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2008CE

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§Of World Interest

The Liverpool Pigeon (Caloenas maculata) is thought to have become extinct.

January 2 - The price of petroleum hits $100 per barrel for the first time.

February 20 - Total lunar eclipse - North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Western Asia.

March–April - Rising food and fuel prices trigger riots and unrest in the Third World.

Global warming is no longer seen as a myth and is taken seriously by world leaders and businesses. Most auto manufacturers this year introduce future EV (electric vehicles). The Arctic melts to it's second lowest level in recorded history. In the Fall of 2008 the World enters a global economic crisis, partly stemming from the mortgage and credit crisis begun in the United States. Governments move to protect deposits by raising deposit insurance levels, with some countries insuring 100% of the deposits. Iceland suffers nearing bankruptcy. US Stock markets crash in historic declines and credit markets have frozen. Economists finally admit the US is in a recession and make plans to avert a depression.

§World Economy

January 21 - Stock markets around the world plunge amid growing fears of a U.S. recession, fueled by the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis.

§United Nations

October 17 - The United Nations General Assembly elects Turkey, Austria, Japan, Uganda, and Mexico to two-year terms on the Security Council.

§Africa

§Democratic Republic of the Congo

January 24 - A peace deal ends the Kivu war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

November 17 - Government forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo have engaged in heavy fighting with rebels despite their leader's pledge to back a cease-fire, the United Nations and witnesses said.

§Nigeria

November 29 - Riots in Jos, Nigeria kills 381, and injures at least 300.

§Somalia

August 22 - Pirates hijack German, Iranian, and Japanese cargo ships off the coast of Somalia, seven of such attacks since June 20.

October 15, A NATO naval operation deployed to the Horn of Africa Wednesday as part of an effort to counter the growing threat from pirates off the coast of Somalia.

§South Africa

September 21 - President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa resigns after accepting a call by African National Congress.

§Zimbabwe

June - President Bush called Zimbabwe's runoff presidential election in June a "sham" and instructed Condoleeza Rice and other U.S. officials to develop additional sanctions against Mugabe's "illegitimate government."

August - Cholera hit the country killing over 600 people by the end of the year. In November, The members of the group -- former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and human rights campaigner Graca Machel -- were denied entry to the country. In December, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga called for the International community to take up arms against the "murderous reign" of president Robert Mugabe. Kenya's Odinga is himself a former opposition leader who came to office as part of a power-sharing agreement negotiated by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Zimbabwe remained without a Cabinet since the March presidential election. Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party held on-again, off-again talks with the opposition led by Morgan Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai is Zimbabwe's prime minister under a power-sharing agreement negotiated by former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Critics of Mugabe link hyperinflation to his policies on land distribution and unbudgeted payments to people who call themselves "war veterans," who have forcibly occupied white-owned farms.

December - official rate of inflation at 231 million percent -- the world's highest.

December 19 - Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he will withdraw from power-sharing talks unless scores of missing opposition officials are produced.

§Asia

§North Korea

North Korea destroyed a nuclear reactor tower easing tensions about its possible nuclear buildup. Later in the year, the country threatened to restart its nuclear program.

§China

January 25 - China's worst snowstorm since 1954 kills 133, delays traffic, and causes massive power outages in central and southern parts of the country

Beike Biotechnology has begun stem cell treatments at a clinic in Hangzhou. The stem cell treatments have beat every other developed country where the medical technology is still mired in ethics over embryo research and slow clinical approval processes. The Beiki clinic uses umbilical cord blood and not the controversial stem cells from human embryos. The clinic has been having amazing results and has begun a new form of medical tourism from people seeking cures in their lifetime.

March 14 - Demonstrations by Tibetan separatists turn violent as rioters target government and Han Chinese-owned buildings.

April 28 - 71 die in a train crash in Shandong, China.

May 12 - Over 69,000 are killed in central south-west China by the Chengdu quake, an earthquake measuring 8.0Mw. The epicenter is 90 kilometers (55 miles) west-northwest of the provincial capital Chengdu, Sichuan province. It left hundreds of thousands injured and homeless.

August 8–24 - The 2008 Summer Olympics take place in Beijing, China.

The Beijing Olympics were seen as a large success with many new world records set, particularly by U.S. swimmer, Michael Phelps who now holds the lifetime record for gold medals.

September 27, Zhai Zhigang waved to an external camera as he emerged from the hatch of the Shenzhou-7 spaceship becoming China's first spacewalking astronaut. Fellow astronaut Liu Boming also emerged briefly from the capsule to hand Zhai the Chinese flag. The third crew member, Jing Haipeng, monitored the ship from inside the re-entry module.

The three-man crew launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northern China's Inner Mongolia Thursday for a three-day mission, the highlight of which was Saturday's spacewalk.

§Japan

September 2 - Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda of Japan resigns less than a year after taking office following Shinzo Abe's resignation.

September 24 - The Diet of Japan elects Taro Aso as the new Prime Minister of Japan.

§Myanmar

Cyclone Nargis (JTWC designation: 01B, also known as Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Nargis), was a strong tropical cyclone that caused the worst natural disaster in the recorded history of Burma (officially known as Myanmar). The cyclone made landfall in the country on May 2, 2008, causing catastrophic destruction and at least 90,000 fatalities with a further 56,000 people still missing. However, the Labutta Township alone was reported to have 80,000 dead, with about 10,000 more deaths in Bogale; the Burmese government's official death toll is grossly underreported as they have simply stopped counting the dead to minimize political fallout. It is feared and quite possible that due to lack of relief efforts, a total of a million people already have or will die from this catastrophe. Damage is estimated at over $10 billion (USD), which made it the most damaging cyclone ever recorded in this basin.

Nargis is the deadliest named cyclone in the North Indian Ocean Basin, as well as the second deadliest named cyclone of all time, behind Typhoon Nina of 1975. Including unnamed storms like the 1970 Bhola cyclone, Nargis is the 8th deadliest cyclone of all time, but an uncertainty between the deaths caused by Nargis and those caused by other cyclones (like the 1991 Bangladesh cyclone), could put Nargis as 7th deadliest or higher, because deaths are still being reported. Nargis was the first tropical cyclone to strike the country since Cyclone Mala made landfall in 2006, which was slightly stronger, but had a significantly lower impact.

Relief efforts were slowed for political reasons as Burma's military rulers initially resisted aid. U.S. President George W. Bush said that an angry world should condemn the way Burma's military rulers are handling the aftermath of a catastrophic cyclone. Burma's ruling party finally accepted aid a few days after India's request was accepted. Furthermore hampering the relief effort was the unfortunate fact that only ten days after the cyclone nearby central China was hit by a massive earthquake, known as the Sichuan earthquake which measured 7.9 in magnitude and it alone has taken 69,136 lives[citation needed], and caused 86 billion dollars in damage (USD), making it the costliest disaster in Chinese history and third costliest disaster worldwide. Furthermore, some donated aids were found to be available in the country's black market, and Myanmar's junta warned on May 15th that legal action would be taken against people who trade or hoard international aid.

§South Korea

February 10 - The 2008 Namdaemun fire severely damages Namdaemun, the first National Treasure of South Korea.

§Europe

January 1 - Cyprus, Malta, and Akrotiri and Dhekelia adopt the euro.

Septempter - The failure of the huge international bank, Fortis, forced several EU governments to buy up the assets of the struggling bank to keep it in business. Ireland moved to secure 100% of bank deposits, regardless of size. This move upset international banks, as large deposits quickly moved to Ireland.

§Cyprus

January 1 - Cyprus adopts the Euro

March - A wall that for decades had stood at the boundary between the Greek Cypriot controlled side and the UN buffer zone was demolished. The wall had cut across Ledra Street in the heart of Nicosia and was seen as a strong symbol of the island's 32-year division. On 3 April, Ledra Street was reopened in the presence of Greek and Turkish Cypriot officials.

§Great Britain

February 18 - The British government introduces emergency legislation temporarily to nationalize Northern Rock, the fifth largest mortgage bank in the UK, due to the bank's financial crisis.

February 22 - Former Building Society Northern Rock is the first bank in Europe to be taken in to state control due to the US subprime mortgage financial crisis.

December 19 - EU leaders and member states report reaching a deal on legislation that would ban 22 toxic chemicals and virtually halt aerial crop-spraying.

§Greece

January - Ιmprisonment for debts, whether to the tax office or to private banks, was still practiced until January 2008, when the law changed after imprisonment for unpaid taxes, as well as other debts to the government or to the social security office, was declared unconstitutional after having been practiced for 173 years; imprisonment was, however, still retained for debts to private banks.

December 6 - Riots occurred after a fifteen year old was shot by police in Athens.

§Hungary

October 29 - Global financial crisis: Hungary's currency and stock markets rise on the news that it would receive an international economic bailout package worth $25 billion from the IMF, European Union, and World Bank.

§Kosovo

February 17 - Kosovo formally declares independence from Serbia, with support from some countries but opposition from others

§Spain

March 9 - The governing PSOE led by current Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero wins the Spanish general election.

November 19 - Claudia Castillo of Spain becomes the first person to have a successful trachea transplant using a tissue-engineered organ.

§Switzerland

October 21 - The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is officially inaugurated. It is a collaboration of over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.

§Turkey

January 3 - A car bomb detonates, killing at least 4 and injuring 68, in Diyarbakır, Turkey. Police blame Kurdish rebels.

§India

August 3 - In a Hindu temple in Himachal Pradesh state, 150 worshippers, a good number of them children, are crushed to death in a stampede caused by a rumor of a landslide.

September 30 - A Jodhpur temple stampede in western India kills over 224 people, and injures 400

November 26 9:20 PM - November 29 - Over a 60 hour period Terrorists attacked two luxury hotels (The Taj Mahal and Oberoi Hotels) and a Jewish center in Mumbai killing 183 people. A hijacked boat was found in the river with cell phones used to call Pakistan. Seventeen police officers died including the popular Hemant Karkare, the head of Mumbai's anti-terrorism squad. Another 300 people were wounded, including 23 foreigners. Eleven gunmen were also killed. Indian officials found eight bodies of hostages who had been held inside the Chabad House, a Jewish community center. At the Oberoi Hotel -- another luxury hotel where gunmen took hostages before they were killed -- 36 people were found dead. The gunmen, all in their 20's appeared to have trained for months for the attack, quickly setting up control rooms in the hotels. One gunman was captured alive. This was the deadliest killing since the Mumbai serial killings in 1993.

§Maldives

January 8 - An attempted assassination of Maldivian president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is thwarted after a Boy Scout grabbed the attacker's knife. The Boy Scout was injured, but after a scuffle ensued police arrested the attacker.

§Middle East

§Afghanistan

February 17 - A suicide bombing by a Taliban member kills up to 80 in Kandahar, Afghanistan[34]

August 19 - The Taliban insurgents kill 10 and injure 21 French soldiers in an ambush in Afghanistan.

§Iran

January 29 - Iran's judiciary sentences to prison 54 Bahá'í religion followers for charity work.

In July Iran began test firing missiles to demonstrate to the U.S. and Israel that it was ready and willing to launch missiles into Israel if it were attacked. The Bush administration continued threats against Iran's nuclear policy, which the country says are for peaceful energy needs, not military.

§Israel

March 6 - Eight Israeli civilians are killed and nine wounded when a Palestinian attacker opens fire at a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem.

§Pakistan

February 18 - A general election is held in Pakistan, delayed from January 8 due to riots in the wake of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Opposition parties, including Bhutto's, take more than half of the seats, while President Pervez Musharraf's party suffers a huge defeat.

August 18 - Pervez Musharraf resigns from the post of President of Pakistan under impeachment pressure from the coalition government.

August 21 - At least 60 die following twin suicide bombings outside the Pakistan Ordnance Factories in Wah, Pakistan.

§Palestine

January 23 - Thousands of Palestinians cross into Egypt, as the border wall with Gaza in Rafah is blown up by militants.

February 4 - A Palestinian suicide bomber kills one and wounds thirteen in a Dimona, Israel shopping center

March 1 - In Gaza Strip at least 52 Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers are killed in the most intense Israeli air strikes since 2005.

December 28 - Israel executed military actions in Gaza that were to last for 22 days into 2009 CE.

§North America

§Canada

November 20 - 2008 Prairie meteoroid falls over Canada.

§Cuba

Fidel Castro resigned as President and Commander in Chief of Cuba on February 19th. He had earlier passed power to his brother, Raul, in 2006. Relations between the U.S. and Cuba did not normalize after this announcement, but U.S. politicians saw it as a first step toward a democracy in Cuba.

February 24 - Raúl Castro is unanimously elected as President of Cuba by the National Assembly.

§United States

January 2 – The price of petroleum hits $100 per barrel for the first time.

February 5–6 - A tornado outbreak, the deadliest in 23 years, kills 58 in the Southern United States.

February 20 - United States Navy destroys a spy satellite containing toxic fuel by shooting it down with a missile launched from USS Lake Erie in the Pacific Ocean.

Oil and food prices, along with the sub-prime mortgage crisis have sent the United States and the World economy into a recession. The price of sweet crude oil topped $140 per barrel in the Spring of this year sending gasoline prices soaring to well over $4 per gallon. In the Fall, gas prices began a decline as oil prices declined into the $114 to $120 per barrel range. Gas prices remained over $4 per gallon throughout much of the country. Gas prices sparked a movement by auto makers to speed up their move toward alternative fuels. Dependence on foreign oil also spurred action by T. Boone Pickens to create the nation's largest wind farm in the Texas panhandle. His plan also calls for the increased use of natural gas in cars.

By October, gas prices had come down to an average in the upper $3 range with oil trading below $100 on low demand. The following month average gas prices had dropped under $2 with oil trading around $50 and $60 a barrel. The stock market began a climb in late November but the credit crisis continued. Average home prices experienced record drops and the three major US auto makers, GM, Chrysler and Ford were in deep trouble. GM and Chrysler asked for billions of dollars to keep from closing their doors before the end of the year, meaning the loss of around 1.1 million jobs in the U.S.

December 17 - Five years after the passage of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 the number of spam messages sent over the Internet every day has grown more than 10-fold, topping 164 billion worldwide in August 2008. Almost 97% of all e-mails are spam, costing US ISPs and corporations an estimated $42 billion a year.

§U.S. Business

February 5 - U.S. stock market indices plunge more than 3% after a report showed signs of economic recession in the service-sector. The S&P 500 fell 3.2%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 370 points.

February 12 - Bridgestone, under investigation for an alleged price-fixing cartel, uncovers improper payments of at least 150 million Japanese yen to foreign governments and withdraws from the marine hose business

The U.S. dollar hit record lows against the Euro.

July 11th the FDIC took over IndyMac in what is the second largest bank failure in U.S. history.

July 13th the government opened the bank as IndyMac Federal Bank. Depositors with amounts larger than the $100,000 insurance took a financial hit as the insurance did not cover those amounts.

August, the dollar rebounds to around $1.47 against the Euro and the economy is seen to improve as the GDP is unexpectedly high. Many see this as a result of nearly $90 billion in stimulus checks sent out to U.S. taxpayers and large exports fueled by the low dollar. Concern is high for the 4rth quarter as the dollar has regained its strength and the stimulus checks have been largely cashed. Oil prices have begun to stabilize over $100 a barrel and an increased number of banks are in trouble.

September, the stock market nearly crashes after the takeover of Lehman Brothers. Congress begins preparing a bailout plan that might reach $700 billion. In mid-September, the largest bank failure in history occurred when Washington Mutual was taken over by the federal government and immediately purchased.

In late September a $700 billion emergency bailout bill initially failed the house. But with revisions, it quickly passed the Senate, the House and became law. Financial analysts see this bill as an emergency stop-gap measure, but not as a solution to the economic ills facing the U.S. and the World.

October 3 - President George W. Bush signs the revised Emergency Economic Stabilization Act into law, creating a 700 billion dollar Treasury fund to purchase failing bank assets.

October 29 - Delta Air Lines closes its merger with Northwest Airlines forming the world's largest commercial carrier

In late November, early December the big three auto makers asked Congress for a bailout of at least $25 billion. The CEOs flew in their private jets costing a great deal of money and were told to go away and come up with a better plan. Without the bailout the three auto makers claim they will be out of money by the end of the year, which could mean job losses equaling over 1.1 million in the U.S. alone. Lawmakers continued struggling with the request, realizing that the loss of the auto makers would be a terrible burden to the already struggling U.S. economy.

December - The U.S. finally announced that it had been in a recession since 2007.

§U.S. Politics

United States Presidential Election

The United States Presidential Primary season began on January 3, 2008 with the Iowa Caucuses. There were eight main candidates for the Democrats with Barack Obama (940 delegate votes - 38%), John Edwards (744 - 30%) and Hillary Clinton (737 - 29%) receiving the majority of caucus votes and Bill Richardson (53 - 2%) and Joe Biden (23 - 1%) also registering with smaller numbers. Chris Dodd received one delegate vote (0%) and Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich did not receive any. Three Iowa state caucus delegates were uncommitted.

With 100% of the precincts counted by January 5, Iowa awarded 16 of its 45 delgates to Obama, 15 to Clinton and 14 to Edwards. Iowa also has 12 superdelegates. Edwards dropped out of the Presidential race on January 30, 2008 so his 14 delegates will be re-designated by the Democratic Party National Convention in the summer.

On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee captured 34% of the popular vote (40,841 delegate votes), Mitt Romney finished 2nd with 25% (29,429), Fred Thompson ran 3rd with 13% (15,904), John McCain was 4th also with 13% (15,559), Ron Paul ran 5th with 10% (11,817), Rudy Guiliani finished 6th with 4% (4,097) and Duncan Hunter trailed the field with 1% of the vote (524 delegates).

With 98% of the precincts counted by January 5, Iowa awarded 17 of its 37 delegates to Huckabee, 12 to Mitt Romney, 3 to John McCain and 2 to Ron Paul. Iowa also has three unpledged RNC member delegates. Mitt Romney suspended his campaign on February 7, 2008 so his 12 delegates will most likely be redesignated to another candidate by the Republican Party National Convention in the summer.

John McCain is the Republican candidate and Barak Obama is the Democratic candidate for president. Barak Obama narrowly beat Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary race, contested heavily because of some states primary votes not counted due to their being disallowed by the party because of early primaries.

August 28, Barak Obama became the first African American presidential candidate of a major political party on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. This was the closing day of the Democratic National Convention.

September, the first debate between Barak Obama and John McCain produced no true winners. A poll gave Obama a slight lead. October, presidential races were muted with news of the very large economic bailout passed by Congress. The VP debate produced no real winners, although Republican VP nominee, Sarah Palin did better than expected. In early October, Obama was up 7% in the polls. He is seen as a better economic manager in tough times than McCain.

On November 4rth, Barak Obama won a landslide victory, turning many battleground states in his favor and became the President-Elect for the 44rth presidency of the United States. Reaction was felt around the World that a time for great change had occurred. Barak Obama was the first African American elected to the office of the President.

Barak Obama and his vice-president, Joseph Biden, were immediately faced with two wars and a world financial crisis.

§Russia

January 22 - Russia stages the largest naval exercise since the fall of the Soviet Union in the Bay of Biscay. The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, along with 11 support vessels and 47 long-range bomber aircraft, practised strike tactics off the coast of France and Spain, and test-launched nuclear-capable missiles on foreign waters.

§Scandinavia

§Iceland

October 7 - Global financial crisis: Russia agrees to provide Iceland with a four-billion-euro loan.

October 9 - Global financial crisis: Following a major banking and financial crisis in Iceland, the Icelandic Financial Supervisory Authority takes control of three largest banks in the country: Kaupthing Bank, Landsbanki, and Glitnir.

§South America

March 2 - 2008 Andean diplomatic crisis: Venezuela and Ecuador move troops to the Colombian border following a Colombian raid against FARC guerrillas inside Ecuador's national territory in which senior commander Raúl Reyes was killed.

§Brazil

November 24 - 2008 Santa Catarina floods in Santa Catarina, Brazil cause at least 99 deaths and force the evacuation of over 78,000 people.

§Bolivia

August 19, The eastern departments of Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando, Tarija, and Chuquisaca called strikes and protests in opposition to central government plans to divert part of the national direct tax on hydrocarbons towards its Renta Dignidad pension plan. Brief clashes occurred in the Santa Cruz de la Sierra, capital of Santa Cruz, between police and armed youths enforcing the strike. In Tarija protesters seized and occupied government buildings. In response to the unrest Morales ordered the Bolivian Army to protect oil and gas infrastructure in the five departments.

September 3 - The governors of the departments warned that if the government didn't change its course that the protests could lead to a cut-off of natural gas exports to Argentina and Brazil. They also threatened setting up roadblocks in the five departments in addition to road blocks set up on roads leading to Argentina and Paraguay. The governors also demanded government troops withdraw from Trinidad, the capital of Beni department, following clashes between MPs and protesters trying to seize facilities of the National Tax Service in the city. President Morales accused the governors of launching a "civil coup" against his government. In Beni, militant rightwing civil groups threatened to take over military posts and expel the regional army chief if he did not agree to come under the command of the governor.

September 10 - Protesters caused the explosion of a natural gas pipeline according to the head of Bolivia's state energy company. He called the attack a "terrorist attack" and said it result in 10% cut in exports to Brazil. President Morales sent additional troops to the region following the attack. The next day clashes erupted between supporters and opponents of the government in the northeastern town of Cobija, capital of Pando department, resulting in 20 deaths. Morales said his government would be patient with the unrest but warned that "patience has its limits, really." A spokesman for Morales said the unrest was opening the way to "a sort of civil war."

The leader of the national opposition, Jorge Quiroga, accused the central government of organizing militias to retake the city of Cobija. Central government work had also ceased while American Airlines was suspending flights to the airport. Peasant supporters of Morales were also threatening to encircle Santa Cruz. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez warned that if Morales was overthrown or killed Venezuela would give a "green light" to conduct military operations in Bolivia. Bolivia's army said it rejected "external intervention of any nature" in response to Chávez. Morales ruled out the use of force against protesters, calling for talks with opposition leaders.

September 12 - The Governor of Tarija department, Mario Cossío, went to La Paz to hold negotiations representing three other opposition governors who had rejected talks with the central government. Morales said he was open to dialogue not only with the governors but with mayors and different social sectors. Before the meeting Mario Cossio called for dialogue saying "The first task is to pacify the country, and we hope to agree with President Morales on that. Our presence has to do with that clear will to lay the foundations and hopefully launch a process of dialogue that ends in a great agreement for national reconciliation." Vice President Álvaro García declared a day of national mourning for 20 people killed in Pando most of whom were pro-Morales farmers shot dead by people the government claims were associated with the opposition.

Bolivian authorities declared a state of emergency in Pando which began at midnight on September 12. During the state of emergency constitutional guarantees are suspended, private vehicles without authorization are banned from the streets, groups are not allowed to meet; bars, restaurants and discos must close at midnight and residents are prohibited from carrying firearms. Morales said martial law was not needed anywhere else in the country.

Following the declaration of a state of emergency Bolivian troops took control of the airport in Pando's capital, Cobija, and prepared to retake the city. Morales accused the governor of Pando of orchestrating "a massacre" of farmers supporting Morales. Pando Governor Leopoldo Fernández rejected the accusation saying "They've accused me of using hit men, when everyone knows those socialist peasants, those fake peasants, were armed." In a speech in Cochabamba Morales condemned the opposition governors saying they were "conspiring against us with a fascist, racist coup," and said they were "the enemies of all Bolivians." While promising to adopt a constitution opposed by the governors Morales said Bolivia's "democratic revolution" had to be seen through saying "We have always cried 'fatherland or death'. If we don't emerge victorious, we have to die for the country and the Bolivian people." Morales also said he would not hesitate to extend the state of emergency to other opposition-controlled departments. Rubén Costas, the governor of Santa Cruz, belittled the chances of a breakthrough in talks adding that "if there is just one more death or person wounded, any possibility of dialogue will be broken."

September 14 - Opposition protest leader and pro-autonomy businessman Branko Marinkovic announced on that the demonstrators he led would be removing their road blocks as "a sign of good will" to allow dialogue to prosper and calling on the government to end "repression and genocide in the department of Pando." Troops who had landed at Cobija also began patrolling the streets before dawn and began uncovering more dead bodies from the September 11 clash in Pando between Morales supporters and opposition protesters. Alfredo Rada, government minister for Pando, referring to casualty figures said "We are nearing the 30 mark." An aide to the opposition governor in Pando denied the army was in control of the departmental capital.[24] Troops were also hunting for Pando governor Fernández with orders to arrest him.

A spokesman for Morales said blockades remained on the highway and said "an armed group" had set fire to the town hall in Filadelfia, a municipality near Cobija. The Pando government spokesman said the citizens of Cobija did not want the Army to enter the city, and that they were not going to follow martial law.

September 16 - Bolivia's army arrested as many as 10 people for alleged involvement in the deadly clashes. Leopoldo Fernández was also taken into custody by the armed forces to be flown to La Paz to face accusations that he hired hit-men to fire on pro-government supporters. He was charged with committing genocide.

The U.S. began evacuating Peace Corps volunteers from Bolivia and organized at least two evacuation flights in response. In spite of the arrest opposition governors agreed to talks, conditioned on anti-Morales protesters ending occupations of government buildings. Matters up for discussion include the opposition drive for more autonomy for their provinces and a larger share of state energy revenue. Talks were expected to begin on Thursday. The army also professed its support for Morales.

September 20 - Morales appointed Navy Rear Admiral Landelino Bandeiras as the replacement for the governor of Pando.

September 25 - Morales rejected autonomy proposals by the Eastern provinces, putting the talks on hold.

October 20 - Morales and the opposition agreed to hold the referendum on 25 January 2009 and early elections in December 2009

§Peru

November 22 – 23 - APEC Peru 2008 Summit held in Lima.

§Venezuela

February 12 - PDVSA, a state oil company in Venezuela, suspends sales of crude oil to ExxonMobil, in response to a legal challenge by them.

February 22 - No survivors are found after a rescue helicopter discovers the wreckage of Santa Bárbara Airlines Flight 518 just northeast of Mérida, Venezuela. The commercial plane had 46 people on board, including crew.

§Southeast Asia

§Myanmar

May 2 - Tropical cyclone Nargis (category 4 on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale, SSHS) made landfall causing the worst natural disaster in Myanmar’s recorded history. Official death toll estimates exceed 138,000 fatalities making it the eighth deadliest cyclone ever recorded worldwide

§Thailand

September 2 - Political crisis in Thailand: Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej of Thailand declares a state of emergency in Bangkok.

September 9 - Political crisis in Thailand: The Constitutional Court of Thailand orders Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej to resign after receiving payment for appearing on a television cooking show.

§South Pacific

§Australia

January 15 - Federal Court of Australia orders a Japanese whaling company to stop research whaling within their Exclusive Economic Zone.

February 13 - Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia delivers a formal apology to the Stolen Generations.

§Space

January 14 - At 19:04:39 UTC, the MESSENGER space probe is at its closest approach during its first flyby of the planet Mercury.

February 4 - Iran opens its first space center and launches a rocket to space.

February 7 - Space Shuttle Atlantis launches on mission STS-122 to deliver the European-built Columbus science laboratory to the International Space Station

March 9 - First European Space Agency Automated Transfer Vehicle, a cargo spacecraft for the International Space Station, launches from Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.

September 25 - Shenzhou 7, the third manned Chinese spaceflight and the first with three crew members, is successfully launched. China becomes the third country ever to conduct a spacewalk.

September 28 - SpaceX Falcon 1 becomes the world's first privately developed space launch vehicle successfully to make orbit.

October 6 - The NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft makes its second of three flybys of Mercury, decreasing the velocity for orbital insertion on March 18, 2011.

October 22 - The Indian Space Research Organization successfully launches Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft on a lunar exploration mission.

November 14 - The Indian Moon Impact Probe detached from the unmanned lunar orbiter Chandrayaan-1 and made a hard landing on the lunar surface around 8:31 p.m. New Delhi time.

November 14 - Endeavour launched on time at 7:55 p.m. ET to bring additions to the International Space Station.

November 22 - Frozen water is found on Mars.

December 1 - A triangular conjunction formed by a new Moon, Venus and Jupiter is a prominent object in the evening sky.

December 12 - The Moon moves into its nearest point to Earth, called perigee, at the same time that it in its fullest phase of the Lunar Cycle. The Moon appears to be 14% bigger and 30% brighter than this year's other full moons. The next time these two events will coincide will be in 2016.

§Births

  • December 29 - Forest Coombs, born in New Zealand.

§Deaths

  • January 22 - Heath Ledger, Academy Award- nominated Australian television and film actor, age 28 died of an accidental overdose of prescription medication.
  • December 18 - W. Mark Felt, who leaked information to reporters under the moniker, "Deep Throat," about the Watergate break-in, died age 95

§Sources

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