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§Of World Interest

The world has been plunged into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

January 1 - Austria, Japan, Mexico, Turkey, and Uganda assume their seats on the United Nations Security Council and the The Czech Republic takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union from France.

February - "Bubble Boy" Disease cured by gene therapy. Gene therapy performed in Italy and Israel successfully cured 8 of 10 children who had potentially fatal severe combined immunodeficiency, or SCID. The genetic disease causes its carriers to develop non-functional immune systems.

April 1 - Albania and Croatia join NATO.

April 2 - The second G-20 summit (involving state leaders rather than the usual finance ministers) meets in London. Its main focus is the global financial crisis.

April 3–4 - The 21st NATO Summit is held, 60 years after the founding of the organization. Danish PM, Anders Fogh Rasmussen is appointed new secretary general of NATO.

April 23 - Fears of a global pandemic were sparked when people around the world were infected with "swine flu" a variant of type A H1N1, of the same family as the Spanish Flu which killed millions in 1918.

April 26 - 81 people in Mexico now dead from the swine flu. Mexico City is virtually shut down. 25 students in New Zealand are quarantined. Cases of swine flu are found throughout the United States and Canada. The WHO has called this a medical emergency.

May 8 - The WHO announced that there are currently 2,500 cases of swine flu.

May 19 - The number of swine flu infected people nears 10,000. Health officials have said that it appears that this variant of swine flu is not as deadly as once feared.

June 11 – The outbreak of the H1N1 influenza strain, commonly referred to as "swine flu", is deemed a global pandemic, becoming the first condition since the Hong Kong flu of 1967–1968 to receive this designation.

July 22 – The longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century, lasting up to 6 minutes and 38.8 seconds, occurs over parts of Asia and the Pacific Ocean; it is figured to be the most widely observed total eclipse in human history.

September 25 – At the G-20 Pittsburgh summit, world leaders announce that the G-20 will assume greater leverage over the global economy, replacing the role of the G-8, in an effort to prevent another financial crisis like that in 2008.



May 9 – Chadian forces defeat a large column of advancing rebels.


March 24 - A court in Egypt has sentenced 528 supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to death. They were convicted of charges including murdering a policeman and attacks on people and property.


Omar Bongo, Africa's longest-serving ruler, died June 8th of cancer.


March 2 – The President of Guinea-Bissau, João Bernardo Vieira, is assassinated during an armed attack on his residence in Bissau


May 2 - The women's caucus caused a national debate when it urged women to withhold sex to protest increasingly frosty relations between President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.


March 17 - The President of Madagascar, Marc Ravalomanana, is overthrown in a coup d'etat, following a month of rallies in Antananarivo. The military appoints opposition leader Andry Rajoelina as the new President.


May 4 – The President of Niger, Tandja Mamadou, holds peace talks with the Tuareg rebel groups in north Niger.


July 30 Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of a fundamentalist Islamist sect who was initially reported captured by the Nigerian military, is confirmed dead.

§Republic of Guinea

September 28 – At least 157 demonstrators are killed in a clash with the Guinean military.


January 22 – Congolese rebel leader Laurent Nkunda is captured by Rwandan forces after crossing over the border into Rwanda.


January 13 – Ethiopian military forces begin pulling out of Somalia, where they have tried to maintain order for nearly two years.

§South Africa

May 9 - Jacob Zuma was inaugurated as president of South Africa in an exuberant ceremony Saturday filled with heads of state and former presidents. The large crowd at Union Buildings -- the president's residence -- in Pretoria broke out into song many times before and during the ceremony. Zuma was elected president Wednesday by the parliament after his party won a landslide victory in nationwide parliamentary elections last month.


February 17 – The JEM rebel group in Darfur, Sudan sign a pact with the Sudanese government, planning a ceasefire within the next 3 months.

March 4 - The International Criminal Court (ICC) issues an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. Al-Bashir is the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the ICC since its establishment in 2002.


February 11 – Morgan Tsvangirai is sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Zimbabwe following the power-sharing deal with President Robert Mugabe signed in September, 2008.


April 5 - An ice bridge, part of the Wilkins Ice Shelf on the Western side of the Antarctic Peninsula, linking a shelf of ice the size of Jamaica to two islands snapped.

Scientists said the collapse could mean the Wilkins Ice Shelf is on the brink of breaking away, and provided further evidence of rapid change in the region. Researchers regarded the ice bridge as an important barrier, holding the remnant shelf structure in place.



July 5 – Over 150 are killed when a few thousand ethnic Uyghurs target local Han Chinese during major rioting in Ürümqi, Xinjiang.

August 22 - A deadly typhoon made landfall in the coastal area of Beibi Town, Xiapu County in Fujian province at about 4:20 p.m. China's coastal provinces and Taiwan and displaced nearly one million people and left dozens missing. High winds and torrential rain of Typhoon Morakot hit coastal provinces Fujian and Zhejian hardest, and caused the worst flooding in decades in Taiwan where flood waters as high as 7 feet were reported.

The deadly typhoon swept across the Philippines and Taiwan's Hualien region before crashing into eastern China, claiming nearly two dozens lives along the way. The storm, measured about 1,600 kilometers (about 1,000 miles) across.


September 15 - Yukio Hatoyama is elected Japan's Prime Minister.

§Japanese Business

September 27 - Problems began with Toyota accelerators. The company claimed the problem was with their all-weather floor mat. But the problems would continue dogging the company into 2010.

§North Korea

April 5 - North Korea launches its controversial Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2 rocket. The satellite passes over mainland Japan, prompting an immediate reaction from the United Nations Security Council, as well as participating states of Six-party talks.

May 25 – North Korea announces that it has conducted a second successful nuclear test in the province of North Hamgyong. The United Nations Security Council condemns the reported test.

August 4 – North Korean leader Kim Jong-il pardons two American journalists, who had been arrested and imprisoned for illegal entry earlier in the year, after former U.S. President Bill Clinton meets with Kim in North Korea.

§South Korea

May 23 – Former President of South Korea Roh Moo-hyun, under investigation for alleged bribery during his presidential term, commits suicide.


August 7 – Typhoon Morakot hits Taiwan, killing 500 and making more than a thousand isolated without food, causing the worst flooding in the island in half a century.

§Central America


June 28 - Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya was removed from office by a military coup and sent to Costa Rica. Zelaya was planning a referendum that would have allowed a constitutional assembly for the purpose of changing term limits. Zelaya was faced with his last term ending in January 2010 and wanted to run again. Congress and the military saw this as unconstitutional and thus took the ballots and removed him from office.

July 4 – The Organization of American States suspends Honduras due to the country's recent political crisis after its refusal to reinstate President Zelaya.


January 1 - The European small claims procedure comes into force throughout the European Union, other than Denmark.

April 3–4 – The 21st NATO Summit is held, 60 years after the founding of the organization. Former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen is appointed as the new Secretary General of NATO.

July 1 – Sweden assumes the presidency of the European Union.


April 1 – Albania joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organization


March 19 - Josef Fritzl is sentenced to life imprisonment by an Austrian court for enslaving and raping his daughter for 24 years, and for murdering their infant child.


April 29 – Amidst Russia's effort to improve relations with NATO and with the West in general, NATO expels two Russian diplomats from NATO headquarters in Brussels over a spy scandal in Estonia. Russia's Foreign Ministry criticizes the expulsions.


April 1 – Croatia joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

§Czech Republic

January 1 – The Czech Republic takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union from France.


March 24 - France’s far-right National Front party dealt a major blow to the ruling Socialists Sunday after several of its candidates took prime position in the first round of local elections.

The main centre-right opposition UMP party also hailed a “big victory” as initial estimates showed it came out trumps in the elections, as President Francois Hollande suffers record unpopularity against a backdrop of near-zero growth and high unemployment.

§Great Britain

The British surveillance agency Government Communications Headquarters conducted an effort to subvert phone encryption under a project called OPULENT PUP, using powerful computers to perform a "crypt attack" to penetrate the A5/3 algorithm, secret memos have revealed.

April 2 – The second G-20 summit, involving state leaders rather than the usual finance ministers, meets in London. Its main focus is an ongoing global financial crisis.

April 11 - Susan Boyle, 47 year old, unemployed charity worker, shocked the world on the television show, Britain's Got Talent when she sang "I Dreamed a Dream" from the play, Les Miserables. History is often about battles won. This was certainly a battle won when she took the stage and overcame her appearance and her age to stun the world. She became an instant Internet success on YouTube. She wanted to rock the audience and ended up rocking the World.


October 2 – The Republic of Ireland has a second referendum on the EU's Lisbon Treaty; 67% of votes are in favor.

November 28 - A report revealed that Catholic priests in the Dublin Diocese abused hundreds of children. The archdiocese was blamed for covering up decades of abuse.


April 6 - A 6.3 magnitude earthquake strikes near L'Aquila, Italy, killing at least 150 and destroying 13th century buildings.

July 8 – July 10 – The 35th G8 summit is held in L'Aquila, Italy.


January 26 – The first trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague is held. Former Union of Congolese Patriots. Leader Thomas Lubanga is accused of training child soldiers to kill, pillage, and rape.

February 26 – Former Serbian president Milan Milutinović is acquitted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia regarding war crimes during the Kosovo War.

March 4 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) issues an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. Al-Bashir is the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the ICC since its establishment in 2002.


August 20 - Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, a terrorist accused for over 250 counts of murder for his involvement in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing is released by the Scottish court on compassionate grounds as he is dying from terminal prostate cancer. He is returned to his native Libya where people celebrate his return.


January 1 - Slovakia adopts the euro and becomes the 16th member of the Eurozone.


September 27 – Polish-French film director Roman Polanski is arrested in Switzerland on a United States arrest warrant.



February 25 – Members of the Bangladesh Rifles paramilitary force begin mutinying. Over 80 are killed.


May 16 - Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh won a second term as his Congress party and its allies scored a decisive lead over their opponents after the country's month-long general election. The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance outpaced the main opposition, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP).

§Sri Lanka

May 18 – Following more than a quarter-century of fighting, the Sri Lankan Civil War ends with the total military defeat of the LTTE leaving hundreds of thousands of refugees.

October 15–16 – The 8th Asia Cooperation Dialogue Ministerial Meeting is held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

§Middle East


January 4 - A 6.2-magnitude hit Hindu Kush Region of northeastern Afghanistan. The quake struck at about 12:53 a.m. (2020 GMT), about 266 km (166 miles) northeast of the capital, Kabul.


January 1 - The United States handed over control of Baghdad's "Green Zone" as part of a new security agreement. Under the agreement, the U.S. is operating under control of the Iraqi government.


February 2 – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announces that Iran has launched its own satellite, "Omid", into orbit on an Iranian-built rocket

April 18 – Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American journalist, is sentenced to eight years in prison for espionage by an Iranian court. She is released the following month, after an appeals court reduces and suspends her sentence.

June 12 – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is reelected as the president of Iran. Over the following weeks, thousands of the opposition's supporters protest the results.

June 20 – The death of Neda Agha-Soltan, an Iranian student shot during a protest, is captured on what soon becomes a viral video that helps to turn Neda into an international symbol of the civil unrest following the presidential election.


January 1 - Six days into air strikes against Gaza Israel bombs a mosque thought to be a hub for Hamas fighters. At this point 400 people have been killed in the conflict and 2000 injured.

January 3 - Israeli ground forces invade Gaza.

January 17 - Israel declares a unilateral cease-fire against Hamas militants and puts an end to attacks after 22 days of violence in Gaza.

January 21 – Israel completes its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Intermittent air strikes by both sides of the preceding war continue in the weeks to follow.

The 22 day incursion destroyed more than 20,000 buildings, homes, factories and farms. 1387 were killed, 773 of them were unarmed, mostly women and children. 257 of them were under the age of 16.


February 8 – The Taliban releases a video which shows Polish geologist Piotr Stańczak, whom they had abducted a few months earlier, being beheaded. It is the first killing of a Western hostage in Pakistan since US journalist Daniel Pearl was beheaded in 2002

March 3 - Gunmen attack a bus carrying Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore, Pakistan, killing six policemen and two civilians, injuring six team members, and critically injuring reserve umpire Ahsan Raza.

§North America


April 12 - The United States lifted travel and monetary remittance restrictions for Cubans living in the U.S. after nearly 50 years. Cuba responded by requesting the lifting of the embargo that has meant the death of poor Cubans. But continued to say that it would keep its head high and rely on its Latin American neighbors for support.


August 7 - A series of attacks and gun battles between Mexican drug cartel suspects and police left at least 14 people dead and 22 wounded.

"The U.S. government estimates that the cultivation and trafficking of illegal drugs directly employs 450,000 people in Mexico [out of 110 million people]. Unknown numbers of people, possibly in the millions, are indirectly linked to the drug industry, which has revenues estimated to be as high as $25 billion a year, exceeded only by Mexico's annual income from manufacturing and oil exports. Dr. Edgardo Buscaglia ... concluded in a recent report that 17 of Mexico's 31 states have become virtual narco-republics, where organized crime has infiltrated government, the courts, and the police so extensively that there is almost no way they can be cleaned up. The drug gangs have acquired a 'military capacity' that enables them to confront the army on an almost equal footing. ...

"Of the many things Mexico lacks these days, clarity is near the top of the list. It is dangerous to know the truth. Finding it is frustrating. Statements by U.S. and Mexican government officials, repeated by a news media that prefers simple story lines, have fostered the impression in the United States that the conflict in Mexico is between Calderón's white hats and the crime syndicates' black hats. The reality is far more complicated, as suggested by this statistic: out of those 14,000 dead, fewer than 100 have been soldiers. Presumably, army casualties would be far higher if the war were as straightforward as it's often made out to be. ...

"The toll includes more than 1,000 police officers, some of whom, according to Mexican press reports, were executed by soldiers for suspected links to drug traffickers. Conversely, a number of the fallen soldiers may have been killed by policemen moonlighting as cartel hit men, though that cannot be proved. Meanwhile, human-rights groups have accused the military of unleashing a reign of terror - carrying out forced disappearances, illegal detentions, acts of torture, and assassinations - not only to fight organized crime but also to suppress dissidents and other political troublemakers. What began as a war on drug trafficking has evolved into a low-intensity civil war with more than two sides and no white hats, only shades of black. The ordinary Mexican citizen - never sure who is on what side, or who is fighting whom and for what reason - retreats into a private world where he becomes willfully blind, deaf, and above all, dumb. ...

"[The City of] Juárez's main product now is the corpse. Last year, drug-related violence there claimed more than 1,600 lives, and the toll for the first nine months of this year soared beyond 1,800, and mounts daily. That makes Juárez, population 1.5 million, the most violent city in the world."

§United States

January 15 - US Airways Flight 1549, en route to Charlotte/Douglas International Airport from New York's LaGuardia Airport, ditches in the Hudson River off Manhattan. All 155 passengers and crew are evacuated and taken to safety. The plane is apparently brought down by a flock of Canada Geese.

March 10 - The Geneva County massacre, spanned at least two communities, Geneva and Samson in Geneva County, Alabama, and resulted in the death of 11 people, including the 28 year old gunman, Michael Kenneth McLendon. The victims included members of the McLendon family; he also burned down his mother's house in the town of Kinston, Alabama. When law enforcement reached him, McLendon was shot and killed, though it was initially unclear whether the shot was self-inflicted. Later reports said he committed suicide.

March 11 - President Obama makes it easier for U.S. residents to travel to Cuba and to send money to family members on the island. The plan facilitates the sale of agricultural and pharmaceutical products to Cuba.

April 3rd, Iowa became the third State to allow gay marriage due to an Iowa Supreme Court decision.

Maine Gov. John Baldacci signs a gay rights marriage bill in his office at the State House in Augusta, Maine, on Wednesday, May 6, 2009. Legal challenges by right wing radicals were immediately filed causing people of the same gender in that State who wanted to marry to wait before their equal rights under the law was recognized.

May 12 - State prosecutors asked a judge to drop all charges against Paul House, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to die in 1986. Special Judge Jon Blackwood accepted the request. House had been scheduled to be executed in June of 2009 for the 1985 murder of Carolyn Muncey. He had been on death row for 22 years.

August 6 - Senate confirms Judge Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination, 68-31, making her the first Hispanic on the high court

September - As the school year begins in the Fall, the schools gird themselves for the upcoming H1N1 flu season. Vaccine is not expected until October.

December 12 - Houston, Texas elects an openly gay woman as mayor.

§U.S. Business

The year began with the country in a deep recession. The report of holiday retail sales was terrible and January saw even the largest of companies laying off large numbers of people. Microsoft laid off 5000 people in January.

Bernie Madoff, former Nasdaq chairman pleaded guilty in 2009 without standing trial of running a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of around $20 billion, and is now serving a 150-year prison term.

January 19 - The first beta was released of SLIRM at In response to the nation's poor economy, the first crowd-sourced comparative grocery shopping application was created.

April - Unemployment hit 8.5%. The recession shows no sign of letting up and is felt around the World. The stock market, which had been in freefall earlier in the year continued a 4 week slow and volatile climb.

June 24 - The U.S. EPA issued final Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for 23 new chemicals, including two carbon nanotubes (nanoscale materials) The SNURs will allow the commercialization of these specific carbon nanotubes under limited conditions to protect against unreasonable risks to human health and the environment.

July - Financing markets continue to be locked up. The economy is still mired in recession. Unemployment is at a 26-year high while capacity utilization, a key measure of industrial production, hit a record low.

July 29 - Microsoft and Yahoo! have reached a deal where Microsoft will take over Yahoo! operations in 2010.

§U.S. Economy

Unemployment reached the highest levels since 1974 in January.

It was revealed in February that the US housing market declined in 2008 more than at any time since the record keeping began in 1979.

February 17, Barak Obama signed a $787 billion dollar stimulus plan. The markets responded negatively to the plan.

Second Quarter - US Federal debt $11.55 trillion.

August 6 - U.S. Senate passes a $2 billion "Cash for Clunkers" extension

September 18 - Michigan led the nation in unemployment, with a rate of 15.2%, while Nevada was next at 13.2% and Rhode Island was third at 12.8%. California and Oregon were tied at 12.2%.

§U.S. Entertainment

June 25 – The death of US entertainer Michael Jackson triggers an outpouring of worldwide grief and cripples several major websites or online services, as the abundance of people accessing the web addresses pushes Internet traffic to potentially "unprecedented" and "historic" levels.

September 16 - Unemployed former chicken catcher, Kevin Skinner, wins the national TV competition, America's Got Talent. He doesn't sing that well, but judges felt that he had great heart and likened him to people such as Bob Dylan.

November 7 - Unemployment in the U.S. hit 10.2%

§U.S. Politics

January 1 - The year starts with an expectation of a new President of the United States, Barak Obama, who takes the oath of office on January 20.

January 20 - Barak Obama took the oath of office to become the 44rth President of the United States at 12:05 PM. There were more than 2 million people gathered on the capitol mall to witness the inauguration.

January 22 – U.S. President Barack Obama signs an order to close within a year the Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba, where the U.S. had held non-citizens whom it accused of terrorism.

May 20 - President Obama announced tough new nationwide rules for automobile emissions and mileage standards, embracing standards that California had sought to enact for years over the objections of the auto industry and the Bush administration.

August 22 - President Obama fights opposition to his health plan which many say smack of socialism. Posters of Obama as the Batman's Joker appeared with the word "Socialism" beneath it.

November 9 - Republican senators in Maine, worried about backing a same-sex marriage bill before their 2010 elections helped to overturn gay marriage in Maine.

§U.S. Religion

December 5 - The Rev. Mary Douglas Glasspool, was elected as an Episcopal Bishop in Los Angeles and will become the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church since Gene Robinson took office in New Hampshire in 2004.

§U.S. Technology

November 15 - The Jaguar Cray supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has become the world's most powerful supercomputer, at 1.75 petaflops per second, edging out the IBM Roadrunner system at the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, which has slowed slightly to 1.04 petaflops per second.


January 7 – Russia shuts off all gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin publicly endorses the move and urges greater international involvement in the energy dispute.

November 28 - A train derailment between Moscow and St. Petersburg killed 29 people and is thought to have been caused by an explosive device.


May 5 – A military revolt occurs in Georgia, near the capital, Tbilisi.



Dember 19 - The UN Climate Change Conference ended with frustration and verdicts of failure from many delegates because it did not reach a binding agreement on how to tackle climate change - or any agreement at all on targets for carbon emissions.


June 21 – As a step toward total independence from The Kingdom of Denmark, Greenland assumes control over its law enforcement, judicial affairs, and natural resources. Greenlandic becomes the official language.


The minister, Bjorgvin Sigurdsson, resigned January 25th, saying the government had failed to restore confidence in the three months after the collapse of the financial system.

January 26 - Iceland's ruling coalition resigned, three months after the collapse of the country's currency, stock market and several major banks, and following months of public protests. The government also fell after the resignation of the government's commerce minister in response to the country's financial mess.

February 1 - Johanna Sigurdardottir, a former flight attendant, became the world's first self-pronounced gay leader. She took over Iceland amid a crippling financial crisis.

§South America


January 25 - A constitutional referendum was held in Bolivia.

February 7 - President Evo Morales enacted the new constitution saying that he had accomplished his mission to "re-found" Bolivia. He spoke in front of thousands of his supporters in the town of El Alto, located near La Paz, claiming that his opponents had "tried ceaselessly" to have him killed. He also said: "Now I want to tell you that they can drag me from the palace. They can kill me. Mission accomplished for the re-founding of the new united Bolivia". One key reform allows Morales to stand for re-election in December 2009.

August 3 – Bolivia becomes the first South American country to declare the right of indigenous people to govern themselves.

December - Morales won the 2009 general election with a landslide majority, polling 64%, an increase on his 54% victory four years previously. His primary opponent, former army officer Manfred Reyes Villa, gained 27% of the vote, whilst cement businessman Samuel Doria Medina gained about 8%. Morales' party, the Movement for Socialism, also won a two-thirds majority in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.


October 2 – The International Olympic Committee awards the 2016 Summer Olympics to Rio de Janeiro.


April 7 - A three-judge panel of the Peruvian Supreme Court found former President Alberto Fujimori guilty Tuesday on charges involving human rights violations, including murder and kidnapping, and sentenced him to 25 years in prison.


April 17 – Thirty-four heads of state and government meet in Port of Spain, Trinidad for the 5th Summit of the Americas.

§Southeast Asia


January 1 - At least 61 people are killed in a fire in Bangkok during New Year celebrations.

§South Pacific


February 7 – The deadliest bushfires in Australian history begin; they kill 173, injure 500 more, and leave 7,500 homeless. The fires come after Melbourne records the highest-ever temperature (46.4°C, 115°F) of any capital city in Australia. The majority of the fires are ignited by either fallen or clashing power lines or deliberately lit.

May 22 - Woomera hosted the first successful test flight of a hypersonic aircraft in HIFire. The launch was one of 10 planned test flights planned.


April 10 – Fijian constitutional crisis: Fijian President Ratu Josefa Iloilo suspends the Constitution of Fiji, dismisses all judges and constitutional appointees and assumes all governance in the country after the Court of Appeal rules that the government of Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama is illegal.


March 27 - Flash flooding and the Situ Gintung dam's failure kill at least 99 people in Tangerang, Banten, Indonesia

September 30 – A 7.6-magnitude earthquake strikes just off the coast of Sumatra, killing around 1,000 in Indonesia


September 23 – Typhoon Ketsana begins to cause record amounts of rainfall in Manila, Philippines, leading to the declaration of a "state of calamity" in 25 provinces.


September 29 – An 8.3-magnitude earthquake triggers a tsunami near the Samoan Islands. Many communities and harbors in Samoa and American Samoa are destroyed, and at least 189 are killed.


February - Tauatomo Mairau claimed the Tahitian throne, and has attempted to re-assert the status of the monarchy in court.


April 11–12 – The Fourth East Asia Summit is postponed after Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declares a state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas.


February 10 - 11 - Two large communications satellites, an Iridium commercial satellite and an out-of-control Russian satellite, collided in the first-ever crash of two intact spacecraft in orbit, shooting out a pair of massive debris clouds and posing a slight risk to the international space station, and a greater risk to the Hubble Space Telescope.

March 7 – NASA's Kepler Mission, a space photometer which will search for extrasolar planets in the Milky Way galaxy, is launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, USA.

May 19 - Upgrades and repairs are completed on the Hubble Space Telescope.

June 18 – NASA launches the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter/LCROSS probes to the Moon, the first US lunar mission since Lunar Prospector in 1998.

October 20 – European astronomers discover 32 new exoplanets


  • January 1 - Senator Pell - Proponent of Student Grants
  • April 30 - Venetia Phair, who as an 11 year old girl in 1930, named Pluto, then considered the farthest planet.
  • June 25 - Farrah Fawcett - Actress
  • June 25 - Michael Jackson - Pop Singer and Dancer
  • August 13 - Les Paul - Musician and creator of the first solid body electric guitar that changed pop music.
  • August 25 - Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts
  • October 20 - Howard Unruh - Unconvicted 1949 mass murderer (found not competent to stand trial)


  • Wikipedia:2009
  • Philip Caputo, "The Border of Madness," The Atlantic, December 2009, pp. 63-69.

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