Dates of 2006

Dates of 2006
▪ 2007

"Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem. America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world."
— U.S. Pres. George W. Bush, in his state of the union address, January 31

January 1
      With the beginning of the new year, Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel of Austria assumes the presidency of the European Union.

      The UN World Food Programme ceases operations in North Korea, as requested by that country's government.

      A gas explosion traps 13 miners in a coal mine in Sago, W.Va.; 12 are found dead the night of January 3.

January 2
      After several countries in Western Europe complain of an alarming lack of natural gas, Russia restores the flow of natural gas to Ukraine a day after it cut off the supply; much of Europe receives natural gas from pipelines that run through Ukraine.

      The leader of the Maoist insurgents in Nepal announces an end to their four-month cease-fire.

January 3
      Argentina pays off its remaining debt to the International Monetary Fund and terminates its relationship with the organization.

      Lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleads guilty to fraud, bribery, and tax evasion in a deal that will require him to provide evidence in a federal investigation into corruption in the U.S. Congress.

      Iran notifies the International Atomic Energy Agency that it intends to resume nuclear activities but says that it will cooperate with the agency.

      The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora bans trade in caviar and other products from sturgeon.

January 4
      Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffers a serious and debilitating stroke; his deputy, Ehud Olmert, becomes acting prime minister.

      Two bombs kill more than 30 people at a Shiʿite funeral in Miqdadiyah, Iraq, while attacks elsewhere in the country leave about 20 more persons dead.

      Some 28,000 copper miners in Chile go on strike, demanding better working conditions and improved pay that would reflect the high prices for copper on the world market.

      The U.S. Supreme Court grants the government's request to transfer José Padilla, a U.S. citizen who has been held in military custody as an enemy combatant for more than three years, to civilian custody to face criminal charges.

      The University of Texas defeats the University of Southern California 41–28 in college football's annual Rose Bowl game to win the Bowl Championship Series trophy and the NCAA Division I-A championship.

January 5
      A suicide bomber kills more than 60 Shiʿite pilgrims outside a shrine in Karbalaʾ, Iraq, while in Al-Ramadi another suicide bomber in a crowd of job applicants for police positions kills more than 50.

      Iran unexpectedly cancels a meeting with the International Atomic Energy Agency about its plans to restart its nuclear program.

      Peru recalls its ambassador from Caracas after Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chávez publicly expresses his support for Peruvian opposition presidential candidate Ollanta Humala.

      The government of China announces that it is closing 5,290 coal mines for safety violations.

      Astronomers report in Nature magazine on a study of Pluto's moon Charon conducted during a stellar occultation in July 2005; among other findings, Charon is confirmed to be about half the size of Pluto and to lack a significant atmosphere.

January 6
      The World Bank suspends all loans to Chad after that country has violated an agreement to dedicate most of its oil revenues to alleviating poverty.

      A fire sparked by ongoing roof repairs destroys the historic Pilgrim Baptist Church in Chicago; built as a synagogue 115 years earlier and designed by Louis Sullivan, the church was also regarded as the birthplace of gospel music.

January 7
      A U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter crashes outside Tal Afar, Iraq; 12 Americans are believed to have died.

      A speedboat full of explosives rams the side of a Sri Lankan navy gunboat, sinking it; 13 sailors are believed killed.

      At Madison Square Garden in New York City, O'Neil Bell of the U.S. defeats Jean-Marc Mormeck of France in the 10th round to become the undisputed cruiserweight boxing champion; in the welterweight title fight, Argentine Carlos Baldomir's defeat of American Zab Judah after 12 rounds wins him only the WBC title; the WBA and IBF titles are vacated because Baldomir did not pay the required fees.

January 8
      A fire at an orphanage for disabled children in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, kills at least 13 children.

      The price of a first-class stamp in the U.S. goes up 2 cents, to 39 cents; the previous rate increase came in 2002.

      For the first time since 1935, the temperature in New Delhi dips close to 0 °C (32 °F), bringing the city its first frost in 70 years.

January 9
      Two suicide bombers detonate their weapons at an Interior Ministry checkpoint outside a ceremony commemorating the founding of the Iraqi police force in Baghdad, killing at least 18 people.

      A general strike to protest a recent wave of kidnappings for ransom shuts down Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

      With its 7,486th performance since January 1988, The Phantom of the Opera supplants Cats as the longest-running show in history on Broadway in New York City. (Photo : XXX and Howard McGillin.)

January 10
      The Supreme Council (legislature) of Ukraine passes a vote of no confidence in the government; Pres. Viktor Yushchenko says the council does not have the power to dissolve the government, which will remain in place until the election scheduled for March 26.

      Iran breaks open seals placed on at least three nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

      A Seoul National University investigation into the claims of cloning researcher Hwang Woo Suk concludes that all the supposed research on creating cloned human stem cells was fabricated but that the claim to have cloned the dog he named Snuppy was legitimate.

      At its annual exposition, Apple Computer introduces a new iMac computer and the MacBook Pro notebook, its first computers using Intel microchips.

      Relief pitcher Bruce Sutter is elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

January 11
      To the horror of conservation and Alaskan Native organizations, the U.S. Department of the Interior ends an agreement that had stood for eight years and opens 158,000 ha (389,000 ac) of the National Petroleum Reserve in northern Alaska to oil exploration.

      China reports that its trade surplus in 2005 reached a record $102 billion, tripling its previous figure.

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

January 12
      Pilgrims crossing the Jamarat Bridge at Mina, near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to “stone the devil” during the hajj are caught in a bottleneck, and some 363 of them are trampled to death.

      Hundreds of protesters demonstrate at the headquarters of the Mongolian People's Revolution Party in Ulaanbaatar, Mong., protesting the party's plan to withdraw from the governing coalition; the demonstration brings down the government.

      The foreign ministers of France, Germany, the U.K., and the European Union announce the end of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, saying the United Nations should take up the problem.

 Nature magazine publishes a report saying that the disappearance of many species of harlequin frogs in Central and South America because of the spread of the lethal chytrid fungus appears to be linked to global warming.

January 13
      The U.S. turns down a request from Spain to provide technology for the building of 12 military transport planes that Spain had contracted to sell to Venezuela; analysts blame U.S. opposition to the administration of Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chávez.

January 14
      Pakistan protests what it says was a U.S. attack the previous night on the village of Damadola, where al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was believed to be, that resulted in the death of several civilians.

      Rizhar Muhammad Amin submits his resignation as chief judge in the trial of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

January 15
      The Socialist candidate Michelle Bachelet is elected president of Chile in a runoff election.

      Sheikh Jabir al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah, emir of Kuwait, dies and is succeeded by Crown Prince Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah, who is elderly and in poor health himself.

      The space probe Stardust parachutes safely to Earth at the Utah Test and Training Range of the U.S. Air Force; it was launched in 1999 and collected material shed by comet Wild 2 in 2004, as well as particles from interstellar space that scientists believe will give them information about the formation of the solar system.

      The 28th annual Dakar Rally finishes; the winners are French driver and former world ski champion Luc Alphand in a Mitsubishi car, Spanish rider Marc Coma on a motorcycle, and Vladimir Chagin in a Kamaz truck; two spectators and motorcycle rider Andy Caldecott were killed in the race.

January 16
      Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is inaugurated as president of Liberia and becomes Africa's first elected woman head of state.

      A suicide bomber on a motorcycle explodes his bomb in a crowd watching a wrestling match in Spinbaldak, Afg., killing some 20 people.

      An arbitration panel in Austria rules that five paintings by Gustav Klimt must be returned to Maria Altmann, an American niece of the original owners of the works, which were seized by Nazis after the owners fled Austria in 1938.

      At the Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., best picture honours go to Brokeback Mountain and Walk the Line; best director goes to Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain.

January 17
      The U.S. Supreme Court rules that John Ashcroft overstepped his legal bounds when as attorney general he issued a rule that doctors who prescribed lethal doses of controlled substances under Oregon's Death with Dignity Act risked losing their licenses to prescribe drugs.

      Premier Frank Hsieh of Taiwan resigns and on January 25 is replaced by Su Tseng-chang.

January 18
      In the desert northwest of Baghdad, the bodies of 25 men, identified as police recruits from Samarraʾ, Iraq, are found, and the bodies of 11 other Iraqi police officers and soldiers are found in another location; all appear to have been executed.

      In western Côte d'Ivoire, a new round of violence leads to fighting between protesters and UN peacekeepers; four people are killed.

January 19
      Italian Minister of Defense Antonio Martino announces that Italy will withdraw all of its troops from Iraq by the end of the year; Italy's contribution of some 3,000 soldiers is the fourth largest foreign contingent in the country.

      The television broadcaster al-Jazeera releases an audiotape in which Osama bin Laden states that al-Qaeda is preparing further attacks on the U.S. but offers a truce without clearly defining its terms; it is the first message from bin Laden since December 2004.

      An Atlas V rocket launches NASA's spacecraft New Horizons to the outer solar system; the vehicle is expected to reach Jupiter in 2007 and receive a gravity assist that will carry it to a rendezvous with Pluto on July 14, 2015.

      Irina Slutskaya of Russia wins a record seventh European figure-skating championship.

      Konica Minolta Holdings announces that it will cease producing cameras by March 2006 and by March 2007 will no longer be making photographic film and colour paper.

January 20
      Official results of the legislative election in Iraq in December 2005 show that Shiʿite and Kurdish alliances together won 181 seats and Sunni parties 58 of the 275 seats; no grouping has a large enough majority to form a government on its own.

      Chinese newspapers publish a speech by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in which he warns against seizures of farmland, which have provoked peasant uprisings.

      The Supreme Court in Turkey overrules a lower court's decision to apply time spent in prison in Italy and an amnesty law to grant an early release from prison for Mehmet Ali Agca, who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981 and also murdered a newspaper editor in Turkey in 1979; Agca is returned to prison, and on January 23 it is ruled that he must remain there four more years.

January 21
      In southern Russia four explosions, apparently the result of sabotage, sever pipelines that carry natural gas to Georgia as well as the main electricity cable to Georgia.

      Two days after a fire broke out on a conveyor belt in a coal mine in Melville, W.Va., the bodies of two trapped miners are found; it is the second fatal accident in a West Virginia coal mine in January.

      The Saliera, the gold 16th-century saltcellar by Benvenuto Cellini that was stolen from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna in May 2003, is recovered largely undamaged the day after the thief turned himself in to Austrian police.

January 22
      A populist politician, Evo Morales, is sworn in as president of Bolivia; he is the first member of the country's indigenous peoples to serve in this office.

      Aníbal Cavaco Silva of the centre-right Social Democratic Party is elected president in Portugal.

      Ozeki Tochiazuma defeats yokozuna Asashoryu, who won every basho (tournament) of 2005, to win the Emperor's Cup at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo.

January 23
      In parliamentary elections in Canada, the Conservative Party wins narrowly; the following day Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper is asked to form a government.

      Ailing Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah steps down as emir of Kuwait, ending a succession crisis.

      Ford Motor Co. announces plans to close up to 14 factories and eliminate as many as 30,000 jobs over the next six years.

      Takafume Horie, the high-profile founder of the Internet-based conglomerate Livedoor, is arrested in Tokyo on charges of securities fraud.

      A U.S. federal judge rules that the Department of Defense must release the names and nationalities of the prisoners who are being held at the military base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

      In Thoroughbred horse racing's 2005 Eclipse Awards, Saint Liam is named Horse of the Year.

January 24
      In Ahvaz, Iran, a bomb goes off in a bank, and a second bomb explodes in a government building shortly thereafter; at least eight people are killed.

      At a summit meeting of the African Union in Khartoum, Sudan, Pres. Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo is chosen to head the organization for the next year.

      Google announces the creation of a new search engine for China,, that will not have e-mail or blogging capabilities and will comply with Chinese censorship laws.

      Gunmen attack the offices of Eni, an Italian oil company, in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, killing nine people.

      Ehud Olmert, the acting prime minister of Israel, declares that he supports the creation of a Palestinian state and that it will be necessary for Israel to give up part of the West Bank.

      The Walt Disney Co. announces that it has reached an agreement to acquire Pixar Animation Studios.

January 25
      In legislative elections for the Palestinian Authority, 74 of the 132 seats are won by Hamas candidates, ending four decades of Fatah domination and creating shockwaves in the international community.

      Mieagombo Enkhbold, the former mayor of Ulaanbaatar, is selected as Mongolia's new prime minister, replacing Tsahiagiyn Elbegdorj.

      The government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam agree to resume peace talks after a hiatus of 18 months; the talks are to take place in Geneva.

 Scientists reveal that a 210-million-year-old fossil of a two-legged upright reptile that resembles a velociraptor is in fact an ancient crocodilian; it has been named Effigia okeeffeae.

January 26
      General Motors reports that in 2005 it lost $8.6 billion, its biggest deficit since 1992.

      The energy crisis in Georgia precipitated by the destruction of two gas pipelines in Russia is worsened when a storm knocks out a major power-transmission line, leaving Tbilisi without electricity, and an unusual cold snap engulfs the country.

      The annual Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, which honours outstanding achievement in contemporary music, is awarded to Argentine-Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim.

      On television's Oprah Winfrey Show, host Oprah Winfrey publicly excoriates James Frey, author of Winfrey's book-club selection A Million Little Pieces, a purported memoir that was found to be fictional in significant part.

January 27
      The government of Georgia announces that it has reached an agreement to purchase natural gas from Iran.

      Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chávez leads a rally of thousands of people in a demonstration against U.S. policies at a meeting of the World Social Forum.

      As part of the worldwide campaign against tuberculosis announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switz., the U.K. pledges $74 million against the disease in India, and Bill Gates, head of Microsoft, announces that over the next decade the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will devote $900 million to fighting the disease.

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the sale of an inhaler to deliver insulin to control diabetes.

January 28
      Young members of Fatah stage protests throughout the Palestinian territories, demanding the resignation of the party's central committee and refusing cooperation with Hamas.

      In Katowice, Pol., during the International Katowice Fair, a gathering of pigeon fanciers, the snow-laden roof of the convention centre suddenly collapses; at least 66 people are killed.

      Amélie Mauresmo of France wins the Australian Open tennis tournament, her first Grand Slam title, when her opponent, Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium, withdraws; the following day Roger Federer of Switzerland defeats Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus to win the men's title—his seventh men's singles Grand Slam title and third consecutive Grand Slam championship.

January 29
      Tarja Halonen is reelected president of Finland.

      One of the new coanchors of ABC's World News Tonight, Bob Woodruff, is badly injured by a roadside bomb near Taji, Iraq, as is his cameraman.

January 30
      After protests in several Muslim countries occur, complete boycotts of Danish products in the area are declared, and the ambassadors of Saudi Arabia and Libya are withdrawn from Copenhagen in response to political cartoons that appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005 depicting the Prophet Muhammad in an unfavourable light, the newspaper issues an apology and the Danish government warns its citizens in the Middle East to be vigilant.

      The oil company ExxonMobil reports a profit for 2005 of $36 billion, a record for an American company.

      Kraft Foods, the second biggest food company in the world, announces plans to close 20 plants and eliminate 8% of its workforce.

      The U.S. Commerce Department reports that the personal savings rate in 2005 fell to −0.5; the last time spending exceeded income, resulting in a negative savings rate, was in 1933, during the Great Depression.

January 31
      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush delivers his fifth state of the union address; he warns against isolationism and calls for a reduction in reliance on foreign oil and an increase in spending for science education.

      Alan Greenspan retires after chairing his final U.S. Federal Reserve Board meeting, during which the short-term interest rate is raised a quarter-point, to 4.5%; he is succeeded by Ben Bernanke.

      Samuel A. Alito, Jr., is sworn in as the 110th associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Any insult to the holy prophet (peace be upon him) is an insult to more than one billion Muslims."
— Afghan Pres. Hamid Karzai, responding to the republication of satiric cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in several European newspapers, February 2
"I feel sorry if Muslims feel offended and that was not the intention. But the cartoons were within the acceptable boundaries of free speech in Denmark."
— Flemming Rose, editor of the Copenhagen newspaper Jyllands-Posten, who decided to publish the cartoons that have led to international unrest, on announcing his indefinite leave, February 10

February 1
      Newspapers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and The Netherlands reprint the satiric cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad that appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005 and have aroused recent enmity in the Muslim world.

      A violent confrontation between Israeli settlers and police takes place at Amona outpost in the West Bank when police arrive to demolish an unauthorized Israeli settler outpost.

      The World Health Organization reports that indigenous polio has been eradicated in Egypt and Niger, leaving only Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan still harbouring indigenous reservoirs of the disease; eight countries, however, have been reinfected with a strain of polio that originated in Nigeria.

February 2
      Two car bombs go off in rapid succession in Baghdad, killing at least 16 people near a market; also, three U.S. soldiers are killed by a roadside bomb south of the city, and the bodies of 14 young men who had been tied up and shot are found.

      U.S. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio is elected to succeed indicted Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas as majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.

      Astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Germany report in Nature magazine that the object 2003 UB313, nicknamed Xena and located at the fringe of the solar system, has a diameter some 30% greater than that of Pluto, fueling the debate as to whether both, or neither, should be considered planets.

February 3
      Large demonstrations against cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad take place in Palestine, Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

      The UN Security Council agrees to send several thousand peacekeeping troops to the Darfur region of The Sudan, where lightly armed African Union peacekeepers have found themselves overmatched.

      An Egyptian ferry traveling from Duba, Saudi Arabia, to Safaga, Egypt, goes down in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt; some 1,000 people, mostly Egyptian labourers returning from Saudi Arabia, are believed to have died.

      Arson fires destroy three churches and damage two others in rural Alabama.

February 4
      The International Atomic Energy Agency votes to report Iran's lack of cooperation with the agency to the UN Security Council.

      In Damascus the Danish and Norwegian embassies are set on fire, and the following day the Danish consulate in Beirut is also burned in protests against the publication, initially in a Danish newspaper, of satiric cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

      A stampede for tickets to the TV game show Wowowee in Manila leaves 73 people, most of them elderly women, dead.

      A large demonstration to demand the resignation of Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra takes place in Bangkok.

      Quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Warren Moon, linebacker Harry Carson, defensive end Reggie White, offensive tackle Rayfield Wright, and coach John Madden are elected to the National Football League's Pro Football Hall of Fame.

February 5
      Óscar Arias wins the presidential election in Costa Rica by a hair-thin margin.

      In Detroit the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Seattle Seahawks 21–10 to win Super Bowl XL.

February 6
      Stephen Harper of the Progressive Conservative Party takes office as prime minister of Canada.

      The Danish embassy in Tehran is set on fire and the Austrian embassy is damaged in the continuing protests against cartoons satirizing the Prophet Muhammad, while five people are killed in violent protests in Afghanistan.

      A meeting is held in Northern Ireland to begin negotiations to revive the joint Protestant-Catholic administration that collapsed in 2002.

      Gerard Jourdy, a French spelunker, reports that he has discovered a cave in the Vilhonneur forest that contains human and animal bones and paintings that are believed to be some 10,000 years older than the famous Lascaux cave paintings.

February 7
      Although marred by violence, long-awaited presidential elections take place in Haiti.

      The U.S. announces that it will forgive all debt owed to it by Afghanistan; in recent days Russia and Germany had also announced debt forgiveness for Afghanistan.

      Sweden announces that it intends to cease all use of fossil fuels and depend entirely on renewable resources by 2020.

      Scientists describe an expedition—organized by Conservation International and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences—to the Foja Mountains in Indonesia's part of the island of New Guinea, during which they found many rare or previously undiscovered species of mammals, birds, frogs, butterflies, and palms and other plants.

      Premier Gordon Campbell of British Columbia announces the creation of the 6.4 million-ha (16 million-ac) Great Bear Rain Forest preserve in the Canadian province; the preserve will include a protected area and an area to be logged under a management plan.

      The Caracas Leones (Lions) of Venezuela defeat the Licey Tigres (Tigers) from the Dominican Republic to win baseball's Caribbean Series, with a tournament record of 6–0.

      Following similar outrages on February 3, two more churches in rural western Alabama are destroyed and two more are damaged by arsonists' fires.

February 8
      Health officials from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization report that the H5N1 avian influenza has broken out in poultry in Nigeria; it is the first report of the disease in Africa.

      Elections are held in Nepal for the first time in seven years; they are municipal elections and are widely boycotted and accompanied by violence.

      Scientists report the finding in China of the skeleton of a 3-m (10-ft)-long crested dinosaur, dubbed Guanlong wucaii, that is believed to be the earliest member of the tyrannosaur family; it appears to be intermediate between that family and the earlier coelurosaur family.

      At the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, the top winner is the Irish rock band U2, which takes eight awards, including album of the year for How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and song of the year for “Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own”; the record of the year is Green Day's “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” and the best new artist is John Legend.

February 9
      On the Shiʿite Muslim holy day of ʿAshuraʾ, a suicide bombing kills 23 people in Hangu, Pak., leading to Shiʿite rioting, which increases the death toll to 31, while in Herat, Afg., violence breaks out between Shiʿites and Sunnis, leaving 6 people dead and some 120 wounded.

      The insurance giant American International Group (AIG) reaches a settlement with federal and state regulators that requires it to pay $1.64 billion and apologize for its unlawful way of conducting business.

February 10
      The 2006 Olympic Winter Games officially open in Turin, Italy.

      Egypt wins an unprecedented fifth African Cup of Nations in association football (soccer) with its 4–2 win over Côte d'Ivoire in a penalty shoot-out.

      The legislature of the secessionist province of Kosovo in Serbia and Montenegro chooses Fatmir Sejdiu to replace the late Ibrahim Rugova as president.

 Archaeologists announce the unexpected discovery of a new tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings, the first since the 1922 discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb; the new tomb contains unopened sarcophagi and five mummies and is believed to date from the 18th pharaonic dynasty at the beginning of the New Kingdom (1539–1292 BC). (Photo.)

February 11
      U.S. Vice Pres. Richard Cheney accidentally shoots and injures a companion while quail hunting at the Armstrong Ranch in Texas.

      European officials report that H5N1 avian flu has been found in swans in Italy, Greece, and Bulgaria, its first appearance in the European Union.

      American adventurer Steve Fossett breaks the record for longest nonstop flight, landing in Bournemouth, Eng., after a flight of 42,469.5 km (26,389.3 mi) in the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer; the previous record, 40,213 km (24,987 mi), was set by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager in 1986.

February 12
      The Shiʿite alliance that holds the majority of seats in Iraq's National Assembly chooses Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Iraq's interim prime minister, to serve as prime minister in the new constitutional government.

      Pedro Pires wins reelection as the president of Cape Verde.

February 13
      Tens of thousands of people riot in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in the belief that fraud in vote counting may prevent the apparent front-runner, René Préval, from gaining the presidency; official results have not been released.

      In Kenya the minister of education and the minister of energy resign; both have been implicated in corruption scandals.

      Dubai Ports World acquires the venerable British Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co.; P&O operates 29 container ports in 18 countries.

February 14
      Health officials report that H5N1 avian flu has been detected in swans in Germany and Austria.

      Crowds protesting the European publication of cartoons satirizing the Prophet Muhammad riot in the Pakistani cities of Lahore and Islamabad, burning and looting Western and other businesses and government buildings; in Lahore two protesters are killed by bank guards.

      Rocky Top's Sundance Kid, a coloured bull terrier, wins Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club's 130th dog show.

February 15
      The British House of Commons passes a law championed by Prime Minister Tony Blair that makes the glorification of terrorism a crime.

      At the Brit Awards for popular music, the highest number of awards (three) goes to the Kaiser Chiefs, who win for best British rock act, best British live act, and best British group.

February 16
      Investigators for the UN Commission on Human Rights issue a report calling for the U.S. to close its military detention centre at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and either try or release all those being held.

      René Préval is declared the winner of the presidential election in Haiti.

      Newmont Mining Corp. settles a lawsuit with Indonesia about alleged pollution from its gold mine at Buyat Bay in Sulawesi Utara province for $30 million, to be used to pay for scientific monitoring of the site and for community development; criminal charges against the company are still pending.

February 17
      On the island of Leyte in the Philippines, a sudden massive mud slide buries the town of Guinsaugon, killing nearly all of its 1,800 residents (the death toll is later estimated at 1,100); in the past few weeks, the area has received five times the normal amount of rain.

      Godswill Tamuno, military leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, declares that all foreign oil companies and their employees must leave Nigeria by midnight; the group wants to take control of the oil-producing region in order that Nigerians might profit from the oil.

      The move of the capital of Myanmar (Burma) from Yangon (Rangoon) to the town that has been renamed Naypyidaw (formerly Pyinmana) is completed.

      After the Italian minister of reforms appears on television wearing a T-shirt depicting the cartoons satirizing the Prophet Muhammad that have triggered enormous and violent protest throughout the Muslim world, demonstrators in Banghazi, Libya, storm the Italian consulate; 11 are shot dead by Libyan police.

      The proposed African American Cultural Center in Pittsburgh is renamed the August Wilson Center for African American Culture and is expected to be built in time to open in November 2007; the playwright August Wilson was born in Pittsburgh.

February 18
      With his victory in the 1,000-m race at the Olympics in Turin, Italy, American speedskater Shani Davis becomes the first black athlete ever to win an individual gold medal at the Winter Olympics.

 The Bosnian film Grbavica, directed by Jasmila Zbanic, wins the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. (Photo.)

February 19
      A new constitution is ceremonially adopted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and a new flag is unveiled.

      The day after the new Palestinian legislature—with a Hamas majority—is sworn in, Israel puts a hold on the monthly transfer of tax and customs revenue owed to the Palestinian Authority.

      An explosion in a coal mine in San Juan de Sabinas, Mex., causes a rock avalanche that seals off a mine shaft and fatally traps some 65 miners; 13 others are rescued.

      In Daytona Beach, Fla., Jimmie Johnson wins the 48th Daytona 500, the premier NASCAR race; it is the first time he has won the race, which he did despite the fact that his crew chief had been fired for cheating.

February 20
      Sheikh Nawaf Ahmad al-Sabah is confirmed as crown prince of Kuwait, and a new government, headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Muhammad Ahmad al-Sabah, is sworn in.

      Violence directed at oil production in Nigeria reduces production significantly, causing the price of oil to jump to $61.46 a barrel.

      The Red Cross reports that crowds protesting the satiric cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad have attacked Christian churches and shops in Maiduguri, Nigeria, leaving 21 people dead, while three more people have died in protests in Katsina.

      British writer David Irving pleads guilty in Vienna to the crime of denying the Holocaust and is sentenced to three years in prison, though he says that since his 1989 speech of denial, he has learned that the Holocaust did in fact occur.

February 21
      A car bomb explodes in a market in Baghdad, killing at least 21 people, mostly women and children, and violence elsewhere brings the day's death toll to 28; the previous day at least 26 people fell to violence.

      In Mogadishu, Somalia, fighting between militias loyal to local warlords and those attached to Islamic courts leaves at least 15 dead; in the past five days, a total of 33 people have died in the violence.

      Lawrence Summers resigns as president of Harvard University; his five years in the post have been marked by controversy.

      The PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction is granted to E.L. Doctorow for his novel The March.

      The ravens that inhabit the grounds of the Tower of London are shut up inside the tower to ensure that they do not fall victim to avian flu; legend has it that the British monarchy will fall if the ravens should leave.

February 22
      The Askariyah shrine in Samarraʾ, Iraq, one of the holiest in Shiʿite Islam, is damaged by a bomb that destroys the golden dome of the mosque; Shiʿite mobs throughout Iraq seek revenge.

      After several days of violence that close Ecuador's two most important oil pipelines, the government declares a state of emergency in Napo province, suspending civil liberties and arresting a governor and a mayor.

      South Dakota's state legislature approves a law that would outlaw all abortions with the exception of those necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman.

      Pope Benedict XVI names 15 new cardinals.

      The biggest lottery jackpot ever won in the U.S., $365 million, is claimed by eight workers at a meat-packing plant in Lincoln, Neb.

February 23
      Pres. Yoweri Museveni is elected to a third term as president of Uganda in the country's first multiparty elections in 25 years.

      The Iraqi government imposes a curfew in an attempt to curtail violence as talks on the new government collapse and the death toll in rioting after the bombing of the Askariyah shrine in Samarraʾ reaches 138.

      Relative peace returns to Onitsha, Nigeria, after days of anti-Muslim rioting touched off by the return of the bodies of Igbo Christians killed in rioting over the cartoons satirizing the Prophet Muhammad in northern Nigeria; some 100 people have died in the rioting.

      At the Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, Shizuka Arakawa of Japan wins the gold medal in women's figure skating; Sasha Cohen of the U.S. wins the silver medal and Irina Slutskaya of Russia the bronze; Yevgeny Plushchenko of Russia won the men's competition on February 16.

February 24
      Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the Philippines imposes emergency rule, citing a coup threat; nonetheless, thousands of people march in Manila to demand her resignation.

      After the tax-free sale of a dominant communications company owned by his family has galvanized opposition, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra asks the king to dissolve the National Assembly, scheduling an election for April 2.

February 25
      The Ministry of Agriculture in France reports that a turkey farm in the eastern part of the country has been decimated by H5N1 avian flu.

      At the César Awards in Paris, top honours are won by the thriller De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté, which earns eight awards, including best film and best director (Jacques Audiard).

February 26
      Somalia's transitional legislature meets within Somalia, in the southeastern city of Baidoa, for the first time since it was formed in August 2004.

      The closing ceremonies for the Winter Olympic Games are held in Turin, Italy; the Winter Olympics will next take place in 2010 in Vancouver, B.C.

      In London Billy Elliot: The Musical wins four Laurence Olivier Awards—best new musical, best actor in a musical (James Lomas, George Maguire, and Liam Mower, who alternated in the title role), best choreographer (Peter Darling), and best sound design; Hedda Gabbler also wins four awards—best revival, best actress (Eva Best), best director (Richard Eyre), and best set design.

February 27
      The day after some 50,000 people rallied in Bangkok to demand the resignation of Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the three opposition parties declare their intention to boycott the election scheduled for April.

      Pres. Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan announces that he has suspended the guidelines for national unification and the National Unification Council, both instruments intended to bolster the Chinese position that Taiwan is a province of the country.

      The National Baseball Hall of Fame announces that after a five-year study, 17 players and owners from the Negro Leagues and the preceding era have been elected for enshrinement, including Effa Manley, owner of the Newark Eagles and the first woman to be so honoured.

February 28
      A series of bombings, mostly in Baghdad, leave at least 75 Iraqis dead.

      In the secessionist Russian republic of Chechnya, Sergey Abramov, who was badly injured in a car accident in fall 2005, resigns as prime minister; he is to be replaced by the Moscow-backed strongman Ramzan Kadyrov.

"If this is not civil war then God knows what civil war is."
— Former Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi, discussing the situation in Iraq in an interview, March 19

March 1
      On St. David's Day, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom opens the new Senedd (Welsh parliament) building in Cardiff, Wales.

      Pres. George W. Bush makes a surprise visit to Afghanistan and meets with the country's president, Hamid Karzai; it is the first visit to the country by a U.S. president since Dwight D. Eisenhower visited in 1959.

      El Salvador becomes the first signatory of the Central America–Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) to put the pact into effect.

March 2
      Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting U.S. Pres. George W. Bush announce an agreement under which the U.S. would allow the sale of nuclear components to India, which would in turn allow international inspections of its civilian facilities though not of its military facilities.

 Hundreds of thousands of people gather in Mumbai (Bombay) to protest U.S. policy on the occasion of U.S. Pres. George W. Bush's visit to India. (Photo.)

March 3
      Randy Cunningham, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California, is sentenced in a federal court to more than eight years in prison for having accepted $2.4 million in bribes.

      The president of Ecuador's Superior Court orders former president Lucio Gutiérrez released from prison, saying he has not broken the law; Gutiérrez was arrested in October 2005 when he returned to the country, claiming he was still the rightful president, after Congress had dismissed him the previous April.

      Research in Motion, the maker of the popular Blackberry, an Internet-enabled personal digital assistant, reaches a settlement in a patent-infringement lawsuit with NTP, ending a threat that the Blackberry's e-mail capabilities would be legally stripped from the device.

      The Sri Lankan bowler Muttiah Muralitharan, playing in his 100th Test match, takes his 1,000th international wicket, a feat never before achieved.

      National Book Critics Circle Awards are won by, among others, E.L. Doctorow for his novel The March and Svetlana Alexievich for her nonfiction work Voices from Chernobyl.

March 4
      While meeting with Pakistani Pres. Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad, U.S. Pres. George W. Bush says that Pakistan does not qualify for a civilian nuclear agreement similar to the one Bush just signed with India.

March 5
      AT&T Inc. (formerly SBC Communications) announces that it will buy BellSouth Corp.

      At the 78th Academy Awards presentations, hosted by Jon Stewart, Oscars are won by, among others, Crash (best film), director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain), and actors Philip Seymour Hoffman, Reese Witherspoon, George Clooney, and Rachel Weisz.

      Current title holder Sébastien Loeb of France wins his first World Rally Championship automobile race of the season with a victory at the Rally of Mexico.

March 6
      In its first working session, the new Hamas-led legislature in Palestine votes to rescind all legislation passed in the final session of the previous—Fatah-led—legislature, including measures that increased the powers of the president.

      Health authorities in Poland and in Serbia and Montenegro confirm that in both countries swans have been found that are infected with the H5N1 strain of avian influenza; Austria reports that three cats have been found with the infection.

March 7
      A bomb goes off in a temple in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, and a second one goes off some 20 minutes later at a train station; at least 20 people are killed in the two explosions.

      The government of Uganda announces that it has decreased the flow of water from Lake Victoria through a dam to the Nile River because the lake is at its lowest level in more than 80 years as a result of severe and prolonged drought.

      Conservative politicians organize a rally by more than 10,000 people in Tokyo against a proposal to allow women and their descendants to ascend the Japanese throne; there is no male in line to succeed the present emperor.

      Venezuela's left-leaning National Assembly agrees to a change to the country's coat of arms; a horse that was shown running to the right will henceforth be depicted as running to the left.

March 8
      The day after it merged with Archipelago Holdings Inc. to become NYSE Group Inc., the New York Stock Exchange, for 213 years a member-owned club, debuts as a publicly traded company.

      The bodies of 24 people who apparently were executed are found in Baghdad; hours later gunmen who appear to be part of an Interior Ministry paramilitary invade a Sunni-owned security company and abduct 50 employees.

      U.S. federal authorities arrest three college students in Birmingham, Ala., saying they were responsible for the burning of nine rural Alabama churches in February; the students were said to have done it as a prank.

March 9
      The United Nations announces the creation of the Central Emergency Response Fund, a pool of $500 million that will be used for rapid responses to humanitarian emergencies, obviating the need to wait for fund-raising before responding becomes possible.

      After weeks of political hysteria occasioned when it was learned that the purchase of Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. (P&O) by Dubai Ports World meant that DP World would be managing six ports in the U.S., DP World announces that it will transfer the leases for those ports to an American company.

March 10
      In response to legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would make illegal immigration a felony, some 300,000 people jam downtown Chicago to demand rights for undocumented migrants, a turnout that surprises even organizers of the march and that ignites similar rallies in other major U.S. cities.

      In The Netherlands judges convict nine men of promoting violence in the name of Islam; the verdict indicates that such crimes can be construed as acts of terrorism.

      Gale A. Norton, the controversial secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, announces her resignation; on March 16 Pres. George W. Bush names Gov. Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho to replace her.

      NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched on Aug. 12, 2005, successfully enters into orbit around Mars.

      The last two U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat squadrons return after having flown their final combat mission; the Tomcat fighter jet, in use since 1972, is being replaced by the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

March 11
      Slobodan Milosevic, the former president of Serbia and of Yugoslavia on trial for war crimes before an international tribunal, is found dead in his prison cell in The Hague.

      Michelle Bachelet is sworn in as president of Chile.

      Benjamin Raich of Austria wins the overall men's World Cup title in Alpine skiing with his fourth-place finish in the slalom race in Shiga-kogen, Japan.

      After a two-day contest in Lucca, Italy, attended by 85 puzzlers from 22 countries, Jana Tylova of the Czech Republic wins the inaugural world Sudoku championship.

March 12
      Six car bombs in four markets in Baghdad leave at least 46 people dead; other incidents of violence kill at least 13 others.

      A roadside bomb kills four U.S. soldiers in eastern Afghanistan, and in Kabul a car bomb kills at least two people in an apparent assassination attempt against Sebaghatullah Mojadeddi, a former president of Afghanistan and the chairman of the House of Elders, the upper legislative house.

      At the world indoor championships in track and field in Moscow, Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia becomes the first man to win world championships on three surfaces when he wins the 3,000-m title, while Maria Mutola of Mozambique wins her seventh title with her win in the 800-m race.

March 13
      After two days of talks with international mediators, Ethiopia and Eritrea agree to allow a UN commission to resume demarcating a boundary between the two countries; the commission was disbanded in 2003 when Ethiopia rejected the boundary that was being drawn up.

      The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland inducts trumpet player Miles Davis, the bands Black Sabbath, Blondie, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Sex Pistols, and the record producers Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss.

March 14
      Pres. Roh Moo Hyun of South Korea accepts the resignation of Lee Hai Chan as prime minister; Lee has been embroiled in a scandal over a game of golf he played with a corrupt businessman during a national railroad strike.

      Kim Ga Young of South Korea wins the World Pool–Billiard Association world women's nine-ball championship.

March 15
      The General Assembly of the United Nations approves the creation of the Human Rights Council, an entity that will replace the discredited Human Rights Commission.

      As Indians in Ecuador continue a massive and disruptive protest against Pres. Alfredo Palacio's free-trade negotiations with the U.S., Minister of the Interior Alfredo Castillo resigns.

      John D. Barrow, a British cosmologist and mathematics professor, is named the winner of the Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries About Spiritual Realities.

      Five paintings by Gustav Klimt that Nazis had looted from Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer are returned by the Belvedere Museum in Vienna to his niece, Maria Altmann, in California; they will be displayed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

March 16
      For the fourth time since 2002, the U.S. Senate approves an increase in the permissible ceiling for federal debt; the new limit is $8,965,000,000.

      The U.S. government informs Iceland that it intends to withdraw most of its military personnel and all of its military aircraft before year's end; Iceland has no military force of its own.

      Bolivia's attorney general files charges against three former presidents and eight former energy ministers, charging them with having signed contracts with foreign energy companies without the consent of the National Congress, in violation of the constitution.

      Janica Kostelic of Croatia wins the overall women's World Cup title in Alpine skiing with her fourth-place finish in the supergiant slalom race in Åre, Swed.

March 17
      Pres. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia tells the UN Security Council that she has formally requested that Nigeria extradite former Liberian president Charles Taylor to face a war crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone; Taylor is in exile in Nigeria under the terms of an international agreement.

      Thomas Lubanga, the leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots militia in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, becomes the first prisoner of the International Criminal Court in The Hague; he is to stand trial on charges of war crimes involving conscription of child soldiers.

March 18
      A week of protest in France against the new labour law allowing early terminations of younger employees culminates in marches by half a million people in 150 cities and towns throughout the country to demonstrate their anger over the measure.

      Spain's deputy prime minister makes an emergency visit to the Canary Islands to try to find a way to stanch the flow of African migrants that has been overwhelming the autonomous community.

      With its 21–16 defeat of Wales, France wins the Six Nations Rugby Union championship, having achieved a won-lost record of 4–1.

March 19
      Presidential elections are held in Belarus, and as results indicating Pres. Alyaksandr Lukashenka won reelection in an overwhelming landslide come out, thousands of protesters take to the streets in Minsk, crying fraud.

      In a runoff presidential election in Benin, the former head of the West African Development Bank, Yayi Boni, wins decisively.

      Giancarlo Fisichella of Italy wins the Malaysian Grand Prix in Formula 1 automobile racing.

March 20
      Abdul Rahman, who converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years earlier, goes on trial for apostasy in Kabul; his conversion came to light when he sought to gain custody of his two daughters.

      The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees declares that Uzbekistan has ordered the agency to leave the country within the next month.

      At the conclusion of a 17-day tournament, Japan defeats Cuba 10–6 in San Diego to win the inaugural World Baseball Classic championship.

March 21
      Pres. Alfredo Palacio of Ecuador declares a state of emergency in response to nine straight days of protests against free-trade negotiations with the U.S.; thousands of Indians have shut down highways in an effort to stop the talks.

      In the second day of fighting between Maoist rebels and government forces in Nepal, at least 33 people, 20 of them Maoist insurgents, are left dead.

      Some 200 insurgents storm an Interior Ministry jail in Miqdadiyah, Iraq, killing at least 18 police officers and freeing more than 30 prisoners.

      Workers building the Burj Dubai, intended to be the tallest building in the world upon its completion in 2008, riot over low wages and bad treatment, causing nearly $1 million in damage; most of the workers are migrants in Dubai.

      Laotian Pres. Khamtay Siphandone retires as head of the Communist Party, the only legal political party in the country; he is replaced by Vice Pres. Choummali Saignason.

March 22
      In Spain the Basque separatist group ETA, which has killed some 800 people over its four-decade campaign of violence, announces a permanent cease-fire, to go into effect on March 24.

      A federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., issues indictments against 50 leaders of the Colombian rebel group FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), accusing them of conducting 50% of the world's cocaine trade and of committing acts of violence in protecting its cocaine production and distribution operations.

      It is reported that battles between Islamic militias and those opposed to them in Mogadishu, Somalia, have left 60 people dead in recent days.

      The U.S. Supreme Court rules that if one resident of a home denies the police permission to enter without a warrant and search for evidence of criminal activity, the police may not enter, even if invited in by another resident of the home.

March 23
      In India, Sonia Gandhi responds to a campaign against MPs' holding several public posts by resigning from Parliament and from the National Advisory Council.

      The European Commission imposes tariffs on shoes imported into the European Union from China and Vietnam.

      The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters awards its annual Abel Prize for outstanding work in mathematics to Swedish mathematician Lennart Carleson for his research in harmonic analysis, in particular his proof of the Fourier series.

      Stéphane Lambiel of Switzerland wins the men's world figure skating championship in Calgary, Alta.; two days later Kimmie Meissner of the U.S. wins the women's title.

March 24
      A massive police sweep of the central square of Minsk, Belarus, ends five days of protests over a presidential election generally regarded as rigged; within hours both the U.S. and the European Union announce plans to impose travel and financial sanctions on Pres. Alyaksandr Lukashenka and other top Belarusian officials.

      On the third day of fighting between rival militias in Mogadishu, Somalia, 29 people are killed, bringing the death toll of the latest outbreak of violence to about 90.

      The U.S. and Bulgaria announce an agreement to allow the U.S. military to use two military airfields and a training ground in Bulgaria for the next 10 years.

March 25
      Nigeria agrees to terminate asylum for former Liberian president Charles Taylor.

      Electrocutionist wins the Dubai World Cup, the world's richest horse race, in a come-from-behind victory.

March 26
      Legislative elections in Ukraine result in a majority of seats going to the Party of Regions, former prime minister Viktor Yanukovich's party; the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc was second in the voting.

      The Commonwealth Games come to a close in Melbourne after 11 days; at the closing ceremony Indian shooter Samaresh Jung—who won seven medals, five of them gold, and set three new Games records—is named the first winner of the David Dixon Award, which will henceforth be given to the most outstanding athlete of each Commonwealth Games.

      Yokozuna Asashoryu defeats sekiwake Hakuho at the spring grand sumo tournament in Osaka to win his 16th Emperor's Cup.

      Sweden defeats the U.S. to win the Ford World Women's Curling Championship in Grande Prairie, Alta.

March 27
      In the face of an impeachment complaint, part of the bribery scandal consuming Brazil's government, Antonio Palocci resigns as finance minister; he is replaced by Guido Mantega.

      The day after a joint U.S.-Iraqi raid on a Shiʿite compound in Baghdad, Shiʿite leaders suspend negotiations on the formation of a new Iraqi government; also, in the village of Kasak, a suicide bomber kills at least 40 people at an army recruitment centre.

      The transport ministers of the members of the European Union agree to issue a single driver's license to be used throughout the union beginning in 2012 and replacing the 110 different licenses now in use.

March 28
      For the first time since Ben Bernanke became chairman, the U.S. Federal Reserve raises the short-term interest rate by a quarter point, to 4.75%.

      In legislative elections in Israel, the new centrist Kadima party wins the largest number of seats but will have to form a coalition to rule.

      Large rallies and trade union strikes take place in cities throughout France to protest a new law that permits employers to rescind labour contracts without prior warning for people under the age of 26.

      Local government workers in Great Britain stage a 24-hour strike to protest a plan to raise the age at which a worker would be eligible to collect a full pension.

      The annual Arab League summit meeting takes place in Khartoum, Sudan, although many members do not attend and the meeting has been shortened from two days to one.

March 29
      Palestine's new Hamas cabinet, led by Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, is sworn in by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza.

      Former Liberian strongman Charles Taylor is arrested while attempting to flee Nigeria; he is to face war crimes charges before a UN Special Court in Sierra Leone.

      Former residents of the Chagos Archipelago in the British Indian Ocean Territory and their descendants are permitted to visit the islands for the first time since they were removed in the late 1960s when the U.S. established a military base on Diego Garcia.

      Abdul Rahman, who had faced charges of apostasy, a capital crime in Afghanistan, for having converted from Islam to Christianity, arrives in Italy, where he is to be granted political asylum, two days following his release after charges were dropped in Afghanistan.

March 30
      Portia Simpson Miller is sworn in as Jamaica's first woman prime minister.

      Spain's Congress of Deputies passes a law greatly increasing the autonomy of Catalonia.

 Jill Carroll, the freelance reporter for The Christian Science Monitor who was kidnapped in Iraq on January 7, is released unharmed. (Photo .)

      ViaGen and Encore Genetics announce the births of what they call the first commercially cloned horses, clones of two champions of the rodeo sport of calf cutting, Royal Blue Boon and Tap O Lena.

March 31
      In a nationwide address French Pres. Jacques Chirac offers a compromise on the new labour law that permits early termination of employment for young people; protesters reject the compromise and march through Paris to demonstrate their anger.

"A good fossil cuts through a lot of scientific argument."
— Michael J. Novacek, paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History, on the discovery of the “fishapod,” April 6

April 1
      One person dies in Kurdish rioting in Kiziltepe, Turkey, bringing the death toll over the past several days to eight; the unrest began after the killing by security forces of 14 members of the illegal PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party).

      For the first time, a leading Shiʿite politician in Iraq asks Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to consider relinquishing his post to aid in the formation of a unified national government.

April 2
      Legislative elections that are boycotted by the opposition are held in Thailand; Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's Thai Rak Thai party wins a majority of votes, though a third of the ballots record a “no choice” vote.

      The American company Lucent Technologies and its French counterpart, Alcatel, announce that they are merging.

      Oxford defeats Cambridge in the 152nd University Boat Race for the second consecutive year; Cambridge leads the series 78–73.

      In the ISU world short-track speed skating championships in Minneapolis, Minn., Ahn Hyun Soo and Jin Sun Yu, both of South Korea, successfully defend their overall titles.

      For the fifth year in a row, Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia wins both the short- and the long-course races at the world cross country championships, held in Fukuoka, Japan.

April 3
      Three car bombs in Shiʿite areas of Baghdad kill at least 13 people, and U.S. military spokesmen reveal that the previous day four U.S. military personnel in Anbar province were killed in combat; in addition, a vehicular accident left five soldiers dead and three missing.

      The Sudan cancels a planned visit by UN emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland to the embattled Darfur region.

      The National Collegiate Athletic Association championship in men's basketball is won by the University of Florida, which defeats the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 73–57; the following day the University of Maryland defeats Duke University 78–75 in overtime for its first women's NCAA title.

April 4
      After a meeting with King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thaksin Shinawatra announces his resignation as prime minister of Thailand.

      Protests against the new youth labour law—which allows employers to terminate work contracts of those under age 26—take place in cities throughout France.

      The legislature of the U.S. state of Massachusetts passes a bipartisan law that will provide or require health insurance for nearly all of its citizens.

April 5
      Thaksin Shinawatra appoints Deputy Prime Minister Chitchai Wannasathit interim prime minister of Thailand.

      A new law in Algeria forbids efforts to convert Muslims to another religion; it is aimed at Christian evangelists.

      Katie Couric announces that she is leaving her position as cohost of the NBC morning news show Today to become anchor of the CBS evening news; she will be the first woman solo anchor of a major American network evening news broadcast.

April 6
      Nature magazine publishes a report of the discovery, on Ellesmere Island, in the Canadian Arctic, of an animal—dubbed Tiktaalik roseae—that appears to be a link between fish and land animals; in addition to gills, fins, and scales, the creature had teeth and protolimbs.

      Health officials in the U.K. reveal that a swan in Scotland has been found to have died of the H5N1 strain of avian flu.

 Scholars at the National Geographic Society release the 1,700-year-old Gnostic Gospel of Judas, an account, discovered in Egypt, in which Judas Iscariot is favoured by Jesus Christ.

(Photo .)

April 7
      Three suicide bombers detonate their weapons during Friday prayers at a major Shiʿite mosque in Baghdad; at least 71 people are killed.

      A High Court judge in London rules that author Dan Brown did not infringe the copyright of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln in his blockbuster novel The Da Vinci Code.

April 8
      Denis Sassou-Nguesso, head of the African Union, announces that leaders of the five main factions in Côte d'Ivoire have agreed in talks to go forward simultaneously with disarmament and a census preparatory to issuing new identity papers, both intended to lead to elections before November.

      The day after the arrival on newsstands of the first copies of the Indonesian edition of Playboy magazine, a massive rally takes place in Malang, Jawa Timur (East Java), against the pornography that many fear the publication will usher into the country.

      At the Grand National steeplechase horse race at the Aintree track in Liverpool, Eng., Numbersixvalverde wins an upset victory by six lengths over the favourite, defending champion Hedgehunter.

April 9
      Pro-democracy demonstrations in Nepal grow in intensity, and the death toll over four days of unrest grows to three.

      Two-day legislative elections get under way in Italy.

      Voters in Peru go to the polls to choose among 19 candidates for president.

      Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha is named winner of the 2006 Pritzker Architecture Prize; he is best known for his design for the Brazilian Sculpture Museum in São Paulo.

      A Russian space capsule returns from the International Space Station and lands in Kazakhstan, carrying the most recent crew from the station, William S. McArthur, Jr., and Valery I. Tokarev, and a Brazilian astronaut, Marcos Pontes, who spent nine days on board the station.

      Phil Mickelson defeats Tim Clark by two shots to win the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., for the second time.

April 10
      Tens of thousands of people in several cities in the U.S.—including New York City, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Houston, and Madison, Wis.—demonstrate against a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would greatly increase the penalties for illegal immigration.

      After weeks of passionate demonstrations in France, Pres. Jacques Chirac capitulates and rescinds the unpopular law that would have allowed employers to hire people under the age of 26 on a trial basis.

      The European Union bans travel by Pres. Alyaksandr Lukashenka and 30 other officials of Belarus to its member countries, effective immediately.

April 11
      Israel's cabinet declares Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma since suffering a major stroke in January, to be “permanently incapacitated”; as a result, Ehud Olmert no longer will be acting prime minister but will be full prime minister for the remainder of Sharon's term of office.

      Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announces in a televised celebration that Iran has succeeded in enriching uranium to make it useful as nuclear fuel.

      A suicide bomber attacks a congregation of people celebrating the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad in a park in Karachi, killing at least 50 worshippers.

      A bus in Sri Lanka hits a land mine, and 11 sailors in the country's navy are killed; it is the third such attack in four days, and the government blames the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

      Police in Italy capture Bernardo Provenzano, the head of the Sicilian Mafia, near Corleone, Sicily; he had evaded the police for 43 years.

April 12
      A bomb goes off in a market in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, triggering riots; at least 16 people die.

      Health officials in Iowa, epicentre of the first U.S. mumps epidemic in 20 years, say they believe two airline passengers were instrumental in the spread of the disease to six other states; there have been 515 cases reported in Iowa, 43 in Nebraska, 33 in Kansas, and scattered cases in Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

April 13
      A rebel offensive that was launched from the Darfur region of The Sudan with the intention of overthrowing Pres. Idriss Déby of Chad reaches his capital, N'Djamena, but is defeated in combat by government forces; some 350 people die.

      A car bomb on the outskirts of Baghdad kills at least 15 people.

      In a video shown on an Islamist Web site but made in November 2005, Ayman al-Zawahiri offers praise for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq, and exhorts Iraqis to fight Americans.

      In Texas the digital video recorder company TiVo is awarded a $73.99 million settlement in a patent-infringement lawsuit against competitor Echostar Communications.

      The journal Nature publishes a report describing the discovery of fossils of a creature that is intermediate between Ardipithecus ramidus and Australopithecus afarensis and that has been classified as Australopithecus anamensis; all species of bipedal apes are regarded as ancestral to humans.

April 14
      A major battle takes place in Afghanistan's Kandahar province between Taliban insurgents and Afghan security forces reinforced by American helicopters and Canadian soldiers; dozens of Taliban fighters, Afghan police, and civilians are killed.

      Chad breaks off diplomatic relations with The Sudan, and Pres. Idriss Déby says that if the situation in the Darfur region of The Sudan has not been resolved by June, Sudanese refugees in Chad will be expelled.

      After nearly two weeks of protests in Mongolia against government corruption and the ownership of native resources by foreign mining companies, 26 members of the Great Hural (legislature) walk out in solidarity with the protesters.

      Grenade attacks in Srinagar in the Indian-administered part of Kashmir kill at least five people, but two small bombs at the main mosque in New Delhi do little damage.

April 15
      Some 8,000 pro-democracy demonstrators in Kathmandu, Nepal, are met with a strong police response; it is the largest turnout since the start of the campaign to force the restoration of the parliament.

      At least four Sri Lankan government soldiers are killed by a land mine, and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam threaten to pull out of peace talks after canceling an organizational meeting in Kilinochchi, claiming interference from the Sri Lankan navy.

April 16
      At the close of a three-day conference in support of the Palestinian government, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki announces that Iran will give the Hamas-led government $50 million in aid; the U.S. and the EU suspended financial support of the Palestinian Authority when Hamas won control of the parliament.

      Pres. Hu Jintao of China reveals that the country's economy during the first quarter of the year grew 10.2% faster than during the same quarter of 2005; China's GDP grew at an average rate of 10% a year between 2003 and 2005, making it the fourth largest economy in the world.

April 17
      The price of oil futures reaches an all-time record high of $70.40 per barrel; gasoline prices at the pump in the U.S. are 24% higher than they were in summer 2005.

      Former Illinois governor George Ryan is convicted in federal court of 18 charges of fraud and corruption.

      A suicide bomber detonates his weapon in a small falafel restaurant in Tel Aviv, killing nine people; the same restaurant suffered an attack in January.

      In New York City the winners of the 2006 Pulitzer Prizes are announced: journalistic awards go to, among others, the Washington Post, with four awards, the New York Times, with three, and the Times-Picayune (New Orleans) and the Rocky Mountain News (Denver), with two each; winners in letters and drama include Geraldine Brooks in fiction and Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin in biography, while Yehudi Wyner wins in music.

      Paleontologists report the discovery in the Patagonia region of Argentina of fossils representing a new species of carnivorous dinosaur, related to but even larger than Tyrannosaurus rex; the new species is named Mapusaurus roseae.

      The 110th Boston Marathon is won by Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya, who sets a course-record time of 2 hr 7 min 14 sec; the top woman finisher is Rita Jeptoo of Kenya, with a time of 2 hr 23 min 38 sec.

April 18
      Pres. Manuel Zelaya of Honduras and Pres. Antonio Saca of El Salvador ceremonially witness the signing of the document concluding the demarcation of the border between the two countries; the effort, under way since 1980, included a 1992 ruling by the International Court of Justice.

      Chinese Pres. Hu Jintao begins a four-day tour of the U.S., meeting with local government and business officials in Everett, Wash.

      Pres. Michelle Bachelet of Chile announces that a large deposit of natural gas has been found in Tierra del Fuego.

      Poet and translator Richard Wilbur is named recipient of the 2006 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize; he will receive $100,000.

April 19
      Italy's highest court confirms a narrow victory by the Union coalition headed by Romano Prodi in legislative elections, but Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi does not concede.

      In response to a Freedom of Information Act suit, the U.S. Department of Defense releases a list of the names of 558 detainees at its facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, all of whom appeared in 2004 and 2005 before combatant status review tribunals.

      As the pro-democracy demonstrations in Nepal continue to swell, the Royal Nepalese Army opens fire on a crowd tens of thousands strong in Chandragadhi, killing two.

April 20
      Snyder Rini is sworn in as prime minister of the Solomon Islands despite rioting that broke out in connection with his appointment by the National Parliament; Australian troops landed in Honiara, the capital, on April 19 to quell the violence.

      The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam pull out of peace talks with the government of Sri Lanka.

      In the Schmidtsdrift mine, near Kimberley, S.Af., the small mining company Nare Diamonds, which has been in operation for only three weeks, discovers a 235-carat diamond; the mine had been closed three years earlier.

April 21
      As 100,000 pro-democracy demonstrators march in Kathmandu, Nepal, King Gyanendra announces on television that he is willing to turn over power to a prime minister chosen by the seven-party coalition opposing him.

      The day after Ibrahim al-Jaafari agreed to step aside as Iraq's prime minister, the Shiʿite coalition in the National Assembly nominates Jawad al-Maliki as prime minister.

      The price of oil futures reaches $75.17 a barrel, more than double what it had been two years previously.

 Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom celebrates her 80th birthday. (Photo.)

April 22
      The fury of pro-democracy protests in Nepal continues unabated, and the seven-party opposition coalition rejects King Gyanendra's offer to turn power over to a coalition-appointed prime minister.

      Iraq's National Assembly chooses to retain Jalal Talabani as president, approves a Sunni and a Shiʿite as vice presidents, chooses a speaker, and instructs Jawad al-Maliki to form a government.

      An appeals court in Italy confirms that Romano Prodi won the election, though Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has refused to concede.

April 23
      In legislative elections in Hungary, the coalition led by Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany wins a majority of seats; it is the first election since the fall of communism in 1989 in which the ruling party has retained power.

      The U.S. and Japan reach an agreement on allocation of the costs of relocating U.S. military forces in Japan from Okinawa to Guam.

      The Spanish toll-road-operating concern Abertis Infraestructuras agrees to buy Autostrade of Italy; the resulting company will be one of the largest private toll-road operators in the world.

April 24
      Three bombs go off in the Sinai resort town of Dahab in Egypt; at least 30 people are killed.

      In Baghdad car bombs kill 10 people, while elsewhere in Iraq violence causes the death of 15 other Iraqis; in addition, the bodies of 15 recruits of a unit of the Interior Ministry are found in Abu Ghraib.

      After 19 straight days of large street demonstrations, King Gyanendra of Nepal announces the reinstatement of the parliament, which he had suspended in 2002, and agrees to turn power over to it, acceding to a key demand of the opposition coalition.

      Pres. Martín Torrijos of Panama announces a plan to widen the Panama Canal to accommodate the large container ships that are now unable to fit through the locks of the canal; the project is expected to take eight years to complete.

April 25
      Snyder Rini, the newly appointed prime minister of the Solomon Islands, resigns in the face of popular rejection.

      At its congress in Hanoi, the Communist Party of Vietnam grants a second five-year term of office to its general secretary, Nong Duc Manh.

      Pres. Faure Gnassingbé of Togo inaugurates a new presidential palace in Lomé that was financed and built by China.

April 26
      Air strikes by the Sri Lankan military against areas held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam leave 12 people dead.

      Maoist rebels in Nepal announce a unilateral three-month cease-fire.

      Pres. Vladimir Putin of Russia orders the pipeline monopoly Transneft to reroute a planned oil pipeline so that it does not impinge on Lake Baikal; previously, a route along the coast of the lake had been pushed through over the objections of environmentalists and scientists.

      Chad reaches an agreement with the World Bank to undergo a three-month probationary period in which it will devote revenue from an oil pipeline financed by the bank to antipoverty programs, after which the bank will resume funding loans to the country.

April 27
      The U.S. and Canada reach an agreement on Canadian softwood lumber imported into the U.S. that eliminates all quotas and tariffs but allows Canada to collect export taxes from producers under certain market conditions; the agreement ends a dispute that has gone on for more than 20 years.

      Health officials in Angola report that the death toll from an unusually bad cholera outbreak in the country has reached 900.

      Some 10,000 riot police greet a small group of demonstrators who turn out in support of greater judicial independence in Egypt.

      The British yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur achieves her seventh world record on the Asian Record Circuit when she completes the 750-km (465-mi) trip from Taipei to Hong Kong in 64 hr 46 min 37 sec.

April 28
      The International Atomic Energy Agency submits a report to the UN Security Council stating that Iran has begun enriching uranium and has decreased its cooperation with the agency.

      The lower house of Nepal's parliament meets in Kathmandu for the first time in four years.

      The price of gold futures reaches its highest level in 25 years, and the introduction of a fund backed by silver bullion raises the price of silver as well.

April 29
      Indian police officials say that in the past day Maoist rebels in Chhattisgarh state have killed 15 of the 48 villagers they kidnapped from a government relief camp and then freed the remaining 33.

      About 10,000 people rally in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, to demand amendments to the constitution to decrease the powers of the president and increase the powers of the legislature and to demand the resignation of two security officials and the chief prosecutor.

      For the second consecutive year, the Chelsea association football (soccer) club wins the Premier League championship in England.

April 30
      Girija Prasad Koirala is sworn in as prime minister of Nepal; he calls for negotiations with the Maoist rebels and for elections to an assembly to write a new constitution.

      Egypt extends emergency rule, in place since 1981, another two years.

"Madam, certainly not."
— Protestant leader Ian Paisley, responding toNorthern Ireland Assembly Speaker Eileen Bell's asking if he will accept the post of first minister in a power-sharing government, May 22

May 1
      Pres. Evo Morales of Bolivia announces the nationalization of the oil industry, ordering the military to occupy oil fields and instructing foreign producers to renegotiate contracts in order to channel all sales through Bolivia's state-owned energy company.

      Authorities in India say that in two separate incidents in the past few days, groups of villagers in the Indian-administered part of Kashmir have been kidnapped and 35 have been shot to death.

 Hundreds of thousands of people march in several cities in the U.S. to demonstrate their support for liberalized immigration laws; in addition, a large number of immigrants stage a one-day strike in order to show the country's economic dependence on immigrant labour. (Photo: downtown Chicago.)

May 2
      Nepal's new prime minister, Girija Prasad Koirala, appoints a multiparty cabinet, though he retains several portfolios, including that of defense, for himself.

      Weeks after legislative elections in Italy that resulted in a narrow victory for the centre-left coalition led by Romano Prodi, Silvio Berlusconi submits his resignation as prime minister.

      Avery Fisher Career Grants are awarded to cellist Efe Baltacigil, violinists Erin Keefe and Richard O'Neill, horn player Jennifer Montone, and the Pacifica Quartet.

May 3
      Idriss Déby wins reelection as president of Chad in elections widely regarded as fraudulent.

      A U.S. federal jury issues a sentence of life in prison rather than death to Zacarias Moussaoui, who was charged in connection with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

      In response to the failure of Serbia and Montenegro to make the promised delivery of Ratko Mladic to the UN war crimes tribunal, the European Union suspends membership negotiations with the country.

      The three largest soft-drink companies in the U.S. announce an agreement in which they will remove sweetened drinks, such as soda pop and iced tea, from cafeterias and vending machines in schools throughout the country, replacing them with water, milk, and fruit juice.

May 4
      Maoist rebels in Nepal agree to engage in peace talks with the country's new government.

      Pope Benedict XVI responds with anger to news that the state-run Chinese Catholic Church has consecrated two bishops over Vatican objections and suggests the possibility of excommunication.

May 5
      Porter J. Goss resigns as director of U.S. central intelligence.

      British Prime Minister Tony Blair reshuffles his cabinet; among other changes, Charles Clark is replaced as home secretary by John Reid, and Jack Straw is replaced as foreign secretary by Margaret Beckett, the first woman to serve in that post.

      Negotiations that include leaders of some 25 countries lead to the signing in Khartoum, Sudan, of a peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the largest of the rebel groups in Darfur.

May 6
      In Basra, Iraq, the crash of a British military helicopter, possibly as a result of being shot down, causes jubilant rioting among residents; it is believed that five people aboard the helicopter died in the crash, and four Iraqis died in the subsequent melee.

      At the conclusion of a meeting of the European Social Forum in Athens, some 10,000 people march through the streets in protest against U.S. policy in Iraq and Iran; some American businesses are attacked.

      The undefeated Barbaro wins the Kentucky Derby, the first race of Thoroughbred horse racing's U.S. Triple Crown, by six and a half lengths.

May 7
      In response to a request from King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand's Constitutional Court declares the election held in April invalid and orders that a new election be held.

      Three car bombs explode in rapid succession in different neighbourhoods of Baghdad, and another goes off in Karbala', Iraq, leaving at least 14 and probably a great many more dead; in addition, the bodies of at least 43 men are found in various places in Baghdad over two days.

      Enormous demonstrations by each of the two main political parties in San Juan, P.R., are the latest in a series responding to a partial government shutdown that includes school closures put into effect in the past few days; the cause is an evenly divided power structure that has paralyzed the government, preventing passage of a budget.

      King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia approves the selection of 17 Cambodian and 13 UN judges to constitute a tribunal for the genocide trials of leaders of the Khmer Rouge.

May 8
      Oscar Arias is sworn in as president of Costa Rica.

      In the Kalma refugee camp in the Darfur region of The Sudan, deteriorating since the expulsion by the government of an aid group, an angry mob demanding the immediate arrival of UN troops attacks an Oxfam worker and then African Union troops, killing an interpreter; the action occurs only hours after a visit by UN Undersecretary-General Jan Egeland.

      It is reported that Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has sent a long letter seeking a dialogue with U.S. Pres. George W. Bush.

      In Tokyo, China defeats Denmark to win the Thomas Cup, the international men's badminton championship; the previous day China had defeated The Netherlands to win the women's Uber Cup.

May 9
      Haiti's first legislature in two years is formally invested.

      A suicide truck bomber kills at least 17 people at a market in Tal Afar, Iraq, and a dozen bodies are found in Baghdad.

      Two species of Caribbean coral—elkhorn coral and staghorn coral—are put on the U.S. endangered species list; it is the first time corals have been placed on the list, and it is believed that rising temperatures in ocean waters are a major factor in the precipitous decline in the populations of the corals.

May 10
      The U.S. Federal Reserve raises the short-term interest rate a quarter of a percentage point, to 5%; it is the 16th time in a row that the Fed has raised rates.

      The world price of gold passes $700 per ounce, the highest level in more than a quarter century.

      After unusually acrimonious negotiations, Italy's legislature chooses Giorgio Napolitano of the Democrats of the Left to serve as president.

      The Spanish association football (soccer) club Sevilla defeats England's Middlesbrough 4–0 to win the UEFA Cup in Eindhoven, Neth.

May 11
      USA Today reports that the U.S. National Security Agency has secretly compiled a database of all phone calls made by customers of AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth.

      Research in Motion announces plans to introduce its wireless e-mail service via BlackBerry in China.

      A battle between Sri Lankan government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam takes place off the country's north coast; according to the government, 17 Sri Lankan sailors and some 50 guerrillas are killed.

May 12
      Science magazine reports that the kipunji monkey that was identified as a new species of magabey on Tanzania in 2005 has, upon closer study, been found to be a new primate genus, the first to be discovered in 83 years; it has been named Rungwecebus kipunji.

      The world's largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, is christened at Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J.; at 339 m (1,112 ft) in length, it can carry more than 4,000 passengers.

      Laure Manaudou of France swims the 400-m freestyle race at the French national championships in 4 min 3.03 sec, breaking the women's record set by Janet Evans of the U.S. in 1988 by 0.82 sec.

      At the International Association of Athletics Federation World Athletics Tour meeting in Doha, Qatar, American sprinter Justin Gatlin is timed as having run the 100-m race in 9.76 sec, breaking the record of 9.77 sec set by Asafa Powell of Jamaica in June 2005; on May 17, however, the IAAF rules that the time was misrecorded and was actually 9.77 sec, the same as Powell's.

May 13
      Gov. Aníbal Acevedo-Vilá of Puerto Rico signs legislation permitting an emergency loan from the Government Development Bank to allow the commonwealth government to resume operations; the government ran out of money on May 1, forcing a partial shutdown.

      Eruptions of hot ash and lava from Mt. Merapi in Indonesia lead to the evacuation of thousands of people who reside on the slopes of the volcano.

May 14
      René Préval is inaugurated as president of Haiti.

      Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi, a moderate Islamist from Anjouan, is elected president of Comoros, a post that rotates among representatives of the country's three main islands.

      Two car bombs explode at a checkpoint near the Baghdad airport, killing at least 14 people, and a roadside bomb elsewhere in the Iraqi capital kills five; in all, violence in Iraq kills 32 people, including two British and two U.S. soldiers.

      A truce demanded by clan elders goes into effect in Mogadishu, Somalia, after eight days of fighting between militias loyal to warlords and those loyal to Islamic courts has left 148 people dead.

May 15
      Northern Ireland's self-rule legislative assembly meets for the first time since it was elected in November 2003 under temporary rules, in the hope that the power-sharing government that was suspended in 2002 can be revived.

      The U.S. restores diplomatic relations with Libya; it had severed those ties in 1979, upon naming the country a state sponsor of terrorism.

      A fourth day of violence in São Paulo, Braz., leaves 81 people dead: 39 police officers and prison guards, 38 gang members, and 4 bystanders.

May 16
      The day after it revoked the contract of American oil company Occidental Petroleum to operate in the country, Ecuador begins taking over Occidental's operations.

      Some 5,000 mostly Indian construction workers go on strike against the major Dubai-based Belgian company Belhasa Six Construct, demanding much higher wages and better working conditions.

      Newspapers in Saudi Arabia report that King Abdullah has instructed them to cease publishing photographs of women in any context.

      Nigeria's Senate fails to pass a proposed amendment to the country's constitution to allow a president to serve for more than two terms.

May 17
      Romano Prodi is sworn in as prime minister of Italy; he last served in that post 10 years previously.

      In the Russian republic of Ingushetia, a car bomb is used to assassinate the republic's deputy interior minister and kills six other people as well; also, five soldiers are killed when a Russian army convoy is attacked in the neighbouring republic of Chechnya.

      An Islamist gunman enters a meeting of the Council of State, Turkey's highest administrative court, and opens fire, killing a judge; the following day tens of thousands of people turn the judge's funeral into a show of support for the secular nature of Turkey's government.

      Japan's legislature approves a new law that will require all foreigners older than 15 who want to enter the country to submit photographs and fingerprints for background checks against crime and terrorism databases.

      The U.S. government tightens security rules for air cargo, requiring background checks for workers, screeners to check packages taken to airline counters, and more inspectors and bomb-sniffing dogs.

      Barcelona of Spain defeats Arsenal of England 2–1 to capture its first association football (soccer) UEFA Champions League title.

May 18
      Nepal's Parliament passes a resolution stripping the king of most of his powers, including authority over the armed forces.

      Laisenia Qarase is sworn in to a second term as prime minister of Fiji after his United Fiji Party won a majority of seats in legislative elections.

      Former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori is released on bail from prison in Chile, where he has been since November 2005, but he is forbidden to leave Chile.

      The European Union freezes the European bank accounts and other financial assets of Pres. Alyaksandr Lukashenka of Belarus and 35 other government officials.

May 19
      Spain asks the European Union for assistance in dealing with the tremendous numbers of sub-Saharan Africans trying to immigrate to Europe via the Canary Islands; in the past week more than 1,500 such migrants have made the journey, and the number so far this year is nearly double the number who migrated in all of 2005.

      The UN Committee Against Torture issues a report criticizing the U.S. for its treatment of terrorism suspects overseas and calling for the closing of the military detention centre at Guantánamo Bay.

      The film The Da Vinci Code, which has been anticipated with eagerness by some and horror by others, opens worldwide.

May 20
      Construction of the main wall of the Three Gorges Dam in China is completed; the huge project is scheduled to become fully operational in 2009.

      In a runoff election Ray Nagin is reelected mayor of New Orleans, though fewer than half the people who lived in the city in 2005 prior to Hurricane Katrina have returned.

      Iraq's Council of Representatives approves the formation of a government headed by Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of the Shiʿite-dominated Dawa party as prime minister, though the portfolios of defense, interior, and national security remain vacant.

 In Athens the Finnish heavy-metal band Lordi wins the Eurovision Song Contest with “Hard Rock Hallelujah.”

      Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro breaks a leg running in the Preakness Stakes, the second event in U.S. Thoroughbred horse racing's Triple Crown; the winner of the race is Bernardini.

May 21
      In a referendum, voters in Montenegro choose independence from the country of Serbia and Montenegro.

      Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the emir of Kuwait, dissolves the legislature and sets new elections for June 29.

      Sweden, the Olympic ice hockey champion, defeats the Czech Republic 4–0 to win the International Ice Hockey Federation world championship in Riga, Latvia.

      Ozeki Hakuho, a native of Mongolia, wins his first sumo Emperor's Cup when he defeats sekiwake Miyabiyama, emerging victorious at the Natsu (summer) Basho.

May 22
      The Protestant leader Ian Paisley turns down a proposal by Sinn Fein that he serve as first minister of a power-sharing government in Northern Ireland.

      The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reveals that a break-in at the house of an employee who had taken office work home netted the burglar electronic files containing the personal information of as many as 26.5 million military veterans.

      At the ASCAP Pop Music Awards, 50 Cent is named Songwriter of the Year, and Annie Lennox wins the Founders Award for her songwriting career.

May 23
      Thaksin Shinawatra formally returns to office as prime minister of Thailand.

      In Havana, Cuba signs an agreement allowing Norsk Hydro of Norway, Repsol YPF of Spain, and ONGC Videsh of India to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico off Cuba.

      Kenny Chesney is named Entertainer of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas.

May 24
      In response to an appeal for help from Spain, the European Union agrees to send planes and boats to intercept a flood of African migrants trying to reach the already-overwhelmed Canary Islands and send them to “safe countries,” but the member states are unable to agree on a list of such countries.

      Ahmed Ouyahya resigns as prime minister of Algeria; he is replaced by Abdelaziz Belkhadem.

May 25
      Kenneth L. Lay, the former chairman and CEO of the disgraced energy conglomerate Enron, and Jeffrey K. Skilling, another former CEO, are both convicted of fraud and conspiracy.

      Human Rights Watch reports that in April Janjawid militia members from The Sudan massacred 118 villagers in Chad.

      The U.S. Department of the Treasury announces that it will end its 3% excise tax on long-distance phone calls; the tax was originally imposed to help pay for the Spanish-American War (1898).

      Science magazine publishes a report by scientists who have for the first time found evidence, in the droppings of wild chimpanzees in Cameroon, of the simian virus believed to have given rise to HIV; heretofore the virus had been found only in chimpanzees in captivity.

May 26
      The Luxembourg-based steelmaker Arcelor announces a planned merger with Russia's Severstal to become the world's largest steel company and to avoid being acquired by Mittal Steel.

      The U.S. Senate confirms the nominations of R. David Paulison as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Gov. Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho as secretary of the interior, and Robert J. Portman as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves a vaccine to reduce the risk of shingles, which occurs when the body's immune system allows the virus that causes chickenpox to proliferate.

      In Sidon, Lebanon, a car carrying Mahmoud Majzoub (“Abu Hamza”), a leader of the militant organization Islamic Jihad, is blown up, killing him along with his brother.

May 27
      A magnitude-6.3 earthquake leaves at least 6,234 people dead and hundreds of thousands homeless on the Indonesian island of Java, near Yogyakarta and the Mt. Merapi volcano.

      Violence between Islamist militias and those loyal to warlords continues for a fourth day in Mogadishu, Somalia; 20 people are killed, which brings the death toll for the four days to 320.

      In Christchurch, N.Z., the Canterbury Crusaders defeat the Wellington Hurricanes to win the inaugural Super 14 Tri-Nations rugby tournament; with their five previous Super 12 victories, this makes the franchise the most successful in the history of super rugby.

May 28
      Álvaro Uribe resoundingly wins reelection as president of Colombia.

      Militants in Lebanon fire rockets into northern Israel, and in response Israel carries out air raids on two places in Lebanon known to be used by militant groups; hours later a new round of fighting breaks out.

      At the Cannes Festival, British director Ken Loach's film The Wind That Shakes the Barley wins the Palme d'Or; the Grand Prix goes to French director Bruno Dumont's Flandres.

      The 90th Indianapolis 500 auto race is won by Sam Hornish, Jr., who edges out Marco Andretti by a single car length.

May 29
      In Kabul a truck leading a U.S. military convoy crashes into 12 cars in rush-hour traffic, killing five people; a major riot that ensues leaves 14 people dead and a great deal of property damage.

      The European Union puts Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam onto its list of terrorist organizations, joining the U.S., the U.K., and Canada in giving it that designation.

      An unexpected strike by public transit workers in Toronto leaves some 800,000 commuters scrambling to find another way to work and other destinations.

May 30
      Gen. Michael V. Hayden is sworn in as director of U.S. central intelligence.

      Norway announces plans to create a world seed bank, a vault to store up to three million seeds from food crops that will be protected from disasters; the facility will be built near Longyaerbyen, on the Arctic island of Svalbard.

      The European Court of Justice rules that an agreement made in May 2004 by the European Council and the European Commission to give the U.S. personal information on passengers flying from EU countries to the U.S. is invalid because the European bodies do not have the authority to make such an agreement.

May 31
      Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq declares a state of emergency in Basra in an attempt to control the increasing violence in the city.

      Troops from New Zealand arrive in East Timor to supplement the Australian troops who have been unable to quell the violence in Dili.

"I've found some people who are better at giving away money, and I'm turning it over to them."
— Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffet, announcing his plan to donate the bulk of his fortune to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, June 25

June 1
      In Gaza City several thousand Palestinian security officers riot over unpaid wages; because of the cutoff of funds by Israel and the international community after the Hamas-led government came to power, Palestinian Authority employees have not been paid since March.

      After meeting in Vienna, officials of the U.S., Russia, China, France, Germany, and the U.K. agree to offer Iran a package of incentives in an attempt to resolve the nuclear crisis with that country.

      Pres. Mwai Kibaki of Kenya announces that henceforward drugs to treat AIDS will be distributed free of charge in government hospitals and clinics.

June 2
      Syrian antiterrorism police engage in a gun battle with a group of Islamist militants in downtown Damascus; one officer and four militants die.

      José Ramos-Horta, East Timor's foreign minister and a co-winner of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, announces that he will take over the portfolios of defense and the interior, replacing the ministers who resigned because of the recent violence in the country.

      With praise for Pakistan's handling of its economy, the World Bank announces a plan to double the amount of money it is lending the country over the next four years, including a substantial outlay for recovery from the earthquake of October 2005.

      The journal Science publishes a report by scientists saying that in a prehistoric village near the West Bank town of Jericho, the remains of cultivated figs some 11,400 years old have been found; it is believed that they represent the earliest instance of agriculture.

June 3
      Pres. Evo Morales of Bolivia initiates a major land reform by giving poor Indian agriculturists deeds to 24,850 sq km (9,600 sq mi) of government land.

      The second and final day of voting in legislative elections takes place in the Czech Republic; the opposition Civic Democratic Party wins a slim majority.

      In the Derby, in its 227th year at Epsom Downs in Surrey, Eng., Horatio Nelson breaks a leg and has to be put down, and Sir Percy barely passes long-shot Dragon Dancer to win the race.

June 4
      Alan García wins the runoff presidential election in Peru.

      Gunmen set up a fake checkpoint on the road between Baghdad and Baʾqubah and shoot to death 20 people in two minibuses; several of the victims were students on their way to take final exams.

      In Turin, Italy, the 2006 Fédération Internationale des Échecs Chess Olympiad comes to a close with the gold medal having gone to Armenia in the men's tournament and to Ukraine in the women's event.

June 5
      In response to Montenegro's formal declaration of independence, what was the Serbian republic within Serbia and Montenegro declares itself a sovereign state; Serbia inherits the former country's seat in the United Nations.

      The militias loyal to Islamic courts declare victory over the militias loyal to secular warlords, taking control of Mogadishu, Somalia.

      Halldór Ásgrímsson resigns as prime minister of Iceland.

June 6
 The last cofferdam protecting the Three Gorges Dam in China is breached, allowing the dam to begin impounding the Chang Jiang (Yangtze River) to form a reservoir. (Photo.)

      Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki announces that the government plans to release 2,500 of those held in Iraqi and American detention centres and to institute a national reconciliation plan to bring former members of the Baʿth Party back into society.

      The legislature of the Philippines abolishes the death penalty in the country.

      Zadie Smith wins the Orange Prize, an award for fiction written by women and published in the U.K., for her novel On Beauty.

June 7
      Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, reportedly the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq, is killed in U.S. air strikes on a safe house north of Baghdad.

      The Council of Europe releases a report on “rendition,” the practice by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency of secretly abducting terrorism suspects and sending them for questioning to countries beyond the reach of U.S. law; it says that a number of European countries were used as staging areas for these transfers.

      The UN Security Council and the African Union Commission agree on a plan for UN peacekeepers to take over from AU peacekeepers in the Darfur region of The Sudan.

      The World Bank asks Cambodia to repay $7.6 million in infrastructure loans after finding corruption in the administration of the moneys.

      Haiti's legislature approves a new cabinet and confirms Jacques-Édouard Alexis as prime minister.

      Citing the increase in the population of manatees, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission removes the large marine mammal from its list of endangered animals.

June 8
      An Israeli air strike against a militant training camp in Gaza kills Jamal Abu Samhadana, the recently appointed security chief of the Hamas-led Palestinian government.

      Haya Rashed al-Khalifa of Bahrain is elected president of the UN General Assembly; she will be the first woman to serve in that capacity since 1969.

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the use of a vaccine that, when given to a female who has not acquired the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, is effective against the forms that cause most cervical cancers and genital warts.

June 9
      The opening ceremonies of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association World Cup in association football (soccer) take place in Munich.

      In Thailand more than one million people attend the beginning of five days of celebrations observing the 60th year on the throne of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

      An errant Israeli artillery round strikes a crowded beach in Gaza, killing eight civilians, seven of them members of a single family; Israel subsequently denies that the round was theirs.

      Japan passes a law to create a Ministry of Defense for the first time since the end of World War II.

June 10
      At the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, one Yemeni and two Saudi detainees commit suicide by hanging themselves.

      A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan reports that Taliban-led violence in the past three weeks has killed more than 500 people; it is believed that the burgeoning trade in opium and heroin is supporting the Taliban militants.

      Hamas fires at least 15 Qassam rockets into Israel from Gaza, ending a truce.

      The International Diabetes Federation releases a report saying that the number of people worldwide with diabetes has grown from 30 million to 230 million in the past 20 years, the highest number of them, 39 million, in China.

      Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium defeats Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia to win the women's French Open tennis title; the following day Rafael Nadal of Spain defeats Roger Federer of Switzerland to win the men's title.

      Jazil wins the Belmont Stakes, the last event in Thoroughbred horse racing's U.S. Triple Crown, by one and one-quarter lengths.

June 11
      Pak Se Ri of South Korea wins the Ladies Professional Golf Association Championship with a play-off victory over Karrie Webb of Australia.

      The 60th annual Tony Awards are presented in New York City; winners include the productions The History Boys (which wins six Tonys), Jersey Boys, Awake and Sing!, and The Pajama Game and the actors Richard Griffiths, Cynthia Nixon, John Lloyd Young, and LaChanze.

June 12
      In Gaza, Hamas gunmen attack the headquarters of the Fatah-dominated security forces; later, Fatah members of security forces in Ram Allah, West Bank, attack the parliament and cabinet buildings controlled by Hamas.

      The European Union enters the first round of membership negotiations with Turkey and Croatia, signs a premembership agreement with Albania, and recognizes Montenegro's independence.

      In a meeting in Manhasset, N.Y., Pres. Paul Biya of Cameroon and Pres. Olusegun Obasanjo sign an agreement delineating the transfer of authority of the Bakassi Peninsula from Nigeria to Cameroon in accordance with a 2002 ruling by the International Court of Justice.

      China reports that its trade surplus in May reached a new record of $13 billion, passing the record it set in October 2005.

June 13
      A series of six bombings within a single hour kill at least 25 people in Kirkuk, Iraq.

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush makes a surprise visit to Baghdad to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.

      An Israeli missile strike on a van believed to be carrying rockets in Gaza kills the two men in the van as well as eight Palestinian civilians.

      At its annual meeting in Greensboro, N.C., the Southern Baptist Convention elects Frank S. Page, head of a megachurch in Taylors, S.C., its new president.

      The annual International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award goes to The Master, by Irish novelist Colm Tóibín.

June 14
      The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court who is responsible for investigating war crimes in the Darfur region of The Sudan reports to the UN Security Council that the court has verified thousands of civilian deaths, hundreds of rapes, and a number of massacres.

      The UN Security Council lifts the ban, first imposed in 1992, on the import of weapons into Liberia in order that the country's security forces may be armed; sanctions forbidding the export of timber and diamonds from Liberia remain in place.

      The German pharmaceutical giant Bayer announces plans to acquire Schering as U.S.-based Merck & Co. agrees to sell its share of Schering to Bayer.

      U.S. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington names Donald Hall poet laureate.

      Ron Gettelfinger is elected to a second four-year term as president of the United Automobile Workers union.

June 15
      A bus traveling to a market town near Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, is blown up by a land mine, and at least 64 passengers are killed; government forces respond by attacking strongholds of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

      A minibus carrying workers to the U.S. air base at Kandahar, Afg., is destroyed by a bomb; eight people die.

      In southern Thailand 41 government offices suffer nearly simultaneous bomb attacks; two people are killed.

      Bill Gates announces that in two years he plans to step down from his day-to-day role leading Microsoft in order to devote his attention to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a philanthropic endeavour.

      The U.S. Supreme Court rules that evidence gathered by police who have failed to knock on the door of a residence and announce their presence, as is required by the Constitution, is nonetheless admissible in court.

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush designates an area that includes the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve a national monument to be called the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, granting it total protection from fishing and commercial operations and creating the largest marine sanctuary in the world at nearly 362,600 sq km (140,000 sq mi) of ocean with coral reefs and islets.

June 16
      Nepal's government reaches an agreement with Maoist rebels whereby both the elected legislature and the Maoist parallel government will be dissolved and an interim constitution will be prepared in the next three weeks, under which an interim government will be formed.

      A suicide bomber kills 11 people in a Shiʿite mosque in Baghdad, and an American soldier is killed and two are missing after an attack near the Iraqi town of Yusifiyah.

June 17
      An all-out battle, mostly at sea, between Sri Lankan government forces and those of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam leaves some 47 people dead.

      In Baghdad a suicide bombing, a mortar attack, three car bombs, and two other bombs cause the death of 38 Iraqis.

      The Volvo Ocean Race (formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race), which began in November 2005 in Vigo, Spain, concludes in Göteborg, Swed.; the winner is the Dutch yacht ABN AMRO One.

      Belén Mozo of Spain wins the ladies' British amateur golf championship.

June 18
      Voters in the Spanish region of Catalonia approve a plan that will greatly increase its autonomy; the scheme was passed by the Spanish Cortes (parliament) earlier and is scheduled to go into effect on July 1.

      Katharine Jefferts Schori becomes the first woman to head a branch of the Anglican Communion when she is elected presiding bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church.

      The portrait Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt is sold for a reported $135 million to Ronald S. Lauder for the Neue Galerie in New York City; it is the highest price ever paid for a painting.

      The Audi team of Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro, and Marco Werner wins the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race in a diesel-powered car, the first of that type to win the race, with a record 380 laps.

      Geoff Ogilvy of Australia wins the U.S. Open golf tournament at the Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

June 19
      An attack by Taliban guerrillas near the village of Sangin in Afghanistan's Helmand province leaves 32 people dead and 10 missing.

      The telecommunications equipment companies Nokia of Finland and Siemens of Germany announce a merger.

      The Swiss-based food conglomerate Nestlé SA announces that it will buy the weight-loss company Jenny Craig.

      The Carolina Hurricanes defeat the Edmonton Oilers 3–1 in the decisive seventh game to win the Stanley Cup, the National Hockey League championship.

      At the 10th annual Jazz Awards in New York City, Sonny Rollins is named Musician of the Year.

June 20
      Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, arrives in The Hague to stand trial before an outpost of the Special Court for Sierra Leone for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

      The UN Security Council lifts the ban on timber exports from Liberia at the request of Liberian Pres. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

      The Miami Heat defeats the Dallas Mavericks 95–92 in game six of the best-of-seven tournament to win its first National Basketball Association championship; Dwyane Wade of the Heat is named Most Valuable Player of the finals.

June 21
      Political parties in Ukraine reach a tentative agreement on a parliamentary coalition that will make it possible for a government to be formed, nearly three months after the elections.

      An Internet announcement is made that the new head of the separatists in the Russian republic of Chechnya is Doku Umarov; the previous leader, Abdul-Khalim Saydulayev, was killed on June 17.

      In the face of a polio outbreak that has killed 15 people and paralyzed 96, Namibia begins a three-day campaign of mass vaccinations.

June 22
      Somalia's Baidoa-based transitional government signs an agreement with the Islamists who have taken control of Mogadishu.

      NATO tests a new rapid-response force in Cape Verde; the event marks the first time NATO military exercises have been held in Africa.

      Two small moons of Pluto that were found in May 2005 by the Hubble Space Telescope are given the names Hydra and Nix by the International Astronomical Union.

June 23
      A spokesman for the World Health Organization says that an investigation of a group of seven family members who died of the H5N1 strain of avian flu in Indonesia has produced the first verifiable instance of human-to-human transmission of the disease.

      At least 12 people are killed by a bomb at a Sunni mosque in Hibhib, Iraq; a gunfight breaks out in downtown Baghdad; a suicide bomber kills 4 people waiting in line for gasoline in Basra; and 5 U.S. soldiers are killed in various incidents.

      Norman Y. Mineta announces his resignation as U.S. secretary of transportation.

      At the Australia Zoo, a Galápagos land tortoise named Harriet (though called Harry for more than a century) dies at the age of 176; it was the oldest living animal in captivity.

June 24
      The U.S. military reports the death of three American soldiers in Iraq, bringing the number of U.S. military personnel killed in combat during the month to 45.

      The Council of Islamic Courts of Somalia, the newly formed governing entity of Mogadishu, Somalia, appoints Hassan Dahir Aweys its leader.

June 25
      Eight Palestinian militants, some of them members of Hamas, enter Israel through a secretly dug tunnel and attack Israeli soldiers, killing two, wounding one, and kidnapping one; the latter is the first Israeli soldier kidnapped in more than 10 years.

      The Luxembourg-based steel company Arcelor, after a long and bitter fight, agrees to be acquired by Mittal Steel; the resulting company will be by far the largest steel company in the world.

      Warren E. Buffet, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, announces that he intends to give 85% of his $44 billion fortune to five charities, the bulk of it to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

      Julien Guerrier of France wins the British amateur championship in golf.

June 26
      A proposed amendment to Italy's constitution that would augment the powers of the prime minister and of the regions is soundly defeated in a popular referendum.

      After increasingly vociferous demonstrations and pressure from his own government, Mari Alkatiri resigns as prime minister of East Timor, to general jubilation.

      In a gunfight outside a prison in the São Paulo suburb of São Bernardo do Campo, police kill 13 people suspected of belonging to the First Capital Command gang and thought to be planning to attack and kill prison guards.

      After making increasingly bold appearances in populated areas, killing sheep, rabbits, and chickens, and gaining a wide following of fans, Bruno, the first brown bear to be seen in the Bavarian Alps in 170 years, is killed by a hunter.

June 27
      Vietnam's National Assembly appoints Nguyen Minh Triet president, replacing Tran Duc Luong, and Nguyen Tan Dung prime minister, taking over from Phan Van Khai.

      A motion to recall Pres. Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan is defeated.

June 28
      Montenegro is welcomed as the 192nd member of the United Nations.

      In an attempt to rescue a kidnapped soldier from Palestinian militants, Israel mounts air strikes that destroy three bridges and an electrical power station in Gaza; it also uses artillery against towns in northern Gaza and sends warplanes into Syria.

      The car manufacturer DaimlerChrysler announces that it plans to introduce the two-seat smart minicar, popular in several European cities, to the U.S. market in 2008.

June 29
      The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the government plan to try by military tribunal terrorism suspects held at the Guantánamo Bay military base in Cuba is not constitutional and is in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice as well as of the Geneva Conventions.

      The U.S. Federal Reserve board raises interest rates a quarter point for the 17th consecutive time, to 5.25%.

      The UN Human Rights Council approves the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

      The first legislative elections in Kuwait in which women are allowed to vote and run for office are held; though 28 of the 252 candidates are women, no women are elected to office.

June 30
      Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende submits the resignation of his minority conservative government after the D66 party pulls out of the governing coalition.

      The Bundestag, Germany's lower legislative house, passes 25 amendments that would greatly revise the Basic Law (constitution) by giving more power to the states at the expense of the central government.

      An appeals court judge in Mexico orders the arrest of former president Luis Echeverría on charges of genocide relating to the 1968 massacre of student demonstrators; the ruling overturns a 2005 ruling dismissing those charges.

 U.S. Pres. George W. Bush escorts Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to a private tour of Graceland, the former home of rock pioneer Elvis Presley, of whom Koizumi is a great admirer. (Photo; also pictured, from left, Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley)

      Organizers of the Tour de France suspend several riders because they are being investigated by Spanish authorities for possible use of performance-enhancing substances; banned riders include favourites Jan Ullrich of Germany and Ivan Basso of Italy.

"The country has been torn to shreds.… Is this the price we pay for aspiring to build our democratic institutions?"
— Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, at a meeting of foreign diplomats over the crisis between Israel and Lebanon, July 19

July 1
      The presidency of the European Union rotates to the prime minister of Finland, Matti Vanhanen.

      With the start of the World Bank's fiscal year, the International Development Association debt of 19 of the world's poorest countries is canceled.

      World Trade Organization talks intended to move forward on an agreement to lower global trade barriers end in an impasse.

      A car bomb in a street market in Baghdad kills at least 66 people, and a Sunni member of Iraq's new legislature and her bodyguards are kidnapped.

      The last leg of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway in China, connecting Lhasa, Tibet, to the town of Golmud, begins operations; the rail line is the highest in the world.

July 2
      The presidential election in Mexico results in a razor-thin margin between leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador and conservative Felipe Calderón that is too close to call.

      Dubai World, a holding corporation comprising some 20 companies, many concerned with ports and shipping and including Dubai Ports World, makes its debut.

      Michael Schumacher of Germany wins the U.S. Formula 1 Grand Prix after seven cars are eliminated in a pileup on the opening lap.

July 3
      A bomb kills seven people near a military checkpoint in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka.

      U.S. federal prosecutors report that a recently discharged army private has been arrested and will be charged with having raped a woman in Iraq and having killed her and three members of her family.

      In Newport, R.I., Annika Sörenstam of Sweden wins the U.S. Open women's golf tournament for the third time.

July 4
      Robert Fico takes office as prime minister of Slovakia.

      Mexican presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador demands a ballot-by-ballot recount.

 Archaeologists in Greece report having found on a dig in Thessaly an intact torso of a statue of the goddess Artemis that dates to the 1st century BC.

July 5
      North Korea test-fires a number of missiles over the Sea of Japan/East Sea, including an intercontinental ballistic missile, which evidently fails.

      In oil trading in the U.S., the price reaches a record high of $75.40 per barrel, passing the previous mark set on April 21.

      In legislative elections in Macedonia, the coalition “Together for Macedonia,” headed by Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski's ruling Social Democratic Union, comes in second to the Macedonian Internal Revolutionary Organization–Democratic Party of Macedonian National Unity.

      Kenneth Lay, founder of the disgraced energy company Enron, unexpectedly dies while awaiting sentencing after his convictions for fraud and conspiracy.

July 6
      Election officials in Mexico declare conservative candidate Felipe Calderón the winner of the presidential election.

      A bomb blows up a minibus in the town of Tiraspol in the separatist Transnistria region of Moldova, killing at least seven people.

      Florida's Supreme Court upholds a ruling that vacated a $145 billion judgment against major tobacco companies on the basis that the lawsuits were improperly bundled into a class-action suit; this is regarded as a major victory for tobacco companies.

      Trade through the Nathu La Pass between the Indian state of Sikkim and the Tibet Autonomous Region of China is formally reinaugurated with the passing of 100 Indian traders to China and 100 Chinese traders to India.

      The catamaran Orange II, piloted by Bruno Peyron of France, breaks the record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by a sailing vessel, traveling from New York to Cornwall, Eng., a distance of 2,925 nautical miles, in 4 days 8 hr 23 min 54 sec.

July 7
      Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz resigns as prime minister of Poland.

      The parliamentary coalition agreed to two weeks earlier in Ukraine collapses.

      The World Conservation Union announces that in its last survey it has failed to find any surviving West African black rhinoceroses in its last known habitat, in Cameroon; the animal is believed now to be extinct.

July 8
      As Israeli troops pull out of northern Gaza, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya calls for a truce.

      The General Synod of the Church of England for the first time agrees to allow women to serve as bishops.

      Frenchwoman Amélie Mauresmo defeats Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium to take the All-England (Wimbledon) women's tennis championship; the following day Roger Federer of Switzerland wins the men's title for a fourth consecutive year when he defeats Spaniard Rafael Nadal.

July 9
      In Berlin, Italy defeats France in a penalty shoot-out to win the World Cup in association football (soccer), though the victory is almost overshadowed by retiring French star Zinedine Zidane's head butting of Italian defender Marco Materazzi late in the game.

      The day after a car bomb in front of a Shiʿite mosque kills at least 12 people, gunmen rampage through a Sunni neighbourhood in Baghdad, pulling people from cars and homes and killing them; later, car bombs outside another Shiʿite mosque kill at least 19 people.

      Pres. Lech Kaczynski of Poland announces that he will appoint his identical twin brother, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, prime minister.

      The movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest breaks all attendance records in its opening weekend, taking in some $132 million.

July 10
      José Ramos-Horta is inaugurated as prime minister of East Timor.

      Henry M. Paulson, Jr., is sworn in as U.S. secretary of the treasury.

      By the end of the second day of renewed violence between Islamist militias and those loyal to the conquered warlords in Mogadishu, Somalia, at least 60 people have died.

      The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles announces that it has agreed to return to Greece a rare ancient stele and a fragment of a marble relief, two of four objects that Greece claims were illegally taken from the country.

July 11
      During the evening rush hour, the first-class men's compartments of seven trains carrying commuters from Mumbai (Bombay) to suburbs are hit by bombs, all within a few minutes, and an eighth bomb goes off at a train station; some 200 people are killed.

      In Baghdad more than 50 people are killed in various bombings, shootings, and ambushes.

      The White House issues a statement declaring that all suspected terrorists, including members of al-Qaeda and of the Taliban, have the protection of rights granted by the Geneva Conventions, contrary to an executive order issued on Feb. 7, 2002.

      Indonesia's legislature passes a law intended to grant significant autonomy to Aceh province in accordance with the terms of a peace agreement; the Free Aceh Movement says the new law falls short of what the agreement requires.

July 12
      The Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah fires two rockets into northern Israel and in an attack over the border kills three Israeli soldiers and captures two others, which prompts Israel to make air attacks against Hezbollah bases and five bridges in southern Lebanon, as well as send in ground forces; five more Israeli soldiers are killed in this violence.

      The European Commission assesses a $357 million fine against Microsoft for failing to share technical information with competitors about its Windows operating system, as it was ordered to do in 2004; it is the first time the commission has fined a company for defying an antitrust order.

      Two oil installations owned by the Italian oil company Agip are damaged by explosions, and four soldiers guarding oil workers are killed in Nigeria's Niger Delta.

      Massachusetts officials order all road and tunnel systems inspected when 60 trouble spots are found following the death two days earlier of a woman who was crushed by ceiling tiles that fell on her car as she was traveling in the Boston tunnel system known as the Big Dig.

      It is reported that a poem written by Percy Bysshe Shelley and published anonymously in 1811 but never republished has been rediscovered by an antiquarian bookseller.

July 13
      Israel attacks Beirut's airport and establishes a naval blockade of its port, while Hezbollah continues rocket attacks against Israel; Lebanon says 53 of its civilians have been killed.

      In Ceyhan, Turkey, the presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey attend the official opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which carries oil from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean.

      Chinese government officials announce natural gas reserves of as much as 100 billion cu m (3.53 trillion cu ft) have been discovered in the South China Sea some 250 km (155 mi) from Hong Kong.

      Control of the Iraqi province of Muthanna is returned to the province's residents in a ceremony in Samawah; it is the first province in Iraq to be returned to local control since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

July 14
      Israeli planes bomb Hezbollah's headquarters in Beirut as Hezbollah continues to shell northern Israel.

      The World Bank reaches an agreement with Chad on the spending of 2007 profits from its oil industry, in return for which the bank will resume loaning money for its stake in the Chad-Cameroon pipeline.

      In a match-fixing scandal, the governing body of Italian association football (soccer) demotes the Juventus, Lazio, and Fiorentina clubs to the second division; bars Juventus, Milan, and Fiorentina from Champions League play and Lazio from UEFA Cup play; and penalizes each of these teams a number of points.

July 15
      Meeting in Russia, U.S. Pres. George W. Bush and Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin disagree on a number of issues and are unable to reach an agreement that would allow Russia to join the World Trade Organization.

      At an emergency summit meeting of the Arab League in Cairo, participants chastise Hezbollah for having caused the crisis between Lebanon and Israel and request the help of the UN Security Council in restoring peace.

      Patrick Rafter of Australia, Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina, and the Italian tennis journalist Gianni Clerici are inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in a ceremony in Newport, R.I.

July 16
      A large missile launched by Hezbollah strikes a railroad maintenance building in Haifa, Israel, killing 8 people; Israel responds by bombing Beirut and southern Lebanon, killing at least 45 people.

      The Group of Eight industrialized countries, meeting in Strelna, Russia, issues a statement on steps to make it possible for worldwide oil needs to be met.

      David Carruthers, the CEO of the British-based Internet gambling company BetOnSports, is arrested in Texas; the following day federal charges are brought against him, other people involved with his company, and three marketing companies that promote online gambling.

      Michael Schumacher of Germany wins the French Grand Prix in Formula 1 automobile racing for a record eighth time.

July 17
      Dozens of gunmen open fire in a crowded Shiʿite market area in Mahmudiyah, Iraq, killing at least 48 people.

      A state relief camp at Arabore, in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, is attacked by hundreds of Maoist rebels, who kill at least 25 people, most of them members of a state-backed anti-Maoist militia.

      The controversial U.S. military hybrid airplane-helicopter V-22 Osprey, made by Bell Helicopter and the Boeing Co., makes its public debut at the International Air Show in Farnborough, Eng.

      Airbus introduces a completely redesigned version of its midsize airplane, to be called the A350 XWB.

      The space shuttle Discovery safely returns to Earth after a successful 13-day mission in which its crew made repairs to the International Space Station and delivered a third crew member, German astronaut Thomas Reiter, to the spacecraft.

July 18
      A suicide car bomber lures day labourers with the offer of work and then detonates his weapon, killing at least 53, in Kufah, Iraq; the UN releases figures showing that in June on average more than 100 people a day were killed in Iraq, the highest figure since the fall of Baghdad in 2003.

      Police in Italy raid what amounts to agricultural slave labour camps in Puglia, freeing 113 Polish victims and arresting 20 people for human trafficking.

July 19
      For the first time in his administration, U.S. Pres. George W. Bush exercises his right to veto legislation passed by Congress; the bill he vetoes is one that would expand research into possible medical uses of embryonic stem cells.

      Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora calls a meeting of foreign diplomats seeking help in dealing with Israeli attacks against Hezbollah in the country.

      In Charlwood, Surrey, Eng., the temperature reaches 36.3 °C (97.3 °F), a new record in Great Britain; the previous highest temperature, 36 °C, was set in Epsom, Surrey, on July 22, 1911.

July 20
 U.S. Marines enter Beirut for the first time since 1983; they are there to help evacuate American citizens from Lebanon, from which citizens of other countries are also fleeing; the violence continues unabated.

      Varig, Brazil's flagship airline, is sold at auction to Varig Logistica SA, its former cargo-carrying unit.

      It is reported that Ethiopian troops have entered Baidoa, Somalia, where the interim government is based, after Islamist militias approached within 35 km (22 mi) of the city.

      The U.S. Senate extends the Voting Rights Act for a further 25 years; the House of Representatives had approved the measure the previous week.

July 21
      A government spokesman announces that King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand approved a plan to hold a general election in the country on October 15; the election held on April 2 was invalidated.

July 22
      Israel sends ground forces into southern Lebanon, and its airplanes bomb television and cell phone towers, while Hezbollah rockets continue to rain on northern Israel.

      Yokozuna Asashoryu wins his 17th Emperor's Cup at the Nagoya Grand Sumo tournament in Nagoya, Japan, defeating ozeki Chiyotaikai in the final round.

July 23
      A suicide bomber at a market in Baghdad kills at least 35 people, while a car bomb outside the courthouse in Kirkuk, Iraq, kills at least 22; 11 other bodies are found in the Tigris River.

      Saudi Arabia sends a delegation to Washington, D.C., to ask U.S. Pres. George W. Bush to intervene in the Middle East and press for a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah.

      After an astounding comeback in which he made up the eight minutes that he had fallen behind in the Alps, American cyclist Floyd Landis wins the Tour de France.

      Tiger Woods wins the British Open golf tournament at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, Wirral, Eng., with a two-stroke victory over fellow American Chris DiMarco.

      In Los Angeles, Miss Puerto Rico, Zuleyka Rivera, is crowned Miss Universe.

July 24
      Pascal Lamy, director general of the World Trade Organization, formally suspends the Doha Round of trade talks, saying that the intransigence of wealthy countries in refusing to reduce financial protection of their farm industries has made reaching a global trade agreement impossible.

      The biggest for-profit hospital chain in the U.S., HCA Inc., agrees to be bought out by an investor group that includes Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity.

July 25
      Israel announces that it intends to occupy a strip of southern Lebanon until an international force that can take control has been convened; an Israeli air strike hits a UN observation post in Lebanon, killing four unarmed UN observers.

      During a visit from Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, U.S. Pres. George W. Bush announces a plan to move 4,000 U.S. troops to Baghdad in an attempt to diminish the violence in the city.

      A stone statue of the Sumerian king Entemena of Lagash, one of the most prominent artifacts looted from the Iraqi Museum in Baghdad in the early days of the U.S.-led invasion, is returned to Iraqi officials in Washington, D.C., after the U.S. recovered the statue from people trying to sell it in Syria.

July 26
      Pres. Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia dissolves the National Assembly and his cabinet and sets new elections for September 28.

      Chad signs an agreement with The Sudan calling for a joint military mission to monitor the border between the countries and banning rebel incursions on both sides of the border.

      A meeting between the U.S. and European and Arab countries fails to agree on a plan to stop the fighting in the Middle East; in continuing fighting 9 Israeli soldiers, at least 23 Gaza Palestinians, and dozens of Lebanese people are killed.

      The National Museum of Ireland announces that the previous week a construction worker discovered in a bog a Book of Psalms some 1,200 years old.

July 27
      In Moscow, Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin and Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chávez announce a final agreement on a deal that will allow Venezuela to import military technology, including fighter jets and helicopters, from Russia.

      Cyclist Floyd Landis is suspended when a test taken after his surprising comeback from an eight-minute deficit to win Stage 17 and, ultimately, the Tour de France shows an abnormally high level of testosterone.

      Bakili Muluzi, Malawi's former president, is arrested on charges of having stolen foreign aid donated to the country during his administration (1994–2004).

July 28
      The new UN Human Rights Committee issues a report calling on the U.S. to close its secret detainment facilities and to allow Red Cross access to all the prisoners it has detained in connection with the war on terrorism; it also calls for allowing detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, access to a court review of their detention and treatment.

      Most day-to-day operations of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) are transferred from a bunker in Cheyenne Mountain, in Colorado's Front Range, to Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.

July 29
      U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice travels to Israel to discuss the Lebanon crisis with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

      The U.S. Department of Defense extends for a period of up to four months the tours of duty of 4,000 troops who had been scheduled to leave Iraq in the next few weeks.

July 30
      Legislative and presidential elections are held in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; they are the first multiparty elections in the country in 46 years.

      An estimated 1.2 million supporters of presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador rally in Mexico City to demand a recount of the ballots cast four weeks earlier.

      Israeli bombing of Qana, Lebanon, causes the collapse of an apartment building that kills nearly 60 civilians; hours later Israel agrees to suspend air strikes for 48 hours.

      German Formula 1 race-car driver Michael Schumacher wins the German Grand Prix.

July 31
      Pres. Fidel Castro of Cuba announces that while he recovers from surgery, he is temporarily turning power over to his brother, Defense Minister Raúl Castro.

      Just 12 hours after having agreed to a 48-hour cessation of the air war on Lebanon, Israel resumes air strikes.

      NATO takes over the command of security forces from the U.S.-led coalition in six provinces in southern Afghanistan.

      The UN Security Council passes Resolution 1696 (2006), which demands a verifiable cessation of uranium enrichment by Iran by the end of August upon pain of possible sanctions.

      The Hermitage art museum in St. Petersburg reports that more than 220 pieces of jewelry, most of them enamels, have been stolen from its collections in what seems to have been an inside job.

"I may go down in history as the guy who killed Pluto."
— Michael Brown, whose discovery of “Xena” prompted the International Astronomical Union to redefine a planet such that both Pluto and Xena are excluded, August 24

August 1
      A roadside bomb near Tikrit, Iraq, kills 23 Iraqi soldiers on a bus transferring them from Mosul to Baghdad, and in Baghdad a suicide car bomb near a bank kills 10 people; a total of at least 44 people are killed in attacks in the country.

      The day after NATO assumed command of international forces in southern Afghanistan, three British soldiers are killed in an ambush in Helmand province.

      A panel of judges in Moscow orders that former oil giant Yukos be declared bankrupt and that it be liquidated.

August 2
      Forces of the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam continue fighting after several days of conflict over an irrigation channel; at least 49 people are killed.

      Two bombs hidden in gym bags near the bleachers of an association football (soccer) field kill at least 12 people watching a neighbourhood game in Baghdad; also, 15 bodies are found in the city.

      The Paris Commercial Court grants bankruptcy protection to Eurotunnel, owner and operator of the Channel Tunnel, while the company negotiates with bondholders.

August 3
      In Panjwai, Afg., near Kandahar, a suicide car bomber kills at least 21 people at a bazaar; 7 NATO soldiers are killed in the area in other attacks.

      In Muttur, Sri Lanka, four schools that have been serving as impromptu shelters from the resurgent violence are shelled; at least 17 people are killed.

      Pres. Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine nominates his political rival Viktor Yanukovych as prime minister.

August 4
      Four bridges along the main north-south highway north of Beirut are destroyed by Israeli shelling, and more than 30 people are killed; Hezbollah continues to shell Israel, killing 4.

      Authorities in the Chinese city of Jining, Shantung province, order a mass slaughter of dogs in order to stop an outbreak of rabies; several days earlier some 50,000 dogs had been killed in Yunnan province.

      A demonstration in support of the Lebanese militia Hezbollah is attended by tens of thousands of followers of dissident Shiʿite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in Baghdad.

      The Lord's Resistance Army, a militant rebel group in Uganda, declares a unilateral cease-fire.

      As part of a crackdown on political opponents of Belarusian Pres. Alyaksandr Lukashenka, a court in Belarus convicts four election observers of having participated in an unlawful organization and sentences them to prison.

August 5
      Israel assails Lebanon with some 250 air raids and 4,000 shells in an effort to level 15 villages to create a security zone along Lebanon's border with Israel.

      An electoral tribunal in Mexico rejects the demand of Andrés Manuel López Obrador for a complete recount of votes in the presidential election, saying a partial recount will suffice.

      Tour de France winner Floyd Landis is fired by his team after it is learned that a second drug test taken during the race indicated illegal levels of testosterone, as had the first.

      The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, inducts quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Warren Moon, linebacker Harry Carson, tackle Rayfield Wright, defensive lineman Reggie White, and coach John Madden.

      John Campbell, driving Glidemaster, wins a record sixth Hambletonian harness race, while in the U.S. pacing championship, Holborn Hanover, driven by George Brennan, sets a world record for the fastest harness-race mile with a time of 1 min 46.4 sec.

August 6
      Hezbollah rockets kill 12 Israeli reservists and 3 civilians in northern Israel as Israel continues its assault on Lebanon.

      Hong Kong's Legislative Council passes a security law favoured by the Chinese government that gives authorities far-ranging permission to conduct covert surveillance of citizens.

      At the Buick Open golf tournament in Grand Blanc, Mich., Tiger Woods defeats Jim Furyk to win his 50th Professional Golfers' Association of America Tour title at the record young age of 30 years 7 months 6 days; the previous record, held by Jack Nicklaus, was 33 years 6 months 21 days.

      American golfer Sherri Steinhauer wins the women's British Open golf tournament by three strokes over Cristie Kerr of the U.S. and Sophie Gustafson of Sweden.

August 7
      Somalia's transitional government in Baidoa dissolves the cabinet; several cabinet members had quit in recent weeks.

 After finding corrosion and a leak in its oil pipelines in Alaska's Prudhoe Bay field, the oil company BP begins shutting down the pipelines in order to repair and replace them.

      Google reaches a deal with the News Corp. to provide search services and advertising to its phenomenally successful social networking site

August 8
      In Baghdad three bombs near the Interior Ministry kill 9 people, two bombs in a market claim 10 lives, and gunmen robbing a bank kill 5 others.

      Roger Goodell is elected to succeed Paul Tagliabue as commissioner of the National Football League.

August 9
      Israel's cabinet approves a plan to deploy thousands of ground troops to move farther and more quickly into Lebanon in order to push Hezbollah rocket launchers farther away from Israel.

      Nepal's interim government agrees to keep its armed forces in the barracks during elections, and the Maoist rebels agree to sequester their militia at the same time.

August 10
      British authorities say that they have arrested 24 men who planned to blow up airplanes heading to the U.S. by using liquid explosives that they intended to carry on board and mix into lethal explosives during the flight; governments of both the U.K. and the U.S. immediately ban all liquids in carry-on luggage.

      A suicide bomber's weapons detonate as he is being frisked at a checkpoint outside the Shrine of Ali, an important Shiʿite pilgrimage site, in Najaf, Iraq; at least 35 people are killed.

      A legislative committee recommends impeachment proceedings against 72 members of Brazil's legislature, representing both houses and all major parties, who are accused in a complex bid-rigging scheme with an ambulance company.

      Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero announces that 14 people have been arrested on suspicion of having deliberately set some of the dozens of forest fires burning in Galicia.

August 11
      The UN Security Council unanimously adopts a resolution calling for hostilities between Israel and Lebanon to stop, peacekeeping troops to go to southern Lebanon, and armed groups—meaning Hezbollah—to be disarmed.

      Bolivia suspends the nationalization of the oil and gas industry, saying the national petroleum company as yet lacks the capacity to take over the production of foreign companies.

      Pres. Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea fires the prime minister and the entire cabinet.

      Prominent German writer Günter Grass ignites a firestorm of controversy in both the political and the literary worlds when he reveals for the first time that he was drafted into the Waffen SS, the Nazi military branch, at the age of 17.

August 12
      Fighting in Lebanon between Hezbollah and Israeli troops intensifies as Lebanon approves the UN cease-fire resolution; the following day Israel also accepts the cease-fire.

      A treaty signed by Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Russia to address environmental degradation of the Caspian Sea goes into effect.

August 13
      Five bombings that occur in two waves kill at least 63 people in a Shiʿite neighbourhood of Baghdad.

      Kimberly Kim of the U.S. defeats Katharina Schallenberg of Germany in the U.S. women's amateur golf championship in North Plains, Ore.; at 14, Kim is the youngest-ever winner of the championship.

      The 47th Edward MacDowell Medal for outstanding contribution to the arts is awarded to Canadian short-story writer Alice Munro at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H.

August 14
      A cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah goes into effect as tens of thousands of people return to their homes in southern Lebanon, and Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's leader, declares victory.

      The long-disputed oil-rich Bakassi peninsula is officially transferred from Nigeria to Cameroon, in accordance with a 2002 ruling by the International Court of Justice.

      A roadside bomb in Columbo, Sri Lanka, fails to kill its apparent target, Pakistan's ambassador to Sri Lanka, but seven others are killed; the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam say that Sri Lankan government forces bombed a school compound, killing 61 girls.

      The computer manufacturer Dell recalls 4.1 million lithium batteries in its notebook computers because they can burst into flames; it is the biggest safety recall in the history of the consumer electronics industry.

August 15
      The UN estimates that an average of 110 Iraqis a day were killed during July, a 9% increase in the number of deaths over the previous month.

      A U.S. federal judge rules that insurance companies do not have to pay victims of Hurricane Katrina for damage from flooding associated with wind damage but do have to pay for wind damage associated with flooding.

August 16
      A media sensation is created when an American teacher and apparent pedophile, John M. Karr, is arrested in Thailand for the unsolved murder of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, who was killed at the age of six in 1996; though he seems to confess to the murder, charges are later dropped when DNA evidence excludes him as a suspect.

      Several top leaders of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), a right-wing paramilitary, are arrested; two days earlier Colombian Pres. Álvaro Uribe had threatened to extradite the leaders to the U.S. for failure to comply with the terms of a peace agreement.

      The southern Brazilian association football (soccer) team Internacional defeats São Paulo to win the Toyota Libertadores de América Cup.

August 17
      A U.S. federal judge rules that the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and should be shut down; it continues, however, pending an appeal.

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush signs into law the Pension Protection Act, which requires companies to ensure that traditional pensions for retiring employees are fully funded within the next seven years.

      At the 16th International Conference on AIDS in Toronto, scientists report on a strain of tuberculosis infecting AIDS patients in South Africa that is resistant to all known drugs.

August 18
      The Lebanese army enters southern Lebanon, reaching the border with Israel for the first time in nearly 40 years.

      The day after the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, an East African organization, suggested sending peacekeepers to Somalia in hopes of preventing civil war, Islamist leaders in Somalia declare that war would be waged against any African peacekeepers.

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves a mix of viruses called bacteriophages that can be sprayed on cold cuts and sausages to kill disease-causing Listeria bacteria.

August 19
      New Zealand defeats Australia 34 (11)–27 (20), after trailing 11–20 at halftime, to win the Rugby Union Tri-Nations title for the seventh time in 11 years.

August 20
      As thousands of pilgrims wend their way through Baghdad to a Shiʿite shrine, snipers and mortar fire from Sunni neighbourhoods kill 20 people and injure 300.

      Violence breaks out in Kinshasa as the Democratic Republic of the Congo's electoral commission announces that no presidential candidate won more than 50% of the vote in the July 30 election and a runoff must be held in October.

      In Lomé, Togo, the government of Pres. Faure Gnassingbé signs a far-reaching agreement with the opposition Union of Forces for Change calling for, among other things, a national unity government and parliamentary elections as well as new electoral laws that will permit people who had once fled the country to run for office.

      Tiger Woods defeats Shaun Micheel by five strokes to win the Professional Golfers' Association of America championship at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois.

August 21
      A bomb in a crowded Moscow market kills at least 10 people; the following day two people who say they set off the bomb in order to attack Asians are arrested.

      Domitien Ndayizeye, a member of Burundi's Senate and a former president (2003–05), is arrested in connection with an alleged coup plot.

 Tuheitia Paki is crowned king of the Maori in New Zealand.

August 22
      The UN sends peacekeepers to Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and brokers a cease-fire after three days of deadly violence between militias loyal to the two top presidential candidates that has left at least 15 people dead.

      Iran responds to a proposal from the U.S., France, Germany, and the U.K., ignoring a demand to suspend uranium enrichment by August 31 but offering substantive talks on an undefined proposal of its own.

      Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych promises that Ukraine will not take gas from Russian pipelines that go through Ukraine to Western Europe even if Ukraine is in need of the gas.

      The Fields Medals, awarded every four years to mathematicians under the age of 40, are presented to Andreiy Okounkov, Terence Tao, and Wendelin Werner; Grigory Perelman, who also won for work that is believed to have solved the Poincaré conjecture, declines the award.

      Sumner Redstone, chairman of Paramount Pictures's parent company, Viacom, announces that the movie company is severing its relationship with the production company of erratic movie star Tom Cruise.

      At the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, a British JCB Dieselmax driven by Andy Green breaks the diesel-engine land-speed record, reaching a speed of 529 km/h (328.767 mph); the previous record, 380 km/h (236 mph), was set in 1973.

August 23
      The port of Mogadishu, Somalia, is opened for the first time in more than 11 years; the city's international airport, closed for the past decade, had reopened a month previously.

      In Vienna, Natascha Kampusch, who was kidnapped in 1998 at the age of 10, escapes her captor and tells police she has been kept locked in a cellar under a garage for eight years.

August 24
      At its meeting in Prague, the International Astronomical Union decides on a definition of planets that leaves the solar system with only eight planets; in the new ruling Pluto, Ceres, and 2003 UB313 (“Xena,” later named Eris) are dwarf planets.

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the over-the-counter sale to women 18 years of age or older of the morning-after contraceptive pill known as Plan B.

      In California the Bolsa Chica wetlands-restoration project is completed after two years when the final layer of an earthen dam is removed to allow seawater to flow into the basin for the first time in 107 years.

      Nature magazine publishes a report from scientists at Advanced Cell Technology who say they have found a way to derive embryonic stem cells from embryos that are still at the blastomere stage without destroying the embryo.

August 25
      The UN Security Council votes to establish a new peacekeeping force for East Timor.

      Pavlo Lazarenko, who was prime minister of Ukraine in 1996–97, is sentenced by a U.S. federal judge in San Francisco to nine years in prison for money laundering, wire fraud, and transporting stolen goods, all crimes he committed after fleeing to the U.S. with Ukrainian public money.

August 26
      The leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army, a rebel militia in Uganda, announce that they will lay down their arms and end their war after signing a peace treaty with the Ugandan government in Juba, Sudan.

      Pres. Idriss Déby threatens to expel the American oil company Chevron and the Malaysian oil company Petronas from Chad.

August 27
      A suicide car bomb goes off in the parking lot of Al-Sabah, Iraq's main newspaper, killing two people; 50 more people are killed in various acts of violence throughout the country.

      The day after Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, a tribal leader in Pakistan's Balochistan province who has dominated local politics, was killed in a battle with the Pakistani army, rioting breaks out in the province and in Karachi.

      The National People's Congress of China passes a new bankruptcy law that is intended to protect creditors and workers of bankrupt businesses and replaces the former command-economy law; it is to go into effect on June 1, 2007.

      The Emmy Awards are presented in Los Angeles; winners include the television shows The Office and 24 and the actors Tony Shalhoub, Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Mariska Hargitay, Jeremy Piven, Alan Alda, Megan Mullally, and Blythe Danner.

      Richie Ramsay of Scotland wins the U.S. amateur golf title, defeating American John Kelly at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn.

August 28
      A gun battle between the Mahdi Army, the militia of radical Shiʿite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and the Iraqi army in Al-Diwaniyah, Iraq, leaves at least 20 combatants and 8 civilians dead; in Baghdad a car bomb outside the Interior Ministry kills 13.

      A Taliban suicide bomber detonates his weapon in a crowd of shoppers in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Afghanistan's Helmand province, killing 17 people and injuring 47.

      A bomb kills three people in the resort town of Antalya, Turkey; the previous day three bombs had gone off in Marmaris, another tourist town, injuring 21 people.

      The Columbus Northern team from Columbus, Ga., defeats the team from Kawaguchi, Japan, 2–1 to win baseball's 60th Little League World Series.

      The United States Tennis Association renames the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., in honour of retired tennis star Billie Jean King.

August 29
      Oaxaca, Mex., is shut down by a general strike to protest violence as representatives of striking teachers and civic groups who seek the removal of the state's governor fail to reach an agreement in talks with state officials and federal mediators.

August 30
      In Al-Hillah, Iraq, a bicycle rigged with explosives kills at least 12 people at an army recruiting centre; later, in a market in Baghdad, a bomb in a vendor's cart kills at least 24 people; the death toll throughout the country for the day is 65.

      The Swedish-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission releases a statement saying that it has concluded that the 17 aid workers from Action Against Hunger who were shot to death on August 6 were killed by Sri Lankan government forces.

      Officials in California announce that state legislative leaders and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have agreed to pass legislation that will require a 25% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020; California will then have the tightest controls on emissions in the U.S.

August 31
      The deadline set by Western countries for Iran to stop its enrichment of uranium passes with no action from Iran.

      A car bomb and rocket and mortar fire in Shiʿite areas of Baghdad leave at least 43 people dead.

      In the province of Yala in Thailand, bombs triggered by signals from cell phones explode nearly simultaneously in 22 banks; only one person is killed.

      The UN Security Council passes a resolution to create a peacekeeping force to be sent to the Darfur region of The Sudan; though The Sudan's ambassador to the UN says nothing, the country's government says that it rejects the resolution.

      The Scream and Madonna, the famed paintings by Edvard Munch that were stolen in 2004 from the Munch Museum in Oslo, are recovered in surprisingly good condition.

"And the devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the devil came here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today."
— Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chávez in a speech on September 20 to the UN General Assembly, referring to U.S. Pres. George W. Bush, who had addressed the Assembly the previous day

September 1
      A U.S. Department of Defense assessment of the state of security in Iraq indicates that in the period since the establishment of Iraq's new government, the number of Iraqi casualties has increased by more than 50%.

      Fourteen Pakistani Shiʿite pilgrims are shot to death and left in the desert between Anbar province and Karbalaʾ, Iraq.

September 2
      A nine-hour sea battle between forces of the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam takes place off the country's north coast; the government reports that it sank 12 LTTE boats and killed at least 80 rebels.

      UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan travels to Tehran for two days of talks with several officials on Iran's nuclear ambitions and the situation in Lebanon, where Iran supports Hezbollah.

September 3
      A major battle takes place between NATO forces and Taliban insurgents in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan; four Canadian soldiers and, according to a NATO spokesman, some 200 Taliban fighters are killed.

      The first major contingent, about 1,000 Italian troops, of an international peacekeeping force arrives in southern Lebanon.

      Spain defeats Greece 70–47 in Saitama, Japan, to win its first world championship in men's basketball.

September 4
      After two days of talks in The Sudan, the government of Somalia and the Islamist group that controls most of the country's southern regions agree to form a unified army and a peace committee to work out details of the plan.

      The government of The Sudan tells the African Union peacekeeping force in the Darfur region that the AU has a week to decide whether to continue its mission with funding from the Arab League or leave the country by the end of the month; it is not to transfer its mission to a UN force.

      Charles Champion is replaced as head of Airbus's troubled A380 superjumbo-jet program by Mario Heinen of Luxembourg.

September 5
      Mexico's highest electoral court rules that Felipe Calderón is the legitimate winner of the presidential election.

      Nine boats carrying 898 African migrants arrive at the Canary Islands, setting a record for arrivals on a single day; some 20,000 migrants have traveled to the Canary Islands so far in 2006, and hundreds have died in the attempt.

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush nominates Mary Peters to replace Norman Y. Mineta as secretary of transportation; he taps Mary A. Bomar to become director of the National Park Service.

September 6
      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush announces that 14 prominent terrorism suspects who have been held in heretofore-secret CIA prisons in undisclosed locations have been transferred to the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

      Princess Kiko, wife of Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito's younger brother, Prince Akishino, gives birth to a boy and thereby provides the royal family with a male heir and terminates a succession crisis.

      Former Illinois governor George Ryan is sentenced to six and a half years in prison after his conviction for fraud and racketeering.

 The Wynn Macau casino has its grand opening in China's Macau enclave; it is the second—and largest—Las Vegas-style casino to open on the island.

September 7
      Tony Blair declares his intention to step down as British prime minister within the next year.

      In Dar es Salaam, Tanz., Pres. Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and the head of the National Liberation Forces, the last organization still in rebellion, sign a cease-fire agreement.

      The English National Opera opens its season with the debut of Gaddafi: A Living Myth, a hip-hop opera by Steve Chandra Savale and the Asian Dub Foundation.

September 8
      Israel lifts its blockade of Lebanon's ports as a UN force begins patrolling the Lebanese coast; the previous day Israel had ended its embargo of Lebanon's air space.

      Two bombs explode in the main mosque in Malegaon, India, and a third bomb goes off outside nearby; some 30 people are killed.

      A suicide car bomber rams a U.S. military vehicle outside the U.S. embassy in Kabul, killing 16 people, 2 of them U.S. soldiers.

      The Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan sign a treaty that makes the region a nuclear-free zone, except that Russia retains the right to deploy nuclear weapons in the area under some circumstances as delineated in a 1992 agreement.

      In a ceremony in Helsinki, the second biannual Millennium Technology Prize is awarded to Shuji Nakamura, inventor of blue, green, and white LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and the blue laser diode.

      The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., inducts as members players Charles Barkley, Dominique Wilkins, and Joe Dumars, men's coach Sandro Gamba of Italy and women's coach Geno Auriemma of the U.S., and college coach and executive Dave Gavitt.

September 9
      At a demonstration attended by tens of thousands of people in Taipei, demands are made for the resignation of Pres. Chen Shui-bian.

      After two weeks of delays, mostly weather-related, the space shuttle Atlantis takes off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a mission to continue the construction of the International Space Station.

      Mariya Sharapova of Russia defeats Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium to win the women's U.S. Open tennis championship; the following day Roger Federer of Switzerland defeats American Andy Roddick to win the men's title for the third straight year.

      The Detroit Shock defeats the Sacramento Monarchs 80–75 to win the women's national basketball championship for the second time.

      The surprise winner of the Golden Lion for best picture at the Venice International Film Festival is the Chinese movie Sanxia haoren (Still Life), set during the inundation of villages by the Three Gorges Dam project.

September 10
      Montenegro's first legislative elections result in a win for Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic's Coalition for European Montenegro.

      Hakim Taniwal, the governor of Afghanistan's Paktia province, and two of his staff members are killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul.

      Sam Hornish, Jr., wins the overall IndyCar championship by finishing the season with two more victories than defending champion Dan Wheldon.

September 11
      Following his meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair the day before, Palestinian Authority Pres. Mahmoud Abbas makes a televised announcement that he and Prime Minister Ismail Haniya have tentatively agreed to form a government of national unity.

      China releases customs figures showing that its trade surplus in August reached $18.8 billion, setting a new record for the fourth month in a row.

      Iran shuts down four publications, including Shargh, the most popular reformist daily newspaper.

September 12
      At the University of Regensburg, Ger., Pope Benedict XVI—in a speech criticizing Western Europe's turning away from religion—quotes a 14th-century Byzantine emperor who was critical of Islam; the speech ignites a storm of criticism and protest in Muslim countries.

      Bolivian Minister of Energy Andrés Soliz orders the uncompensated nationalization of the country's two refineries owned by the Brazilian oil company Petrobrás; strenuous protest from Brazil leads Bolivia to suspend the order two days later, and Soliz resigns.

      A bomb kills at least 10 people in Diyarbakir in the Kurdish-populated area of Turkey.

      The financier George Soros announces that he is contributing $50 million to a large social experiment led by economist Jeffrey Sachs to end poverty in 33 villages in 10 African countries; if the techniques used are successful, the villages can serve as a model to help the rest of the continent.

      An ornithologist reports that a bird he discovered in May in the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh state has been confirmed as the first new bird found in India in over a half century; a kind of Asian babbler, the colourful bird has been named Liocichla bugunorum.

September 13
      Iraqi authorities report that 60 bodies have been found in Baghdad in the past 24 hours, and dozens more people are killed by several car bombs.

      The Spanish Association of Fashion Designers ignites controversy in the fashion world when it decrees that models with a body-mass index (BMI) below 18 will not be permitted to participate in Madrid's fashion week, scheduled to begin on September 18; a BMI between 18.5 and 25 is considered healthy.

      Researchers in Spain report having found tools in a cave in Gibraltar that strongly suggest that Neanderthals were living there some 28,000 years ago, 2,000 years more recently than Neanderthals were believed to have survived.

September 14
      U.S. health officials tell consumers not to eat any bagged fresh spinach after an outbreak of a virulent strain of E. coli bacteria has sickened at least 50 people, one of whom has died, in eight widespread states.

      Andrey Kozlov, the first deputy chairman of Russia's central bank, who was heading an effort to fight money laundering and corruption in Russia's banking system, dies from wounds he suffered when he was shot on the street the previous night in Moscow.

      In Dresden three men become the first rabbis to be ordained in Germany since the destruction of the College of Jewish Studies in Berlin in 1942 under the Nazi regime.

      The International Astronomical Union announces that it has given the dwarf planet 2003 UB313, informally known as Xena, the official name of Eris, for the Greek goddess of discord; the body's moon, first called Gabrielle, has been given the name Dysnomia, the name of Eris's daughter.

      Archaeologists report that an inscribed stone block found by road builders near San Lorenzo, Mex., is believed to represent a new writing system from 900 BC carved by the Olmec civilization some 300 years earlier than any previous example of writing in the New World.

September 15
      Arata Kochi, leader of the World Health Organization's malaria program, outspokenly calls for the wider use of DDT to combat malaria, which kills more than one million people a year in Africa, by spraying the pesticide on interior walls of houses.

      An Iraqi government spokesman announces a plan to ring Baghdad with trenches so that all traffic into and out of the city must pass through one of 28 planned checkpoints; the scheme is intended to reduce violence in the city.

      The Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., opens with a concert in which Plácido Domingo sings a new William Bolcom song cycle, Canciones de Lorca.

September 16
      In Côte d'Ivoire—after the illegal dumping of toxic black sludge in several areas of Abidjan on August 19 that killed seven people and sickened some 15,000 others resulted in the resignation of the entire cabinet—Pres. Laurent Gbagbo reinstates most of the cabinet but replaces the ministers of transportation and environment.

      The 2006 Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards are presented; winners are Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Grieder, and Jack Szostak for their prediction and discovery of the enzyme telomerase, Aaron Beck for the development of cognitive psychotherapy, and Joseph Gall for his career as a founder of modern cell biology.

September 17
      In a referendum in the secessionist province of Transnistria in Moldova, voters choose overwhelmingly to secede from Moldova and attach the province to Russia; the referendum is not internationally recognized.

      In legislative elections in Sweden, a right-of-centre coalition led by the Moderate Party wins more seats than the ruling Social Democrats, who have been in power for 12 years.

 Pope Benedict XVI issues an apology and an attempt at clarification for his speech at Regensburg, Ger., that touched off rioting and a storm of criticism; on the same day, an Italian nun is killed in Somalia, apparently in reaction to the pope's speech.

      In Mönchengladbach, Ger., the men's World Cup in field hockey is won by Germany with a 4–3 victory over Australia.

September 18
      A suicide bomber on a bicycle kills 4 Canadian soldiers in Char Kota, Afg.; another kills 11 people in Herat; and a suicide car bomber in Kabul kills 4 policemen.

      A suicide car bomber fails in his attempt to kill Somalia's transitional president, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, in Baidoa, Somalia, but does kill at least eight other people in the presidential convoy.

      Thousands of protesters rally in Budapest to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany after he admitted to having lied about the economy to win reelection in April, and fighting breaks out between the protesters and police.

      Members of the International Monetary Fund agree to modify the organization's power structure to grant a greater share of votes to China, South Korea, Turkey, and Mexico.

September 19
      Military leaders led by Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin seize power in Thailand, suspending the constitution and all government bodies.

      In Namibia's National Assembly, Herero paramount chief Kuaima Riruako describes atrocities committed against the Herero by German colonizers at the beginning of the 20th century and calls for support for a motion to demand reparations from Germany.

      The movie company 20th Century Fox introduces a new division, made to create several religious-themed movies each year, called FoxFaith; the first such movie is Love's Abiding Joy, scheduled to open on October 6.

September 20
      ʿAli ʿAbdallah Salih resoundingly wins reelection as president of Yemen.

      Shinzo Abe is elected to the presidency of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Japan.

      On the second day of the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly, Pres. Hugo Chávez of Venezuela makes an incendiary anti-American speech, electrifying the Assembly.

      The African Union's Peace and Security Council decides to extend the mandate of African Union peacekeepers in the Darfur region of The Sudan to the end of the year.

September 21
      The journal Nature announces the discovery in Ethiopia of an astonishingly complete skeleton of a three-year-old Australopithecus afarensis girl some 3.3 million years old, the earliest well-preserved hominid child ever found; paleontologists have dubbed the skeleton Selam.

      The British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson pledges to invest $3 billion in expected profit from his businesses in developing energy sources that do not increase global warming.

September 22
      Yahya Jammeh is reelected president of The Gambia.

      Hundreds of thousands of people gather in the southern suburbs of Beirut to hear Hassan Nasrallah speak at what he calls a victory rally for Hezbollah over Israel.

      A bus carrying construction workers is ambushed in Kandahar province in Afghanistan, and 19 of the workers are killed.

September 23
      On the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a bomb in Baghdad kills at least 35 people, mostly women and children, in a line to receive cooking fuel; also in Baiji, 9 people, including some policemen, are beheaded at a checkpoint.

      It is reported that the most recent National Intelligence Estimate in the U.S. has concluded that the war in Iraq is stoking Islamic radicalism and increasing the threat of terrorism.

      At the Fédération Internationale de Basketball world championship for women in São Paulo, Australia defeats Russia 91–74 to win its first women's world title in basketball.

September 24
      A sea battle between Sri Lankan naval forces and those of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam takes place off Sri Lanka's east coast; government spokesmen say 70 of the LTTE forces have been killed and 11 LTTE ships sunk.

      Voters in Switzerland choose to impose new restrictions on immigrants seeking asylum or jobs in the country.

      The second Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award is won by Haruki Murakami of Japan, author of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman: Twenty-Four Stories, and his translators, Philip Gabriel and Jay Rubin.

      Team Europe defeats the U.S. by a record-equaling 18–9 in the Ryder Cup golf tournament.

      Ethiopian runners Haile Gebrselassie and Gete Wami win the men's and women's race, respectively, in the Berlin Marathon.

September 25
      Security forces storm and take over Pavón prison in Fraijanes, Guat.; the prison, set up as a prison farm, had been seized by inmates in 1996, and they had since converted the prison into a small city under their rule.

      In London the Surrey batsman Mark Ramprakash is named Professional Cricketers' Association Player of the Year; Young Player of the Year is Essex batsman Alastair Cook for the second consecutive year.

September 26
      Shinzo Abe is installed as prime minister of Japan.

      The leader of the military junta that has seized power in Thailand, Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin, announces that a civilian prime minister will be appointed soon but that the junta will remain in an advisory capacity.

      The European Commission rules that Romania and Bulgaria can, with certain restrictions, become members of the European Union in January 2007.

      The Deutsche Oper Berlin announces that it has canceled a production of the Mozart opera Idomeneo because the staging included a scene depicting the severed heads of major religious leaders, including the Prophet Muhammad, and the company feared it could spur Islamic violence.

September 27
      After many postponements, Iran's negotiator for nuclear issues, Ali Larijani, meets for talks with the head of foreign policy for the European Union, Javier Solana, in Berlin.

      Pres. Jacques Chirac orders pensions paid to veterans from countries that had been held as colonies of France and fought for France in World War II to be raised to the same level as pensions paid to French veterans.

      For the first time ever, a hip-hop concert takes place on the stage of the Royal Albert Hall in London; the headlining artist is Jay-Z.

September 28
      Levy Mwanawasa is elected to a second term as president of Zambia.

      Thailand's auditor general discloses that Surayud Chulanont, an adviser to the king, has been chosen to serve as the country's interim prime minister.

      Following many months of increasing strain between the two neighbours, Russia recalls its ambassador from Georgia.

      Belgium's privacy-protection commission rules that the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) broke European privacy rules by cooperating with a U.S. program to search for terrorist connections in banking transactions.

      The inaugural WQXR Gramophone American Awards go to Rilke Songs, The Six Realms, and Horn Concerto by Peter Lieberson, Ayre by Osvaldo Golijov, and You Are (Variations) by Steve Reich, with a special award for dancer and choreographer Mark Morris.

September 29
      U.S. Rep. Mark Foley of Florida resigns from the House of Representatives after the revelation of a number of sexually explicit e-mails that he sent to teenage pages; Foley was head of a caucus on missing and exploited children.

      Pres. Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan meets with U.S. Pres. George W. Bush in Washington, D.C.

September 30
      A suicide bomber approaches the headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior in Kabul and detonates a device, killing at least 12 people.

      Serbia's legislature approves a draft constitution in which Kosovo is identified as an autonomous territory of Serbia; the constitution must be approved by voters as well.

"In too many places could I feel the dismay over inaction of the UN, or action that was too little or came too late…. I am determined to dispel the disillusionment."
— South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, accepting his appointment as UN secretary-general, October 13

October 1
      As Israel withdraws the last of its troops from Lebanon, gun battles break out in Gaza between Fatah-led protesters demonstrating their anger over unpaid government salaries and Hamas forces attempting to disrupt the protests; six Palestinians are killed.

      Surayud Chulanont takes office as prime minister of Thailand.

      In Palau, on the 12th anniversary of the country's independence, the town of Melekeok on the island of Babelthuap officially becomes the new capital.

      American Tiger Woods wins the world golf championship in London.

October 2
      In violence in Baghdad, eight U.S. soldiers are killed, the most in a single day since July 2005; the following day violence throughout the country kills 51 civilians.

      A gunman invades an Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and, after sending all the boys and adults out of the building, begins shooting the girls, killing four and wounding seven; he kills himself afterward.

      The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine is awarded to Americans Andrew Z. Fire and Craig C. Mello for their work in elucidating the mechanisms of “gene silencing.”

      Pres. Enrique Bolaños of Nicaragua announces plans to build a canal that would provide an alternative to the Panama Canal and accommodate larger ships than that canal does; it is anticipated that it will take at least 10 years to build.

October 3
      North Korea creates an international furor by announcing that it intends to test a nuclear weapon.

      At the close of stock market trading for the day, the Dow Jones industrial average has reached the highest level ever, 11,727.34.

      In Stockholm the Nobel Prize for Physics is awarded to American astronomers George F. Smoot and John C. Mather for their work on the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite, which contributed to scientific understanding of cosmology.

October 4
      The Nobel Prize for Chemistry is awarded to Roger D. Kornberg of the U.S. for his work showing the process of transcription of information by messenger RNA from DNA.

      The X Prize Foundation of Santa Monica, Calif., announces a $10 million prize for low-cost and quick sequencing of the human genome; the winner will sequence 100 human genomes of his choice in 10 days and those of 100 more people chosen by the foundation in six months.

      Archaeologists in Mexico City discover an Aztec altar and a large carved monolith that is thought to mark a possible entrance to an underground chamber; the find is described as the most significant made at this site since 1978.

October 5
      With its expansion into the east of the country, NATO officially takes charge of all peacekeeping and security in Afghanistan from the U.S. military.

      Milo Djukanovic resigns as prime minister of Montenegro.

      Muhammad Ridha Muhammad, a member of Iraq's Council of Representatives (legislature), is assassinated, together with his driver, in Baghdad.

October 6
      The UN Security Council issues a statement to North Korea warning it not to engage in a nuclear test and pressing it to return to the six-party talks it abandoned in 2005.

October 7
      A suicide bomber kills 14 people at an Iraqi army checkpoint in Tal Afar, Iraq; in addition, 51 bodies are found in Baghdad.

      Anna Politkovskaya, a prominent, outspoken, and independent journalist, is shot dead at her home in Moscow.

      Archaeologists in Switzerland report that at Kowm, Syria, they have found the bones of a previously unknown dromedary from some 100,000 years ago that stood about 3.7 m (12 ft) tall.

      Iranian weightlifter Hossein Rezazadeh wins his 10th world championship in the superheavyweight category in Santo Domingo, Dom.Rep.

October 8
      French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin announces that smoking will be banned in most public places in France beginning on Feb. 1, 2007, with the ban scheduled to be imposed in bars, hotels, and restaurants by Jan. 1, 2008.

      Ayatollah Mohammad Kazemeni Boroujerdi, a cleric in Iran who is opposed to clerical rule and has hundreds of supporters, is arrested in Tehran; he has been accused of sacrilege.

      Architect I.M. Pei attends the grand opening of the Suzhou Museum, which he designed, in his ancestral home in China.

October 9
      North Korea successfully tests a small nuclear weapon in a detonation in the mountains above Kilju.

      The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences goes to American Edmund S. Phelps for his explanation of the interactions of wages, inflation, and unemployment.

      The search engine company Google agrees to buy the popular video-sharing site YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock.

      On a day in which a car bomb kills 13 people and 57 bodies of other people are found in Baghdad, Amir al-Hashemi, a brother of Vice Pres. Tariq al-Hashemi, is shot to death by men in uniforms.

October 10
      Three bombs in a single neighbourhood in Baghdad kill a total of 17 people, and at least 50 bodies are found in various places in the city.

      On the Philippine island of Mindanao, a bomb goes off during a festival in Makilala, killing 6 people and injuring 29; another bomb at a market in Tacurong injures 5.

      The Man Booker Prize for Fiction goes to Anglo-Indian writer Kiran Desai for her novel The Inheritance of Loss.

      A ban on children under the age of 14 working as domestic servants or in food service goes into effect in India.

      A nonprofit American organization, One Laptop per Child, reaches an agreement with Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi to supply by June 2008 each of Libya's 1.2 million children with a low-cost wireless educational laptop computer being developed by the organization.

 Conservation groups report the discovery of a new bird in a previously unexplored part of the cloud forest in Colombia; the brightly coloured bird has been named the Yariguíes brush finch—>.

October 11
      In a battle between the Sri Lankan army and forces of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam near Jaffna, at least 129 Sri Lankan soldiers are killed; it is the army's highest death toll since the start of the 2002 cease-fire.

      The Central Committee of China's ruling Communist Party adopts Pres. Hu Jintao's proposal to “build a harmonious socialist society” by addressing income disparity, education, corruption, and pollution, as well as by promoting economic growth.

      Iraq's Council of Representatives passes a law laying out a process by which provinces might unite to form autonomous regions.

      Pres. Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic accepts the resignation of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek and his government.

      A single-engine plane carrying recently acquired New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor crashes into a 42-story building in New York City's Upper East Side; both are killed, and four people in the building are injured.

October 12
      The Nobel Prize for Literature is awarded to Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk.

      France's National Assembly passes a bill that makes it a crime punishable by jail and a heavy fine to deny that Armenians were subject to genocide by Turkey in 1915; the bill must pass the Senate and the president to become law.

      Health officials in the U.S. say that the strain of Escherichia coli that led to the outbreak of illness from eating fresh bagged spinach has been found in cattle manure on a ranch near a spinach farm in California.

      The Iranian-born artist Shirin Neshat, whose work deals with Islam and gender relations, is awarded the 2006 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize in a ceremony in New York City.

      Genetic testing confirms that a gray mouse discovered on Cyprus in 2004 is a previously undescribed species, now called Mus cypriacus; it is believed to predate human habitation on the island.

      American pop star Madonna is granted custody of a one-year-old motherless boy in Malawi in an interim adoption; the event has aroused much controversy and confusion.

October 13
      The UN General Assembly appoints South Korea's foreign minister, Ban Ki-moon, the next secretary-general of the UN; he is to take office on Jan. 1, 2007.

      The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus and the bank he founded, Grameen Bank, for their pioneering work to help alleviate poverty through the use of microcredit.

      A tournament to produce the first undisputed world chess champion in 13 years concludes in Elista, the capital of the Russian republic of Kalmykia, with the new champion being Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, who wins the match 81/2 to 71/2 over Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria.

October 14
      The UN Security Council, in response to North Korea's nuclear test, votes to impose strict sanctions on North Korea, including giving all countries the right to inspect all cargo going into or out of the country.

      The government of The Sudan signs a peace accord with the Eastern Front, a rebel movement that has been fighting the government in eastern Sudan for a decade.

      After the bodies of 14 Shiʿite construction workers are found in Al-Duluiyah, a Sunni town in Iraq, residents in the nearby Shiʿite town of Balad kill at least 26 Sunni from Al-Duluiyah.

      St. Helens defeats Hull FC in the Super League Grand Final in British Rugby League football.

October 15
      A suicide truck bomber attacks a convoy of unarmed navy personnel in central Sri Lanka; at least 94 people are killed.

      A presidential election in Ecuador in which 13 candidates are running for office results in the need for a runoff election, to be held in late November.

      After an investigation, police in Israel recommend that the attorney general file charges of rape and sexual assault against Israeli Pres. Moshe Katsav.

      The Stirling Prize for architecture is awarded to the new terminal at Madrid's Barajas International Airport, designed by the Richard Rogers Partnership in London and Studio Lamela in Madrid.

      The ninth annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor is presented to playwright Neil Simon in a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

      In Palm Desert, Calif., Lorena Ochoa of Mexico outscores Annika Sörenstam of Sweden to win the Ladies Professional Golf Association world championship.

October 16
      Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Russia report that they have produced a new superheavy atom, element 118.

      The total number of coalition military deaths in Iraq passes 3,000, of whom 2,759 are American troops.

October 17
      After reaching an agreement with tribal elders to return the area to Afghan security control, British forces pull out of Musa Qalʿeh district in Afghanistan's Helmand province.

      Iceland announces that it intends to resume commercial whaling, in defiance of an international ban.

      The population of the United States reaches 300 million; the 200 million mark was achieved in 1967 and the 100 million mark in 1915.

      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush signs into law legislation that sets up new rules for interrogating and prosecuting terrorism suspects that differ from the rules for criminal suspects.

October 18
      The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam detonate suicide boats near a navy base at the port and tourist city of Galle in southern Sri Lanka; it is the first time the war has come to that part of the country.

      Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki meets in Najaf with Shiʿite leaders Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and Moktada al-Sadr in hopes of finding a way to stem sectarian violence.

      In Tokyo the 18th Praemium Imperiale prizes are awarded to American composer Steve Reich for music, Russian dancer Maya Plisetskaya for theatre and film, Yayoi Kusama of Japan for painting, Christian Boltanski of France for sculpture, and Frei Otto of Germany for architecture.

October 19
      For the first time ever, the Dow Jones industrial average closes above 12,000 on the stock market.

      A spokesman for the U.S. military command in Iraq reports that the 12-week campaign to regain control of Baghdad has resulted in an increase in violence and a sharp rise in U.S. combat deaths.

      U.S. scientists report that in late September the ozone hole over Antarctica reached the record size of 29.5 million sq km (about 11.4 million sq mi).

      Russia suspends a large number of foreign organizations that have not yet been approved under new registration laws; the organizations include Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the American Bar Association, the American Trade Council, and the French and Belgian offices of Doctors Without Borders.

October 20
      Fighting breaks out in Al-ʿAmarah, Iraq, between members of the Mahdi Army and members of the Badr Organization, both Shiʿite militias; at least 25 people are left dead.

October 21
      Somali government troops retake the town of Buurhakaba from the Islamist forces that have occupied much of the country; the town lies close to Baidoa, where the interim government of Somalia is based.

      In Mahmudiyah, Iraq, bombs left on motorcycles at the city's main market kill at least 16 people.

      At the inaugural RomeFilmFest, the award for best film goes to the Russian film Izobrazhaya zhertvu (“Playing the Victim”), while the Jury Special Prize goes to the British film This Is England.

October 22
      The government of The Sudan expels Jan Pronk, the UN envoy to the country; Pronk has been outspoken on the subject of the atrocities taking place in the Darfur region and has recently posted unflattering reports about government forces in his personal blog.

      Voters in Panama resoundingly approve a plan to enlarge the Panama Canal so that it will be able to handle modern container ships, tankers, and cruise liners; its capacity will be doubled.

      Robert K. Cheruiyot of Kenya slips and falls at the finish line but nonetheless wins the Chicago Marathon, with a time of 2 hr 7 min 35 sec; the winning woman is Berhane Adere of Ethiopia, with a time of 2 hr 20 min 42 sec.

October 23
      The Ford Motor Co. reports its biggest quarterly loss in 14 years.

      The Kurdistan regional government in Iraq submits to its legislature a proposed law regarding the control of oil production in the region; the majority of Iraq's oil resources are in Kurdistan.

      Sri Lanka's governing party and the main opposition party pledge mutual cooperation ahead of planned peace talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam; without such cooperation, constitutional changes would be impossible.

      Protesters demanding the resignation of Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany clash with police in Budapest during a celebration marking the 50th anniversary of Hungary's uprising against Soviet domination.

October 24
      Government officials in Chad report that rebels seeking the overthrow of Pres. Idriss Déby have overrun the town of Goz Beida.

      The government of Niger announces that it plans to deport some 100,000 nomadic Arabs to Chad within the next five days; under international pressure, however, the plan is dropped three days later.

      Cynthia Carroll is named to replace Tony Trahar as CEO of Anglo American, the second biggest mining company in the world.

October 25
      For the first time in a month, battles take place between Taliban fighters and NATO troops; some 48 Taliban are killed near Kandahar, Afg., and NATO bombing reportedly kills some 30 civilians in the village of Zangabad.

      At night, gangs of young men begin attacking passenger buses on the outskirts of Paris, setting them on fire and leaving passengers barely able to escape.

October 26
      The Dow Jones industrial average closes at 12,163.66, a new trading record, while the Nasdaq composite index closes at its highest level since February 2001, and the Standard & Poor's 500 closes at its highest point since November 2000.

      A law that for the first time provides women with protection against domestic abuse from their husbands or partners goes into effect in India.

      Nicaragua's legislature passes a ban, without exception, on all abortions.

      The winner of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is announced as Belarusian opposition leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich.

October 27
      Iran announces that it has begun enriching uranium in a second cascade of centrifuges, effectively doubling its capacity for nuclear enrichment.

      The St. Louis Cardinals defeat the Detroit Tigers 4–2 in St. Louis in the fifth game of the World Series to win their 10th Major League Baseball championship.

      In Michigan the last Ford Taurus rolls off the assembly line; the car was introduced in 1986.

      A Russian commission determines that during a trip to Russia in August, King Juan Carlos I of Spain did not fire a gun and thus was innocent of killing a tame and drunken bear; the accusations had drawn a great deal of unfavourable attention.

October 28
      Mexican Pres. Vicente Fox orders federal troops to end the crisis in Oaxaca, which has been riven by protests for five months; thousands of troops move into the area the following day.

October 29
      In runoff presidential elections, incumbent presidents Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Georgi Purvanov of Bulgaria are victorious.

      In a nationwide vote in Serbia, the new constitution, which among other things asserts Serbia's claim to UN-administered Kosovo, is approved.

      Pres. Iajuddin Ahmed of Bangladesh has himself sworn in as interim prime minister ahead of elections.

      The first Internet Governance Forum, sponsored by the UN, opens in Greece.

      The board of trustees at Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C.—the world's leading educational institution for the deaf—bows to weeks of unrelenting protests by students and terminates the contract of Jane K. Fernandes to serve as the university's president.

October 30
      A British report commissioned by the government and compiled by Sir Nicholas Stern, head of the government economic service, predicts cataclysmic effects from global warming and indicates the need for urgent action to forestall disaster.

      A bomb goes off in the morning near food stalls in Baghdad, killing 33 Shiʿite day labourers; five other bombs in the city bring the death toll to 46.

      Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet is put under house arrest on charges that include torture and murder from incidents during his 17-year rule.

 The Prix Femina is awarded to Nancy Huston (photo, top), for Lignes de faille, and for non-French writing to Irish author Nuala O'Faolain—>, for The Story of Chicago May.

October 31
      North Korea agrees to return to nuclear disarmament talks.

      Pres. Kurmanbek Bakiyev of Kyrgyzstan agrees to a new constitution that would decrease the power of the president in favour of that of the legislature.

      An appeals court in China overturns the conviction of blind human rights advocate Chen Guangcheng and orders a retrial.

      China returns the review of all death sentences to the Supreme People's Court from provincial courts, which were given the power of review in 1983; thousands of people are executed annually in China.

"The impact of climate change will fall disproportionately on the world's poorest countries, many of them here in Africa. Poor people already live on the front lines of pollution, disaster, and the degradation of resources and land."
— UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, addressing the UN conference on climate change in Nairobi, November 15

November 1
      The Arab League reports that attempts at negotiations between Somalia's transitional national government and Islamist forces have utterly failed.

      The UN Security Council extends the mandate of the transitional government in Côte d'Ivoire for a further year, until Oct. 31, 2007, but drastically curtails the powers of Pres. Laurent Gbagbo and increases those of Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny.

      The government of Uganda signs a revised truce with the rebel group the Lord's Resistance Army that gives the leaders of that group more time to respond.

      The name of the Indian city of Bangalore officially changes to Bengaluru (Bengalooru).

November 2
      The UN reports that militia attacks in the Darfur region of The Sudan in the past week have killed scores of civilians, including 27 young children.

      Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, resigns as head pastor of the New Life megachurch in Colorado Springs, Colo., after a former male prostitute says that he had a three-year affair with Haggard, who has publicly opposed gay sex and same-sex marriage.

      At the Latin Grammy Awards in New York City, Colombian singer Shakira wins four awards, including song of the year and record of the year for “La Tortura” and album of the year for Fijación oral, Vol. 1.

November 3
      A study is published in the journal Science showing that if no adjustments are made in current fisheries practices, the entire marine ecosystem is likely to collapse by 2048.

      An appeals court in Seoul sentences Kim Woo Choong, the founder and former chairman of the now-defunct conglomerate Daewoo, to eight and a half years in prison; Kim is ordered to forfeit $19 billion and pay a fine of $10,700.

 Several days after a herd of horses is marooned by flooding in a nature preserve near Marrum, Neth., members of a riding club succeed in leading about 100 of the animals to safety; previous rescue attempts had failed, and 19 horses drowned.

November 4
      In ceremonies at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Katharine Jefferts Schori is formally installed as the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA.

      In the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., the Uruguayan champion Invasor surprises prognosticators by passing Bernardini to win by a length.

November 5
      Deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein is found guilty by an Iraqi court for the death of 148 people in Dujail in 1982 and for the subsequent persecution of the townspeople; he is sentenced to be hanged.

      Voters go to the polls in Nicaragua to choose among five candidates for president; the winner is Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista National Liberation Front.

      In Mumbai (Bombay), Australia defeats West Indies to win its first International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy.

November 6
      Imomali Rakhmonov is reelected president of Tajikistan in elections that are boycotted by the main opposition and that fail to meet international standards.

      Pres. Kurmanbek Bakiyev of Kyrgyzstan fires his interior minister, while opposition legislators propose changes to the constitution to decrease the power of the presidency.

      Israeli forces begin pulling back from the Gaza Strip after protracted fighting, but negotiations on a unity government between Palestinian Authority Pres. Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniya fail to finalize an agreement.

      Lakshmi Mittal, the president of the recently formed Arcelor Mittal steel company, based in Luxembourg, takes over the position of CEO from Roland Junck.

      The Prix Goncourt is awarded to American author Jonathan Littell for his controversial novel written in French, Les Bienveillantes; he is the first American to win the prize.

      A fire destroys part of the family-owned Gatorland theme park near Orlando, Fla., killing a crocodile and two pythons, though the majority of the animals are not harmed.

November 7
      In legislative elections in the U.S., the Democratic Party gains control over the House of Representatives; with the aid of two independents, Democrats will also have a narrow majority in the Senate.

      After weeks of deadlocked votes between Venezuela and Guatemala, a compromise candidate, Panama, wins election to a two-year nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council.

      Australian Prime Minister John Howard calls a meeting to address the country's worsening drought, which threatens to devastate the Murray-Darling basin; David Dreverman, general manager of River Murray Water, calls the six-year drought the worst the continent has experienced in 1,000 years.

      The delivery company FedEx cancels its order for 10 Airbus A380s because of production delays for the giant plane, changing its order to 15 Boeing 777 freighters.

November 8
      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush announces the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense and names Robert Gates, a former CIA director, as his successor.

      A new constitution is officially promulgated in Serbia.

      The government of Nepal and Maoist rebels reach an agreement whereby weapons of the Maoists will be locked up and fighters confined to quarters and the rebel organization will join the interim government.

      Scientists report a new genetic study that suggests that there was some limited interbreeding between modern humans and Neanderthals and that Neanderthal genes may have contributed to the success of modern humans as a species.

      Authorities in China announce a new rule banning residents in several parts of Beijing from owning more than one dog; the policy is intended to help counteract an outbreak of rabies.

November 9
      The Bank of England raises interest rates one quarter of a percent to 5%, the highest rate since August 2001.

      Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert apologizes for the killing of 18 Palestinian civilians in Beit Hanun, Gaza, the previous day and offers to meet the Palestinian Authority president.

      The International Criminal Court begins hearings in its first prosecution, of former warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

      Margaret F.C. Chan of Hong Kong is elected director general of the World Health Organization, replacing Lee Jong Wook, who died in May.

November 10
      In the Pakistani town of Shakai in South Waziristan, a roadside bomb kills pro-government tribal chief Malik Khajan and eight other people.

      A member of Sri Lanka's Parliament from the Tamil National Alliance (considered to be the political wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) is assassinated in Colombo.

      In Quantico, Va., U.S. Pres. George W. Bush dedicates the new National Museum of the Marine Corps.

      The 22nd annual Kyoto Prizes are awarded in Japan to Leonard A. Herzenberg for advanced technology, to Hirotogu Akaike for basic sciences, and to Issey Miyake for arts and philosophy.

November 11
      The U.S. vetoes a UN Security Council resolution taking Israel to task for disproportionate violence in Gaza and calling on Palestinians to take action to end rocket fire into Israel.

      After Lebanese government talks with Hezbollah collapse over Hezbollah's demand for veto power over all legislation, Shiʿite ministers resign from the government.

November 12
      Islamist forces in Somalia take several towns in the vicinity of the northern town of Galcaio.

      The reclusive Joseph Kony, head of the Ugandan terrorist gang the Lord's Resistance Army, meets with UN representative Jan Egeland.

      In an unrecognized plebiscite, voters in the separatist South Ossetia territory overwhelmingly vote for independence from Georgia.

      The Houston Dynamo wins the Major League Soccer title with a 4–3 victory on penalty kicks over the New England Revolution at the MLS Cup game in Frisco, Texas.

November 13
      The U.S. House of Representatives votes down a measure to grant permanent normal trade relations with Vietnam that is favoured by U.S. Pres. George W. Bush.

      Reuters discloses a UN report on violations of an arms embargo on Somalia that says that more than 700 Islamist militants from Somalia fought alongside Hezbollah in its recent war with Israel.

      Ground is broken on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial.

November 14
      In Baghdad, armed men in Iraqi police uniforms and driving trucks with Interior Ministry markings invade the Ministry of Higher Education, kidnapping at least 55 and possibly as many as 150 people.

      For the third day in a row, Bangladesh is paralyzed by tens of thousands of protesters demanding the removal of four officials of the Election Commission whom they believe will prevent elections scheduled for January 2007 from being fair.

      The UN reports that over the past 10 days, Chadian Arab militiamen have killed at least 220 people in the country in horrific violence.

      South Africa's legislature passes a bill that legalizes same-sex marriage, though it does not require officials to perform such marriages.

      Japan approves a ban on the export of 24 luxury items to North Korea; the items are ones favoured by the ruling elite of North Korea.

November 15
      As the UN climate conference opens in Nairobi, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his opening speech, decries the lack of leadership on the issue of climate change.

      Turkey suspends military relations with France; both countries are members of NATO.

      Al-Jazeera English, a new television news channel, goes on the air, broadcasting from Doha, Qatar; the station will broadcast in English from studios around the world and will be available to 80 million homes.

      The John W. Kluge Prize for the Study of Humanity is awarded to historians John Hope Franklin and Yu Ying-shih.

      The National Book Awards are presented in New York City; poet Adrienne Rich is given the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

November 16
      For the first time, The Sudan agrees to allow a joint United Nations and African Union peacekeeping force to be deployed in the Darfur region.

      France's Socialist Party elects Ségolène Royal as its candidate in the presidential election to be held in April 2007.

      In the face of violent and unrelenting protests, the government of Tonga agrees to allow most of the legislature to be popularly elected, rather than appointed, in elections to be held in 2008.

      The much-anticipated Sony PlayStation 3 gaming system goes on sale at midnight throughout the U.S.

November 17
      Russia's State Duma (lower legislative house) approves new election laws that eliminate minimum turnout rules, allow the government to ban candidates, and forbid criticism of electoral opponents.

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration rescinds a 14-year-old ban on the use of silicone-gel breast implants, allowing them to be used for breast reconstruction and, for women over the age of 21, for cosmetic augmentation.

November 18
      In Madagascar, one day after General Andrianafidisoa issued leaflets announcing a military coup, he is greeted by gunfire at a military base where he was seeking support; in an exchange of gunfire between his supporters and government forces, one government soldier is killed.

      After two days of rioting that has left at least eight people dead in Nuku'alofa, Tonga, troops from New Zealand and Australia arrive to restore order.

      Pres. Enrique Bolaños of Nicaragua signs legislation forbidding abortion under any circumstances.

November 19
      Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, makes a televised speech calling for street demonstrations to bring down Lebanon's government.

      The sudden illness of Alexander V. Litvinenko, a former KGB operative and outspoken opponent of the Russian government living in exile in Great Britain, attracts the attention of the British police because it appears to be a case of poisoning.

      The American mining company Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold agrees to buy Phelps Dodge, the world's second largest copper-producing company, to create the biggest publicly traded copper concern in the world.

      The B.C. Lions capture the 94th Canadian Football League Grey Cup, defeating the Montreal Alouettes 25–14.

November 20
      Iraq and Syria reestablish diplomatic relations, which Syria had severed in 1982; also, some 90 people are killed throughout Iraq, including Walid Hassan Jiaaz, the host of a popular comedy show.

      Pres. Hu Jintao of China arrives in New Delhi for a four-day visit; it is the first time in 10 years that a Chinese head of state has visited India.

 In Mexico losing presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador—> announces that he is launching a parallel government and has himself sworn in as president in front of tens of thousands of supporters in Mexico City.

      In the face of widespread criticism, the News Corp. cancels the planned publication by its subsidiary ReganBooks of a book by O.J. Simpson titled If I Did It, describing how he might have murdered his former wife and her friend, as well as a televised interview with Simpson on the same subject.

      A consortium of seven newspaper chains comprising 176 dailies in the U.S. announces a partnership with the Internet provider Yahoo in which first classified ads and later all content are to be shared.

      The U.S. Mint unveils four new one-dollar coins, each bearing the likeness of one of the first four U.S. presidents; it plans a series that over the next 10 years will feature every deceased president.

November 21
      In Kathmandu, Nepali Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist rebel leader Prachanda sign a peace agreement that will bring the Maoists into the transitional government, taking 73 seats in the country's legislature.

      Pierre Gemayal, Lebanon's minister of industry and an opponent of Syrian influence in Lebanon, is assassinated in Beirut.

      An agreement is reached by the U.S., the EU, China, India, Japan, Russia, and South Korea to build an experimental nuclear fusion reactor called ITER in France in hopes of producing safe and inexhaustible energy.

November 22
      In legislative elections in The Netherlands, the centre-right Christian Democratic Party of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende retains its majority, but its coalition partner loses ground; the liberal Labour Party is the most likely new partner.

      The UN reports that 3,709 Iraqis were killed in October, setting a new record.

      FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), the governing body of world association football (soccer), suspends Iran from international play, citing government interference with the independence of the country's football federation.

      Archaeologists report the finding of a rich tomb complex dating from the pre-Inca Sican era (AD 800–1300) near Ferreñafe, Peru.

      Pres. Vicente Fox of Mexico inaugurates the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT), situated atop Sierra Negra in Puebla state; the installation will capture electromagnetic radiation at wavelengths from 0.85 to 4 mm (0.03 to 0.16 in).

      The inaugural Bolshaya Kniga (“Big Book”) Prize, a literary award sponsored by the Russian government and underwritten and judged by several oligarchs, is given to Dmitry Bykov for his biography Boris Pasternak.

November 23
      A judge in France calls for Pres. Paul Kagame of Rwanda to be tried in a UN court for complicity in the plane crash that killed Pres. Juvénal Habyarimana in 1994, igniting 100 days of genocide; some 25,000 Rwandans rally in protest.

      Russian opposition figure Alexander V. Litvinenko dies in a London hospital with the cause of his poisoning still unclear.

      In Baghdad, Sunni insurgents besiege the Shiʿite-run Health Ministry from all directions for two hours; later five car bombs and a mortar shell kill more than 200 people in the Shiʿite Sadr City neighbourhood.

November 24
      Rwanda cuts off diplomatic ties with France.

      Authorities in London say they have determined that Russian opposition figure Alexander V. Litvinenko was killed by poisoning with the very rare radioactive substance polonium 210.

      The government of Azerbaijan suspends the license of the country's only private TV and radio station.

November 25
      Palestinian Authority Pres. Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agree to a full cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

      At least 47 Sunni insurgents are killed in gun battles with Iraqi security forces in Baʿqubah; 21 corpses are found in Balad Ruz and 17 in Baghdad, and the U.S. military reports that it killed 22 insurgents and a civilian in battles north of Baghdad.

November 26
      A runoff presidential election in Ecuador is won by leftist candidate Rafael Correa.

      Construction begins on the Xiangjiaba dam project on the upper reaches of the Chang Jiang (Yangtze River) in China.

      Yokozuna Asashoryu finishes the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament with a perfect record after defeating ozeki Chiyotaikai in the final bout in Fukuoka, Japan; he had won his 19th Emperor's Cup the previous day.

      Japanese star Deep Impact comes from behind to win the Japan Cup Thoroughbred horse race by two lengths over Dream Passport; Deep Impact had been disqualified from its previous race, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in France, after failing a drug test.

November 27
      In a speech, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offers a prisoner release, the release of embargoed moneys, and further negotiations if Palestine achieves a national unity government and releases the Israeli soldier captured earlier in the year.

      Canada's legislature passes a motion introduced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper that recognizes French-speaking people of Quebec as a nation within Canada; the motion makes no changes to laws or to the constitution.

      The U.S. dollar falls to its lowest point in 20 months against the euro.

November 28
      Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Turkey for a four-day visit during which he will meet with the country's top Muslim leader and pray at Istanbul's Blue Mosque.

      U.S. military forces shooting at suspected insurgents in Iraq's Anbar province kill six people in a house, five of them girls; at least 30 bodies are found and 4 people are killed in Baghdad, and at least 19 people are killed or found dead in Diyala province.

      The Spanish power company Iberdrola, a leader in the production of wind power, announces that it will acquire ScottishPower.

      Bolivia's Chamber of Senators passes a land-redistribution bill proposed by Pres. Evo Morales and previously approved by the Chamber of Deputies.

November 29
      At the last minute, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki cancels a planned dinner meeting with U.S. Pres. George W. Bush and King Abdullah II of Jordan in Amman, Jordan; a breakfast meeting does take place the following day, however.

      A U.S. federal judge rules that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) incorrectly denied long-term housing assistance to thousands of Hurricane Katrina evacuees and must restore assistance and pay back rent and must also clarify a complex and arbitrary appeals process.

November 30
      Typhoon Durian roars across the Philippines, triggering landslides, mostly on the slopes of Mt. Mayon, that sweep away entire villages and leave more than 1,000 people dead or missing.

      Palestinian Authority Pres. Mahmoud Abbas announces that negotiations for a national unity government in Palestine have failed.

      A suicide bomb kills at least eight people at a checkpoint outside Baidoa, Somalia, the seat of the interim government.

      The Peace and Security Council of the African Union extends the organization's mandate in the Darfur region of The Sudan a further six months.

      Thousands of protesters in Bangladesh demand that Pres. Iajuddin Ahmed resign as interim prime minister.

"We always knew these Islamists weren't all they were cracked up to be. And now we are where they used to be, in control of Mogadishu—well, as much as anyone can be in control of Mogadishu."
— Abdirizak Adam Hassan, chief of staff for Somalia's transition president, after national forces retook the capital, December 28

December 1
      In a very brief ceremony accompanied by fisticuffs and catcalls in the Chamber of Deputies, Felipe Calderón is sworn in as president of Mexico.

      The UN Security Council agrees to send personnel to monitor the peace agreement and elections in Nepal.

      Hundreds of thousands of people turn out in the streets of Beirut to demand the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora; demonstrations continue through the end of the year.

      The Supreme Council (legislature) in Ukraine votes to remove Boris I. Tarasyuk as foreign minister, though the country's new constitution makes it unclear whether the body has that authority.

      The 15th Asian Games, featuring more than 10,500 athletes, open in Khalifa Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

      The British newspaper The Independent commemorates World AIDS Day by donating a portion of its cover price to combating the disease in Africa.

December 2
      Three car bombs explode in rapid succession in Baghdad, killing at least 51 people, while some 20 other people are killed in other incidents throughout the city.

      On the final day of weeklong celebrations of the 80th birthday of Pres. Fidel Castro in Cuba, postponed from the time of his actual birthday in August, the president fails to appear.

      The National World War I Museum opens in Kansas City, Mo.; it is the only American museum that focuses on that war.

      The German film Das Leben der Anderen takes top honours at the European Film Awards in Warsaw.

December 3
      Hugo Chávez wins reelection as president of Venezuela in a landslide.

      In an interview with the BBC, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says that Iraq is in a state of civil war.

      The annual Kennedy Center Honors are presented in Washington, D.C., to film director Steven Spielberg, theatre composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, orchestra conductor Zubin Mehta, and singers Dolly Parton and Smokey Robinson.

      Russia, led by Marat Safin, defeats Argentina in Moscow to win the Davis Cup in men's team tennis.

      In Tokyo, Brazil defeats Poland to win the 2006 men's volleyball world championship for its second consecutive world title.

December 4
      A merger between the Bank of New York and Pittsburgh's Mellon Financial is announced; the new financial services giant is to be called Bank of New York Mellon Corp.

      John R. Bolton resigns as U.S. ambassador to the UN.

      NASA announces plans to establish a permanent base on the Moon beginning in about 2020.

 Britain's Turner Prize is presented to painter Tomma Abts—> (photo) by artist Yoko Ono.

December 5
      Frank Bainimarama announces that the military has taken over the government in Fiji in the country's fourth coup in 19 years.

      Pres. Pervez Musharraf proposes self-government in Kashmir with a joint-supervision mechanism, which, if accepted by India, would result in Pakistan's abandoning its claim to the region.

      The New York City Board of Health bans the use of almost all trans fats in foods served in restaurants.

December 6
      The bipartisan Iraq Study Group delivers its report to U.S. Pres. George W. Bush; the blue-ribbon panel recommends moving toward a policy of disengagement.

      Joseph Kabila is sworn in as the first democratically elected president in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in over 40 years.

      Frank Bainimarama, the leader of the coup that overthrew Fiji's government on December 5, declares a state of emergency; Jona Senilagakali is sworn in as acting prime minister.

      The UN Security Council authorizes the establishment of a force by the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development to provide protection and training to the interim government in Somalia.

      Scientists report that photographs taken several years apart by the Mars Global Surveyor show evidence that strongly suggests the occasional flow of water on the surface of Mars.

December 7
      At least 23 people are killed in various bombings and shootings in Iraq, and 35 bullet-riddled bodies are found in Baghdad.

      Gen. Bantz J. Craddock of the U.S. Army is sworn in as supreme allied commander of NATO, replacing Gen. James L. Jones of the U.S. Marines.

      The Seminole Tribe of Florida announces that it has bought Hard Rock International, the chain of restaurants, hotels, and casinos, from the Rank Group in Great Britain.

December 8
      The Commonwealth suspends Fiji's membership.

      The U.S. House of Representatives passes a bill favoured by Pres. George W. Bush permitting the sale of civilian nuclear reactors and fuel to India.

December 9
      In the Darfur region of The Sudan, unidentified gunmen on horseback attack a truck carrying medical and aid supplies and kill about 30 civilians, some shot and some burned alive.

      Shiʿite militiamen overrun the Hurriyah neighbourhood of Baghdad, forcing all Sunni families from their homes and out of the area.

      The space shuttle Discovery successfully takes off at night from Cape Canaveral, Florida, for a mission to do construction work on the International Space Station.

December 10
      Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet dies in Santiago.

      In the first world boxing title fight to take place in Russia, Kazakhstan-born American Oleg Maskaev wins a unanimous decision over Peter Okhello to retain the World Boxing Council heavyweight championship.

December 11
      The European Union imposes a partial freeze on Turkey's membership negotiations in response to Turkey's refusal to open its ports to Cyprus.

      Dubai's port company DP World sells its holdings in the U.S. to a unit of the American International Group (AIG), an insurance company.

      The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons grants the U.S. and Russia a five-year extension, to 2012, of the deadline for destroying their stockpiles of chemical weapons under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

      An international conference on the Holocaust convenes in Iran; it is attended by Holocaust deniers, white supremicists, and discredited scholars, none of whom apparently supports the idea that the Holocaust actually took place.

      It is announced that the National Basketball Association will return to playing with leather balls on Jan. 1, 2007; synthetic microfibre balls were introduced at the beginning of the season and were profoundly disliked by players.

December 12
      At the end of a 12-year case in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian High Court finds former dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam and 70 of his officials guilty of genocide; Mengistu, who ruled Ethiopia in 1977–91, is in exile in Zimbabwe.

      At a policy meeting in Kandahar, Afghan Pres. Hamid Karzai warns that Taliban elements are being supported in Pakistan and that a failure to bring peace to Afghanistan would destabilize the entire region.

      Geophysical Research Letters publishes a modeling study showing that it is likely that during the summer months the Arctic Ocean will be largely open water as early as 2040, decades earlier than expected.

      Alyaksandr Milinkevich, an opposition politician and unsuccessful presidential candidate in Belarus, is awarded the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

December 13
      A court in Botswana rules that the Basarwa (San) people were wrongly evicted from their ancestral lands in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and are entitled to live and hunt there but that the government is not required to provide services to them should they return to the reserve.

      The UN General Assembly unanimously adopts an international convention for civil and political rights of the disabled, including accessibility rights.

      The day after the murder of three young sons of senior Palestinian security officer and Fatah member Baha Balousha in Gaza City, prominent Hamas militant Bassam al-Farah is ambushed and executed in the southern Gaza Strip.

      Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu state is sworn in as Malaysia's 13th king in a traditional ceremony in Kuala Lumpur; after five years the kingship will rotate to the sultan of another state.

December 14
      South Korean Ban Ki-moon is sworn in as secretary-general of the United Nations.

      Israel stops Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya from returning to the Gaza Strip from Egypt for seven hours until he agrees to leave behind the large amounts of cash he is carrying; cash brought in from other countries is the only means now open to the Palestinian Authority to pay government expenses.

      New Jersey becomes the third U.S. state to allow same-sex couples to form civil unions.

December 15
      U.S. Pres. George W. Bush awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Ruth Johnson Colvin, Norman C. Francis, Paul Johnson, B.B. King, Joshua Lederberg, David McCullough, Norman Y. Mineta, Buck O'Neil, William Safire, and Natan Sharansky.

December 16
      King Jigme Singye Wangchuk of Bhutan abdicates, two years earlier than previously announced, in favour of his son, Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk.

      Palestinian Authority Pres. Mahmoud Abbas orders early presidential and parliamentary elections; Hamas officials declare the edict illegal.

      A day of internecine violence in the Gaza Strip ends with a cease-fire agreement between the forces of Fatah and Hamas.

December 17
      In a legally problematic move, two large and five small parishes in Virginia vote to secede from the Episcopal Church, USA, and affiliate themselves with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, which is presided over by the conservative archbishop of Nigeria.

      Nigeria's ruling People's Democratic Party chooses Umaru Yar'Adua as its candidate in the 2007 presidential election.

      France announces that it is pulling some 200 special forces troops from Jalalabad, Afg., where they have been engaging in counterinsurgency actions with U.S. troops.

      The Sport Club Internacional do Pôrto Alegre of Brazil defeats FC Barcelona in Japan to win the FIFA Club World Cup in association football (soccer).

      The Algerian film Barakat! is named best film at the third Dubai International Film Festival.

December 18
      Representatives of China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Russia, and the U.S. meet in Beijing in renewed negotiations over North Korea's nuclear program.

      The NASA Ames Research Center and the Internet search-engine company Google sign the Space Act Agreement, a technology-sharing pact that will involve collaboration on an array of projects.

      Milan's fashion industry agrees to ban models with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 18.5 from the runways during its fashion week, considered the world's top show, to take place in February 2007.

      A controversial staging by the Deutsche Oper in Berlin of Mozart's opera Idomeneo that features the severed heads of Jesus Christ, Buddha, the Prophet Muhammad, and Poseidon is produced under heavy security.

      An arrest is made in the death of five prostitutes near Trimley St. Martin, Suffolk, Eng., in a case that has riveted the country; later a different man is charged with the murders.

December 19
 For the second time, five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor are sentenced to death in Libya for having deliberately infected children in a hospital in Benghazi with HIV; experts have suggested that the 1998 outbreak of HIV in the hospital predated the arrival of the defendants. (Photo)

      Battles between masked gunmen from Fatah and Hamas leave five people dead in Gaza City, in spite of public pleas from both Pres. Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniya of Palestine.

December 20
      In a ceremony Al-Najaf becomes the third Iraqi province transferred to Iraqi control from U.S. control; in Baghdad at least 114 people are killed or found dead.

      The UN Security Council extends its ban on the export of diamonds from Liberia, first imposed in 2001, until further review in June 2007.

      Denver is paralyzed when a major blizzard covers the metro area with 51–127 cm (20–50 in) of snow, bringing all travel, from cars and light rail to aviation, to a halt.

      A judge in Vienna frees David Irving from prison after he has served 13 months of a three-year sentence for denying the Holocaust.

December 21
      Saparmurad Niyazov, Turkmenistan's capricious and autocratic president, dies unexpectedly.

      The U.S. Marine Corps charges four Marines with murder in the killing of 24 civilians in the Iraqi village of Haditha in November 2005; also, four officers are charged with dereliction of duty.

      The forces of the transitional national government in Somalia, backed by Ethiopian troops, defeat Islamist fighters in a major battle near Baidoa.

      The First Emperor, an opera by Chinese American composer Tan Dun—featuring a libretto by Tan Dun and novelist Ha Jin, staged by film producer Zhang Yimou, and starring tenor Plácido Domingo in the title role—receives its premiere performance at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

December 22
      Six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program end with no discernible progress, owing largely to intransigence on the part of both North Korea and the U.S.

      Georgia signs a short-term contract with Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom to purchase natural gas at double the previous price even as Georgia negotiates an alternative supply of gas from a platform in the Caspian Sea run by BP.

      After a 13-day mission to rewire and make other improvements to the International Space Station, the space shuttle Discovery safely returns to Earth in Florida.

      A report appears in the journal Science describing the discovery of a new archaeon microbe in highly toxic drain water from the Iron Mountain mine in California's Shasta county that is some 200 nanometres (billionths of a metre) in width; scientists believe that the microbe could be the smallest organism ever found.

December 23
      The UN Security Council approves a limited program of sanctions against Iran intended to stop its program of uranium enrichment.

      Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel and Palestinian Authority Pres. Mahmoud Abbas hold their first official meeting in several years, and some progress is made in their talks.

      The British embassy in Dublin reports that Irish rock star and activist Bono is to receive an honorary knighthood in the annual year-end honours from Queen Elizabeth II.

December 24
      Although it has been involved for some time, Ethiopia now massively enters the war against the forces of the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia.

      Troops of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam board a disabled Jordanian ship drifting near Sri Lanka; the LTTE considers the act a rescue mission, but the Sri Lankan government calls it an act of piracy.

December 25
      Christmas is celebrated throughout most of the Christian world.

      British and Iraqi forces storm a police station in Basra, Iraq, killing seven people and rescuing 127 prisoners who had been tortured and faced likely execution; the police unit had been infiltrated by death squads.

      Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert orders the removal of some 25 checkpoints inside the West Bank and promises steps to ease the flow of goods to and from the Gaza Strip; the previous day he had authorized the release of $100 million in Palestinian tax revenue to be used for humanitarian needs.

December 26
      An appeals court in Iraq upholds the death sentence against deposed president Saddam Hussein and rules that it must be carried out within 30 days.

      The Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom threatens to cut off gas supplies to Belarus if the country does not agree to pay more than double the previous price by the beginning of the new year.

      Israel announces its intention to build the first new settlement in a decade in the West Bank.

      Former U.S. president Gerald R. Ford (1974–77) dies in Rancho Mirage, Calif., at the age of 93.

December 27
      Georgia's Parliament amends the country's constitution to extend its term and shorten that of the president so that they will both end at the same time in late 2008.

      Israel orders its military to resume responding to rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip.

      The U.S. Department of the Interior proposes listing polar bears as a threatened species; the proposal is the first step in a formal designation for which the final determination must be made within a year.

December 28
      Forces of Somalia's transitional national government, backed by the Ethiopian military, retake Mogadishu from the Islamist forces.

      A wave of violent attacks by drug gangs in Rio de Janeiro leaves at least 19 people dead.

      Wild Oats XI wins the 2006 Sydney–Hobart Yacht Race in Australia for the second consecutive year.

December 29
      A ferry on the final leg of a two-day trip from Borneo to Java in Indonesia breaks apart in heavy seas; some 400 people are lost.

      The Medicaid Commission established in 2005 by Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael O. Leavitt to find ways to modernize the U.S. health care system delivers its final report.

      The dance/performance art work titled When I say bad I mean seriously hip (mind to motion know the notion) by Icelandic choreographer Margrét Sara Gudjónsdóttir receives its premiere performance at the SAFN gallery in Reykjavík.

December 30
      Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein is hanged before dawn.

      Three car bombs in Baghdad kill 36 people, while another car bomb, in Kufah, kills 31.

      A car bomb goes off in a parking garage in Madrid's international airport; two people are feared dead.

December 31
      A video taken on a cell phone of the hanging of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein is widely circulated; the execution has the look of a Shiʿite lynching, which causes international controversy.

      Nine small bombs go off in scattered places in Bangkok, killing 2 people and injuring some 30.

      The death toll of American troops in Iraq since March 2003 reaches 3,000 with the death of Dustin Donica of Texas; estimates of total Iraqi deaths range from 30,000 (Pres. George W. Bush in December 2005) to 655,000 (Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, October 2006).

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Universalium. 2010.

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