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<< 2002 CE | 2001-2009 CE | 2004 CE >>

§Of World Interest

March 12th, the World Health Organization issued a global alert on SARS. On March 29th, the WHO doctor Carlo Urbani, who first identified SARS, died of the disease. By July 5th it was declared contained.

On March 13th, the journal 'Nature' reports that 350,000-year-old upright-walking human footprints were found in Italy.

Global protests against the Iraq war occur in more than 600 cities worldwide with 10 million people participating in the largest war protest to take place before the war occurs.

May 23rd, Dewey, the first deer cloned by scientists at Texas A&M University, is born. May 28th, Prometea, the first horse cloned by Italian scientists, is born.

July 7th, Canon Jeffrey John, first would-be gay bishop in the Church of England, withdrew his acceptance of the post of The Bishop of Reading after discussions with church leaders.

November 9th, a lunar eclipse was seen in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Central Asia.

November 23 - A total solar eclipse is seen over Antarctica.



May 21 - An earthquake in the Boumerdès region of northern Algeria kills 2,200.

§Burkina Faso

An attempted coup against popular President Blaise Compaoré failed.


August 2 - The United Nations authorizes an international peacekeeping force for Liberia.


December 20 - Libya admits to building a nuclear bomb.



March 15 - Hu Jintao became president of the People's Republic of China, replacing Jiang Zemin.

June 1 - The People's Republic of China begins filling the lake behind the massive Three Gorges Dam, raising the water level near the dam over 100 meters.

July 1 - 500,000 Hong Kong people march to protest Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23, which controversially redefines treason.

November 3 - Yang Xinhai was detained after acting suspiciously during a routine police inspection of entertainment venues in Cangzhou, Hebei. Police took him in for questioning and discovered that he was wanted for murder in four provinces. As news of his arrest and crimes spread, the media dubbed him the "Monster Killer". Shortly after he was arrested, Yang confessed to 65 murders, 23 rapes and five attacks causing serious injury: 49 murders, 17 rapes and five attacks in Henan; eight murders and three rapes in Hebei; six murders and two rapes in Anhui; and two murders and one rape in Shandong. Police also matched his DNA with that found at several crime scenes.

§South Korea

February 18 – An arsonist destroys a train in Daegu, South Korea, killing more than 190.


October 17 - Taipei 101 becomes the tallest building in the world.


February 26 - An American businessman is admitted to the Vietnam France Hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam with the first identified case of SARS. WHO doctor Carlo Urbani reports the unusual highly contagious disease to WHO. Both the businessman and the doctor later die of the disease.


May 26th, a draft of the proposed European Constitution was unveiled. On July 18th, the Convention on the Future of Europe finished its work and proposed the first European Constitution.


July 7 - Corsica voters reject a referendum for increased autonomy for the region from France by a very narrow margin. December 24 - At the request of the U.S. Embassy in Paris, the French Government orders Air France to cancel several flights between France and the U.S. in response to terrorist concerns.

Serial impersonator, Frédéric Bourdin, was returned to France after serving a 6 year sentence in the United States for impersonating missing child, Nicholas Barclay. He moved to Grenoble where he attempted to assume the identity of another missing French boy, Léo Balley, a 14-year-old French boy who had been missing since 1996. DNA tests confirmed that he was not that child. He continued to impersonate in Spain in 2004 CE.

§French Climate

August 11 - A big heat wave in Paris has had temperatures up to 44°C (112°F), killing more than 3,000 people.

§Great Britain

January 25 – A Central Line train crashes into the tunnel wall at Chancery Lane tube station in London, injuring 34 people.

January 25 – An international group of volunteers leaves London for Baghdad to act as voluntary human shields, hoping to avert a U.S. invasion.

December 1 – The use of hand-held cell phones while driving is made illegal in the United Kingdom.

§British Arts and Literature

June 21 - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, the 5th book in the Harry Potter series, is published in the UK and elsewhere.

§British Climate

August 10 - The highest temperature ever is recorded in the UK; 38.5°C (101.3°F) at Brogdale near Faversham in Kent.

§British Entertainment

February 9 – BBC Choice closes for the final time at 12:30 a.m., being replaced with BBC Three at 7 p.m.

§British Religion

July 7 – Canon Jeffrey John, the first would-be gay bishop in the Church of England, withdraws his acceptance of the post of The Bishop of Reading after discussions with church leaders.


August 14 - A 6.4 Richter scale earthquake occurs near the Greek Ionian island of Lefkada; 24 are injured.


February 1 – In Northern Ireland, Protestant Ulster Defence Association Belfast leader John Gregg is killed by a loyalist faction.


March 12 - Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Ðindic is assassinated in Belgrade.


January 1st, Pascal Couchepin became President of the Confederation in Switzerland.

§Middle East


July 23 - Operation Warrior Sweep is the first major military deployment of the Afghan National Army.

August 11 - NATO takes over command of the peacekeeping force in Afghanistan, marking its first major operation outside Europe in its 54-year-history.


On December 26th, a massive earthquake devastated southeastern Iran. Over 40,000 people were reported killed in the city of Bam.


§Iraq Disarmament

On January 25th, an international group of volunteers left London for Baghdad to act as voluntary human shields, hoping to avert a U.S. invasion.

January 30th, the leaders of Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Denmark, and the Czech Republic released a statement, The Letter of the Eight, demonstrating support for the United States' plans to invade Iraq.

March 1 - Iraq disarmament crisis: The United Arab Emirates calls for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to step down to avoid war, a sentiment later echoed by Bahrain and Kuwait.

The Turkish parliament vetoes U.S. troop access to airbases in Turkey in order to attack Iraq from the north. The Bush administration starts working on Plan B, namely attacking Iraq from the south, through the Persian Gulf.

March 11 - Iraqi fighters threaten 2 U.S. U-2 surveillance planes, on missions for U.N. weapons inspectors, forcing them to abort their mission and return to base.

March 12 - British prime minister Tony Blair proposes an amendment to the possible 18th U.N. resolution, which would call for Iraq to meet certain benchmarks to prove that it was disarming. The amendment is immediately rejected by France, who promises to veto any new resolution.

March 16 - Iraq disarmament crisis: The leaders of the United States, Britain, Portugal, and Spain meet at a summit in the Azores Islands. U.S. President Bush calls March 17 the "moment of truth", meaning that the "coalition of the willing" will make its final effort to extract a resolution from the U.N. Security Council, giving Iraq an ultimatum to disarm immediately or be disarmed by force.

March 17 - Iraq disarmament crisis: U.S. President George W. Bush gives an ultimatum: Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his sons must either leave Iraq, or face military action at a time of the U.S.'s choosing.

March 18 - The Parliament of the United Kingdom votes in favour of a motion understood as giving the government final authority to join the invasion of Iraq.

March 18 - About $1 billion was taken from Iraq's Central Bank by Saddam Hussein and his family, just hours before the United States began bombing Iraq, biggest bank robbery in history.

March 19 - The first American bombs drop on Baghdad, Iraq. President Saddam Hussein and his sons do not comply with President Bush's 48-hour mandate demanding their exit from Iraq.

March 20 - 2003 invasion of Iraq: Land troops from United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invade Iraq.

March 22 - The United States and the United Kingdom begin their shock and awe campaign, with a massive air strike on military targets in Baghdad.

April 3 - U.S. forces seize control of Saddam International Airport, changing the airport's name to Baghdad International Airport.

April 9 - U.S. forces seize control of Baghdad, ending the regime of Saddam Hussein.

April 21 - Retired U.S. Army General Jay Garner becomes Interim Civil Administrator of Iraq.

May 1 - George W. Bush lands on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, in a Lockheed S-3 Viking, where he gives a speech announcing the end of major combat in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. A banner behind him declares "Mission Accomplished."

July 22 - Uday and Qusay Hussein, sons of Saddam Hussein, are killed by the U.S. military in Iraq, after being tipped off by an informant.

December 12 - Saddam Hussein, former President of Iraq, is captured in Tikrit by the U.S. 4th Infantry Division.


March 1 - War on Terrorism: Pakistani authorities capture Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks, along with money man Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi.

December 25 - President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan escapes the second assassination attempt in two weeks.


October 5 - Israeli warplanes strike inside Syrian territory.

§North America


December 12 - Paul Martin becomes the 21st Prime Minister of Canada.

§Canadian Climate

September 29 - Hurricane Juan lands at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada as a category 2 storm, killing 2 directly and 5 indirectly.


July 30 – The last Volkswagen Type 1 rolls off its production line in Puebla, Puebla, Mexico.

§United States

January 3 – The 108th United States Congress is sworn in, including incoming freshmen Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Sununu (R-NH), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Norm Coleman (R-MN), and Mark Pryor (D-AR).

January 5 – Police arrest seven suspects in connection with Wood Green ricin plot.

January 8 – US Airways Express Flight 5481 crashes at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, killing all 21 people aboard.

January 24th, the new Department of Homeland Security officially began operations.

February 14 - David Wayne Hull, a Ku Klux Klan leader in Pennsylvania and adherent of Christian Identity, was arrested for plotting to blow up abortion clinics.

February 20 – The Station nightclub fire in West Warwick, Rhode Island claims the lives of 100 people.

March 20 - Around 2:30 GMT the United States begins its invasion of Iraq by launching a series of air strikes against Baghdad in the hopes of quickly killing leaders of the Iraqi government and ousting Saddam Hussein with his Baathist government once and for all.

May 31 – Eric Rudolph, suspected in the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in 1996, is captured in Murphy, North Carolina.

June 4 – Martha Stewart and her broker are indicted for using privileged investment information and then obstructing a federal investigation. Stewart also resigns as chairperson and chief executive officer of Martha Stewart Living.

June 29 – A balcony collapse in Chicago kills 13.

June 30 – In Irvine, California, Joseph Hunter Parker kills 2 Albertsons employees with a sword, before being shot to death by the police.

July 14 - Washington Post columnist Robert Novak publishes the name of Valerie Plame, blowing her cover as a CIA operative. The CIA leak scandal begins.

August 14 - North America's largest electrical blackout began as more than 50 million homes were without power in 8 states. The blackout began in Ohio with a cascading power failure.

September 3 - Rev. Paul Hill was executed by the State of Florida for the murders of John Britton, a medical doctor, and James Barrett, a retired military officer, as they were entering The Ladies Center in Pensacola, Florida, where Britton performed abortions.

October 25 – The Cedar Fire begins in San Diego County, burning 280,000 acres (1,100 km²), 2,232 homes and killing 14.

November 5 – Gary Ridgway, The "Green River Killer", confesses to murdering 48 women.

December 22 – An earthquake in California kills 2.

December 24 – A BSE (mad cow disease) outbreak in Washington State is announced. Several countries including Brazil, Australia and Taiwan ban the import of beef from the United States.

§U.S. Law

January 15th, in the case, Eldred v. Ashcroft, The Supreme Court of the United States allowed the extension of copyright terms in the U.S.

March 5 - The Supreme Court of the United States, by a 5-4 margin, upholds California's "three strikes and you're out" law.

June 23 - Grutter v. Bollinger: The Supreme Court of the United States upholds affirmative action in university admissions.

June 26 - Lawrence v. Texas: The U.S. Supreme Court declares sodomy laws unconstitutional.

July 1 - A three-judge panel of 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected an appeal from Roy Moore in his effort to keep his Ten Commandments monument in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building. The court considered what could happen if the monument were allowed: "Every government building could be topped with a cross, or a menorah, or a statue of Buddha, depending upon the views of the officials with authority over the premises."

August 20 - This is the deadline given to Roy Moore to remove his Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building, but he refused to act. A crowd of monument supporters grows at the building over the course of several days and some are arrested for refusing to leave the monument.

August 21 - Because Roy Moore refused to remove his Ten Commandments monument by the August 20th deadline, the associate Justices of Alabama Supreme Court unanimously overruled Moore and ordered the monument removed by the building's manager. The eight justices wrote that they are "bound by solemn oath to follow the law, whether they agree or disagree with it." August 22 - Because Roy Moore disobeyed a federal court order to remove his Ten Commandments monument, the state Judicial Inquiry Commission charged Moore with violating six canons of ethics and he was suspended with pay pending trial before the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.

August 25 - Alabama Chief Justice Moore was suspended for his refusal to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building.

August 25 - Supporters of Roy Moore's Ten Commandments monument filed suit in federal court in Mobile to try and block the monument's removal. It was filed on behalf of two Alabama residents described as Christians who believe "the United States was founded upon Jesus Christ" and their freedom of religion is being violated.

August 27 - Roy Moore's Ten Commandments monument was moved out of the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building to comply with a federal court order.

November 18 - The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, rules anti-same-sex marriage laws unconstitutional in Massachusetts.

November 3 - The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, upholding U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson’s ruling to have Moore's Ten Commandments monument removed. “The state may not acknowledge the sovereignty of the Judeo-Christian God and attribute to that God our religious freedom,” wrote Judge Thompson in his ruling.

November 13 - An Alabama state ethics board unanimously ruled that when Chief Justice Roy Moore defied a federal judge's order to move a stone Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building, he violated state judicial ethics rules. As a consequence, he has been removed from his office of Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

November 13 - The Alabama Court of the Judiciary removed Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore from his elected position because he refused to follow U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson’s court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building.

§U.S. Religion

February 27 -United States Representative Lucas from Oklahoma introduced House Joint Resolution 27 which would add an amendment to the United States Constitution asserting that it is not "an establishment of religion for teachers in public school to recite, or to lead willing students in the recitation of" the The Pledge of Allegiance when it contains the phrase "under God." This was essentially an admission that the Constitution, as it stands, does not permit such recitation.

March 4 - The United States Senate voted 94-0 that it "strongly" disapproved of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision not to reconsider its ruling that the addition of the phase "under God" to the The Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional.

March 16 - Catholic archbishop Oscar Lipscomb of the Mobile, Alabama archdiocese admitted that he permitted Rev. J. Alexander Sherlock to remain in the pulpit at a church in Montgomery even after he admitted in 1998 to sexual abuse of a teenage boy in the 1970s.

March 17 - Speaking on the 700 Club, Pat Robertson expressed his support for the separation of church and state when the "church" in question involved a religion other than Christianity: "If the United States tries nation building [in Iraq], it's got to [have] at the very top of its agenda a separation of church and state. There has to be a secular state in there [Iraq] and not an Islamic state... So it's going to be absolutely imperative to set up a constitution and safeguards that say we will maintain a secular state..."

March 20 - The United States House of Representatives voted 400-7 to condemn the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision not to reconsider its ruling that the addition of the phase "under God" to the The Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional. The seven who voted against the resolution were all Democrats.

May 9 - The National Association of Evangelicals, a group of evangelical Christians, condemned Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jerry Vines, Pat Robertson and other evangelical leaders for their many anti-Islamic statements.

August 5 - Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, was elected bishop-designate of New Hampshire by the Episcopal General Convention during its meeting in Minneapolis. This election sparked outrage by conservative Anglican Churches around the world and initiated moves towards a schism within Episcopal Church and conservative, evangelical churches tried to distances themselves from a leadership they felt had descended into heresy.

October 22 - On the news program Crossfire, Jerry Falwell explained that God was responsible for the election and re-election of President Clinton. The reason: "I think that we needed Bill Clinton, because we turned our backs on the Lord and we needed a bad President to get our attention again. To pray for a good President. That's what I believe."

§U.S. Climate

May 4-May 10 - A major severe weather outbreak spawns more tornadoes than any week in U.S. history; 393 tornadoes are reported in 19 states.

June 22 - The largest hailstone ever recorded falls in Aurora, Nebraska.

§U.S. Politics

January 24 – The new United States Department of Homeland Security begins operation.

March 1 – The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the United States Customs Service, and the United States Secret Service move to the United States Department of Homeland Security.

October 7th, California recall: Voters recall Governor Gray Davis from office and elect actor Arnold Schwarzenegger to succeed him.


July 5 – A double suicide bombing at a Moscow rock concert kills the attackers and 15 other people.

December 5 – A suicide bombing on a commuter train in southern Russia kills 44 people. President Vladimir Putin condemns the attack as a bid to destabilize the country 2 days before parliamentary elections.

December 7 - Parliamentary elections are held in Russia.


September 10 - Estonia approves joining the European Union in a referendum.

November 28 - Kalev Ots succeeds to the presidency of the pre-WW II Republic of Estonia in exile, after the death of Mihkel Mathiesen.

December 7 - The new Government in Exile of the pre-World War II Republic of Estonia, headed by Ahti Mänd, assumes office.


November 23 - The Georgian Rose Revolution ends with overwhelming victory - president Eduard Shevardnadze resigns following weeks of mass protests over fraudulent elections.



September 10 - Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh is stabbed in a Stockholm department store and dies the next day.

September 10 - Sweden rejects adopting the Euro in a referendum.

§South America


On January 1st, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva became the 37th President of Brazil, and the first woman president of this country. The Workers Party (PT) won the presidency and remained in power for 13 years until a "soft coup" in 2016.


October - The "Bolivian gas war" came to a head leading to the resignation of President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada (aka "Goni"). Strikes and road blocks mounted by indigenous and labour groups (including the COB trade union) brought the country to a standstill. Violent suppression by the Bolivian armed forces left some 60 people dead, mostly inhabitants of El Alto, located on the Altiplano above of the capital city La Paz.

October 18 - The governing coalition disintegrated forcing Goni to resign and leave the country. He was succeeded by the vice president, Carlos Mesa.

§Southeast Asia


January 29 – 2003 Phnom Penh riots: In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the Thai Embassy is burned and commercial properties of Thai businesses are vandalized.


October 31 - Mahathir Mohamad resigns as Prime Minister of Malaysia after 22 years in power.


August 11 – Jemaah Islamiah leader Riduan Isamuddin, better known as Hambali, is arrested in Bangkok, Thailand.


February 26 – An American businessman is admitted to the Vietnam France Hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam with the first identified case of SARS. WHO doctor Carlo Urbani reports the unusual, highly contagious disease to WHO. Both the businessman and doctor later die of the disease.

§South Pacific


January 18 – The Canberra Bushfires in Canberra, Australia kill 4 people.


January 16 – STS-107: Space Shuttle Columbia is launched on what turns out to be its last flight.

January 23 – The last signal is received from NASA's Pioneer 10 spacecraft, some 7.5 billion miles from Earth.

February 1st, STS-107, Space Shuttle Columbia, disintegrated over Texas upon reentry, killing all 7 astronauts onboard.

February 7 – An unsuccessful attempt is made to contact Pioneer 10.

August 22nd a rocket explosion killed 21 at the Brazilian rocket complex in Alcântara, Brazil, due to the premature ignition of a solid rocket booster.

August 27 - Perihelic Opposition: Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in over 50,000 years.

September 3 - Hubble Space Telescope starts Hubble Ultra Deep Field

September 27 - Smart 1, a European Space Agency satellite, is launched from French Guiana.

October 15 - China launches Shenzhou 5, their first manned space mission.

December 25 - Beagle 2 is scheduled to land on Mars, but nothing is heard from the lander.


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