriarch Petros VII of Alexandria, Egypt, head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Africa, from Athens to the monastery of Mt. Athos in Greece crashes shortly before its scheduled landing, killing all 12 on board.

      In an unusually bold move, Afghanistan's interim government removes long-standing warlord Ismail Khan as governor of Herat; violent protests greet the arrival of Sayed Muhammad Khairkhwa as his replacement the following day.

      Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia defeats her countrywoman Elena Dementieva to win the U.S. Open tennis championship; the following day Roger Federer of Switzerland defeats Lleyton Hewitt of Australia to win the men's tournament and become the first man to win three Grand Slam titles in a single year since 1988.

September 12

      A series of mortar attacks and suicide bombings throughout Baghdad, Iraq, leave at least 25 people dead in the city, with some 34 others being killed elsewhere in the country.

      US Airways files for bankruptcy protection for the second time; it previously filed in August 2002.

      Rubens Barrichello of Brazil wins the Italian Grand Prix; his Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher of Germany comes in second.

September 13

      Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin demands enormous changes to the country's political system, including an end to the popular election of governors and the placement of congressional elections on national party slates rather than district lists.

      The 1994 ban on the private ownership of military-style assault weapons in the U.S. is allowed to lapse without a vote in Congress; though supported by most citizens, the ban was opposed by the National Rifle Association.

      A consortium with Sony Corp. of America at its head and including the cable company Comcast reaches an agreement to buy the movie studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, shortly before it was to have been sold to Time Warner.

      U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton signs documents turning the Great Sand Dunes National Monument in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Colorado into the Great Sand Dunes National Park, with increased acreage and resources.

      In Ontario province the first divorce of a same-sex couple is granted.

September 14

      A suicide car bomb kills at least 47 people outside a police station in Baghdad, Iraq, many of them waiting to apply for jobs; 12 other people, 11 of them Iraqi police, are killed in an ambush in Ba‘qubah.

      A committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises the placement of warnings on antidepressant drugs about increased risk of suicide when the drugs are given to teenagers and children.

      Canada defeats Finland 3–2 to win the ice hockey World Cup in Toronto.

September 15

      Hurricane Ivan achieves category 4 strength and makes landfall on the Gulf Coast of the U.S., and Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi declare states of emergency; by the end of the following day, at least 23 people have lost their lives.

      The deadline for Nigeria to hand over the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon under a 2002 ruling by the International Court of Justice passes with no action from Nigeria.

      Iceland's Foreign Minister Halldór Ásgrímsson and Prime Minister Davíd Oddsson exchange jobs.

September 16

      Peace talks between leaders of the Protestant and Roman Catholic factions in Northern Ireland open in Leeds Castle in England with an eye toward reviving the power-sharing government.

      South Africa announces that it has opened full diplomatic relations with Western Sahara, which is nominally under Moroccan administration.

      Karen Kain, who was the prima ballerina of the National Ballet of Canada before her retirement in 1997, is named chairman of the Canada Council for the Arts.

      Manitoba becomes the fourth province in Canada to legalize same-sex marriage when a judge rules that limiting marriage to heterosexual couples violates the constitution; Nova Scotia follows suit on September 24.

September 17

      In Mexico City, Mexican Pres. Vicente Fox and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi sign a free-trade agreement.

      Argentine Pres. Néstor Kirchner surprises analysts by sacking Alfonso Prat-Gay as head of the country's central bank, replacing him with Martín Redrado, and making other personnel changes as well.

September 18

      Flooding caused by Tropical Storm Jeanne leaves at least 1,500 people dead in Haiti, most of them in and around Gonaïves.

      The International Atomic Energy Agency adopts a resolution calling on Iran to stop enriching uranium; the following day Iran announces its refusal to do so.

      In the worst of several attacks around the country, a suicide car bomb kills 19 people when it explodes within a group of people looking for work with the Iraqi National Guard in Kirkuk.

      For the first time in 14 years, Iraqi Airways resumes air service, with flights scheduled twice a week to Jordan and Syria; Iraq's national carrier has a single operable airplane.

      Bernard Hopkins defeats Oscar de la Hoya by knockout in the ninth round to retain the undisputed world middleweight boxing championship in Las Vegas, Nev.

      Miss Alabama, Deidre Downs, wins the title of Miss America in Atlantic City, N.J.; on October 20 ABC TV announces that it will no longer broadcast the Miss America Pageant, which imperils the survival of the annual gala.

September 19

      Chinese Pres. Hu Jintao succeeds Jiang Zemin as head of the country's military and in an unusually orderly transition thereby becomes leader of the country in fact as well as name.

      After cutting a swathe of destruction through the Caribbean, the remnants of Hurricane Ivan cause flooding in southern Pennsylvania that leaves six people dead; the region was already waterlogged from rains that emanated from the remains of Hurricane Frances earlier in the month.

      At the International Association of Athletics Federations World Athletics Final in Monte-Carlo, the IAAF Athletes of the Year are distance runner Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia and pole-vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia.

      In golf's Ryder Cup competition, Europe defeats the U.S. with a record-breaking 18.5–9.5 margin of victory.

      The Emmy Awards are presented in Los Angeles; winners include the television shows Arrested Development and The Sopranos, the miniseries Angels in America, and the actors Kelsey Grammer, James Spader, Sarah Jessica Parker, Allison Janney, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Imperioli, Cynthia Nixon, and Drea de Matteo.

September 20

      Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono handily defeats Megawati Sukarnoputri in runoff presidential elections in Indonesia.

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush ends all economic sanctions against Libya, and two days later the European Union follows suit.

      The first criminal trial resulting from the meltdown of Enron Corp. opens in Houston, Texas; though the defendants are mid-level executives from Merrill Lynch and Enron and only one of many transactions is at issue, the charges are emblematic of all other indictments against the company.

      A new Pendolino tilting train makes the trip from London to Manchester, Eng., in a record one hour and 53 minutes, 15 minutes faster than the previous record; within a week a new schedule will go into effect that reflects the new train's 35-minute-shorter travel time.

September 21

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush addresses the UN General Assembly, pushing for the advancement of democracy to counter terrorism and defending the war in Iraq as doing the UN's work, though the war was not sanctioned by the UN.

      The National Museum of the American Indian opens on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., with a ceremonial Native Nations Procession of 20,000 people from some 500 tribes from throughout the hemisphere, followed by a six-day First Americans Festival of music, dance, and storytelling.

      In New York City, the Dance Theater of Harlem announces that it is laying off all its dancers through the end of its fiscal year in June 2005.

September 22

      The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission opens an investigation into the activities of the mortgage backer Fannie Mae.

      Interstate Bakeries, maker of Hostess products and Wonder bread, files for bankruptcy protection.

      It is reported that China has for the first time set out fuel-economy rules for automobiles in an attempt to lessen its dependence on foreign supplies of oil.

September 23

      A racketeering case against the tobacco industry in the U.S. begins, with attorneys for the U.S. government declaring that for 50 years the industry hid what it knew about the link between cancer and smoking.

      After briefly insisting that a new penal code contain provisions making adultery punishable by law, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan assures officials of the European Union that his government has abandoned that demand, which might derail the country's efforts to join the European Union.

      Olusegun Obasanjo, president of Nigeria and head of the African Union, says that the AU intends to send some 4,000 peacekeeping troops to the Darfur region of The Sudan early in October in response to a UN Security Council resolution.

      The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 60 volumes with nearly 55,000 subjects and the first complete reworking of Great Britain's famous DNB since its original publication in 1885–1900, is released to the public; it is also available on CD-ROM and by subscription on the Internet.

September 24

      Porter Goss, a former U.S. representative from Florida, becomes director of the Central Intelligence Agency two days after his confirmation in the post by the U.S. Senate.

      State regulators in California approve a plan to greatly reduce vehicle emissions of greenhouse gases over the next 11 years; California is by far the biggest automobile market in the U.S.

September 25

      Hurricane Jeanne makes landfall in Florida; this is the fourth hurricane to hit the state since August.

      In Iraq an ambush kills seven men applying for jobs with the Iraqi National Guard in Baghdad, and the U.S. conducts an air strike in Fallujah.

      The Port Adelaide Power wins its first Australian Football League championship, defeating the defending Brisbane Lions 17.11 (113)–10.13 (73).

September 26

      In a victory for the anti-immigration Swiss People's Party, voters in Switzerland reject a proposal that would have made it easier for Swiss-born children of immigrants to acquire Swiss passports and another that would have given passports automatically to third-generation immigrants in Switzerland.

      A major revision of Turkey's penal code is passed by the parliament; the changes are intended to enhance Turkey's prospects of becoming a member of the European Union.

      The winners of the 2004 Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards are announced; they are Elwood V. Jensen, Pierre Chambon, and Ronald M. Evans for their work uncovering molecular mechanisms by which hormones exert their effects on cells; Charles D. Kelman (who is the first to receive the award posthumously) for developing the standard in cataract and other eye surgery; and Matthew S. Meselson for his discoveries about DNA and for his efforts to eliminate chemical and biological weapons.

      Amjad Hussain Farooqi—the man who is believed to have been behind the two assassination attempts against Pakistani Pres. Pervez Musharraf and is also thought to have been involved in the killing of American reporter Daniel Pearl—is killed by Pakistani law enforcement.

      Spaniard Roberto Heras wins the Tour of Spain (Vuelta a España) bicycle race for the third time.

      In Formula 1 auto racing, Rubens Barrichello of Brazil wins the inaugural Grand Prix of China race.

September 27

      Hundreds of UN peacekeepers are sent to flood-ravaged Gonaïves, Haiti, to try to restore order so food can be distributed; some 300,000 people were left homeless by the flooding.

      The mortgage backer Fannie Mae agrees after negotiations with its federal regulator to reform its accounting and management practices, which have made the company appear to be in better shape than it is and have made top executives wealthy.

      Sir Richard Branson announces plans to form a company called Virgin Galactic that will sell suborbital rocket rides beginning in 2007.

      The television network NBC announces that Conan O'Brien, host of Late Night, will succeed Jay Leno as the host of The Tonight Show in 2009.

      Plácido Domingo announces that James Conlon will become music director of the Los Angeles Opera in summer 2006, replacing Kent Nagano.

September 28

      In Cuzco, Peru, 20 foreign tourists who were kidnapped by coca growers who want the government to end coca-eradication efforts are freed by Peruvian authorities.

      Health officials in Thailand report on a possible case of human-to-human transmission of A (H5N1) avian influenza; a woman who died of the disease had had no known contact with birds but visited her daughter, who worked with chickens, in the hospital when the daughter was dying of the disease.

      A magnitude-6 earthquake takes place in rural Parkfield, Calif., which sits on the San Andreas Fault; the last earthquake there was in 1966.

September 29

      A U.S. federal judge rules that a section of the USA PATRIOT Act that permits the government to order an Internet service provider to turn over personal information about subscribers and not notify anyone that it has received the order is in violation of the Constitution.

      In Yemen two men are sentenced to death for the attack on the USS Cole in 2000, and four others are sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison.

      Hungary's legislature elects Ferenc Gyurcsany prime minister.

      In New Zealand the trial of seven men from Pitcairn Island on numerous sex-abuse charges begins; the defendants make up nearly half the adult male population of Pitcairn.

      Bud Selig, commissioner of Major League Baseball, announces that the Montreal Expos team will move to Washington, D.C., next season; Washington has been without a baseball team since 1971.

      The Cendant Corp., owner of Avis car rental and Days Inn motels, agrees to buy Orbitz, the online travel service that was created by a consortium of airlines in 2000.

      The dumbbell-shaped asteroid Toutatis passes within 1.5 million km (1 million mi) of Earth; revolving around the Sun every four years in an orbit that regularly crosses that of Earth, it is the largest-known asteroid—about five kilometres (three miles) long—to have come close to the planet since astronomers developed the means to track them accurately, and another such opportunity is not expected in this century.

September 30

      Israeli security forces move into a refugee camp in northern Gaza; in the ensuing battle at least 28 Palestinians and 3 Israelis are killed; it is the highest death toll in two years.

      At a celebration for the opening of a new sewage plant in Baghdad, Iraq, two car bombs kill at least 41 Iraqis, the vast majority of them children gathered to receive candy from U.S. soldiers.

      With Russia's endorsement of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, it becomes possible for the agreement to take effect.

      The pharmaceutical company Merck withdraws its extremely popular prescription pain and arthritis medicine Vioxx from the worldwide market after having found in testing for a further use that it increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

      Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City announces the induction of the first 14 people into the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame, which will open to the public on October 21; they include Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Miles Davis, and Charlie Parker.

"Indonesia will be a democratic country, open, modern, pluralistic, and tolerant."
Indonesian Pres. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, at his inauguration, October 20

October 1

      Some 5,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops begin a major battle to retake the Iraqi city of Samarra' from insurgent forces; they regain control of the city on October 3.

      A bomb explodes in a Shiʿite mosque in Sialkot, Pak., as worshippers attend the Friday sermon; at least 23 people are killed.

      The World Health Organization announces a campaign to immunize more than 80 million children in 23 countries in Africa against polio, its largest such project to date.

      Seattle Mariners slugger Ichiro Suzuki sets a new record for the number of hits in a single baseball season with his 258th hit; the previous record was set by George Sisler of the St. Louis Browns in 1920.

October 2

      Three bombs explode in the town of Dimapur in the Indian state of Nagaland, killing 26 people, while bombs and gunfire in attacks by separatists in Assam state leave 19 people dead.

      Violence continues for a third straight day in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; the death toll so far is seven.

October 3

      Parliamentary elections in Slovenia lead to a surprising victory for the opposition Slovenian Democratic Party.

      Pope John Paul II beatifies five people, among them Charles, the last emperor of Austria-Hungary, whose reign coincided with the end of World War I and concluded with the dissolution of the kingdom.

October 4

      Two car bombs in downtown Baghdad and one in Mosul leave at least 26 people dead in Iraq.

      Cambodia's lower house of parliament ratifies an agreement made in 2003 with the United Nations to form a tribunal to try Khmer Rouge figures for atrocities committed during the late 1970s; this was considered the last major obstacle to the formation of a tribunal.

      The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine is awarded to Americans Richard Axel and Linda B. Buck for their work in unraveling the workings of the human olfactory system.

      The private rocket ship SpaceShipOne achieves an altitude of 112.17 km (about 70 mi) and safely returns to Earth in the Mojave Desert in California, thus exceeding 100 km twice within a week and winning the $10 million Ansari X Prize.

October 5

      In Stockholm the Nobel Prize for Physics is awarded to three Americans—David J. Gross, H. David Politzer, and Frank Wilczek—for their work in investigating the strong force, which binds quarks in the atomic nucleus; their discoveries led to the theory of quantum chromodynamics.

      U.S. health officials announce that British authorities have suspended the license of the Liverpool laboratory of Chiron Corp. because of contamination discovered in August; the lab manufactures about half of the American supply of vaccine against influenza.

      Niger produces its first gold bar, from a mine in a goldfield discovered some 15 years earlier, in a ceremony attended by Pres. Tandja Mamadou; it is expected that the mine will produce 5,000 oz of gold annually for the next six years.

October 6

      The Nobel Prize for Chemistry is awarded to two Israelis, Aaron Ciechanover and Avram Hershko, and American Irwin Rose for their discovery of the chemical process by which cells mark proteins for degradation.

      The European Commission rules that Turkey has met the criteria for talks to begin about Turkey's becoming a member of the EU.

      Syndicated radio personality Howard Stern announces that he has signed a deal to begin working in January 2006 for Sirius Satellite Radio, a pay-based satellite service that is not regulated by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

October 7

      King Norodom Sihanouk abdicates the throne of Cambodia, citing ill health and asking that a council be formed to select the next king.

      At a rally of Sunni Muslims in Multan, Pak., two bombs go off, killing at least 39 people.

      Three resorts popular with Israeli tourists in the southeastern Sinai Peninsula in Egypt are destroyed by bombs, and at least 33 people are left dead.

      The Nobel Prize for Literature is awarded to Elfriede Jelinek of Austria.

      Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi visits Tripoli, Libya, to join Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi in opening an oil pipeline between the countries and to discuss with him the curbing of illegal immigration of Africans through Libya to Italy.

      The quadrennial Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church announces plans for bilateral talks aimed at unifying the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, based in the U.S.

October 8

      The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai; the committee cites her work combining science with social engagement and politics.

      News organizations receive a video showing the beheading of British engineer Kenneth Bigley, who had been kidnapped in Iraq the previous month; he is the first British hostage to be executed in Iraq.

      Miguel Angel Rodríguez resigns as secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS) after being accused of having accepted bribes when he was president (1998–2002) of Costa Rica. (See October 21.)

      The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat formally certifies the skyscraper Taipei 101, in Taiwan, as the tallest building in the world; it is 56 m (184 ft) taller than Petronas Towers, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, previously the tallest building. (See April 15.)

October 9

      Afghanistan's presidential election takes place peacefully; it is expected to be several weeks before the votes are tallied. Hamid Karzai is officially declared to be the winner on November 3.

      In parliamentary elections in Australia, Prime Minister John Howard's Liberal Party wins decisively.

      With his win in two straight heats of the Kentucky Futurity, Windsong's Legacy becomes the first horse to win the Trotting Triple Crown since 1972.

October 10

      A suicide bomber kills himself and at least three others outside a Shiʿite mosque in Lahore, Pak.

      Meeting in Kenya, Somalia's transitional parliament elects Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed the interim president of the war-torn country; he takes office on October 14.

October 11

      Members of rebel Shiʿite cleric Moktada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army begin surrendering their weapons, in accordance with an agreement made between the group and the Iraqi government and U.S. military commanders in Baghdad, Iraq.

      The European Union lifts sanctions, including an arms embargo, against Libya.

      Paul Biya is reelected president of Cameroon in elections that are viewed as flawed but credible.

      The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences goes to Norwegian Finn Kydland and American Edward Prescott.

October 12

      For the first time, the Romanian government admits that Romania took part in the Holocaust during World War II and concedes that some 240,000 Jews died at that time in Romania.

      In Japan authorities find nine people in two separate vehicles who have committed suicide together; it is believed that the participants met each other and planned their deaths in chat rooms on the Web.

      The U.S. Federal Communications Commission fines 169 Fox television channels a total of $1.18 million for having aired an episode of Married by America that the commission felt was too sexually suggestive.

October 13

      Daiei, the Japanese discount supermarket and retailing chain, agrees to accept a government bailout; Daiei epitomizes the troubles Japanese banks have had with bad loans.

      The Seattle Storm defeats the Connecticut Sun 74–60 to win the Women's National Basketball Association championship, in Seattle, Wash., two games to one.

      The official beginning of the National Hockey League season passes without any games' being played; a lockout of the players' union by the owners has continued for almost a month.

October 14

      A throne council in Cambodia chooses Norodom Sihamoni, a son of King Norodom Sihanouk, to succeed his father as king.

      In Beijing, Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin and Chinese Pres. Hu Jintao sign an agreement demarcating the 4,345-km (2,700-mi) border between Russia and China for the first time.

      Astronauts Leroy Chiao of the U.S. and Salizhan Sharipov of Russia, escorted by Yury Shargin, blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrone in Kazakhstan; Chiao and Sharipov will replace American Mike Fincke and Russian Gennady Padalka as the crew of the International Space Station.

October 15

      Muslims around the world begin observations of the holy month of Ramadan.

      The High Court in Harare, Zimb., acquits political opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of treason charges.

October 16

      Israeli military forces complete a redeployment from built-up areas of the Gaza Strip to hills overlooking the major refugee camps.

      Bombs explode in five Christian churches in Baghdad, Iraq, causing damage but no casualties.

      The Royal Institute of British Architects announces that the Stirling Prize for 2004 goes to Norman Foster for the London skyscraper 30 St. Mary Axe.

      Italian cyclist Paolo Bettini, after a 28th place showing in the Tour of Lombardy, becomes the only person ever to win the World Cup of cycling three times despite not having won a single race.

October 17

      In a blatantly manipulated referendum in Belarus, an amendment to the constitution allowing the president to seek an unlimited number of terms in office is passed, and in legislative elections supporters of Pres. Alyaksandr Lukashenka win every seat.

      The first UN peacekeepers from China ever deployed in the Western Hemisphere arrive in Haiti; Haitian interim prime minister Gérard Latortue publicly accuses deposed president Jean-Bertrand Aristide of orchestrating the violence in Haiti from his exile in South Africa.

      Russia opens its largest foreign military base, in Tajikistan; some 5,000 soldiers and an air force unit will be stationed there.

      French driver Sébastien Loeb clinches the world rally championship with two races to go when he comes in second at the Rally of Corsica, behind Markko Märtin of Estonia.

October 18

      A roadside explosion kills five people, one of them an election official, in an election commission jeep in southeastern Afghanistan.

      The notorious bandit Veerappan, thought to have killed more than 100 people, is killed in a shootout with police in India.

      The Lambeth Commission, convened by Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, issues a report calling on the Episcopal Church USA to refrain from ordaining gay clergy and blessing gay unions and to express regret for the difficulties taking these actions has caused within the Anglican Communion.

      By tying with Peter Leko of Hungary in a chess match in Brissago, Switz., Vladimir Kramnik of Russia retains the classic world chess champion title and the right to play the winner of the Fédération Internationale des Échecs match scheduled for January 2005; chess authorities are trying to reunify the world chess championship.

October 19

      Myanmar (Burma) announces that Soe Win has replaced Khin Nyunt as prime minister.

      Opposition leader Anatoly V. Lebedko is arrested and beaten on the second night of demonstrations against official, but widely disbelieved, election results in Belarus.

      Margaret Hassan, the British-Iraqi head of the relief organization CARE International and a 30-year resident of Iraq, is kidnapped in Baghdad.

      The Man Booker Prize for Fiction goes to British writer Alan Hollinghurst for his novel The Line of Beauty.

      Scientists and European heads of state gather in Geneva to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

October 20

      Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is inaugurated as Indonesia's first directly elected president.

      Rafiq al-Hariri resigns as prime minister of Lebanon; the following day the pro-Syrian Omar Karami is named to replace him.

      A record 10th typhoon for the season hits Japan, leaving at least 77 dead in addition to the more than 102 people killed by the previous 9 typhoons; Japan's storm records go back to 1551.

October 21

      South Korea's constitutional court rules that the plan to move the country's capital is illegal; either a national referendum or an amendment to the constitution would be required in order to make the move. (See August 11.)

      Authorities in Costa Rica arrest Rafael Angel Calderón on charges of having accepted bribes during his presidency (1990–94) of the country. (See October 8.)

      The Court of Arbitration for Sport rules that American Paul Hamm retains his Olympic gold medal in the men's all-around gymnastics competition in spite of the fact that judges had wrongly deducted a tenth of a point from the score of South Korean competitor Yang Tae Young.

      Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, Inc., announces that it has reached a preliminary debt-restructuring agreement that may make it possible for the company to avoid having to file for bankruptcy.

October 22

      A gargantuan mosque opens in the village of Kipchak, the birthplace of Turkmenistan's Pres. Saparmurat Niyazov; in part a monument to Niyazov, the structure features inscriptions from his writings as well as from the Quʾran.

      Avianca Airlines, the national carrier of Colombia, reaches a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, which believes that the airline knowingly allowed itself to be used to transport cocaine and heroin; a monitoring agency selected by U.S. authorities will henceforth be allowed to inspect cargo loaded onto U.S.-bound planes.

October 23

      Legislative elections in the UN-administered area of Kosovo in Serbia and Montenegro are boycotted by Serbs, who fear participating will aid ethnic Albanians in making the area independent.

      Insurgents dressed as police officers ambush and kill some 50 newly trained members of the Iraqi National Guard.

      In Rio Grande, P.R., Sweden wins the 2004 women's world amateur team championship in golf.

October 24

      The U.S. government acknowledges that some 380 tons of explosives disappeared from a facility called al-Qaqaa in Iraq some time after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

      Israel's cabinet approves a formula for the financial compensation of Israeli settlers to be removed from the Gaza Strip under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan.

      The New England Patriots set a new National Football League record for consecutive wins with their 18th straight regular-season victory (21 wins overall), against the New York Jets; the previous record was set by the Chicago Bears in the 1933–34 season.

October 25

      International Steel Group Inc., the biggest U.S. steel manufacturer, announces a complex transaction in which it will be acquired by a Dutch company controlled by Lakshmi Mittal to form a new company, Mittal Steel Co. NV, which will be the largest steel concern in the world.

      Jeffrey W. Greenberg resigns as chairman and CEO of Marsh & McLennan Co., the world's biggest insurance broker, in the wake of a suit brought by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer for false dealing.

      The Seibu Lions defeat the Chunichi Dragons 7–2 in the decisive game seven to win the Japan Series baseball championship.

      The seventh annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor is presented to Lorne Michaels, the creator and producer of the television show Saturday Night Live, in a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

      In France, Pink TV, a gay and lesbian cable- and satellite-television channel, begins broadcasting.

October 26

      The Cassini spacecraft passes within 1,172 km (728 mi) of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, and returns close-up pictures and radar data to Earth.

      Officials in Thailand reveal that at least 78 people of the more than 1,300 arrested during a ruthlessly suppressed demonstration in heavily Muslim Narathiwat province died of suffocation while being transported in trucks to a military barracks.

      In a crucial vote, the Israeli Knesset (legislature) approves Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's proposal to remove all Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip.

October 27

      The Federation Council, the upper house of Russia's legislature, votes to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty to limit greenhouse-gas emissions, five days after the State Duma, the lower house, approved it. (See November 4.)

      The Boston Red Sox defeat the St. Louis Cardinals 3–0 in St. Louis, Mo., in the fourth game of the World Series to sweep the Major League Baseball championship; it is the first World Series championship win for the Sox since 1918.

      With a ceremonial reenactment and other displays, New York City celebrates the centennial of its subway.

October 28

      The defection of a coalition partner causes the government of Latvia to collapse; Prime Minister Indulis Emsis resigns.

      The journal Nature publishes a report revealing the astonishing discovery on the Indonesian island of Flores of what appears to be a population of miniaturized hominids, named Homo floresiensis, approximately a metre (3.3 ft) in height, who lived there as recently as 18,000 years ago.

      Palestinian officials announce that Yasir Arafat will be flown to Paris the following day to be hospitalized; the nature and severity of his illness is unclear.

October 29

      Norodom Sihamoni is crowned king of Cambodia in a traditional Buddhist ceremony that includes a bathing in nine jars of holy water.

      The leaders of the countries of the European Union ceremonially sign the new EU constitution.

      The television network al-Jazeera broadcasts a videotape of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden addressing the U.S. to warn against interference in Muslim affairs; it is the first videotape from bin Laden since Sept. 10, 2003.

      On Pitcairn Island sentences ranging from community service to six years in prison are pronounced for six men convicted of various sexual assaults over a period of 40 years; the sentences, issued by judges from New Zealand, are suspended pending an appeal of jurisdiction. (See September 29.)

October 30

      One car bomb kills eight U.S. Marines near Abu Ghraib prison, outside Baghdad, Iraq, and another kills seven people outside the Baghdad offices of the television network al-Arabiyah.

      Portions of a four-year study commissioned by the Arctic Council are made public; it says that climate warming in the Arctic is driven by greenhouse-gas emissions and is accelerating.

October 31

      Tabaré Vázquez of the Socialist Party wins the presidential election in Uruguay.

      A highly contentious presidential election in Ukraine, with 24 candidates, results in the need for a runoff between Viktor Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovych.

      After two days of fighting in Henan province in China between ethnic Han and Muslim Hui, martial law is declared; the fighting, which was touched off by a traffic accident, resulted in some 150 deaths.

      The Terra Museum of American Art in Chicago closes permanently; its entire collection of works on paper and 50 of its most important paintings are loaned to the Art Institute of Chicago for 15 years.

"I feel awful, it's horrible. First it was euphoria, and now the people are yelling in the streets.…You see, they have let this genie out of the bottle."
Oleksandra Ruzhel, a member of Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovich's staff, on the Supreme Court's ruling delaying the election results, November 25

November 1

      In separate incidents in Baghdad, Iraq, the deputy governor of Baghdad province is assassinated, and four foreign workers are kidnapped.

      King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand summons Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to tell him to exercise leniency in his dealings with rebellious Muslims; the king intervenes with the government only in rare moments of crisis, this one triggered by the suffocation of 78 Muslims in military custody a few days previously.

      Japan introduces a redesigned currency for the first time in 20 years in an attempt to thwart forgery, which has increased greatly with the advent of increasingly sophisticated computer and printing technology.

      For the first time in its 219 years of publishing, The Times of London is available only in a tabloid format; the new format, which was first offered as an option nearly a year earlier, has improved sales.

November 2

      In a close presidential election in the U.S., Pres. George W. Bush wins with 51% of the popular vote and 286 electoral votes, against challenger John Kerry's 48% and 251 electoral votes, though the results are not known until the following day.

      Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh is murdered in Amsterdam by a Muslim extremist, apparently provoked by a short television film van Gogh made that painted Muslims as misogynists. (See November 13.)

      Pres. Sheikh Zayid ibn Sultan Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates dies; the following day his son, Sheikh Khalifah ibn Zayid Al Nahyan, is chosen to replace him in the presidency.

      The British mare Makybe Diva wins the Melbourne Cup in Thoroughbred racing in Australia for the second consecutive year.

November 3

      Hungary announces that it will withdraw its troops from Iraq by March 2005.

      A fire that broke out in the Liuhuanggou coalfield in China's Sinkiang region in 1874 is extinguished by firefighters; it is believed that 1.8 million tons of coal were consumed annually by the fire.

November 4

      Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin signs the country's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol governing greenhouse-gas emissions; 90 days after the documents are submitted to the UN, the treaty will go into effect. (See October 27.)

      After a yearlong cease-fire, the government of Côte d'Ivoire conducts bombing raids against two rebel strongholds, in violation of a UN-sponsored truce.

      The U.S. announces that it will recognize Macedonia's formal name as the Republic of Macedonia; the country is recognized by the UN as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia because Greece, which has a province called Macedonia, objects to the republic's name.

November 5

      The chief of Chile's army, Gen. Juan Emilio Cheyre, declares publicly that the army accepts collective and institutional responsibility for the human rights violations that occurred during the 1974–90 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet Ugarte.

      A court in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan rules that laws banning same-sex marriage are unconstitutional; five provinces and one territory in Canada had already made the same ruling in the past several months.

      Voters on the Caribbean island of Saba express their preference to break away from the Netherlands Antilles to become a direct dependency of The Netherlands.

November 6

      Four car bombs and three attacks on police stations in Samarra', Iraq, leave some 40 people dead.

      On the third day of government attacks against rebel-held areas, eight French peacekeepers are killed and 23 wounded in the town of Bouaké, Côte d'Ivoire.

      Australian Rachael Grinham wins the women's British Open squash championship for the second consecutive year, and Australian David Palmer takes the men's title, also for the second straight year.

November 7

      U.S. troops begin an expected siege of Fallujah, Iraq, by seizing control of two bridges and a hospital.

      A referendum to rescind the autonomy granted to ethnic Albanians in Macedonia fails because of low voter turnout; the government had urged a boycott of the referendum.

      British runner Paula Radcliffe is the fastest woman at the New York Marathon, with a time of 2 hr 23 min 10 sec; the winner of the race is Hendrik Ramaala of South Africa, with a time of 2 hr 9 min 28 sec.

November 8

      An assault force of 6,500 U.S. troops and 2,000 Iraqi soldiers enters Fallujah, Iraq, over a railroad embankment at the north end of the city.

      The International Rescue Committee becomes the third aid organization, after Doctors Without Borders and CARE International, to cease operations in Iraq because of the danger to aid workers in the country.

      A U.S. federal judge ruling that military commissions convened to try war detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are unconstitutional immediately ends the first trial before such a tribunal.

      It is announced at the International Supercomputer Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa., that IBM's prototype Blue Gene/L has surpassed Japan's NEC Earth Simulator as the fastest computer in the world, with a speed of 70.72 teraflops (trillion operations per second); capable of 35.86 teraflops, the Japanese computer had held the position since June 2002.

      The ice hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto inducts defensemen Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey, and Larry Murphy and manager Cliff Fletcher.

November 9

      The Supreme Court of Belgium rules that the Vlaams Blok party has violated antiracism laws and is thus not a legal political party; the party, very popular in Flanders, campaigns against immigration and in favour of Flemish independence.

      The U.S. Supreme Court rules that immigrants may not be deported for driving under the influence of alcohol, even if injury is caused; a number of people have already been deported because the government has been defining such conduct as a “crime of violence.”

      Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney each win two Country Music Association Awards, McGraw for song of the year and single of the year for “Live like You Were Dying” and Chesney for entertainer of the year and album of the year for When the Sun Goes Down.

November 10

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush nominates Alberto Gonzales to replace John Ashcroft as attorney general; Ashcroft had announced his resignation the previous day, declaring that the U.S. was now safe from terror and crime.

      Swaziland's High Court convenes for the first time since all its members resigned in November 2002 in protest against the refusal of the monarchy to recognize a ruling; King Mswati III has agreed to abide by the court's rulings henceforth.

November 11

      After days of conflicting reports on his condition, Palestinian Authority Pres. Yasir Arafat dies in a hospital in Paris; hours later Mahmoud Abbas is chosen to succeed him as head of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

      Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announces plans to withdraw some of the Indian troops stationed in Kashmir.

      Minnesota Twins pitcher Johan Santana is unanimously chosen winner of Major League Baseball's American League Cy Young Award.

November 12

      In a highly publicized five-month trial in California, fertilizer salesman Scott Peterson is found guilty of having murdered his wife, Laci, and their unborn child in 2002.

      In the southern Netherlands town of Liempde, Dutch authorities raid what they believe to be a terrorist training camp for the Kurdistan Workers' Party, a separatist organization in Turkey.

November 13

      Violence grows in the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Al-Ramadi as U.S. and Iraqi forces fight their way into the last insurgent-held area of Fallujah; the takeover of Fallujah is completed the following day.

      A mosque in Limburg province in The Netherlands is burned down; it is the 20th incident in which either a mosque or a church has been set on fire since the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh. (See November 2.)

November 14

      D.C. United wins its fourth Major League Soccer title in nine years with a 3–2 victory over the Kansas City Wizards in the MLS Cup game.

      R&B artist Usher wins four awards and hip-hop duo OutKast wins three at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles.

November 15

      Colin Powell announces his resignation as U.S. secretary of state; the following day Pres. George W. Bush nominates Condoleezza Rice, his national security adviser, to replace Powell.

      In negotiations with France, Great Britain, and Germany, Iran agrees to freeze its uranium-enrichment program while negotiations continue over inducements.

      The UN Security Council imposes an immediate arms embargo on Côte d'Ivoire, with further sanctions to come into force on December 15 if the cease-fire agreement has not been restored by that time.

      Major League Baseball's National League names Barry Bonds Most Valuable Player for a record fourth consecutive year and seventh time overall; no other player has won the award more than three times.

November 16

      Al-Jazeera television network reports having received a videotape that appears to depict the execution in Iraq of kidnapped CARE International Iraq director Margaret Hassan.

      The unmanned NASA scramjet X-43A reaches approximately Mach 9.6, a new speed record, in a test flight over the Pacific Ocean.

      Major League Baseball's American League Most Valuable Player award for the 2004 season is awarded to Vladimir Guerrero of the Anaheim Angels.

November 17

      The retailers Kmart and Sears announce a merger in which Kmart will buy Sears and become Sears Holdings, the third largest retailing entity in the U.S.

      The U.S. National Medal of Arts is awarded to Ray Bradbury, Carlisle Floyd, Frederick Hart, Anthony Hecht, John Ruthven, Vincent Scully, Twyla Tharp, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

      The National Book Awards are presented to Lily Tuck for her novel The News from Paraguay, Kevin Boyle for his nonfiction book Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age, Jean Valentine for her poetry collection Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965–2003, and Pete Hautman for his young-adult book Godless; young-adult book author Judy Blume is given the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

      Archaeologist Albert Goodyear reports that his investigation of flint tools found in Allendale county, S.C., have led him to conclude that humans occupied the site some 50,000 years ago; it has been generally believed that humans first reached the Americas only about 12,000 years ago.

November 18

      The European Parliament approves a new European Commission several weeks after the incoming commission's president, José Manuel Barroso, was forced to withdraw a proposed team because the Parliament objected to Barroso's choice of justice commissioner.

      In Chile a law comes into effect that for the first time permits divorce; Malta and the Philippines are the only countries where divorce is still illegal.

      Google announces the inauguration of a search service, called Google Scholar, specifically for scientists and academic researchers.

      The presidential library of former president Bill Clinton opens in Little Rock, Ark.; the ceremonies are attended by Pres. George W. Bush and former U.S. presidents George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, among other celebrities.

November 19

      During a meeting of the UN Security Council in Nairobi, Kenya—only the fourth time the body has met outside UN headquarters in New York City—the government of The Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army pledge to reach a peace agreement before the end of the year.

      Speaking before the UN Security Council meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, the newly installed Somali president, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, requests an international peacekeeping force for his country; the Security Council declines on the grounds that there is as yet no peace to keep.

      UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announces that he is sending an investigative team immediately to look into allegations of sexual abuse of women and children by UN peacekeeping troops in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

      Thousands of protesters march in the streets of Santiago, Chile, as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference holds its annual meeting in the city for the first time.

      Science magazine publishes a report by paleontologists who have discovered near Barcelona, Spain, fossils of a species named Pierolapithecus catalaunicus that date to 13 million years ago and might be the last common ancestor of humans and all great apes living today.

November 20

      In fighting between government forces and Maoist rebels in Pandon, Nepal, at least 26 people are killed.

      NASA, in conjunction with the space programs of Italy and Great Britain, successfully launches Swift, a satellite observatory that will find and record enigmatic cosmic explosions known as gamma-ray bursts, which may signal the birth of black holes or the collision of neutron stars.

      New York City's Museum of Modern Art celebrates its opening in its redesigned and expanded gallery after two years of construction.

November 21

      Ukraine holds its runoff presidential election between Viktor Yanukovich and Viktor Yushchenko; the following day Yanukovich declares victory, international observers release a preliminary report finding the elections undemocratic, and supporters of Yushchenko fill Independence Square in Kiev, believing their candidate to have won.

      The Paris Club of creditor countries agrees to cancel 80% of the debt that Iraq owes to its members.

      The Toronto Argonauts defeat the British Columbia Lions 27–19 in Ottawa to capture the 92nd Canadian Football League Grey Cup.

      In Seville, Spain, England defeats Spain by a single stroke to win the World Golf Championships World Cup.

November 22

      In accordance with its agreement with Germany, France, and the U.K., Iran suspends its uranium-enrichment operations.

      Sheikh Muhammad Amin al-Faidhi, a prominent Sunni cleric, is killed in Mosul, Iraq, and the bodies of four Iraqi soldiers are found.

November 23

      U.S., Iraqi, and British forces begin a major offensive in the area south of Baghdad, Iraq, that has become known as the “triangle of death.”

      Wal-Mart Stores in China issues a statement saying it would respect a request from employees to form a union, in accordance with the law in China; Wal-Mart had always opposed unionization throughout its stores.

      Dan Rather announces that he will retire as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News television show in March 2005; he intends to continue working on 60 Minutes, however.

November 24

      The government of Ukraine declares Viktor Yanukovich the winner of the presidential election, in spite of international reports of fraud and growing demonstrations by supporters of Viktor Yushchenko.

      Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz travels to India to continue peace talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh; it is the first time in 13 years that a Pakistani prime minister has gone to India.

November 25

      Ukraine's Supreme Court rules that the results of the presidential election cannot be made final until the allegations of electoral fraud and intimidation have been investigated; crowds of supporters of opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko have filled Kiev's Independence Square since the election.

      India's Supreme Court rules that the Taj Mahal should be reopened to night viewing for five nights around the time of each full moon; night viewing had been banned since 1984, when Sikh militancy caused fears of attack.

      The International Committee of the Red Cross publishes a list showing that some 16,500 people remain missing and unaccounted for in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a result of the 1992–95 war.

November 26

      Marwan Barghouti, who has been frequently mentioned as a possible candidate for president of the Palestinian Authority (although he is serving five life sentences in prison in Israel), agrees not to run and puts his support behind Mahmoud Abbas.

      Dozens of defendants are convicted of having planned to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea in March and are sentenced to long prison terms.

November 27

      Ukraine's Supreme Council (legislature) meets in a special session and declares the results of the presidential election invalid; the body does not have legal authority to overturn an election, however.

      In Vatican City, Pope John Paul II ceremonially delivers to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of the Eastern Orthodox Church relics of St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory of Nazianzus; the relics had been removed from Constantinople many centuries earlier. (See August 27.)

      The famed and opulent Apollo Gallery in the Louvre Museum in Paris reopens after a massive three-year restoration project.

      Sumo wrestling grand champion Asashoryu becomes the first person in 18 years to win five tournaments in a single year when his defeat of Chiyotaikai at the Kyushu Basho brings him his ninth Emperor's Cup.

November 28

      Nicolas Sarkozy is elected leader of the Gaullist Union for a Popular Movement Party, the dominant political party in France.

      King Abdullah of Jordan rescinds the title of crown prince from his half brother, Hamza ibn Hussein.

November 29

      Meeting in Vientiane, Laos, the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China sign an agreement to create the largest free-trade zone in the world.

      Pres. Ricardo Lagos Escobar of Chile announces that the government will give a lifetime stipend and other benefits to compensate the victims of torture during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet Ugarte; the claims of 27,255 people were recognized.

      Edwy Plenel resigns as editor in chief of Le Monde, France's leading newspaper.

      Popular African American radio and television host Tavis Smiley quits his daily talk show on National Public Radio.

November 30

      A general strike over government economic policy brings Italy to a halt as tens of thousands of protesters march in cities throughout the country.

      A report commissioned by Secretary-General Kofi Annan recommends a number of changes to the UN, most notably an expansion of the Security Council to 24 members from its current 15.

      Tom Ridge announces his resignation as U.S. secretary of homeland security.

      Kweisi Mfume surprises observers by announcing his resignation as president of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People).

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush makes his first official visit to Canada.

      After an astonishing 74-game winning streak, Ken Jennings finally loses on the television game show Jeopardy! after having won more than $2 million.

"All the planet is vibrating."
Enzo Boschi, director of Italy's National Geophysics Institute, describing the earthquake that unleashed the Indian Ocean tsunami, December 26

December 1

      Rallies are held in cities throughout South Asia in observance of World AIDS Day; HIV/AIDS is a growing problem in the region.

      The U.S. government announces plans to increase the number of troops in Iraq by about 12,000 to a total of 150,000 in the next several weeks in order to provide security for the national election scheduled for Jan. 30, 2005.

      The second John W. Kluge Prize in the Human Sciences, established by the U.S. Library of Congress to honour lifetime achievement, is awarded to American intellectual historian Jaroslav Pelikan and French philosopher Paul Ricoeur.

December 2

      The European Union officially takes over peacekeeping duties in Bosnia and Herzegovina from NATO.

      Russia shuts down a rail line that runs between Moscow and Sukhumi, the capital of Georgia's separatist republic of Abkhazia.

December 3

      Ukraine's Supreme Court rules that the presidential runoff election on November 21 was fraudulent and overturns the results; a new runoff is to be held no later than December 26.

      Tommy G. Thompson steps down as U.S. secretary of health and human services.

      In the enclave of Kosovo in Serbia and Montenegro, the legislature chooses former ethnic Albanian guerrilla leader Ramush Haradinaj to be prime minister, though he is being investigated by the UN war crimes tribunal.

      In a number of attacks in both Baghdad and Mosul in Iraq, mostly against police stations, 27 Iraqi police and civilians are killed.

December 4

      In the runoff presidential election in Niger, Pres. Tandja Mamadou wins reelection.

      A suicide car bomb destroys a police station in Baghdad, Iraq, while another one hits a convoy of Kurdish soldiers in Mosul; at least 25 Iraqis are killed in the two attacks.

      Miss Peru, María Julia Mantilla García, wins the Miss World beauty pageant held on Hainan Island, China.

December 5

      In municipal elections across Bolivia, Indian and peasant reform parties win most races against traditional party candidates.

      An attack on a busload of Iraqi contractors working for U.S. forces in Tikrit, Iraq, brings the death toll for the past three days to 80.

      The annual Kennedy Center Honors are presented in Washington, D.C., to Warren Beatty, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Sir Elton John, Dame Joan Sutherland, and John Williams.

      Carlos Moya leads Spain's tennis team to victory over the U.S. and to the Davis Cup title in Seville, Spain.

      Publishers Weekly names America (the Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction, by Jon Stewart and the other writers of the television show The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the Book of the Year.

December 6

      Five men attack the U.S. consulate in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, and a three-hour gun battle ensues in which four of the attackers and five consulate employees are killed; the attackers are believed to be members of al-Qaeda.

      The Basque separatist organization Euskadi Ta Askatasuna explodes seven small bombs, one in each of seven cities, in Spain; because ETA phoned in warnings, there are no serious casualties.

      Britain's Turner Prize is presented to installation artist Jeremy Deller, who wins on the strength of his film Memory Bucket: A Film About Texas.

      In the United Arab Emirates, the city of Dubai opens its first international film festival.

December 7

      Hamid Karzai is sworn in as president of Afghanistan.

      John Kufuor wins a second term as president of Ghana.

      IBM announces that it has reached a deal to sell its personal computer business to Lenovo, the biggest PC maker in China; the computers will continue to be made in the U.S., however.

      Chinese Pres. Hu Jintao tells German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder that he will support Germany's bid to gain a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

      The La Scala opera house in Milan has a gala reopening after having been closed since Dec. 31, 2001, for renovation; it opens with the opera that first opened the theatre in 1778, Antonio Salieri's Europa riconosciuta.

December 8

      In Cuzco, Peru, representatives of 12 countries sign an agreement to create the South American Community of Nations.

      Ukraine's legislature enacts reforms to the electoral law to prevent fraud such as took place in the discredited presidential runoff election as well as amendments to the constitution that decrease the power of the president.

      U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld holds a question-and-answer session in Kuwait with soldiers headed for Iraq and is apparently surprised to be asked about the shortage of armour for vehicles used in the conflict.

      During an appearance in a nightclub in Columbus, Ohio, a man leaps onto the stage and shoots to death the heavy-metal guitar player “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott and three others.

December 9

      The House of Assembly, Zimbabwe's legislature, approves a law that will ban foreign-based and foreign-supported organizations, including churches, that promote greater human rights in the country.

      New Zealand's Parliament passes a law that gives same-sex partners the same civil rights enjoyed by married couples.

      The crew aboard the International Space Station is asked to cut back on food until the arrival of the next supply ship, scheduled for December 25; keeping adequate supplies on the station has become more difficult after the grounding of the U.S. space shuttle fleet.

      The Right Livelihood Awards are presented in Stockholm to Indian religious figures Swami Agnivesh and Asghar Ali Engineer for their work promoting harmony between communities; Memorial, a Russian human rights organization; Bianca Jagger, a Nicaraguan human rights and environmental activist; and Raúl Montenegro, an Argentine scientist and environmentalist.

December 10

      A panel of judges in a criminal court in Milan acquits Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of three corruption charges and dismisses a fourth charge after a trial that dragged on for four years.

      A bomb goes off in a crowded outdoor market in Quetta, Pak., killing at least 10 people; Baluchistan nationalists are believed to be responsible.

      Japan adopts a new military plan that focuses more on defense against China and North Korea and less on defense against Russia.

December 11

      Tests by doctors in Vienna confirm that opposition Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned with dioxin.

      Legislative elections in Taiwan give a slim majority to the Nationalist Party and its allies, which downplay the issue of Taiwan's independence from mainland China.

      The 2004 Heisman Trophy for college football is awarded to University of Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart.

      The German-Turkish film Gegen die Wand is named the best picture at the European Film Awards in Barcelona, Spain.

December 12

      The presidential election in Romania is unexpectedly won by the opposition candidate, Traian Basescu.

      Under pressure from the U.S. and the European Union, China agrees to impose tariffs on some of its textile exports.

      Having again announced his candidacy on December 1, Marwan Barghouti bows out of the race for president of the Palestinian Authority for the second time, throwing his support behind Mahmoud Abbas.

      A bomb explodes in a busy market in General Santos, Phil., killing at least 15 people.

      At the 46th Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev., Trevor Brazile wins his third consecutive all-around title.

December 13

      A judge in Chile rules that Augusto Pinochet Ugarte is mentally fit to stand trial for human rights abuses committed during his 1974–90 dictatorship and orders him placed under house arrest; the order is immediately appealed.

      Representatives of Iran, France, Germany, the U.K., and the European Union begin a new round of negotiations in Brussels to resolve the impasse over Iran's nuclear policy.

      The day after two Sudanese employees of the charity Save the Children are killed in the Darfur region of The Sudan, the UN suspends relief operations in the area.

      Sean O'Keefe announces his resignation as head of NASA.

      After a long struggle, the business database company Oracle acquires the business software company PeopleSoft in a hostile takeover.

December 14

      The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that the U.S. reached an all-time record trade deficit of $55.5 billion in October, breaking the record set in June.

      The European Commission grants France and Germany another year to lower their deficits to the required 3% mark.

      Google announces an agreement with several major research libraries to digitize and make available through its regular online search service the contents of millions of books that are no longer under copyright.

      The U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded to Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the commander of the U.S.-led forces that invaded Iraq in 2003; L. Paul Bremer III, the U.S. administrator of occupied Iraq; and George Tenet, former director of central intelligence.

December 15

      The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, finding the mortgage broker Fannie Mae in violation of accounting rules, orders it to restate its earnings for the past four years.

      In an attempt to prevent the auction of its prize oil-producing unit, the Russian energy company Yukos files for bankruptcy protection in Houston, Texas, where it says it has some assets.

      Cellular phone companies Sprint and Nextel Communications announce plans to merge to create the third biggest carrier in the U.S.

      The first full flight test since 2002 of the U.S. missile defense system fails when the interceptor missile shuts down just before its planned launch against an in-flight simulated ICBM; the previous test also failed.

      Researchers report the existence of a species of macaque previously unknown to science—a stocky, brown-haired, short-tailed primate living in Arunachal Pradesh state, India, that they have named Macaca munzala.

December 16

      An audiotape from Osama bin Laden is posted on a Web site; he excoriates the rulers of Saudi Arabia for their association with the U.S. and praises the attackers of the U.S. embassy in Jiddah.

      A bomb explodes outside a major Shi‘ite shrine in Karbala', Iraq, killing at least 9 people and injuring 40, among them an aide to Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani; the aide may have been the target.

      In an enormous child sex-abuse scandal that has been rocking Portugal, Carlos Silvino, who is charged with 634 offenses, including child rape and procuring, and is the first defendant to go on trial, pleads guilty.

      In France the Millau bridge, at 270 m (886 ft) the world's highest bridge and at 2,460 m (8,071 ft) the world's longest all-span cable-stayed bridge, opens to the public.

December 17

      Armando Guebuza of the ruling Frelimo party is declared the winner of the presidential election that took place in Mozambique December 1–2.

      The drug company Pfizer says that a national trial has shown that large doses of Celebrex triple the risk of heart attack and stroke; three days later Pfizer announces that it will cease all advertising for its popular prescription pain medication, although the company apparently does not intend to withdraw it from the market.

      Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan accepts the invitation, made on December 16, to begin accession talks with the European Union in October 2005.

December 18

      A two-week international conference on global warming in Buenos Aires, Arg., concludes with an agreement to hold an informal workshop in 2005 to discuss the matter; the U.S. is accused of foot dragging and preventing a more substantive agreement.

      Representatives of the African Union say that The Sudan has begun withdrawing government troops from the Darfur region hours before a deadline the union imposed to repair leaks in the cease-fire, but an incident the following day prompts the AU to declare that the government did not meet the deadline.

December 19

      A previously unknown company, the Baikal Finans Group, which registered a last-minute bid, wins the auction for the huge oil-producing unit of Yukos, the Russian energy company, after well-known entities either withdraw or fail to bid.

      Car bombs go off in the Iraqi cities of Najaf and Karbala', killing at least 61 people between them, and three election workers in Baghdad are pulled from their cars and executed.

December 20

      A Gulf Cooperation Council meeting in Manama, Bahrain, is notable for the absence of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah; he is said to be upset over a recent free-trade agreement between Bahrain and the U.S.

      The U.S. government agrees to settle a case brought by Jewish survivors of World War II from Hungary seeking compensation for valuables that were looted from them by Nazis and then appropriated by U.S. forces in 1945 before they could be returned to their rightful owners.

      In Zürich, Switz., Brazilian Ronaldinho (who plays for Barcelona, Spain) and Birgit Prinz of Germany are named FIFA World Player and FIFA Women's World Player of the Year in association football (soccer).

      The Repertory Theatre in Birmingham, Eng., cancels a production of Behzti, a play that depicts sexual abuse and murder within a Sikh temple, after hundreds of Sikh demonstrators protest strenuously, causing the theatre to fear for the safety of theatregoers and those involved in the production.

December 21

      British Prime Minister Tony Blair makes an unexpected visit to Baghdad, Iraq, where he meets with interim Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi before going to Basra to meet with British troops.

      An explosion in a mess tent in an American military base in Mosul, Iraq, at lunchtime kills at least 24 people, among them 14 U.S. soldiers and 4 American contractors.

      UN peacekeeping troops begin moving into the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, hoping to create a buffer zone between government and rebel forces.

      Astronomers announce that NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer satellite has found some three dozen massive, recently formed galaxies that may resemble our own Milky Way Galaxy in its youth; it had been thought that new large galaxies were no longer being created.

      The Washington Post Co. announces its purchase from Microsoft of the pioneering online magazine Slate.

December 22

      The World Health Organization announces that blood tests performed on poultry workers in Japan have uncovered at least one case, and probably five, of asymptomatic infections in people of the frequently fatal A(H5N1) strain of avian influenza (bird flu).

      It is revealed that Contrack International Inc., which had been selected to do road and bridge reconstruction in Iraq, has canceled its contract, citing the difficult security situation and problems with supplies that made it almost impossible to operate.

      Saudi Arabia withdraws its ambassador from Libya and expels the Libyan ambassador in Riyadh, believing it has found evidence that Libya plotted to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah.

      Scientists say that Martian volcanoes photographed by the European Space Agency spacecraft Mars Express show signs of geologically recent eruptions, which leads to speculation that they may still be active.

December 23

      The U.S. dollar reaches a record low against the euro and declines against other major currencies; the dollar has fallen about 7% since early November.

      Palestinian municipal elections are held for the first time since 1976; Hamas candidates do well.

      Afghani Pres. Hamid Karzai announces his new cabinet; unlike the body of warlords he chose as interim president, this cabinet is composed largely of technocrats.

December 24

      U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld makes a Christmas Eve visit to U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

      A tanker truck loaded with butane gas and wired with explosives and apparently headed for the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, explodes, destroying a house and killing nine people.

December 25

      In St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, Pope John Paul II delivers Christmas greetings in 62 languages to the crowds and prays for peace.

      Ukraine's Constitutional Court approves all but one of the recent changes in the electoral law.

December 26

      A magnitude-9.0 earthquake, the strongest in 40 years, under the Indian Ocean unleashes a powerful tsunami that kills hundreds of thousands of people in more than 10 countries and destroys coastlines in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, the Maldives, and India.

      In the repeat runoff presidential election in Ukraine, opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko wins a convincing victory.

      Legislative elections are held in Uzbekistan that international observers say offer the voters no serious choice, because opposition groups were barred from the ballot.

December 27

      Israel releases 159 Palestinian prisoners in a move that Palestinian leaders say they welcome, although they still call for more substantive progress.

      A large explosion occurs in Baghdad outside the headquarters of the biggest Shi‘ite political party in Iraq; 9 people are killed and 67 injured, but the party leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, is unhurt.

December 28

      Several attacks in the region north of Baghdad, Iraq, kill at least 23 Iraqi police and national guard members.

      Following a hand recount, the pro-commonwealth candidate, Aníbal Acevedo-Vilá, is certified as the winner of the November 2 election for governor of Puerto Rico.

December 29

      The U.S. partially lifts its ban on the importation of cattle from Canada, in place since May 2003, when a cow in Alberta was found to have mad-cow disease.

      An agreement to stop people from immigrating to one country to seek asylum in another goes into effect, closing all border points between Canada and the U.S. to refugees.

December 30

      Senegal signs a peace agreement with separatist rebels in the Casamance region.

      The legislature of the Basque country surprises observers by approving a plan that says the region has the right to secede from Spain.

      Democrat Christine Gregoire is certified as the winner of the November 2 election for governor of the U.S. state of Washington; the original results showed Republican Dino Rossi as the winner, and a machine recount confirmed him as the winner by a much smaller margin, but a hand recount gave the race to Gregoire.

      Ethiopia announces that the 1,700-year-old Obelisk of Axum, taken by Italian forces after Italy conquered Ethiopia in 1937, will be returned in 2005.

      Fireworks ignited by a patron at a nightclub in Buenos Aires, Arg., set the club on fire; 188 people are killed and 700 injured.

December 31

      Promises of aid for the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami pour in, and the U.S. raises its pledge 10-fold to $350 million.

      A peace accord is signed in Nairobi, Kenya, between the government of The Sudan and representatives of rebel groups in the south of the country.

      Following his loss in contentious elections, Viktor Yanukovich resigns as prime minister of Ukraine.

      The British yacht Aera, skippered by Jez Fanstone, is named the overall winner of Australia's Sydney–Hobart race.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

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