October 2003

October 2003: JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember


See also

October 1, 2003

October 2, 2003

  • North Korea claims to "have already processed" 8,000 fuel rods from its Yongbyon nuclear reactor north of Pyongyang and is using the plutonium extracted during the process to make atomic bombs to boost its nuclear capabilities for nuclear deterrent force. Citing a "hostile policy" by the United States, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Su Hon states this is a means to safeguard the country's territory. [1]
  • Occupation of Iraq: The United Nations Security Council discusses a new United States draft resolution on Iraq, which would enhance the United Nations' role in Iraq. Secretary General Kofi Annan states draft did not go in the direction he recommended. A quicker transfer of sovereignty "may change the dynamics on the ground, in terms of the security situation, and send a message". [2]
  • TechnologyGenome: The genome chip arrived with several companies rushing to sell the known human genes. The products will allow scientists to scan all genes in a human tissue sample at once to determine which are active, with lower cost and increased speed. [3]
  • Sino-American relations: The United States Navy blames the People's Republic of China for 2001 Hainan Island incident. A report released to Jane's Defense Weekly under the Freedom of Information Act said that the pilot of the Chinese jet fighter made three passes at the U.S. propeller-driven reconnaissance plane over international waters. On the third pass, the Chinese fighter hit a propeller on the American plane. [4]
  • Ontario general election, 2003: Dalton McGuinty becomes the new premier of Ontario when his party defeats Ernie Eves's incumbent Tories and Howard Hampton's NDP.
  • J. M. Coetzee wins Nobel Prize for literature. [5]
  • European Union: United States draft legislation which urges The Pentagon to buy defence parts from American manufacturers has turned heads in Brussels, with some warning of yet another trade dispute at the WTO. [6]
  • European Union: The first bilateral meeting between France and Austria since 1998 is marked by disagreements over the European Constitution. Austria heads the group of small countries seeking to make changes to the text, but France wants to leave the draft by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing broadly untouched. [7]
  • Media: A Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) study conducted with California-based Knowledge Networks, titled "Misperceptions, the Media, and the Iraq War," is released. According to this study, misperceptions about the 2003 invasion of Iraq are most common among consumers of Fox News Channel and supporters of President George W. Bush and least common among consumers of PBS and NPR and supporters of Democratic presidential candidates. The study also found that frequent viewers of Fox News are more likely to believe in the misconceptions than less frequent ones. One example misconception is the belief that weapons of mass destruction have already been found in Iraq. [8]

October 3, 2003

  • Near-Earth asteroid: Confirmation on the closest near-miss of a natural object ever recorded. The asteroid (designated 2003 SQ222), about the size of a small house, flew past Earth at a distance of around 88,000 kilometres. It would have made a fireball had it entered the atmosphere. [9]
  • Iraq and weapons of mass destruction: The world continues to digest David Kay's report that finds very little evidence of Weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, although the regime did intend to develop more weapons with additional capabilities. Such plans and programs appear to have been dormant, the existence of these were also concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in 2002. Weapons inspectors in Iraq do find clandestine "network of biological laboratories" and a deadly strain of botulinum. The US-sponsored search for WMD has so far cost $300 million and is projected to cost around $600 million more. [10] [11]
  • California recall: Arnold Schwarzenegger denies admiring Hitler. Arnold Schwarzenegger's denial comes days before the vote for the next governor of California. [12]
  • Politics: General Wesley Clark made a bold political move and arguably a risky one by suggesting that members of the Bush administration may be liable to criminal charges in connection with the Iraq war. Mr. Clark alleges that the plans for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and other interventions in the Middle East (possibly including Lebanon and Syria), pre-dated the inauguration of the President and that the reasons for the war were misleadingly presented to the US people.
  • Evo Morales said that Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, president of Bolivia, may be preparing a coup. [13] (in Spanish)
  • Missiles: Polish soldiers of the United States-led Coalition discovered four advanced missiles around central Iraq in the Hilla region near a highway. The Roland-type French-made missiles (which are fired from a mobile launcher vehicle against low flying aircraft) were initially believed to have been manufactured earlier in 2003. Arms exports to Iraq had been barred by the United Nations after the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. France says it last shipped Roland missiles to Iraq in 1986. The Polish soldiers were later found to have misinterpreted markings that read 07-01-KND 2003 as a date on the missiles. [14] [15] [16]

October 4, 2003

  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict: A Palestinian suicide bomber blows herself up in a crowded beach restaurant in the northern Israeli port city of Haifa, killing at least 19 people and wounding about two dozen, at least six seriously. [17]. Hours later Israeli helicopter gunships retaliate by attacking targets in Gaza City and Central Gaza.
  • Robin Cook, former United Kingdom Foreign Secretary who resigned from the British Government in protest prior the Iraq war, publishes his personal diaries. In them he alleges inter alia that Tony Blair knew before the Iraq war began that the 45 minutes to launch claim was false.
  • Roy Horn, of the magic team Siegfried & Roy, is hospitalized with critical injuries after being mauled on-stage in Las Vegas by a 600-pound seven-year-old male white tiger.
  • Poland apologizes to France for its claims that it had found newly produced Roland surface-to-air missiles in Iraq. It is believed that the Polish soldiers misinterpreted a "use-by" date or installation date marked on the missiles as a date of production. [18]

October 5, 2003

  • Maher Arar is reported to have been freed from a Syrian jail. The Canadian engineer was deported to Syria by the United States as he changed planes in New York, over a year ago. [19] He will arrive in Montreal the following afternoon. [20]
  • Ain es Saheb airstrike: Israeli warplanes attack an alleged Islamic Jihad training base deep in Syria in retaliation for a suicide bombing at a Haifa restaurant that killed 19 people, the army said Sunday. Israeli media state this is the first Israeli attack on Syrian soil in more than two decades. An emergency session of the UN Security Council is scheduled to debate the action. France and Germany condemn the attack. The international community calls for restraint by all parties involved. [21]
  • Pope John Paul II canonizes Daniele Comboni (1831–1881), Arnold Janssen (1837–1909) and Josef Freinademetz (1852–1908).
  • Ireland on Sunday claims that Pope John Paul II is suffering from terminal stomach cancer which has spread to his colon. The newspaper reports that the Pope has dictated a living will which gives instructions as to how the Roman Catholic Church is to be administered when the medical treatment he is receiving makes it impossible for him to function as pope. According to the paper, Cardinals have been told to be ready at a moment's notice to fly to Rome for a Papal funeral and Papal conclave.
  • The band Hell on Earth reports that an Internet broadcast of a concert that was to feature a suicide of a terminally ill person did not happen on Saturday evening, because the Web site was attacked. Band members state that the concert still went on, but they are unsure whether the suicide took place.

October 6, 2003

  • 2004 U.S. Democratic Primaries: Senator Bob Graham announces on Larry King Live that he is ending his 2004 presidential campaign. [22]
  • Chechen Election: Moscow's choice, the Kremlin-backed Akhmad Kadyrov swept presidential election in the Russian republic of Chechnya, winning 81 percent of the votes. [23]
  • SCO v. IBM: In an open letter to the Linux community published by Silicon Graphics (SGI), SGI states it conducted a comprehensive comparison of the Linux kernel and the UNIX System V source code owned by The SCO Group. According to the letter (authored by SGI Vice President of Software Rich Altmaier), SGI's "exhaustive comparison" of the source codes turned up only "trivial" code segments that "may arguably be related" to SCO's software. The letter also disputed SCO's claims that SGI inappropriately contributed its XFS (eXtensible File System). [24]
  • Middle East: Facing renewed threats from Israel, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, declares a state of emergency in Palestinian areas and installs a new government by decree. Ahmed Qurei is appointed prime minister and head of the eight-member emergency cabinet. [25]
  • Israel: In his first public comments since the Israeli attack on Syria, President Bush says that Israel has the right to defend its homeland; at the same time Mr. Bush asks Prime Minister Sharon to avoid any further actions that might destabilize the region.
  • Paul Lauterbur and Sir Peter Mansfield are jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries concerning Magnetic Resonance Imaging. [26]
  • Occupation of Iraq: Some in the international community have rejected a revised United States draft UN resolution concerning Iraq (calling for a multinational force of peacekeeping troops in Iraq under American command; transferring power gradually to elected civilian rule [though there is no handover timetable for sovereignty]). The resolution is being supported by the United Kingdom. France, Germany, and Russia (which opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq) have joined Kofi Annan in opposing the resolution. Annan states that the United Nations itself will not become heavily involved unless there are early moves toward passing sovereignty to the Iraqi people. Annan's stance is similar to that of Pope John Paul II and some members of the European Union. [27] [28] [29] [30] [31]
  • Irish political magazine Magill is closed down by its publishers, blaming poor readership numbers. The magazine, which played a central part in Irish politics in the 1970s and 1980s, has never regained the readership it attracted under its founder, maverick journalist and political commentator Vincent Browne, who, after an earlier closure, relaunched the title and sold it to its current owners. [32]
  • Attempts by the Republic of Ireland's government to ban smoking in pubs, restaurants and hotels run into more trouble as a government minister who will have responsibility for enforcing the ban, Frank Fahey, refuses to deny that he is critical of the plan and wants a compromise that would allow smoking in some areas to continue. A former Mayor of Galway and Fianna Fáil councillor who has links with the pub industry resigns from a health authority in protest at the refusal of the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrat government to compromise on the proposed ban. This follows an earlier announcement that publicans in County Kerry will refuse to obey the new law and indications of growing popular opposition to the ban. [33]
  • Former Sky News correspondent James Furlong, who resigned over allegations that he had faked a report during the Iraq War, is found dead. Furlong, aged 44, had served as Sky News' Defence and Royal Correspondent. He had previously worked for ITN. [34]
  • A United Nations report says that almost 1 billion people worldwide are living in slums. By 2050 3 billion, out of a world urban population of 6 billion, may be living in slums, unless radical policies are implemented, according to the UN. Dr Anna Tibaijuka of the UN says the persistence of the slums should shame the whole world. [35]

October 7, 2003

  • California recall: The state of California held a special election to decide whether to recall Governor Gray Davis, and, if so, who to replace him with. Also on the ballot: Proposition 53, the "California Twenty-First Century Infrastructure Investment Fund," and Proposition 54, the "Racial Privacy Initiative."
  • Nobel Prize: The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded jointly to Alexei Abrikosov, Vitaly Ginzburg and Anthony Leggett for their work on the theory of superconductors and superfluids. [36]
  • Middle East: United Nations envoy and Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Terje Roed-Larsen, condemns attack from Lebanese territory that killed an Israeli soldier across the southern withdrawal line and urges Beirut to control the use of force everywhere in its jurisdiction. Roed-Larsen, states the attack "constitutes a clear violation of the Blue Line and Security Council resolutions and could escalate tension between Israel and its northern neighbours" and he calls on all sides to use diplomacy and take no action that "could increase the already high level of tension in the region". [37]
  • Congo: UN spokesman states that a United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has discovered 65 bodies, mostly children, apparently massacred. [38]
  • Occupation of Iraq: The Turkish Parliament votes (358-to-183) to approve the dispatch of peacekeepers to Iraq, in a major victory for United States efforts to broaden foreign involvement in Iraq. In Baghdad, Iraqi Governing Council officials state that they would oppose any new foreign troop deployment to Iraq. No formal decision had been made by the Council and leaders of the council have stated they would support this if the United States requested this. [39]
  • Capital punishment: Some legal and medical professionals are stating warnings about the apparent tranquillity of a lethal injection, declaring this may be deceptive. According to these professional the standard chemical combination used to execute people may lead to paralysis that masks intense distress, leaving a wide-awake inmate unable to speak or cry out as he slowly suffocates. [40]
  • Genetic engineering: Small group of protesters brave chilly winds and strip off outside New Zealand Parliament to lobby against lifting the Genetically modified food moratorium. [41]
  • Africa: The South African government announce they would not prosecute the five policemen accused of killing Steve Biko in 1977, citing insufficient evidence to support a murder charge. [42]
  • Asia: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) announces its intention to form a single-market "Asian Community" by 2020.

October 8, 2003

October 9, 2003

  • Palestinians: Time magazine reports that Yassir Arafat, whose health has led to confused reporting over the past days, with him variously reported as having had flu and having had a heart attack, in actuality has stomach cancer. [50]
  • Nuclear Weapons: Pakistan successfully test fires a medium-range, nuclear-capable missile, the second such test in less than a week, the Pakistan army states. The Hatf-4 missile, also known as the Shaheen 1, was fired off, according to the army. The missile has a range of 435 miles, meaning it can hit most major targets in India. The test followed a similar launching on Friday of the short-range Hatf-2 Ghaznavi after which Pakistan said it was in the middle of a series of such tests. Pakistani army spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan said India had been told of each of the launches beforehand and he states the tests should not affect the international relations between the two neighbors. [51]
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz ordered dispatches of Israeli troop reinforcements to the Palestinian Areas, West Bank and Gaza Strip, and weighed a call-up of reserves, citing new warnings about planned attacks by Palestinian militants. The Israeli military also extended a two-week lockdown on Palestinians' travel within the West Bank and Gaza in what it states as a bid to prevent further attacks. [52] Meanwhile, prime minister Ahmed Qurei is reported to have declined to form a government and told President Yasser Arafat he wants to quit his post.[53]
  • Occupation of Iraq: Twin attacks in Baghdad killed a Spanish diplomat (by gunshot) and, in the other, at least ten people following an attack on a police station in Baghdad's main Shi'ite neighbourhood, exactly half a year since Coalition troops occupied the Iraqi city. [54] [55]
  • Safe sex: A BBC report claims that the Roman Catholic Church is incorrectly claiming that condoms are ineffective to prevent the spread of AIDS for ideological reasons, and hence putting lives at risk in high-risk countries. [56] [57]

October 10, 2003

  • Nobel Prize: Shirin Ebadi, Iranian human rights lawyer, is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. [58]
  • In Iraq two more soldiers are killed and four wounded in an ambush in the Sadr district of Baghdad. The troops are lured into the ambush by civilians in what could be a new tactic by hostile forces in Iraq. [59]
  • Camp X-ray: The United States' policy of detaining up to 600 people in Guantanamo Bay comes under fierce attack from the Red Cross and a group of American former judges, diplomats and military officers who are asking the Supreme Court of the United States to review the situation. The Red Cross criticises the policy of holding detainees without legal representation and in contravention of legal conventions; it reports a worrying deterioration in the mental health of detainees. [60]
  • Canadian Census: NDP MP Bill Blaikie accuses the Canadian federal government of contracting out the census to American manufacturer Lockheed Martin, a charge Industry Minister Allan Rock does not confirm or deny. Blaikie raises dire concerns of privacy. [61]
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Israeli military officer states Palestinian militants are feared to be using a tunnel to smuggle anti-tank missiles and portable anti-aircraft missiles, though no tunnels had been found yet. The army states it is encountering strong resistance from Palestinians using dozens of homemade bombs, rocket-propelled grenades and other grenades and automatic weapons. One Palestinian child and four adults killed in overnight attack on Rafah refugee camp in Gaza. [62]
  • Sports – Rugby union: The 2003 Rugby World Cup, with 20 countries competing for the William Webb Ellis Trophy over a seven week period, starts after a spectacular opening ceremony at the Telstra Stadium, Sydney, Australia, with Australia defeating Argentina 24–8 in the opening match. [63]
  • Royalty: Prince Johan-Friso of the Netherlands, second son of Queen Beatrix and second in line of succession to the throne will lose his succession rights when he marries Mabel Wisse Smit without the Dutch Parliament's permission. Government assent was refused because the couple had been less than candid about the bride's interactions with gangster Klaas Bruisma in the late 1980s. [64]
  • The flagship channel of the Adventist Television Network (ATN), Hope Channel is launched

October 11, 2003

October 12, 2003

  • Sports – Cricket: New Zealand prevents India from snatching victory in the first Test cricket at Ahmedabad. [72]
  • Syria: Relations between Syria and the United States fall to a low point as Syria criticizes the US for its failure to censure Israel. [73]
  • The People's Republic of China confirms that it will launch its first manned space mission between October 15 and 17. The spacecraft plans to orbit Earth 14 times before landing in an undisclosed location. (See Shenzhou 5) [74][75]
  • Medicine: The operation to separate two-year old Egyptian twins joined at the head is going well in Dallas; the two boys have been separated and no troublesome complications have arisen. The next steps are to reconstruct the boys' skulls including the skin. [76]
  • East Asia: India, Thailand and the People's Republic of China press ahead with efforts and a study group aimed at creating a Free Trade Area. [77]
  • 2003 occupation of Iraq: A huge explosion occurs in the center of Baghdad, possibly caused by car bomb. A number of fatalities are reported. The blast takes place in Baghdad Hotel. [78]
  • Oncology: Researchers announced that they have discovered the detailed relationship between the Ras v12 gene, polarity genes, and metastasis of cancer in fruit flies. [79]
  • Foreign relations of Liberia: Liberia drops diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (on Taiwan) and re-establishes ties with the People's Republic of China. This move was seen largely as a result of the PRC's lobbying in the UN, which is planning to deploy a peacekeeping force to Liberia. ROC Foreign Minister Eugene Chien offers to resign as a result.[80]

October 13, 2003

October 14, 2003

  • Religion: RTÉ's Prime Time current affairs programme reports that Cahal Daly, Bishop of Down and Conor, refused to accept allegations passed on to him by students of improper sexual conduct by Monsignor Micheal Ledwith, then head of St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Ireland's major seminary. According to the programme Daly became aggressive, telling students "go back and say your prayers". The TV programme confirms that Daly, and his predecessor, Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich, were centrally involved in efforts to silence critics of Ledwith, including forcing the resignation of one dean of students who informed them of allegations that Ledwith was making sexual advances against student priests. Ledwith subsequently left the college after paying damages to an under-age teenager to whom he allegedly made sexual advances. Ledwith, once an internationally famous Roman Catholic theologian tipped to become Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, is now associated with an American New Age organization. Having been tracked down by the programme, Ledwith refuses to comment 'for legal reasons'.
  • Liberia: The Inauguration of a new government takes place. The rebels are expected to disarm.
  • SniperTerrorism: Trial of John Allen Muhammad, who is suspected of being the Washington DC serial sniper, begins. He pleads not guilty.[89]
  • Weapons: The BBC reports that dissident IRA groups are supplying the weapons that have led to a recent surge in UK gun crime. [90]
  • Instant Messaging: Microsoft chatrooms close today. Free unmoderated chatrooms outside the US are closed in what Microsoft claim is an attempt to safeguard children. [91]
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Israel orders the expulsion of 15 Palestinian detainees from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip. [92]
  • British Politics: Conservative Party leader, Iain Duncan Smith, is being investigated by Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Sir Philip Mawer over allegations that he paid a secretarial salary to his wife without her doing sufficient work to warrant the payments. [93]
  • Law – A British HIV carrier is found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm after infecting two lovers. [94]
  • Steve Bartman incident – A Chicago Cubs fan, Steve Bartman intereferes with a foul ball leading to the Chicago Cubs losing to the Florida Marlins in Game 6 of the 2003 Major League Baseball NLCS.

October 15, 2003

October 16, 2003

  • Occupation of Iraq: The UN Security Council unanimously approves a new US resolution on Iraq. Russia, Germany and France back the resolution but will not provide troops or money. [109]. A survey indicates poor morale amongst the US troops serving in Iraq. [110]
  • East Asia: President Bush re-affirms his intention to pressure China and Japan into fair policies re their exchange rates. [111]. China's trade surplus is shrinking as imports surge. [112] At the same time India is wrestling with the implications of the sustained appreciation of the rupee against the dollar. [113]
  • Roman Catholicism: Tens of thousands of Catholics attend Mass celebrating the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II in Rome. The Pope will beatify Mother Teresa on Sunday, October 19, and install 30 new Cardinals on Tuesday, October 21. [114]
  • Genetically Modified Foods: In a surprise move, Monsanto Company announce their intention to quit the European cereal business. Citing lack of success, the company has decided to cut costs. [115]
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict: European Commissioner for External Relations, Chris Patten has questioned Israel's commitment to a two-states resolution to the conflict with the Palestinians. [116]
  • Space exploration: The People's Republic of China's first astronaut, Yang Liwei returns to earth safely aboard a Shenzhou spacecraft, Shenzhou 5. During the 21-hour trip, he circled the planet 14 times. [117]
  • Apple launches its iTunes Music Store, an online download music store, for the Microsoft Windows platform. The iTunes software can be downloaded from apple.com for free.

October 17, 2003

  • Bolivia: Carlos Mesa is sworn in as the president of the country, after former president Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada was forced to resign as protests and strikes escalated in the Bolivian Gas War.
  • US: A former employee of Diebold Election Systems (now Premier Election Solutions) has accused the firm of violating state and federal election-certification rules during Georgia's 2002 gubernatorial election, the outcome of which defied all polls. [118]
  • Occupation of Iraq: Four US troops and at least two police officers are killed in an ambush in Karbala and another incident in Iraq.[119]
  • Airport security: In a challenge of airport security, box cutters turned up on Southwest Airlines planes in New Orleans and Houston, prompting a search of all U.S. commercial aircraft (See Nathaniel Heatwole). [120]
  • Economy of the People's Republic of China: The People's Republic of China's economy grows at 9% in the latest period, on course to become the largest economy in the world by 2050. [121]
  • Sport – Performance enhancing drugs: 'Several' unnamed US athletes are reported to have tested positive for an anabolic steroid the athletes expected to be undetectable. [122]
  • World's tallest structures: A 197 ft (60 m) spire is inserted on Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan, unseating Malaysia's Petronas Towers as the world's tallest building. [123]

October 18, 2003

October 19, 2003

  • United Kingdom: A new biography, reported in The Sunday Times, claims that the prosecution of Oscar Wilde for sodomy was ordered by the then Liberal government, in a deal with the Marquess of Queensberry, the father of Lord Alfred Douglas, to prevent his exposure of a homosexual relationship between another of his sons, Viscount Drumlanrig, and British Prime Minister Lord Rosebery. According to reports, future prime minister Herbert Asquith played a key role in negotiating the deal, which led to the imprisonment of the Irish writer.[citation needed]
  • United Kingdom: Frank Bruno leaves hospital in the UK where he has been undergoing treatment for depression. [132]
  • United Kingdom: British Prime Minister Tony Blair is rushed to hospital with heart problems. An irregular heart-beat is diagnosed. Blair is given a cardioversion in hospital, where he stays for four or five hours before going back to Number 10 Downing Street, and is ordered by his doctors to take 24 hours complete rest. [133]
  • Roman Catholicism: Pope John Paul II beatifies Mother Teresa. Hundreds of thousands attend the ceremony in St. Peter's Square. Mother Teresa, who founded the Missionaries of Charity, is now one step from sainthood. [134]
  • International relations: South Korea and the United States are reported to be discussing the possible withdrawal of thousands of US troops. [135]
  • North Korea crisis: The United States says it is willing to give North Korea security assurances in exchange for a nuclear standdown. U.S. President Bush rules out a non-aggression treaty demanded by Pyongyang. [136]
  • Afghanistan: Bomb blows up a pickup truck on a dirt road in Afghanistan's eastern Kunar Province, killing four people, and two Afghan soldiers are killed in a separate land mine explosion in the country's south. The explosions come two days after the Taliban allegedly distributed pamphlets warning against working with the post-Taliban government of President Hamid Karzai. [137]
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Palestinian gunmen attack an Israeli army foot patrol near a West Bank village, kills three soldiers and wounds a fourth, rescue services and security sources state. Gunfire attacks near the Palestinian village of Ein Yabrud, east of the town of Ramallah, not far from the Israeli settlement of Ofra. [138]
  • Occupation of Iraq: A Fallujah roadside attack on a military convoy leaves an American armored car and munitions truck burning wrecks. No one was reported killed. Iraqis nearby were reportedly cheering. Emerging series of threats. [139]

October 20, 2003

  • Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien indicates that during an informal meeting between him and Vladimir Putin, the Russian president indicated that he was tentatively in favour of signing the Kyoto Protocol. Russia's signature is absolutely necessary for the protocol to acquire the force of law. [140]
  • Public health in France: Cigarette prices in France go up by 20% today. Tobacconists (tobacco retailers) go on strike. [141]
  • United States deficit: The United States posts a record budget deficit of $374.2 billion in the fiscal year ending September 30. The figure broke the previous record of $290 billion, set in 1992. The number was actually better than the U.S. government's own forecast of $455 billion. [142]
  • United States: The publicist of Robert De Niro announces that the actor has prostate cancer. [143]
  • Politics of Switzerland: Early results in Swiss elections show larger-than-predicted gains for the right-wing Swiss People's Party. [144]
  • Archaeology – Early Art: An Italian archaeologist claims to have found a carved two-faced head over 200,000 years old. The carving is possible the work of Homo erectus.[145]
  • Space Exploration – The Soyuz TMA-3 spacecraft docked with the International Space Station bringing a new crew of three from Russia, the United States, and Spain. [146]
  • Canada: A man survives a fall over Niagara Falls without any protective device. [147]

October 21, 2003

  • War on Terrorism: US officials state that they believe Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was killed by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. [148]
  • North Sea: Scientists call for a total ban on fishing for cod in the North Sea to allow stocks to recover from near extinction. [149]
  • Musician Elliott Smith was possibly murdered or committed suicide at the age of 34.[citation needed]
  • Afghanistan: The commander of UN forces in Afghanistan warns that the security of Kabul is at risk if security is not achieved in the Afghan countryside. [150]
  • Occupation of Iraq: Human Rights Watch (HRW) accuses US troops of using excessive force against civilians in Iraq. [151]
  • Iran's Supreme Council agrees to comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency, allow inspections of its nuclear facilities, and suspend its uranium enrichment program. [152][153][154]
  • Africa: Outbreaks of locusts are reported in Mauritania, Niger and Sudan and might spread to other areas of north Africa. [155]
  • Northern Ireland: In a series of moves designed to bring about final implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, the British Government confirms that elections to the region's devolved administration will be held on November 26. The Provisional IRA announces a further act of weapons decommissioning. Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams declares "the end to physical force republicanism". Statements from all the major parties involved are expected over the course of the day.[156][157][158]
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict: The UN General Assembly approves a resolution demanding that Israel remove a security fence in the West Bank. The resolution passes by an overwhelming majority of 144 to 4 with the US voting against the motion. [159][160]
  • Newfoundland and Labrador general election, 2003: The Tories of Danny Williams defeat the incumbent Liberals under Premier Roger Grimes, taking more than two-thirds of the seats in the House of Assembly. [161]
  • Ecuador – A trial opens in Lago Agrio in which US oil company ChevronTexaco is charged with polluting a once-pristine swath of the Amazon rainforest. The plaintiffs' lawyers have put a US$1 billion price tag on clean up and medical care for the region's inhabitants.


October 22, 2003

  • India: India launches a peace initiative to normalise relations with Pakistan. Formal talks are conditional on Islamabad ending Kashmiri cross-border terrorism initiatives. [163]
  • Mahathir bin Mohamad, outgoing prime minister of Malaysia, accuses leading democratic nations of terrorising the world. He seemed to be referring to the US, Israel, and Australia. [164]
  • Occupation of Iraq: The commander of US ground forces in Iraq says that Al-Qaeda is now operating in Iraq as witnessed by increasingly sophisticated attacks on US troops. [165]
  • European Union and Guantanamo Bay: Leaders of the European Union parliament urge the EU to take action over 26 Europeans being held indefinitely by the US without charges, without trial, without legal representation at Guantanamo Bay. The detainees are experiencing increasing psychological problems. [166]
  • Human Rights Watch (HRW) releases a report about mentally ill inmates of United States prisons. It concludes that mentally ill offenders are frequently physically abused, punished by staff for self-destructive behavior and not given the treatment they need. [167]
  • Afghanistan: The commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan says that his troops are increasingly facing a new "excellently trained" species of terrorist. [168]
  • Sport – Performance enhancing drugs: Top British runner Dwain Chambers tests positive for the drug tetrahydrogestrinone (THG). The steroid was previously believed to be undetectable but an anonymous source provided a used syringe containing traces last week. [169]
  • Politics of Japan: A popular politician Tanaka Makiko resigns as a member of the Liberal Democratic Party. Her membership has been suspended since last year. [170]
  • Indy Racing League: Racecar driver Tony Renna is killed in a crash during a test drive at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. [171]

October 23, 2003

  • Luis A. Ferré, the third Democratically Elected Governor of Puerto Rico, dies at age 99.
  • Canada: Dalton McGuinty is sworn in as the 24th premier of Ontario. [172]
  • Occupation of Iraq: There is every sign that the international conference in Madrid at which pledges to re-build Iraq are hoped for will disappoint and e.g. Paul Bremer seeks to lower expectations. [173][174]
  • United States Supreme Court: Before a conservative legal organization, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia ridicules the recent Supreme Court decision overturning anti-sodomy laws in Texas, saying that the Court had "held to be a constitutional right what had been a criminal offense at the time of the founding and for nearly 200 years thereafter." According to news reports, Scalia adopted a mocking tone to read from the court's ruling. [175]
  • Kuwait AL Arabi football club beat Qadsia in the Kuwait derby 2–0.

October 24, 2003

  • Mining: 49 miners are trapped in a Russian mine as water began seeping into the mine, disabling electrical systems [176].
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict: The body of the Hamas militant killed in the attack on an Israeli military camp (that killed three Israeli soldiers) is returned to his family in their refugee camp. [177]
  • 2003 invasion of Iraq: The US Senate Committee on Intelligence finalizes its report on pre-war intelligence and is highly critical of George Tenet and the quality of US intelligence about Iraq's weapons. [178]
  • Space weather: Earth is hit by a solar ion storm, disrupting some satellite communications but not electric power transmission grids as was predicted. Canada, the northern US northern Europe were treated to an exceptional display of aurora borealis. [179][180][181]
  • Aircraft: The final flights of Concorde, from New York, Edinburgh, and a loop around the Bay of Biscay, touch down at Heathrow International Airport around 1600 BST, marking the end of 27 years of commercial supersonic flight. [182]
  • Same-sex marriage: Three same-sex couples in Spain, including a Madrid city councilman, apply for marriage licenses. They state that if the registry judge does not grant them the licenses, they will appeal to Spain's constitutional court, and as far as the European Court of Human Rights if necessary. They describe their actions as inspired by the recent rulings on same-sex marriage in Canada. [183]

October 25, 2003

October 26, 2003

  • California: Wildfires start to rage in Southern California. The scheduled NFL Monday Night Football game between the San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins is relocated from San Diego, California, to Tempe, Arizona, as a consequence of the fires. [190]
  • Occupation of Iraq: The Al-Rashid Hotel in Baghdad where US deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying has been evacuated after several rockets were fired at it in the morning. one US Colonel was killed and fifteen individuals wounded (three seriously) in the attack. [191][192]. Two more explosions occurred near Al Rashid hotel later towards the evening. Further investigations confirm that Iraq had no active nuclear program, but did not relinquish nuclear ambitions or technical records. [193] [194]
  • Syria: The President of Syria says that Iran and Syria, which are increasingly close allies, are capable of neutralizing conspiracies of foreign powers (implicitly referring to the US and Israel). [195]
  • Russia: Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the country's wealthiest businessman, has been arrested and is being held in Moscow facing charges of fraud and tax evasion. [196]

October 27, 2003

October 28, 2003

October 29, 2003

  • Medicine: The US FDA approves Risperdal Consta (Risperidone long-acting injection) for the treatment of schizophrenia. Although already approved in several other countries, it is the first long-acting, atypical antipsychotic medication to be approved by the FDA.
  • Republic of Ireland: The Garda Síochána, the Irish police force, opens a criminal investigation following a hoax telephone call on 27 October from a woman claiming that she had abandoned her newborn baby in a derelict flat in Dublin. Hundreds of Gardaí had mounted a round the clock search of thousands of derelict sites in the working class suburb of Ballymun to find the child, as fears grew for its safety amid plummeting temperatures. Police later concluded that no such child existed and that the series of phone calls made to them and to childcare charities had been a deliberate hoax.
  • United Kingdom: British Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith loses a vote of confidence in his parliamentary party by 90 votes to 75 and, in accordance with party rules, resigns from the leadership. A new leadership election is called. Shadow Deputy Prime Minister David Davis, previously tipped as a future leader, surprises Westminster by announcing that he will not seek the leadership and endorses former Home Secretary Michael Howard, who is now seen as the frontrunner to assume the leadership. Other leading politicians endorse Howard, once famously described by a colleague as having "something of the night about him." [206] [207]
  • Occupation of Iraq: The International Red Cross announces that it is to scale back its commitments to Iraq. [208] Two more GIs are killed, bringing the total killed since May 1 to 115. [209]
  • Earth's magnetic field: The Earth's magnetosphere is hit by the recent solar flare causing a brief but intense geomagnetic storm, provoking unusual displays of Northern Lights. [210]

October 30, 2003

October 31, 2003

  • Japan: The trial of Shoko Asahara, accused of involvement in the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, ends in Japan with final statements from lawyers. The next court session is to be held in mid-February 2004. [222]
  • Japanese supercentenarian Kamato Hongo dies from pneumonia.
  • Russia: The furor surrounding Yukos deepens with an outspoken statement from the Russian Prime Minister expressing deep concern about the freezing of Yukos shares. [223]
  • United Kingdom: Kenneth Clarke has ruled himself out of the contest to lead the Conservative Party and the field is left potentially clear for Michael Howard to be elected unopposed. [224]
  • Surfer Bethany Hamilton's arm is bitten off by a shark.

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