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2006CE

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§Of World Interest

  • China's freshwater river dolphin, the baiji, declared "functionally extinct" after a survey failed to find a single animal.
  • Western Black Rhinoceros (a subspecies of the Black Rhino), The International Union for Conservation of Nature has declared the subspecies to be tentatively extinct; the last population was in Cameroon.
  • The International Asperger's Year, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dr Hans Asperger, discoverer of Asperger's Syndrome.
  • Mozart's 250th birthday anniversary.
  • Rembrandt's 400th birthday anniversary.
  • UNESCO has formally recognised sixty-three anniversaries for 2006.
  • January 1st to June 30th, 2006 was predicted to have tied 1998 as the warmest semi-year, for any year since the 1890s. Overall, forecasters and scientists predict 2006 to be the third warmest year on record, behind 1998, and 2005.
  • In the United Kingdom, it was the hottest year on record.
  • August 10 - London Metropolitan Police make 21 arrests in connection to an apparent terrorist plot that involved aircraft traveling from the United Kingdom to the United States. New TSA regulations are put into effect, permanently banning all liquids and gels, including but not limited to deodorants, colognes, toothpaste, and gel implants, in both checked and carryon baggage. These regulations are adopted in many countries around the World.
  • November 3 - Science predicts 90% of maritime life forms will be extinct by 2048.

2006 might be described as "the year the red herring was caught." Mid-term elections in the United States took the power of majority in both houses of congress from the Republican party and handed it to the Democratic party. The Republican party was largely abandoned by its conservative base, disappointed in its less-than-stellar performance in seeing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, one of the red herrings. The first six years of the Bush administration found itself at odds with the Judiciary, pitting itself against "activist judges." World public opinion for the United States was at an all time low. In the Summer of 2006, young Spaniard, David Garcia Serrano said, "The United States thinks that it is the bellybutton of the World." Once considered a leader in civil rights, European nationals were generally appalled at what it considered civil rights violations within the United States including: the continued sequestering and captivity of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay Cuba, Iraqi prisoner abuse scandals, continued use of the death penalty, particularly in the State of Texas, and in general, the right-wing Christian agenda and its increasing power over the U.S. Federal government. The war in Iraq had grown increasingly unpopular, particularly with no exit strategy and a build-up of tensions leading to outright civil war in Iraq.

The U.S. citizens grew increasingly unhappy over domestic issues such as the revelation of domestic spying, increased security in the airports that led to an inability to even carry toothpaste on an airplane and soaring gasoline prices. The American public found itself confused over issues such as the North Korean announcement that it has, and has tested, nuclear weapons, when the initial reason for the U.S. engagement in Iraq was a hunt for weapons of mass destruction, of which it found zero evidence after inspection reports were turned in.

§Africa

§Ethiopia

December 24 - Ethiopia admits its troops have intervened in Somalia.

§Nigeria

December 26 - Lagos pipeline explosion, 2006

§Somalia

June 6 - The Union of Islamic Courts gains control of Somalia's capital Mogadishu, ending warlord rule of the city. The ICU succeeded in capturing the capital, Mogadishu, in the Second Battle of Mogadishu. They drove the ARPCT out of Mogadishu, and succeeded in persuading or forcing other warlords to join their faction. Their power base grew as they expanded to the borders of Puntland and took over southern and middle Jubaland.

December 20 - Islamic Courts Union fighters begin attacking the government-held town of Baidoa.

§South Africa

Same-sex marriage became legal in South Africa on November 30th, following a ruling by the Constitutional Court and a vote by the Parliament of South Africa. It was the first country in Africa, to legalize same-sex marriage.

§Tonga

November 16 - Rioting in the capital of Tonga, Nuku'alofa destroys approx. 80% of the CBD, 8 bodies found. Foreign forces requested.

§Uganda

February 25 - Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni wins his second re-election, sparking riots in Kampala by opposition supporters.

§Asia

§China

July 1 - The Qinghai-Tibet Railway launches a trial operation, connecting China proper and Tibet for the first time.

July 6 - The Nathula Pass between India and China, sealed during the Sino-Indian War, re-opens for trade after 44 years.

September 24 - CPC Central Political Bureau committee member, Shanghai Municipal Party Committee Secretay Chen Liangyu was dismissed for alleged corruption charges.

December 13 - The Chinese river dolphin, also known as the baiji, is declared functionally extinct. The Baiji population declined drastically in recent decades as China industrialized and made heavy use of the river for fishing, transportation, and hydroelectricity. Efforts were made to conserve the species, but a late 2006 expedition failed to find any Baiji in the river. Organizers declared the Baiji "functionally extinct", which would make it the first aquatic mammal species to become extinct since the demise of the Japanese Sea Lion and the Caribbean Monk Seal in the 1950s. It would also be the first recorded extinction of a well-studied cetacean species.

§Japan

September 26th, the Diet of Japan elected Shinzo Abe as the new Prime Minister of Japan succeeding Junichiro Koizumi.

October 15th, the Chief Justice of Japan, Akira Machida, retired at age 70.

On November 7th, the Japanese town of Saroma, Hokkaido was struck by a tornado, killing nine. It is the deadliest tornado in Japan since 1941.

§North Korea

2006 was the year of missiles and nuclear weapons for North Korea. Unfortunately, this ploy backfired on the isolated nation, drawing back to the six-party talks they had shunned. On July 5th they test fired at least 7 missiles including a long-range Taepodong-2, one of which was fired in the direction of the Hawaiian Islands.

On October 9th, North Korea claimed to have conducted its first ever nuclear test. Then on October 15th the United Nations agreed to sanction North Korea over the nuclear testing issue.

§South Korea

On April 19th Han Myung-sook became the first female Prime Minister of South Korea. On October 13th Ban Ki-moon (from South Korea) was elected as the new Secretary-General of the United Nations.

§Australia

Tropical Cyclone Larry, considered the worst tropical cyclone to hit Queensland, off the Australian coast, on March 18. Considered the worst tropical storm in Australia since 1931 it made landfall on March 20th.

§Europe

On January 7th U.K. Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy resigned after revelations that he had a drinking problem.

January 25 - Deus Caritas Est, the first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, is promulgated.

April 5 - A swan with Avian Flu is discovered in Cellardyke in Fife, Scotland (the first cases in the United Kingdom).

§Italy

April 10 - Romano Prodi narrowly defeats Silvio Berlusconi in the Italian parliamentary elections.

§Montenegro

June 3 - Montenegro declares independence after a May 21 referendum. The state union of Serbia and Montenegro is dissolved on June 5 leaving Serbia as the successor state.

§Netherlands

March 11 - Slobodan Milošević was found dead in his cell in the UN war crimes tribunal's detention centre, located in the Scheveningen section of The Hague.

June 29 - The Dutch cabinet Balkenende II resigns after the political party of D'66 drops its support.

November 22 - Dutch general election, 2006: The CDA wins a plurality of seats in The Netherlands.

§Greece

January 8 - A powerful, magnitude 6.9 earthquake epicentered off the coast of the Greek island of Kythera shakes much of Greece and is felt throughout the eastern Mediterranean basin. Only a few minor injuries and no significant damage are reported.

§Italy

December 2 - In Rome, about 2 million people, led by opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi, demonstrate against Romano Prodi's government.

§Spain

March 22 - Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) declares a permanent ceasefire in their campaign for Basque independence from Spain.

§Switzerland

Dr. Albert Hofmann, known for his discovery of the hallucinogenic effects of LSD in 1943 celebrated his 100th birthday on January 11th.

He calls LSD "medicine for the soul" and is frustrated by the worldwide prohibition that has pushed it underground. "It was used very successfully for 10 years in psychoanalysis," he said, adding that the drug was hijacked by the youth movement of the 1960s and then unfairly demonized by the establishment that the movement opposed. He concedes LSD can be dangerous in the wrong hands.

He has been the author of over 100 scientific articles and has written (or co-written) a number of books, including LSD, My Problem Child, which is partly an autobiography and describes his famous bicycle ride.

On the occasion of his 100th birthday he was the focus of an international symposium, which drew further media attention for his discovery of LSD.

"I think that in human evolution it has never been as necessary to have this substance LSD," said Hofmann. "It is just a tool to turn us into what we are supposed to be."

§United Kingdom

November 22 - A General Election is held for the House of Keys in the Isle of Man. November 24 - Michael Stone is arrested for breaking into the parliament buildings at Stormont while armed. Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair's deadline on Northern Ireland power-sharing.

§Vatican City

September 12 - Pope Benedict XVI gives a lecture in Germany; he quotes a criticism of the Islam faith, sparking mass protest.

§India

August 20-21 In almost exactly the same fashion as the occurrence in [1995 CE]], statues in temples appeared to "drink" milk. Although initial reports seem to indicate that it occurred only with statues of Ganesh, Shiva, and Durga. The first reported occurrence was on the evening of the 20th in the city of Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, from where it spread throughout India like wildfire. However, rationalists are heavily skeptical about the issue, attributing it to capillary action yet again. The phenomenon had reappeared only days after reports of sea water turning sweet that led to mass hysteria in Mumbai.

§Middle East

§Kuwait

June 29 - Women vote for the first time in elections for the National Assembly of Kuwait.

§Iran

April 11 - President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad confirms that Iran has successfully produced a few grams of 3.5% low-grade enriched uranium.

April 20 - Iran announces a uranium enrichment deal with Russia, involving a joint uranium enrichment firm on Russian soil; 9 days later Iran announces that it will not move all activity to Russia, thus leading to a de-facto termination of the deal.

May 4 - A new coalition government takes office in Israel; its 4 political parties hold 67 of the 120 seats in the Knesset. November 3 - Iran successfully test-fires 3 new models of sea missiles in a show of force to assert its military capacities in the Gulf.

December 11 - The Holocaust conference is opened in Tehran, Iran by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

§Iraq

February 22 - A bomb heavily damages the Al Askari Mosque, a Shiite holy site in Samarra, Iraq, causing a wave of protests and counterattacks across Iraq.

June 7 - Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and 7 of his aides are killed in a U.S. air raid just north of the town of Baqouba, Iraq.

November 20 - Iran and Syria recognize the government of Iraq, restore diplomatic relations, and call for a peace conference.

On November 5th, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and two of his senior allies were sentenced to death by hanging after an Iraqi court found them guilty of crimes against humanity. The case immediatly went to appeal. On December 26th the appeals court rejected the appeal and confirmed that he will be executed within 30 days. Hussein's date for execution by hanging was then scheduled and carried out at 6 AM Saturday, December 30th. There was concern due to threats by Hussein supporters that his execution would lead to violence.

§Israel

On January 4th powers were transferred from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to his deputy, Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, after Sharon suffers a massive hemorrhagic stroke.

April 9 - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is removed from office after 4 months in a coma.

June 28 - Israel launches Operation Summer Rains, an offensive against militants in Gaza.

§Lebanon

July 12 - 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict: Israeli troops invade Lebanon in response to Hezbollah kidnapping 2 Israeli soldiers and killing 3. Hezbollah declares open war against Israel 2 days later.

August 11 - A resolution to end the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict is unanimously accepted by the United Nations Security Council.

August 14 - A UN cease fire takes effect in the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.

November 21 - Pierre Amine Gemayel, Lebanon's Minister of Industry, is assassinated in Beirut. [4]

§Palestine

January 25 - Hamas wins the majority of seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections.

November 21 - Israel's Supreme Court finds that Israel must recognize and register same-gender marriages celebrated in other countries.

December 15 - An alleged assassination attempt on the Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniyeh sparks inter-Palestinian clashes.

September 16 - Five churches are attacked in Palestinian areas following the Pope's comments on Islam.

§Saudi Arabia

January 12 - A stampede during the Stoning of the devil ritual on the last day at the Hajj in Mina, Saudi Arabia, kills 362 pilgrims.

§India

July 11 - A series of coordinated bomb attacks strikes several commuter trains in Mumbai, India during the evening rush hour.

§Bhutan

December 15 - Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the King of Bhutan, abdicates in favour of his son Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck a year earlier than expected.

§North America

October 17 - The United States population reaches 300 million based on a United States Census Bureau projection.

The political scandals that marked this year affected the midterm elections. On January 7th, embroiled in multiple scandals, former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay announced he will not seek to reassume his former post.

January 31 - Samuel Alito is sworn in as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

March 25 - An estimated 500,000 people take to the streets in downtown Los Angeles to protest a proposed federal crackdown on illegal immigration.

April - A jury deliberates over the sentence of convicted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, finally sentenced to life in prison May 3.

June 29 - Hamdan v. Rumsfeld: The United States Supreme Court rules that the military commissions to be used to try some detainees in the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp are illegal.

September 29 - U.S. Representative Mark Foley (R-FL) resigns after it is revealed that he sent explicit e-mails for several years to underage male pages.

October 25 - The New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously rules in favor of marriage equality; 4-3 say decision whether to rewrite marriage law or write civil union law for gays (separate but equal debate) is left to the legislature in the next six months. The three dissenting justices dissented because they believed same-sex couples should have the full right to marry.

Donald Rumsfeld vigorously defended the Bush administration's decision to detain alleged illegal enemy combatants without protection under the Third Geneva Convention. The non-applicability of the Geneva Conventions to cover illegal combatants is disputed by international jurists. Critics feel that Rumsfeld should have been held personally responsible for the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal. Rumsfeld himself said, "These events occurred on my watch as secretary of defense. I am accountable for them."[20] However, military investigations into the matters did not find him responsible for any wrongdoing.

In November, the former US Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, in-charge of Abu Ghraib prison until early 2004, told Spain's El Pais newspaper she had seen a letter apparently signed by Rumsfeld which allowed civilian contractors to use techniques such as sleep deprivation during interrogation. "The methods consisted of making prisoners stand for long periods, sleep deprivation ... playing music at full volume, having to sit in uncomfortably ... Rumsfeld authorised these specific techniques." She said that this was contrary to the Geneva Convention and quoted from the same "Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind". According to Karpinski, the handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: "Make sure this is accomplished". There have been no comments from either the Pentagon or US Army spokespeople in Iraq on Karpinski's accusations

November 7 - U.S. Midterm elections: Democrats win control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 1994.

November 8 - U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld resigns; President Bush nominates Robert Gates, a former CIA director, as his replacement. Gates is then confirmed by the U.S. Senate and sworn in on December 18.

§US Economy

January 9th the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 11,000 for the first time since June 7, 2001, closing at 11,011.90.

October 3 - The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) Index reaches its all-time high (as of 2006) of 11,727.34 and an all-time intra-day high of 11,758.95. October 4 - The Dow Industrial Average closes above 11,800 for the first time rising 123.27 points, or 1.05%, finishing at 11,850.61.

§U.S. Technology

July 15 - The first Twitter prototype, developed by Dorsey and contractor Florian Weber, was used as an internal service for Odeo employees and the full version was introduced publicly on July 15th.

§Canada

January 23 - Stephen Harper wins the federal election in Canada, forming a minority government.

June 3 - Seventeen men are arrested in the Greater Toronto Area for alleged ties to a terrorist plot to blow up targets in the region. (see also: 2006 Toronto terrorism case)

§Mexico

July 2 - A presidential election is held in Mexico. Felipe Calderón is confirmed as the winner on September 5. December 1 - Felipe Calderón is sworn in as the President of Mexico by the Congress in Mexico.

§Cuba

July 31 - Fidel Castro, President of Cuba, temporarily relinquishes power to his brother Raúl before surgery.

§Regional Natural Events

January 11th the Augustine Volcano in Alaska erupts twice, marking its first major eruption since 1986.

§Russia

January 1st Russia cut natural gas to the Ukraine over a price dispute.

On May 27th, the first demonstration for homosexual rights in Moscow was broken up by police.

November 12th the former Soviet republic of South Ossetia held a referendum on independence from Georgia.

§Scandinavia

§Norway

March 4 - Prince Sverre Magnus of Norway was christened by Bishop Ole Christian Kvarme at the chapel inside The Royal Palace in Oslo.

§Sweden

March 21 - Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Laila Freivalds resigns after over a year of critisiscm for her acting in the tsunami disaster and a web-site scandal.

October 2 - Per Westerberg takes office as Speaker of the Riksdag (Speaker of the Parliament) in Sweden.

September 18 - The Alliance for Sweden claims victory in the Swedish general election, 2006.

§South America

§Bolivia

May 1 (Bolivian Labor Day) - Bolivian President Evo Morales nationalizes his nation's gas fields. President Morales signed a decree stating that all gas reserves were to be nationalized: "the state recovers ownership, possession and total and absolute control" of hydrocarbons. The 2006 announcement was met by applause on La Paz's main plaza, where vice President Alvaro Garcia told the crowd that the government's energy-related revenue would jump US$320 million to US$780 million in 2007, continuing a trend where revenues had expanded nearly sixfold between 2002 and 2006.

§Brazil

October 29 - Luis Inácio Lula da Silva is re-elected President of Brazil.

§Chile

March 11 - Michelle Bachelet is sworn in as the first female President of Chile. October 30 - Former Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet was placed under house arrest for crimes committed at the Villa Grimaldi detention centre where thousands were tortured between 1974 and 1977.

§Columbia

May 28 - President Alvaro Uribe Velez is re-elected in Colombia for a second term. He becomes the first president in over a century to serve consecutive terms.

§Peru

July 28 - Alejandro Toledo concludes his term as President of Peru. Alan Garcia becomes president.

§Venezuela

December 3 - Hugo Chavez is re-elected President of Venezuela.

§South East Asia

§East Timor

February 8 - 2006 East Timor crisis: 404 soldiers desert their barracks in East Timor.

May 24 - East Timor's Foreign Minister Horta officially requests military assistance from the governments of Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Portugal.

§Thailand

September 19 - Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand declares a state of emergency in Bangkok as members of the Royal Thai Army stage a coup d'état. The army announces the removal of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra from power.

§South Pacific

§Fiji

The military staged a coup in Fiji on December 5th. Commodore Frank Bainimarama took control of the country and dismissed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, elected in May. He named Laisenia Qarase as interim prime minister.

December 5 - The military seizes power in Fiji by means of a coup d'état led by Commodore Josaia Voreqe "Frank" Bainimarama. On December 3rd, this WikiHistory site launched from the Hawaiian Islands.

§Indonesia

May 27 - A 6.3 magnitude earthquake strikes central Java in Indonesia, killing more than 6,000, injuring at least 36,000 and leaving some 1.5 million people homeless.

§Philippines

February 4 - A stampede in a queue of close to 30,000 impoverished people trying to get onto a television show leaves 74 dead and more than 400 injured in a stadium in Manila.

February 24 - A state of emergency is declared in the Philippines, after an alleged coup d'etat against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is foiled.

December 1 - Typhoon Durian kills at least 388 people in Albay province on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.

§Space

New Horizons, the world's first probe to Pluto, is launched on January 19. January 15 - NASA's Stardust mission successfully ends, the first to return dust from a comet. March 10 - NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter enters Mars orbit. March 4 - The final contact attempt with Pioneer 10 receives no response. March 9 - NASA's Cassini-Huygens spacecraft discovers geysers of a liquid substance shooting from Saturn's moon Enceladus, signaling a possible presence of water. March 30 - The first Brazilian astronaut, Marcos Pontes, goes to space in a Russian Soyuz, Soyuz TMA-8, at 2:29:00 CET. April 11 - The ESA's Venus Express spaceprobe enters Venus' orbit. December 9 Christer Fuglesang becomes the first Swede in space. December 10 - STS-116: Space Shuttle Discovery lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center on the first night launch May 5 - NASA astronomers announce the discovery of a storm system in the Jovian atmosphere, dubbed the Red Spot Junior on the planet Jupiter, which has a striking similar appearance to the famous Great Red Spot. June 18 - The first Kazakh space satellite "KazSat" is launched. August 24 - The International Astronomical Union defines 'planet' at its 26th General Assembly, demoting Pluto to the status of 'dwarf planet' more than 70 years after its discovery. September 13 - The solar system's largest dwarf planet, designated until now as 2003 UB313, is officially named "Eris"; its satellite is now known as "Dysnomia".

§Deaths

  • January 30 - Coretta Scott King, civil rights advocate and wife of Martin Luther King, age 78
  • Former Chilean Dictator, Augusto Pinochet, died December 10th
  • Saparmurat Niyazov, the dictator of Turkmenistan, died December 21st. His unexpected death sparked world concern over a possible power vacuum and instability in this energy rich country.
  • Former United States President, Gerald Ford, died on December 26th.

§Sources

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