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§Of World Interest

The Hawaiian bird, the Po'ouli, goes extinct



May 16 - The 2004 Chadian coup d'état attempt was an attempted coup d'état against the Chadian President Idriss Déby that was foiled on the night of May 16, 2004.


On February 24th, a 6.5 Richter scale earthquake shook Northern Morocco in the Rif mountains near the city of Al Hoceima, killing 400. Ait Kamara was destroyed and 517 people were killed.



February 1 - Yang Xinhai was found guilty of 67 murders and 23 rapes, and sentenced to death in Luohe City Intermediate People's Court, Henan. At the time of his sentencing, official Chinese media believed he had carried out China's longest and grisliest killing spree. Yang was executed on February 14, 2004, by firing squad.


Mount Asama, in central Honshū, the main island of Japan, erupted on September 1st.

§South Korea

January - Exiled Cambodian ruler, His Majesty King Sihanouk went into self-imposed exile in January 2004, taking up residence in Pyongyang, North Korea.

February 13th, Scientists announced the cloning of 30 human embryos.

December 16 - South Korean high-speed rail system, Korea Train Express open between Seoul and Busan.


One of the best-reported cases of an exploding whale was in Tainan City, Taiwan January 26th, when a buildup of gas inside a decomposing sperm whale caused it to explode while it was being transported for a post-mortem examination.


§Faroe Islands

On February 3rd, Jóannes Eidesgaard became the Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands, a group of islands in Northern Europe, between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about halfway from Iceland to Norway. They have been an autonomous region of the Kingdom of Denmark since 1948.


§French Law

February 10th the French National Assembly voted to pass a law banning religious items and clothing from schools.

December 14 - The world's tallest bridge, the Millau bridge over the River Tarn in the Massif Central mountains, France, is opened by President Jacques Chirac.

§Great Britain

January 27th, the British government narrowly won a House of Commons vote on the proposed introduction of tuition top-up fees in British universities and on January 28th the findings of the Hutton Inquiry were published in London. The British Government was found not to have falsified information in the "sexed up dossier". The report criticized the BBC's role in the death of David Kelly, a weapons expert on Iraq.

December 16 - The House of Lords rules that the British Government breaches human rights legislation by detaining without trial foreign nationals suspected of being terrorists.

§Great Britain Technology

Graphene was first isolated in Manchester, Great Britain, earning a Nobel Prize for its pioneers Sir Andre Geim and Sir Kostya Novoselov.


December 15 - Albanian terrorists take a bus and its passengers hostage in Athens, Greece and demand 1 million euros in ransom money.

§Northern Ireland

December 22 - Armed robbers in Northern Ireland steal over £22 million from the headquarters of the Northern Bank. Unionist politicians and the Police Service of Northern Ireland blame the Provisional Irish Republican Army, and stall the peace process.


March 11 - Madrid train bombings killed 191 people and injured 2,050 people.

Serial impersonator, Frédéric Bourdin, who had previously attempted to impersonate missing youths in the U.S. and France, claimed to be an adolescent named Ruben Sanchez Espinoza whose mother had been killed in the Madrid bomb attacks. When the police found out the truth, they deported him to France. He continued his impersonation there in 2005 CE.

§Middle East


February 20th, the Conservatives won a majority in the Iranian parliament election.


December 21 - Iraqi insurgents attack a U.S. military base in the city of Mosul, killing 22 people.


September 2nd, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1559, calling for the removal of all foreign troops from Lebanon. This measure was largely aimed at Syrian troops.


On January 1st, Pervez Musharraf won a vote of confidence from an electoral college consisting of Parliament and the provincial assemblies, confirming him as President of Pakistan and de facto dictator until 2007.

§Saudi Arabia

February 1 - 251 pilgrims die in stampede at Mina.

December 6 - Terrorists attack the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, killing several people.

§North America

§United States

The moral culture had been moving toward conservatism. But, when during the February 1st Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime Justin Timberlake tore off a part of Janet Jacksons outfit revealing her breast, a sudden jump toward broadcast conservatism took place. One of the immediate side effects is that very few shows continued to be broadcast live without a 10-15 second delay so editing could take place. This event also hastened shock disc jockey, Howard Stern's move out of traditional radio broadcasting to a position on satellite radio.

Led by Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as an act of civil disobedience on February 12th.

February 26th, the United States lifted a 23-year travel ban against Libya.

May 26 – Terry Nichols is convicted by an Oklahoma state court on murder charges stemming from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

June 3 – Central Intelligence Agency director George Tenet tenders his resignation, citing "personal reasons". John E. McLaughlin, CIA Deputy Director, becomes the acting Director until a permanent Director is chosen and confirmed by Congress.

June 4 – Marvin Heemeyer destroys many local buildings with a home-made tank in Granby, Colorado.

June 5 – Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, dies at his home in Bel-Air, California at the age of 93. A 6-day state funeral follows after his death.

June 6 – At the 58th Annual Tony Awards, Avenue Q upsets front-runner Wicked to win the award for Best Musical.

June 11 – Terry Nichols is spared the death penalty by an Oklahoma state court on murder charges stemming from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The decision comes on the third anniversary of the execution of his co-defendant, Timothy McVeigh, in Terre Haute, Indiana.

June 21 – In Mojave, California, SpaceShipOne becomes the first privately funded spaceplane to achieve spaceflight.

June 24 - The New York State death penalty statute is declared unconstitutional by the New York Court of Appeals. In all 90 people had been executed in the State since the early 1600s.

June 28 – Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe trains collide in a rural area outside of San Antonio, Texas; 40 cars are derailed, including one chlorine car. Three people die, another 50 people are hospitalized because of exposure to the gas.

July 31 – "The Last Dispatch" concert is played as a reunion concert with the band Dispatch on the Hatch Shell in Boston; 110,000 people attend, making it the single largest gathering in independent music industry history.

August 3 – The Statue of Liberty reopens after security improvements.

September 23 – Mount St. Helens becomes active again.

September 29 – In Mojave, California, the first Ansari X-Prize flight takes place of SpaceShipOne, which is competing with a number of spacecraft (including Canada's Da Vinci Project, claimed to be its closest rival) and goes on to win the prize on October 4th.

October 25 – Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King receive the Congressional Gold Medal.

§U.S. Industry

February 4 – Facebook was founded at Cambridge, Massachussetts by Mark Zuckerberg at a cost of $85 per month.

July - Second edition of Setting Up an Internet Site for Dummies by Jason Coombs and Ted Coombs is published.

December 13 - Software giants Oracle Corporation and PeopleSoft agree to merge in a $10.3 billion deal, creating the second largest maker of business applications software.

December 16 - IT security company Symantec Corp signs a definitive agreement to merge with Veritas Software Corp, valued at $13.5 billion, in an all-stock transaction.

§Iraq War

On February 3rd, the CIA admitted that there was no imminent threat from weapons of mass destruction before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The President's shifting reason for invading Iraq then turned toward the elimination of an oppressive regime, a policy that had worked for him during the overthrow of the repressive Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

§U.S. Politics

On January 15th, Carol Moseley Braun dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, and endorsed Howard Dean. U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) won the Iowa Democratic caucus and Vermont Governor Howard Dean's concession speech ended with a lively but controversial scream on January 19th. On January 27th, John Kerry won the New Hampshire Democratic primary.

March 2 – John Kerry effectively clinches the 2004 U.S. Democratic Party presidential nomination by winning 9 out of 10 "Super Tuesday" primaries and caucuses.

July 26–29 – The Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts nominates John Kerry for U.S. President and John Edwards for Vice President. Future President Barack Obama delivers the keynote address.

August 30 – September 2 – U.S. President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are renominated at the Republican National Convention in New York City.

November 2 – United States presidential election, 2004: U.S. President George W. Bush defeats Senator John Kerry. Republicans make gains in the House and Senate.

November 14 – United States Secretary of State Colin Powell submits his resignation. He is replaced by Condoleezza Rice after her confirmation by the United States Congress.

§U.S. Religion

February 17 - Bishop Thomas O'Brien, former head of Arizona's largest Roman Catholic diocese, was convicted of a hit and run. He thus became the first Catholic bishop in the United States to ever be convicted of a felony.

February 17 - According to a CNN survey, children made more than 11,000 allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic priests. The 4,450 priests involved constitute about 4 percent of the 110,000 priests who served during the 52 years covered by the study.

February 25 - Mel Gibson's controversial film "The Passion of the Christ" opens in theaters in the United States.

March 20 - A lesbian minister in Bothell, Washington, is acquitted by a Methodist church jury of violating church rules.


On September 1st, Chechen terrorists took between 1,000 and 1,500 people hostage, mostly children, in a school in the Beslan school hostage crisis. The hostage-takers demanded the release of Chechen terrorists imprisoned in neighbouring Ingushetia and the independence of Chechnya from Russia.


December 26 - The re-run of the second round of the Ukrainian presidential election takes place. Opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko is declared the victor.

December 28 - The Ukrainian transport minister, Heorhiy Kyrpa, is found shot dead, in a suspected suicide.

December 31 - Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich resigns.


On January 4th, Mikhail Saakashvili won the presidential elections in Georgia.



January - A law was enacted to help equalize the number of women in business positions of authority. This law says that at least 40% of the board members of publicly owned businesses must be female, and at least 40% must be male. This has helped the struggle for equality, but even though Norway is a leading country in gender equality, statistics show that, as of 2012, 83% of board members at publicly traded companies and 73% of business owners are men.

August 22 - One of the Edvard Munch paintings of "The Scream" was stolen at gun point.

§South America


July 18 - President, Carlos Mesa, put the gas issue to a referendum.


December 3 - The Colombian government extradites Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela, one of the most powerful drug dealers in the world, arrested in 1995 and 2003, to the United States.

§Southeast Asia

December 26 - One of the worst natural disasters in recorded history hits Southeast Asia when the strongest earthquake in 40 years hits the entire Indian Ocean region. The massive 9.3 magnitude earthquake, epicentered just off the west coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, generates enormous tsunami waves that crash into the coastal areas of a number of nations including Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. The official death toll in the affected countries stands at 186,983 while more than 40,000 people are still missing.


Sihanouk abdicated the throne, citing his poor health. The move paved the way for his son Norodom Sihamoni to take his place.

§South Pacific


On February 14th riots broke out between the New South Wales Police and Aboriginal residents of Redfern, a suburb of Sydney, Australia.


December 26 - A catastrophic earthquake off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia (with a magnitude of between 9.1 and 9.3) generated tsunami waves of up to 100 feet that swept across the Indian Ocean, killing nearly 230,000 people in 14countries.

§New Zealand

December 10 - New Zealand bans smoking in all public places, including bars.



On January 4th, NASA's MER-A (Spirit) landed on Mars at 04:35 UTC. Then, on January 24th MER-B (Opportunity) landed on Mars at 05:05 UTC.


  • October 4 - Leroy Gordon "Gordo" Cooper Jr., was an American aerospace engineer, test pilot, United States Air Force pilot, and one of the seven original astronauts in Project Mercury, the first manned space program of the United States, aged 77.


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