- March 2003
March 1, 2003
- Iraq disarmament crisis: The Turkish speaker of Parliament voids the vote accepting U.S. troops involved in the planned invasion of Iraq into Turkey on constitutional grounds. Due to 19 abstentions, 264 votes for and 250 against accepting 62,000 U.S. military personnel do not constitute the necessary majority under the Turkish constitution. 
- Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack and of other al-Qaeda attacks, is reported to have been arrested in Pakistan and turned over to US authorities for questioning.
- Under U.N. supervision, Iraq begins destroying four of its Al Samoud missiles.
- The United Arab Emirates calls for Iraqi president Saddam Hussein to step down to avoid war. The sentiment is later echoed by Kuwait and Bahrain.
March 2, 2003
- Four North Korean fighter jets intercept a United States reconnaissance plane over international waters in the Sea of Japan
- Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraq destroys six more Al-Samoud 2 missiles, bringing the total destroyed to 10 out of an estimated 100 missiles ordered eliminated by the U.N. The U.S. continues to dismiss Iraq's actions as "part of its game of deception." Iraq indicates that it may halt destruction of the missiles if the U.S. indicates it will go to war anyway.
- The British newspaper Observer publishes what it claims to be a leaked memo  from a high-ranking NSA official dated January 31, 2003. In it are orders to spy on the domestic and official communications of the United Nations Security Council members other than the U.S. and the United Kingdom. The memo names "... members Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria and Guinea, ..." as candidates for special attention. 
- French president Jacques Chirac starts a three-day visit to the former French colony Algeria. It is the first visit of a French president to Algeria at the highest ceremonial level.
March 3, 2003
- Under intense American pressure, Turkey indicates that its Parliament will consider a second vote on whether to allow U.S. troops to use Turkish bases for a military attack on Iraq.
March 4, 2003
- Reports of a new security vulnerability in sendmail have been circulating, together with proof-of-concept exploit code. This raises fears of an imminent new Internet worm problem, unless existing vulnerable implementations are patched in time.
- First performance of March 4th Marching Band in Portland, Oregon.
March 5, 2003
- An appeals court in Norway ruled that Jon Johansen, the teenager who developed the DeCSS software that allows DVDs to be copied, will have to be retried on charges that he violated copyright and anti-hacking laws.
- Iraq disarmament crisis: The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Russia indicate that they will oppose any UN Security Council proposals that would authorize war with Iraq. 
- Iraq disarmament crisis: UK newspaper The Times reports that the United Nations secretly drawn up a plan to establish a post-war government in Iraq. Although no consensus have reached among UN Security Council members in regard to military action, the document indicates that UN leaders may now consider war all but inevitable.
- A bomb explosion at an airport in Davao City, Philippines, killed at least 19 people.
- Meeting of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in Qatar fails to produce a statement opposing war in Iraq.
- Saudi Arabia deploys 3,300 troops to Kuwait in preparation for a potential Iraq conflict.
- A man exploded a bomb in a bus in Haifa, Israel, killing at least ten people.
- A car bomb exploded in Cúcuta, Colombia killing at least seven people.
- The chairman of the United States Senate subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific affairs said United Nation Security Council should debate the issue about abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea as a question of human rights.
- Protests against the 2003 Iraq war: Students protest and go on strike in a number of countries around the world.
- Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, New York, dropped charges of trespassing against a man who had been arrested for refusing to remove his "Give Peace a Chance" t-shirt. The change of heart occurred after over 100 anti-war demonstraters marched through the mall and threatened to stay until the mall backed down.
- Belize's People's United Party returned to office, 22–7, in 2003 legislative elections.
March 6, 2003
- Britain: Abdullah el-Faisal is jailed for nine years for urging Islamists to kill non-believers, Americans, Hindus and Jews. 
- Cuban President Fidel Castro is elected unopposed to a sixth term. He has served as the head of Cuba's government for 44 years—longer than any other living head of government.
- New Scientist magazine reports a paper by Robert R. Caldwell, Marc Kamionkowski and Nevin N. Weinberg which puts forward the hypothesis that the end of the Universe may possibly occur as a "Big Rip", which will shred the physical structure of the Universe. 
- The SCO Group, formerly Caldera, the current owner of the rights to the Unix operating system, sues IBM for $1 billion for "devaluing" Unix, claiming that IBM employees who signed Non-disclosure agreements worked on the Linux operating system.
- The European Central Bank cut its reference rate by 0.25%
- Vivendi reported a corporate loss of 23.3 billion euros, the largest loss ever for a French company.
- Koei's Dynasty Warriors 3 receives Animation Magazine's "Best Overall Game Animation" award.
March 7, 2003
- Pravda reports that Georgia intends to seek UN Security Council approval to use military force against Abkhazia. 
- The United States declared a national emergency and joined the European Union in imposing economic sanctions on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and members of his government for "systematically undermin[ing] democratic institutions" in Zimbabwe. 
- War on Terrorism: Two of Osama bin Laden's sons are rumored to have been arrested in a skirmish in southern Afghanistan.  This report was denied by both United States and Pakistani officials. 
- Iraq disarmament crisis: Hans Blix reports to the UN Security Council citing Iraq's increased but qualified cooperation.
- Revising the draft resolution put forth by the United States, United Kingdom and Spain a week ago, Britain proposes setting March 17 as the date for Iraq to voluntarily disarm or face the prospect of war.
- The Nikkei benchmark hit a 20-year low record as war in Iraq appears closer, alleged stock manipulation by Nikko Salomon Smith Barney came to light, North Korea is preparing to test fire a mid-range missile, and a new political scandal in the party of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi came to light. 
- Broadway musicians union members went on strike in protest over producers' proposals to cut the number of musicians at live performances, and the possibility of using taped or computer based music. All but one of Broadway's musicals (Cabaret) closed as a result.
March 8, 2003
- In a referendum, Malta votes in favor of joining the European Union in 2004.
- An oil refinery and an oil pipeline are attacked in the northeastern Indian province of Assam. The United Liberation Front of Asom separatist group claims responsibility and according to regional newspapers threatens more such attacks. 
- Iraq disarmament crisis: Kuwaiti workers have been instructed to make 35 holes in the fence between Iraq and Kuwait, and that the Kuwaiti army is positioning tanks at these openings.  The Pakistan Daily Times reported that UNIKOM had found armed US Marines in the demilitarized zone along the fence last month.  CBC reported that 230 UN support workers have been ordered out of the demilitarized zone. 
- The Japanese government expressed support for a revised draft resolution submitted jointly by the United States, United Kingdom and Spain to the United Nations Security Council that sets March 17 as the deadline for Iraq. Japanese media opinion polls taken last week indicate that 84% of Japanese people oppose an Iraq war. 
- An Air Algérie Boeing 737 crashes after take off from Tamanrasset, Algeria. A total of 96 passengers and 6 crew were killed, while 1 passenger survived.
March 9, 2003
- Iraq disarmament crisis: In an interview on BBC Radio 4, Clare Short, a member of Tony Blair's cabinet, describes his stance on Iraq as "deeply reckless", and says she would resign if he committed the UK to war without an unambiguous mandate from the United Nations.
- ArabNews reports that Saddam Hussein demanded that the UN Security Council lift the "embargo against Iraq", denounce the United States and the United Kingdom as "liars", strip Israel of weapons of mass destruction and force Israel to withdraw from "Palestine and occupied Arab land". 
- Albania says it will send troops to join any war against Iraq, largely a symbolic measure thanking the United States and NATO for intervening in Kosovo in the 1999 Kosovo War.
- The largest synagogue in Europe was opened in Baku.
March 10, 2003
- Iraq disarmament crisis: The White House press secretary, paraphrasing the President, stated "If the United Nations fails to act, that means the United Nations will not be the international body that disarms Saddam Hussein. Another international body will disarm Saddam Hussein." 
- Iraq disarmament crisis: *Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, stated "If the US and others were to go outside the [Security] Council and take military action it would not be in conformity with the [UN] Charter".
- French president Jacques Chirac declares that France will veto a UN resolution sponsored by Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The resolution would authorise use of force against Iraq unless that country proves it disarmament by March 17. 
- North Korea test-fires a short-range missile into the Sea of Japan. This is North Korea's second recent such launch. 
- Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov announced that Russia would veto a UN resolution by the US and the UK authorising the use of force against Iraq. 
- Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is elected to the Turkish parliament and is expected to become prime minister shortly. Erdoğan supports deployment of US troops in Turkey and is expected to call for a new vote on the issue as one of his first official acts. 
- Deutsche Telekom discloses an annual loss of 24.6 billion euros.
- U.S. diplomat John Brown, who joined the State Department in 1981, resigned. He said that the Bush administration's Iraq policy was fomenting a massive rise in anti-US sentiment around the world and he could not support it.
March 11, 2003
- After 20 years of delay, the Brazilian government fulfilled its legal commitment to demarcate the lands of the Awá tribe.
- Jonathan Ben-Artzi, nephew of Benjamin Netanyahu (former prime minister of Israel), is court martialed for refusing to serve in the Israeli Defence Force on pacifist grounds.
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes at 7524, a five month low.
- The 18 judges of the International Criminal Court are sworn in at The Hague.
- Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, announces that UN-sponsored talks on the reunification of Cyprus have failed. Cyprus remains a candidate for EU membership and the Greek Cypriot government intends to sign on behalf of the whole island. Analysts suggested that Turkish opposition to unification may hurt Turkey's chances of joining the EU.
March 12, 2003
- Zoran Đinđić, Prime Minister of Serbia, is assassinated.
- Vicente Fox, president of Mexico, undergoes emergency back surgery for a herniated disc.
- An Indonesian court convicts Brig.-Gen. Noer Moeis of crimes against humanity and sentences him to five years in prison for failing to prevent massacres in East Timor. 
- The European Court of Human Rights rules that the Turkish trial of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan was not fair.
- The World Health Organization issued a rare Global Alert about a mysterious severe respiratory disease spreading in several countries.
March 13, 2003
- The United States Food and Drug Administration approves Enfuvirtide (trade name Fuzeon), a new AIDS drug that acts as an entry inhibitor.
March 14, 2003
- Osiel Cárdenas, suspected leader of a Mexican drug cartel, is arrested in Matamoros, Tamaulipas.
- U.S. Representative James P. Moran, Democrat from Virginia, is forced out of a party leadership post after furor over his remarks that were interpreted as saying that American Jews are responsible for a possible war with Iraq.
- Carlos Ortega, labor union leader and opponent of President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, is granted political asylum at the Costa Rican Embassy in Caracas. Ortega had eluded arrest for three weeks on charges of treason, civil rebellion and "incitement".
- Norwegian firefighter Robert Sørlie becomes the first non-American, and second non-Alaskan to win the 1,049 mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which runs from Anchorage to Nome in the U.S. state of Alaska.
- Iraq disarmament crisis: Key documents presented as evidence that the US should invade Iraq are revealed as forgeries. The documents stated that Niger was selling 500 tons of uranium to Iraq. One, dated 2000, was on stationery from the military government of the 1980s and referred to a foreign minister who had not been in power for 14 years; another bore a signature of the president of Niger that was an obvious fake. Iraq's supposed acquisition of African uranium was a feature in Colin Powell's speech to the UN Security Council in February and in George W. Bush's State of the Union Address.  Senator John Rockefeller asked the FBI to investigate the origin of the documents. Rockefeller expressed concern that the forgeries "may be part of a larger deception campaign aimed at manipulating public opinion and foreign policy regarding Iraq."
March 15, 2003
- Hu Jintao is elected President of the People's Republic of China by the National People's Congress by a vote of 2,937 to 4 with three abstentions. His predecessor, Jiang Zemin, steps down after serving the maximum of two five-year terms.
- The World Health Organization issues warnings about an atypical pneumonia of unknown cause, dubbed severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). It was first found in Asia and appears to have originated in Hong Kong. There are fears that unless measures are taken to control SARS, it may become epidemic. 
- Iraq disarmament crisis: A round of protests takes place in cities across the world. 
- War on Terrorism: Suspected al-Qaida terrorist Yassir al-Jaziri, is arrested in eastern Pakistan. He is believed to be among the leading al-Qaida members wanted by the United States.
March 16, 2003
- The United States Department of State ordered non-essential diplomats and embassy dependents out of Kuwait, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Damascus.
- U.S. President George W. Bush, U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar meet in the Azores, Portugal for a summit on the Iraq disarmament crisis. One British official describes the meeting as the "last chance for diplomacy." In a press conference at the end of the meeting, President Bush states that "We concluded that tomorrow is a moment of truth for the world".
- Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Rachel Corrie, a college student from Olympia, Washington and member of the Palestinian International Solidarity Movement, is killed by an Israeli bulldozer when she tries to prevent it as a human shield from demolishing the house of the Palestinian Dr. Samir Masri.
- Zoran Živković, a former Interior Minister, was elected by the Democratic Party to succeed the assassinated Prime Minister of Serbia, Zoran Đinđić. He is expected to be elected for Prime Minister in few days at parliament. 
- Wen Jiabao was elected Premier of the People's Republic of China by the National People's Congress. He replaced Zhu Rongji.
- Sponsored by the World Water Council, a Water forum began in Kyoto, Japan. 
- 64% of voters in Liechtenstein approved a measure to give Prince Hans-Adam II the power to dismiss governments, approve judicial nominees and veto laws. It is the most power of any monarch in Europe. Hans-Adam had threatened to leave the country if the measure was not approved.
- General François Bozizé dissolved the national legislature of the Central African Republic and declared himself President, one day after his rebel forces took Bangui, the capital.
March 17, 2003
- US invasion of Iraq: President George W. Bush announces in a televised speech that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his sons have 48 hours to leave Iraq, or the United States will initiate preemptive military action against Iraq.
- France announces that it had deployed 300 soldiers to seize the Bangui, Central African Republic airport.
- Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, orders all UN personnel to leave Iraq.
- Peter Goldsmith, Attorney General of the UK set out the legal justification for an invasion of Iraq; 
- Robin Cook, Leader of the British House of Commons, resigned from the UK cabinet over the plan to invade Iraq; , 
- The UK and the US have withdrawn a proposed UN Security Council resolution on Iraq; 
- The United States advised UNMOVIC and the International Atomic Energy Agency to withdraw all weapon inspectors out of Iraq; 
- Iraq disarmament crisis: Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi said that he supports the U.S., U.K., and Spain for ending diplomatic efforts against Iraq. He also indicates no further UN resolution is necessary to invade Iraq. 
- Accounting scandals: Merrill Lynch, its four former executives and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission agree to settle the Enron security fraud case for $80 million. It is one of the five largest penalties imposed on security-related civil cases. 
March 18, 2003
- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says that thirty nations have joined with the United States in a "coalition of the willing" to remove Saddam Hussein from power, with another 15 quietly promising their support. See Worldwide government positions on war on Iraq.
- Naji Sabri, the Iraqi foreign minister, calls U.S. President George W. Bush "a war criminal", "tyrant", "despot" and "idiot". He also claims that evacuation of UNIKOM from the demilitarized zone violates the UN resolution of 1991. 
- Approximately US$1 billion is stolen from the Central Bank of Iraq, just hours after the United States began bombing Baghdad.
- The United Kingdom Parliament votes in to grant Parliamentary Approval for the invasion of Iraq.
March 19, 2003
- U.S. begins military strikes in Iraq, which many consider the beginning of the Iraq War
- Jørn Siljeholm, a weapons inspector recently in Iraq, accused the U.S. of lying about evidence for weapons of mass destruction. English, Norwegian
- Telephone tapping of EU headquarters uncovered. According to EU officials the taps targeted six EU states including Austria, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The taps appear to have been installed when the building was constructed in 1994.
- A group of doctors in Hong Kong claims to have identified the agent causing severe acute respiratory syndrome as belonging to the paramyxoviridae family of viruses. 
- European Union Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner, David Byrne, said "cases like SARS demonstrate only too clearly that contagious diseases require a high level of preparedness across borders. Imagine if it had been an influenza pandemic which, in the past, had a devastating impact on humans. In order to meet the contemporary public health threat of communicable diseases, we must strengthen coordination and surveillance at Community level. The most effective way to do so is by setting up a European Union Centre for Disease Control."
- Paul Twomey is chosen for being the next president of ICANN. 
- Dwight Watson, who had driven a tractor into the Constitution Gardens pond on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., surrendered to federal authorities. The 48 hour standoff severely disrupted the business and traffic of downtown D.C., as a large section of streets were blocked due to Watson's claim that he had explosives. 
March 20, 2003
- Space shuttle Columbia's data recorder ("black box") was found near Hemphill, Texas.  
- Mary Ann Wright, a U.S. diplomat in Mongolia, resigned out of disagreement with George W. Bush's Mideast policy, his approach to North Korea and the domestic consequences of the War on Terrorism.
- 2003 Iraq war: The 2003 invasion of Iraq begins as land troops from United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Poland attack.
- 2003 First Mayoral election: first mayoral election held for the Sylhet city corporation.
- March 20, 2003 anti-war protest
March 21, 2003
- An Illinois court ordered the tobacco company Philip Morris to pay $10.1 billion for misleading consumers with the word "light." The company appeals.
- 18 Afghan prisoners of Guantanamo base were liberated by the United States. These 18 persons were released in Kabul, Afghanistan without compensation or any assistance to return to their homes. 
March 22, 2003
- Estimates of between 125,000 and 250,000 people march for peace in New York City. The march was organized by the group United for Peace and Justice.
- Two Russian fighter jets tracked a U.S. U-2 spy plane flying near the Russian border. The U-2 was partaking in reconnaissance over Georgia and Azerbaijan.
March 23, 2003
- Hasan Akbar, a Muslim soldier with the 101st Airborne, kills two fellow soldiers in a grenade attack at Camp Pennsylvania, Kuwait.
- A 2000-pound (900 kg) meteorite explodes over Chicago shortly before midnight, raining fragments over the city. 
March 24, 2003
- Hilltop 26, an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank, was dismantled by the Israel Defence Force. 
March 25, 2003
- SARS: Ontario declares a public health emergency. Anyone who was at Scarborough Grace Hospital in the past 10 days is to be isolated at home. 
March 26, 2003
- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan says that American and allied troops in Iraq must be used to provide humanitarian aid to Iraqis whilst the security situation is so unstable (BBC)
- At least 14 people are killed in Baghdad after a missile hits a marketplace (BBC).
- Al Jazeera television broadcasts images of two dead soldiers and two prisoners of war, whom it says are British (BBC).
- Scientists at the Rovira i Virgili University claim to have a 350,000 year old axe, the oldest evidence of human creativity yet uncovered (BBC)
- A meteor exploded over the midwest, showering Park Forest, Illinois, with dozens of meteorite fragments. APOD: 2003 May 6 – A Chicago Meteorite Fall
- 954 paratroopers of the US Army's 173rd Airborne made a combat jump into the Bashur Drop Zone as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom
March 27, 2003
- Richard Perle resigned as chairman of the U.S. Defense Policy Board, but agreed to remain a board member. 
- Afghan deputy defense minister general Abdul Rashid Dostum created an office for the North Zone of Afghanistan and appointed officials to it, defying interim president Hamid Karzai's orders that there be no zones in Afghanistan. 
- SARS: The World Health Organization recommended that passengers flying from places where SARS outbreaks have occurred should be screened before being allowed on flights. These places included China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, and the city of Toronto. 
March 28, 2003
- SARS: The Hong Kong government imposes a quarantine on a group of over 1000 people, and closes schools for nine days in an attempt to stop the spread of SARS.
- Fujitsu releases the HOAP-2, a humanoid robot product running the open standard Linux operating system.
- Turkish Airlines' Airbus A310 was hijacked shortly after leaving Istanbul. At least three Turkish parliamentarians are among 196 passengers and eight aircrew members on the Flight TK 160 landed in Athens, Greece. The hijacker surrendered later in the day. 
March 29, 2003
- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome: Dr. Carlo Urbani, a WHO expert on communicable diseases and the physician who first identified the outbreak, dies of the disease in Thailand. He had been infected in Vietnam.
- SARS cases in Toronto exceed 100.
March 31, 2003
List of events by month
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