February 2004


February 2004

February 2004 was the second month of 2004 in the Gregorian calendar. It began on a Sunday and ended after 29 days, also on a Sunday.

February 2004 : January - February - March - April - May - June - July - August - September - October - November - December-

Events

February 1, 2004

*A team composed of Russian scientists at Dubna (Joint Institute for Nuclear Research), and U.S. scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory report on the discovery of two new chemical elements, called "superheavies" because of their atomic mass. From the international convention governing the periodic table, element 113 will be given the temporary name Ununtrium (Uut) and element 115 will be designated Ununpentium (Uup). Their discovery still awaits confirmation. [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/01/science/01ELEM.html?ex=1076216400&en=91af87c6dd4a6484&ei=5062&partner=GOOGLE] [http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/nation/2381437] [http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/nation/7849692.htm] [http://www.iht.com/articles/127563.html] [http://www.newsday.com/news/science/wire/sns-ap-new-elements,0,5539899.story?coll=sns-ap-science-headlines] [http://abcnews.go.com/wire/US/ap20040201_1293.html]
* Over one hundred MPs in Iran's parliament resign in protest at the Council of Guardians banning nearly two thousand candidates from standing at forthcoming general elections. [http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1035876.htm]
* Pakistan removes Abdul Qadeer Khan, the founder of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, from his post as a special adviser to the country's prime minister. Dr. Khan, three scientists and three low-level army officers are the focus of an investigation into the possible sharing of Pakistani nuclear technology with Iran, Libya and other countries in the late 1980s and early 1990s. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A1817-2004Jan31.html]
* 244 Muslim worshippers are trampled to death during the ritual of the stoning of the devil at the Hajj (annual Muslim pilgrimage) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. [http://www.cbc.ca/cp/world/040201/w020128.html]
*Iraq: At least 56 are killed and over 200 injured when two suicide bombers hit the offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Irbil, 200 miles north of Baghdad. Hundreds had gathered at the party offices for the start of al-Adha. [http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/6D3305DA-B58A-471C-9917-0F69BE5C4C87.htm] [http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_556329,001300180038.htm] [http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/ap20040201_336.html]
*The European Union and the United States file documents with the International Court of Justice opposing the court's decision to deliberate on Israel's "security fence". [http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1312&ncid=1312&e=1&u=/afp/20040131/wl_mideast_afp/mideast_040131205815]
*The new Minato Mirai subway line in Yokohama, Japan opens. [http://www.japantoday.com/e/?content=news&cat=1&id=287003]
*The first Ghan passenger train across Australia from Adelaide to Darwin sets off on its three-day journey. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3448599.stm]
* The New England Patriots defeat the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII 32-29 after Adam Vinatieri kicks a game-winning field goal with seconds remaining. During the halftime show, the breasts of Janet Jackson were exposed and caught on the CBS broadcast of the show. CBS was fined hundreds of thousands of dollars by the FCC later in the year.

February 2, 2004

*U.S. President George W. Bush announces he will form an independent, bipartisan inquiry presidential commission to probe into prewar intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction leading up to the decision to invade Iraq. Former weapons inspector David Kay, meeting with Bush with at the White House, maintains that Bush was right to go to war in Iraq and characterizes Saddam's regime as "far more dangerous than even we anticipated" when it was thought he had WMDs ready to deploy. [http://washingtontimes.com/national/20040202-111234-9651r.htm] [http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/02/02/sprj.nirq.iraq.wmd/index.html] [http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/2383501]
*Traces of ricin are found in the mailroom of a U.S. Senate office building. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/02/02/senate.hazardous/index.html]
*Prime Minister of Israel Ariel Sharon announces to the "Ha'aretz" newspaper that he plans to dismantle 17 Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip, and that he foresees a time when there are no Jews in Gaza at all. [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/390020.html]
*Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan confesses to smuggling nuclear hardware on chartered planes, sharing secret designs for the centrifuges that produce the enriched uranium necessary to develop a nuclear weapon, and giving personal briefings to nuclear scientists from Iran, North Korea and Libya, believing that nuclear proliferation would "ease Western attention on Pakistan" and "help the Muslim cause" [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/02/international/asia/02STAN.html?hp]
*The leader of Norway's Conservative Party ("Høyre"), Jan Petersen, announces his resignation as party leader after 10 years at the helm. He will continue as Foreign Minister in the current coalition government where Høyrerronertbdbnmsbdroberts [http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article.jhtml?articleID=721801]
*Social networking website Facebook is launched.
*Roger Federer becomes no. 1 ranked tennis player in the world.

February 3, 2004

* Israeli Army Chief of Personnel Major-General Gil Regev told a Knesset committee that the number of soldiers refusing to serve in the territories had dramatically decreased in 2003. He said that 26 persons had been imprisoned for refusal in 2003 compared to 129 in 2002, a decrease of 80%. The refusers' organization Yesh G'vul claimed that Regev's figures were "ridiculous" since 76 persons had been imprisoned for refusal in 2003. [http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=390329] [http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=390419] [http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=390681]
* British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw announces an independent inquiry, to be chaired by Lord Butler of Brockwell, to examine the reliability of intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3453305.stm]
* An apartment block collapses in the Turkish city of Konya, killing at least 14 people. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3453131.stm]
* Oldham Athletic's long term future is secured, due to three men buying the club
* Astronomers detect the presence of oxygen and carbon in the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet. This world, provisionally known as Osiris, is known to be venting gas into space. [http://www.usatoday.com/news/science/2004-02-03-external-oxygen_x.htm] [http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa003&articleID=0008AF62-C844-101E-861F83414B7F0000] [http://www.sunspot.net/news/health/bal-te.hubble03feb03,0,2774392.story?coll=bal-health-headlines]
*Political status of Taiwan: President Chen Shui-bian proposes to set up a demilitarized zone between Taiwan and Mainland China. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3453631.stm]
* U.S. presidential election, 2004: In the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts wins primary elections in Arizona, Delaware, New Mexico, Missouri and North Dakota. His best result is 51% in Missouri. Senator John Edwards of North Carolina wins in South Carolina, and General Wesley Clark narrowly wins in Oklahoma. Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who has opted to campaign for the Michigan and Washington primaries on Saturday, polls poorly in all these primaries — his best result is third with 18% in New Mexico. These primaries give Kerry a majority of delegates so far elected for the first time, with 244 delegates to Dean's 121, Edwards' 102 and Clark's 79. Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, who has come second in Delaware but not achieved the breakthrough he needs to maintain his candidacy, announces his withdrawal from the race.
*Nine Cuban migrants attempt to reach Florida in a modified 1959 Buick that was converted to a boat. They are intercepted by the United States Coast Guard. The same group had made a similar attempt the summer before in a modified 1951 Chevrolet truck. [http://onenews.nzoom.com/onenews_detail/0,1227,253354-1-9,00.html]

February 4, 2004

* A US federal appeals court rules scientists can study the 9,300-year-old remains of the Kennewick Man. The court denies a request by American Indian tribes, who sought an immediate burial. [http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2001851129_kennewick05m.html] [http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsArticle.jhtml?type=scienceNews&storyID=4286705&section=news]
* The European Space Agency announces plans to send humans and robot probes to the Moon and Mars over the next three decades. [http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2004/02/03/mars_esa040203]
* Same-sex marriage in the United States: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court answers the state's Senate that the proposed civil unions will still violate the constitution by maintaining an inferior status of same-sex couples. [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/04/national/04CND-MASS.html?ex=1076562000&en=fb2725df7cba633d&ei=5062] [http://abcnews.go.com/wire/US/ap20040204_988.html] White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan states that the Bush administration is reviewing the legal decision. The spokesman also states that the court's findings are "deeply troubling" and that the president is "firmly committed to protecting and defending" marriage (as being defined between a man and a woman). [http://www.wnbc.com/family/2817365/detail.html] [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,110447,00.html] [http://www.365gay.com/newscon04/02/020404consRxn.htm]
*The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission held an open meeting in what may be the longest-running SEC fraud case. At issue are the trades that resulted in the firing of Orlando (Joseph) Jett from Kidder, Peabody & Co. in 1994. [http://www.prweb.com/releases/2004/2/prweb102723.htm] [http://www.hedgeworld.com/news/read_news.cgi?section=dail&story=dail10470.html] An administrative law judge held that Mr. Jett was responsible for record keeping violations, but rejected the claim of SEC lawyers that he was guilty of securities fraud. Both the staff and Mr. Jett appealed to the full commission, hence this meeting.

February 5, 2004

* Saudi Arabia's religious authority endorses plan by King Fahd to modernize the holy sites of Mecca. [http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/02/06/1075854031711.html]
* SCO v. IBM: SCO Group widens Unix and Linux lawsuit against IBM. They add a copyright infringement claim to case. [http://news.com.com/2100-1016_3-5154413.html?tag=nefd_top]
* The United Nations releases a science and technology strategy report, "Inventing a Better Future: A Strategy for Building Worldwide Capacities in Science and Technology", produced by the InterAcademy Council (IAC). [http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=9675&Cr=science&Cr1=technology]
* Carmine Caridi is expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the "Academy" in the Academy Awards) by vote after having been found to have leaked hundreds of screeners over the past five years to Russell Sprague in Chicago, Illinois. [http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=798&e=2&u=/eo/20040205/en_industry_eo/13435]
* Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan publicly admits illegally transferring nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea. Following a written apology from Khan, President Pervez Musharraf issues a formal pardon. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3459149.stm] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3460685.stm]
* 2003 invasion of Iraq: Responding to criticism that pre-war intelligence gathering was faulty, CIA director George Tenet states that analysts had never presented Saddam Hussein's Iraq as an "imminent threat" in the years immediately preceding the coalition invasion. Tenet states that an overall "objective assessment" for policymakers of a "brutal dictator who was continuing his efforts to deceive and build programs" that might "surprise" and "threaten" US interests was outlined in the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate. [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/jan-june04/prewarintel_02-05.html] [http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=542&e=5&u=/ap/intelligence_cia] [http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1039033.htm] [http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20040205-015646-7035r]
* U.S. Army Sergeant Jerry Onken of Onamia, Minnesota is sentenced to five years in prison by a South Korean court for killing a Korean woman in a hit-and-run crash involving alcohol. The U.S. established a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with South Korea in 2001 that allowed such prosecutions, and this case marked the first time that an off-duty member of the U.S. military had been charged under that agreement. [http://www.startribune.com/stories/484/4359373.html]
* The United States Department of Interior states that the survival of sea otters in southwest Alaska is threatened. The department proposes adding the sea otter, "Enhydra lutris", to the government's endangered species list. [http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/sea_otters]
* The coalition government of Latvia, headed by PM Einars Repše, resigns, but will continue to work until the president appoints a new cabinet. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3463675.stm]

February 6, 2004

* U.S. and Iraqi forces capture more than 100 suspected guerrillas in raids across Iraq. [http://www.suntimes.com/output/iraq/cst-nws-iraq06.html]
* Ministers of Finance from Europe, North America, and Asia meet in Florida. They are focusing on the strength and stability of the U.S. dollar. [http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20040206-041505-2571r]
*Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg purchases a huge private collection of Fabergé art pieces, including nine Fabergé eggs, from the Forbes family. The collection had been expected to go up for auction in April. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/Northeast/02/05/faberge.eggs.ap/index.html]
*Gerhard Schröder announces his intention to resign from his post as chairman of the Social Democratic Party but to continue as Chancellor of Germany. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/germany/article/0,2763,1142692,00.html]
* An earthquake, measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale, occurs in the Papua province of Indonesia and kills at least 23 people. [http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/69883/1/.html]
* At least 39 people are killed and around 120 injured in an explosion aboard a train on the Moscow Metro (subway) during the morning rush hour. The authorities are investigating the apparent bombing, which may be connected to a series of attacks in the Russian capital. President Vladimir Putin publicly blames the blast on Chechen militants and their leader, Aslan Maskhadov. The Chechen rebel leadership issues a statement denying responsibility. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17819-2004Feb6.html] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3464545.stm] [http://www.gateway2russia.com/st/art_207984.php]
* A party of cockle pickers — believed to be Chinese immigrants - is caught by tides in Morecambe Bay, Lancashire, England, drowning at least 19 people. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/lancashire/3464203.stm]
* The UK Home Office confirms that Maxine Carr, convicted with Ian Huntley concerning the Soham murders of 2001, could be released from prison in the next few days. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3464567.stm]
* Parliamentarians in Iran end their sit-in of the country's parliament but vow to continue fighting the mass disqualification of reformist candidates by the conservative Council of Guardians. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3463799.stm]
* In Australia, the Music Industry Piracy Investigations organization uses an Anton Piller order to raid offices of P2P companies Sharman Networks and Brilliant Digital Entertainment, the homes of their key executives, as well as several internet service providers and universities. [http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/business/0,39023166,39116016,00.htm]
* Democratic Presidential Primaries: Howard Dean tells his supporters that he must win the Wisconsin Democratic primary in order to stay in the Democratic presidential race. [http://www.iht.com/articles/128313.html]
* Electronic voting: The U.S. military abandons plans for a trial of Internet voting (Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment) in the upcoming presidential election. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A18597-2004Feb6.html]
* American and British study reports that the 1918 flu virus may have had a unique bird-like protein. The past outbreak, which killed 20 million people, has hallmarks of the current outbreak of bird flu in east Asia. [http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=570&ncid=753&e=6&u=/nm/20040206/sc_nm/science_flu_dc]
* The body of Carlie Brucia, a girl reported missing on Sunday, February 1, 2004 is discovered. Suspect Joseph P. Smith is charged with the murder.
* U.S. President George W. Bush appoints an Iraq Intelligence Commission to investigate United States intelligence capabilities, specifically regarding the 2003 invasion of Iraq and Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The commission is headed by Governor, and former Senator, Chuck Robb and Judge Laurence Silberman. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/02/06/wmd.panel/]

February 7, 2004

* Nearly 400 members of Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization resign in protest over corruption, mismanagement and a lack of direction with Fatah. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22149-2004Feb7.html]
* U.S. Presidential Election, 2004: In the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator John Kerry wins the caucuses in Michigan and Washington. [http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/primaries/pages/dates/02/07/index.html]
* Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga dissolves parliament. [http://www.cbc.ca/cp/world/040207/w020728.html] [http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/nation/7900562.htm]
* Carnival: The Krewe du Vieux parades through the Faubourg Marigny and French Quarter neighborhoods of New Orleans, Louisiana, starting that city's "Mardi Gras" season of parades.
* In a Gaza military court, four suspects, without legal representation, are charged with possession of explosives and planting bombs in the same area as a bombing attack on a United States diplomatic convoy. The suspects are "not" charged with the bombing. The United States last week announced a $5 million reward for information leading to the apprehension of the attackers. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22149-2004Feb7.html]
* Chechnya's spiritual leader, Chief Mufti Akhmad Shamayev, condemns the Moscow subway car bombing. Investigators question hospitalized rush hour commuters and examine documents retrieved from the blast site. [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,110730,00.html]
* Israeli Airforce helicopter gunship fires a missile and destroys a car carrying Islamic Jihad members in Gaza City, killing a leading Islamic Jihad militant and an 11-year-old boy. [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/391574.html]
* Up to 4000 protesters in Albania threw rocks and tried to storm the offices of Prime Minister Fatos Nano whom they have accused of creating policies that impoverish Albanians. [http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=454175&section=news]
* Ivan Rybkin, candidate in the Russian presidential election, is reported missing.

February 8, 2004

* U.S. Presidential Election, 2004: In the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, John Kerry wins the Maine caucus with 45% of the vote. [http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/primaries/pages/dates/02/08/index.html]
* The investigation into nuclear proliferation by the Pakistani scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan expands to include seven nations. Among the countries known to be involved are Malaysia, South Africa, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Germany and Pakistan. Nuclear technology and parts were supplied to Libya, Iran, North Korea. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22508-2004Feb7.html]
* The London Iraqi exile admits that information supplied as a key piece of intelligence might have been false (but provided in good faith). The CX report information was one of the items of intelligence on Saddam Hussein's possible use of WMD. [http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/story.jsp?story=489098]
* Dr Hans Blix, in an interview on BBC TV, accuses the U.S. and British governments of dramatising the threat of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, in order to strengthen the case for the 2003 war against the regime of Saddam Hussein. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3469821.stm]
* Seven Chinese acrobats, all Uyghur Muslims, defect while touring in Canada. They make refugee claims, stating they were persecuted and discriminated against. [http://www.thestar.ca/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1076195408641&call_pageid=968332188492&col=968793972154]

February 9, 2004

*King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden made a statement where he praised sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the dictator of Brunei for the open society in his country. This has led to a public outrage in Sweden with demands that the king abdicate. [http://www.expressen.se/index.jsp?a=104534] [http://www.expressen.se/index.jsp?a=104628]
* Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf admits that he had suspected for at least three years that Abdul Qadeer Khan, Pakistan's top nuclear scientist, was sharing nuclear technology with other countries, blaming the United States for not giving him convincing proof of the activities of his own scientist. [http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/02/10/1076388364592.html]
* Russian federal prosecutors close a murder investigation, one hour after it had been opened by Moscow's prosecutor office, in the case of missing presidential candidate, Ivan Rybkin. Rybkin was last seen five days ago. [http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/news/1076414124203640.xml]
* In Haiti, an armed uprising spreads to nearly a dozen towns in the western and northern areas of the island nation. The uprising is the strongest challenge yet to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. At least 41 people have been killed. [http://www.cbc.ca/cp/world/040210/w021026.html]
* The final three members of a group of Muslim men from the Portland, Oregon area of the United States who tried to enter Afghanistan to join the Taliban are sentenced to prison. In previous verdicts, the other four members of the group had been sentenced to prison. [http://www.theolympian.com/home/news/20040210/northwest/33316.shtml]
* Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov announces that Russia is considering withdrawing from the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, considered to be one of the main cornerstones of European security. Mr. Ivanov cites NATO expansion and the end of the Cold War as justifications for retiring the treaty. [http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=107598]

February 10, 2004

* Same-sex marriage in the United States : A majority of Americans (2 to 1 margin) respond they do not want laws in their states that would legalize same-sex marriages. The poll is taken after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling. [http://washingtontimes.com/national/20040209-115420-5105r.htm]
* A group of 200 AIDS doctors in the United States calls for a boycott of pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories to protest the company's recent 401% price hike on its anti-HIV drug Norvir. [http://money.cnn.com/2004/02/10/news/companies/abbott_protest.reut/index.htm]
* An Italian intelligence report states that Italy is a departure point, as well as focus of logistic and financial support, for suicide bombers linked to al-Qaida and active against United States-led forces in Iraq. The suicide bombers were drawn from Muslim youths living on the fringes of society in Western Europe. [http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,8650335%255E1702,00.html]
* The French National Assembly votes (494 to 36) to ban hijab and all other conspicuous religious symbols from state schools. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3474673.stm]
* The White House rebuts Democrats' accusations that Bush shirked his military responsibilities, releasing pay records for the President's National Guard service between May 1972 and May 1973. [http://apnews.myway.com/article/20040210/D80KIDJ80.html]
* The oil cartel OPEC announces further limits on the output of crude by one million barrels a day beginning April 1, 2004. If all member states stick to the agreement, OPEC's daily output will be cut by about 10 percent. [http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=D81FB8BF-BBF9-40D0-A4EEFC5FD056560F]
* Recent violence in Haiti has spread as anti-government forces take control of eight towns in Western Haiti. 46 people are dead thus far. Government forces in Cap-Haitien (second largest city in Haiti) built flaming barricades to keep the rebel forces out of the city. The UN is urging Haitians on both sides to stop the violence. [http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/ap20040210_619.html] [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/02/10/world/main599197.shtml]
* Hundreds of militants and their supporters staged a protest against the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip for putting on trial four men charged in the bombing of a United States diplomatic convoy which killed three Americans. The closed military trial began on February 7. [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/392787.html]
* Occupation of Iraq: A large car bomb explodes in the central Iraqi town of Iskandariya, 25 miles (40 km) south of Baghdad, killing at least 50 people. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3475679.stm]
* An Iranian airliner crashes on arrival at Sharjah airport in the United Arab Emirates, killing at least 35 people. A few people are thought to have survived. [http://www.reuters.com/locales/newsArticle.jsp;:4028da0a:bf9df4f05ca849f1?type=topNews&locale=en_IN&storyID=4324246]
* 2004 Philippine elections: The 90-day campaigning period for the president, vice-president, and senators starts this day with no less than six qualified candidates, half of which have no previous political experience. The current president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is seeking a full six-year term. The elections will be held on May 10. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/3472269.stm]
* The missing Russian politician Ivan Rybkin unexpectedly reappears in Kiev, the capital of neighboring Ukraine, and is said to be on his way back to Moscow. According to his own words he "was entitled to two or three days of private life". [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3476859.stm]
* Canada's auditor-general, Sheila Fraser, releases a scathing report on a CA$250-million sponsorship fund that had a major portion of its funds directed to firms friendly to the ruling Liberal party; the resulting scandal and inquiry is quite likely to affect the coming election. Alfonso Gagliano, a former cabinet minister involved in the scandal, is removed from his post as ambassador to Denmark and recalled to Canada. [http://www.thestar.ca/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1076411365455&call_pageid=968332188492&col=968793972154]

February 11, 2004

* A Black Hawk helicopter has reportedly crashed near Amberley air force base, Mount Walker, Australia with at least five seriously injured. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/3480955.stm]
* Scientists find a fossilised head and identify it as part of a 400 million-year-old fly, making it the oldest known insect. [http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994671]
*The United States Army in Iraq announces a $10 million dollar reward for the capture of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a leader of the terrorist organization Ansar al-Islam, blamed for the deaths of unknown numbers of Iraqi citizens and U.S. military during the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. [http://www.news24.com/News24/World/News/0,,2-10-1462_1482373,00.html]
* Scientists in South Korea report that they have created human embryos by cloning and extracted embryonic stem cells. [http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,62254,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_1]
* Intel scientists say that they have made silicon chips that can switch light like electricity. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/ptech/02/11/intel.optics.ap/index.html] [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/11/technology/11CND-CHIP.html]
* Comcast Corp. makes an uninvited bid for The Walt Disney Company. The US$50 billion to $66 billion deal would create the world's largest media company.
* U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission adopts enhanced mutual fund expense and portfolio disclosure, part of the continuing fall-out from the mutual fund late-trading scandal of 2003. [http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2004-16.htm]
* U.S. Presidential Election, 2004: Retired General Wesley Clark officially announces his departure from the race. [http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=65AC85D2-2EDA-403C-B37AD18B33D90208] [http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=politicsNews&storyID=4338345]
* The Sudanese government cancels plans to attend scheduled peace talks in Geneva with western rebels just days after the Sudanese president proclaimed military victory in the insurgency. The talks were scheduled to begin February 14, 2004. At this time, the Sudanese government is contending with a southern rebellion as well. [http://allafrica.com/stories/200402090363.html]
* French prosecutors reveal that a money-laundering probe into the transfers of millions of dollars to accounts held by the wife of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was opened in October 2003. The probe was opened after discovering that nearly $1.27 million is transferred with some regularity from Switzerland to Mrs. Arafat's accounts in Paris. Tracfin, an organization that collates information about money laundering, detected the movements of funds. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3479937.stm]
* Occupation of Iraq: At least 47 people, mostly Iraqi army recruits, are killed by a car bomb in Baghdad in the second major bomb attack in two days. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3478339.stm]
* Richard Desmond, the owner of Britain's Daily Express and Daily Star newspapers, confirms that he has made a bid for the troubled Daily Telegraph. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3478805.stm]
* Josh, a Newfoundland, wins Best in Show at the 129th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York. [http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/manhattan/nyc-dog0210.story] [http://more.abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/vf_westminster217.html]
*Mayer Mofeid Hawash is sentenced to seven years in jail for attempting to enter Afghanistan and aid the Taliban after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. [http://www.myafghan.com/news2.asp?id=-1054314299&search=2/11/2004]

February 12, 2004

* South Korean scientists announce the world's first successfully cloned human embryo. [http://www.npr.org/display_pages/features/feature_1672523.html] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3480921.stm]
* South Korea's parliament on Friday approves sending 3,000 troops to Iraq, responding to a call from the United States for military help in restoring stability to Iraq. [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-SKorea-Iraq.html]
* Part of the source code for Microsoft's Windows NT 4 and Windows 2000 products has been leaked to the internet. It is thought that the leak constitutes only a part of the source, and may have originated from Mainsoft. Copies of something purporting to be the Windows source have been reported to be available on various file sharing networks. [http://neowin.net/comments.php?id=17509&category=main] [http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/02/12/2114228&mode=nested&tid=109&tid=187] [http://www.betanews.com/article.php3?sid=1076674118] [http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2004/Feb04/02-12windowssource.asp]
* Occupation of Iraq: General John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, escapes injury when his convoy is attacked in Fallujah.
* Same-sex marriage in the United States:
** City officials in San Francisco, California start issuing marriage licenses to homosexual couples, staging what they view as acts of civil disobedience, by performing the first known civil marriage of a homosexual couple in the U.S. by marrying the homosexual activists and lesbian couple, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon. Over 80 couples whisked through quick ceremonies. [http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=519&e=2&u=/ap/gay_marriage_calif]
** Various conservative and other family groups, including the Campaign for California Families, plan to sue the mayor of San Francisco for violating California's marriage laws. [http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewCulture.asp?Page=%5CCulture%5Carchive%5C200402%5CCUL20040212a.html] The Family Research Council (FRC) states that "It could not be clearer that the institution of marriage is under a direct assault by homosexual activists". [http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/040212/dcth062_1.html]
** Virginia House of Delegates give preliminary approval to legislation that would ban the recognition of same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships. [http://www.ajc.com/news/content/news/0204/13vagay.html]
*Controversy erupts in Canada over a segment of Conan O'Brien's NBC television talk show, filmed in Quebec City and shown to a studio audience in Toronto, featuring his character Triumph the Insult Dog making ethnic insults against French-Canadians, including telling them to speak English. The Canadian government condemns the comments. The Government of Ontario, which had paid $1 million to sponsor the taping of four episodes of the show in Toronto to promote the city, also distances itself from the comments.
* A major blizzard hits Athens, stranding thousands of drivers in main avenues of the city and forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights in Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport. [http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2004/02/13/conan_quebec040213]

February 13, 2004

* "Mars Exploration Rover Mission": Mars surface temperatures appear to vary more frequently and dramatically than on Earth, preliminary data from NASA's Opportunity rover shows. [http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/martian_winds_040213.html]
* Logging, conducted illegally, is destroying the equatorial rain forests of Indonesian Borneo. [http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,62252,00.html]
* Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announces alleged al-Qaida and Taliban fighters, who are being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, may apply annually for release. [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/terrorism/jan-june04/detainees_2-13.html]
* Scientists announce the possible discovery of a 10 billion trillion trillion (1×1034) carat diamond, 2,500 miles (4,000 km) across and 50 light-years away from Earth in the core of the decayed star BPM 37093 in the constellation of Centaurus. [http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/press/pr0407.html]
*Ivan Rybkin, a Russian presidential candidate and fierce critic of president Putin, holds a press conference in London, stating that during his recent disappearance for several days he was drugged and made the subject of a compromising videotape. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A34517-2004Feb11.html]
* President Bush opens his National Guard file for resolving questions about Vietnam era military service. Reportedly, released papers do not document Bush's Alabama service. Roswell businessman John Calhoun, 69, remembers Lt. George W. Bush worked weekends at an Air Force base in Montgomery. [http://www.news24houston.com/content/headlines/?ArID=23901&SecID=2] [http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=politicsNews&storyID=4358362] [http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/02/13/elec04.prez.bush.texas.records/] [http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/nation/7951333.htm] [http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2004-02-13-bush-alabama_x.htm] [http://www.kxan.com/Global/story.asp?S=1645650&nav=0s3dKpg8] [http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2001857853_guard14.html] [http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/holnus/00114103075.htm] [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40964-2004Feb13.html] [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/02/13/eveningnews/main600337.shtml] [http://www.ajc.com/news/content/news/0204/14alabush.html]
*Democratic presidential nomination: Former Democratic candidate for the U.S. presidency Gen. Wesley K. Clark endorses current Democratic favorite Senator John Kerry. [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/13/politics/campaign/13CND-CLARK.html?hp]
*Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders accept U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan for ending the partition of the island of Cyprus. The two sides will work under a tight timetable to agree by March 22 on reunification language that can be put to simultaneous islandwide referendums on April 21. Unless reunification is achieved, only the Greek Cypriot government will be entitled to enter the European Union on May 1. [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/13/international/europe/13CND-NATI.html?hp]
*Iran admits it possesses a design for a far more advanced high-speed centrifuge to enrich uranium than it previously revealed to the International Atomic Energy Agency after being confronted with evidence obtained from the secret network of nuclear suppliers surrounding Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan. [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/13/politics/13NUKE.html]
*The United States, in a major shift of policy on the Middle East, says it may support an Israeli proposal for a unilateral partial withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage says that a pullout from Gaza would be "a step in the right direction." Administration official state "...negotiations were impossible because of Palestinian recalcitrance." [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/13/politics/13DIPL.html?hp]
*Occupation of Iraq: South Korea's parliament on Friday approves sending 3,000 troops to Iraq, responding to a call from the United States for military help in restoring stability to Iraq. [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-SKorea-Iraq.html]
*The European Union anti-fraud office (OLAF) is studying documents suggesting that Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority diverted tens of millions of dollars in EU funds to organizations involved in terrorism...."some of the money reportedly went to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which has been involved in terror strikes." Their final report is expected in two months. [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/392891.html]
* A US National Guardsman stands accused of attempting to provide military data to Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network. [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,111284,00.html]
* The former Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev is killed in an apparent car bomb explosion in Doha, the capital of Qatar. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3485993.stm]

February 14, 2004

*A new U.S.-sponsored satellite TV channel called Al Hurra ("The Free One") begins broadcasting in the Middle East and pledges to provide accurate and balanced news, but faces a skeptical Arab audience. [http://news.myway.com/world/article/id/385434%7Cworld%7C02-15-2004::10:26%7Creuters.html]
* Marco Pantani, world renowned cyclist, winner of the 1998 Tour de France and the 1998 Giro d'Italia, is found dead in a hotel in the Adriatic city of Rimini, Italy. [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/16/sports/othersports/16BIKE.html?8hpib]
* Same-sex marriage in the United States: Staff advisors for U.S. President George W. Bush say he will support the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would outlaw same-sex marriage and federalize marriage law, which has been set by individual states since the founding of the country. [http://www.advocate.com/new_news.asp?ID=11313&sd=02/14/04-02/17/04] [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A36929-2004Feb12.html]
*U.S. President hopeful John Kerry scores two more Democratic primary victories in the State of Nevada and the federally controlled District of Columbia. [http://apnews.myway.com//article/20040215/D80NEIQG0.html]
*In Moscow, a roof collapses killing about 25 and injuring at least 110. [http://news.myway.com/world/article/id/385363%7Cworld%7C02-15-2004::12:08%7Creuters.html]
*Approximately 550 qualified candidates suddenly drop out of Iran's parliamentary election. [http://news.myway.com/world/article/id/123049%7Cworld%7C02-14-2004::14:29%7Creuters.html]
*Occupation of Iraq: At least 20 people are killed in the town of Falluja as up to 50 gunmen attack government buildings, in one of the largest guerrilla attacks so far seen in Iraq. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3488149.stm]
*ROC presidential election, 2004: Candidates Lien Chan of the Pan-Blue Coalition and President Chen Shui-bian of the Pan-Green Coalition participate in a televised debate. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3487947.stm]
*Disney Channel airs the last episode of Lizzie McGuire called Magic Train

February 15, 2004

*Iraqi lawyers say Saddam Hussein is unlikely to stand trial for at least another two years. [http://www.hipakistan.com/en/detail.php?newsId=en54149&F_catID=&f_type=source (Hi Pakistan)]
*United Nations Afghanistan envoy voices disdain at the "brutal and cold-blooded" murder of four deminers working to eradicate landmines in Afghanistan. [http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=9775&Cr=Afghanistan&Cr1= (UN)]
*Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin goes on record that anyone found to be culpable in the sponsorship scandal, including himself, will be immediately discharged. The issue could delay the upcoming election until after the public enquiry is completed.
*Same-sex marriage in the United States: Officials at the city and county of San Francisco, California turn away hundreds of would-be same-sex newlyweds after thousands of gay and lesbian couples show up to marry over the weekend. The city claims it can only handle between 400 and 600 marriages a day, or about one a minute. [http://www.365gay.com/newscon04/02/021604sfUpdt.htm (365Gay)] [http://abcnews.go.com/wire/US/ap20040215_814.html (AP)] [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A44385-2004Feb15.html (Washington Post)] [http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2004-02-15-gay-marriage-legal_x.htm (USA Today)] [http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/02/16/WEDDINGS.TMP (SF Chronicle)]
*Thousands of protestors in Madrid and other Spanish cities march in opposition to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The protests mark the one-year anniversary of the large protests against the U.S. invasion of Iraq. [http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/world/sns-ap-spain-iraq-protest,0,4992788.story?coll=ny-worldnews-headlines (Newsday)]
*Scientists at the California Institute of Technology announce the discovery of a galaxy which is the farthest known object in the universe. The galaxy was found with the help of the magnification effect from the Abell 2218 galaxy cluster. [http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/science/20040215-1033-ca-farthestgalaxy.html (AP)]
*Russian rescue workers are digging through what remains of an indoor water park in Moscow after the roof collapsed yesterday. At least 25 people have been killed, more than 100 people are injured, and at least 17 people are missing. [http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/ap20040215_606.html (AP)] [http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/02/15/russia.roof.collapse/ (CNN)]
*Two fires sweep through China, one in a shopping center and the other in a temple, killing at least 90 and injuring 71. [http://apnews.myway.com//article/20040215/D80NOIU00.html (AP)]
*The British government draws up plans to break up the BBC in the wake of the Hutton inquiry. [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1001928,00.html (Times)] [http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20040214/wl_uk_afp/britain_politics_media_040214223216 (AFP)]
*Iraqi police arrest Mohammed Zimam Abdul-Razaq, a member of the Baath Party and number 41 on the U.S. military's list of most wanted Iraqis. [http://apnews.myway.com//article/20040215/D80NPEK00.html (AP)]
*Iran offers to sell nuclear reactor fuel on the international market under the supervision of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Iran-Nuclear.html (NYT)]
*Eddie Guerrero becomes the first Hispanic-American to win the WWE Championship by defeating Brock Lesnar at WWE No Way Out.

February 16, 2004

*Temple in Jerusalem: An 800 year old wall holding back part of the hill jutting out from the Western Wall leading up to the Mughrabim Gate partially collapses. Authorities believe a recent earthquake may be responsible. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3494035.stm (BBC)] [http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/02/16/1076779901850.html (Sydney Morning Herald)]
*India and Pakistan begin formal peace negotiations, with Kashmir on the agenda. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3486731.stm (BBC)]
*L. Paul Bremer, the United States administrator of Iraq states he will veto any interim constitution that would make Islam "the chief source of law", as opposed to "a source of inspiration for the law." Many Iraqi women express fears that the rights they hold under Iraq's longtime secular system may be denied them in the interim constitution based upon Islam as "the chief source of law." [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Iraq-Women.html (NYT)]
*The United States states that Afghanistan's elections scheduled for this June may have to be postponed because of security problems and the failure to register enough voters. Only 8% of eligible Afghan voters have been enrolled to date. [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/16/international/asia/16AFGH.html?hp (NYT)]
*The Taiwan (ROC)'s pro-independence president, Chen Shui-bian, states that Taiwan may eventually reunify with Mainland China. Nonetheless, Chen rejects the People's Republic of China's "one country, two systems" formula which was applied to Hong Kong and Macau. This is a new step for Chen who, shortly after taking office in 2000, had said unification was just one option—comments widely seen as a push for independence for the island. [http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/international/international-taiwan-china.html (NYT)]
*Same-sex marriage in the United States:
** Officials at the city and county of San Francisco, California estimate by the end of the day that they will have issued 2,000 licenses for same-sex marriages in the four days since they started granting legal recognition to gay and lesbian unions. [http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/7964972.htm (Mercury News)]
** The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the decision of San Francisco's mayor, Gavin Newsom, to express his opinion on same-sex marriage was because of George W. Bush's stance on the issue. [http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/nation/7963377.htm (Miami Herald)]
*The territory of Nunavut, Canada, holds its second general election since its creation. Of the 19 members, one is chosen by acclamation. Eight members of the previous government are returned to office, and five are defeated. The members will elect a premier on March 5.

February 17, 2004

* Bishop Thomas O'Brien, the former head of Arizona's largest Roman Catholic diocese, is convicted of a hit and run making him the first Catholic bishop in the United States to be convicted of a felony. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48397-2004Feb17.html (Washington Post)]
* Democratic presidential nomination: Wisconsin held its primary election. John Kerry got 40% of the vote, followed by John Edwards with 34%, and Howard Dean with 18%.
* The US FAA announces it will attempt to require a fuel tank inerting system in most large airliners in an effort to prevent fuel tank explosions such as the one which apparently destroyed TWA Flight 800 in 1996. The order could take two years to complete and then would require a retrofit of about 3,800 large Boeing and Airbus jets over the next seven years. [http://www.newsday.com/business/ny-faa-release,0,5969466.story?coll=ny-business-headlines (Newsday)] [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/17/politics/17CND-FUEL.html?ex=1077685200&en=a6919999ea77849f&ei=5062&partner=GOOGLE (NYT)]
* A CNN survey finds that children made more than 11,000 allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic priests. The 4,450 accused priests represent about 4 % of the 110,000 priests who served during the 52 years covered by the study. Nearly 3 %, or 133 of the priests, had 10 or more allegations. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/02/16/church.abuse/index.html (CNN)]
* Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, a top Vatican official arrives in Moscow for sensitive talks with the Russian Orthodox hierarchy, which accuses the Catholic Church of aggressive proselytizing in traditionally Orthodox lands. [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Russia-Vatican.html (NYT)] [http://www.mospat.ru/text/e--news/id/6388.html (Russian Orthodox Church)]
* An outbreak of dengue fever kills 91 people in Indonesia and infects thousands more. Health officials report that 4,500 people have been hospitalized for the mosquito-borne disease, mostly in the capital and other parts of East Java, including the city of Yogyakarta. The number hospitalized is double that of last year. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3495437.stm (BBC)] [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Indonesia-Dengue-Fever.html (NYT)]
* A study published in the latest issue of the "Journal of the American Medical Association" suggests breast cancer is linked to the use of antibiotics. [http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/index.php?page=national&story_id=021703a1_antibiotics (Tucson Citizen)] [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/17/health/17CANC.html (NYT)]
*As expected, the board of directors of the Walt Disney Company unanimously rejects a hostile buyout offer by Comcast, saying the cable television giant's $66 billion bid is too low, but does not rule out accepting a higher bid in the future. [http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/breaking_news/7971658.htm (AP)]
*Cingular wins the auction for AT&T Wireless by offering to pay $40.7 billion to become the United States' largest wireless telephone company. [http://www.forbes.com/markets/newswire/2004/02/17/rtr1263115.html (Forbes)]
*Same-sex marriage in the United States: San Francisco Superior court Judge James L. Warner postpones any decision to block the city and county of San Francisco, California from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and to void the 2,464 same-sex marriages that were performed in the city since February 12. This was on the grounds that the Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund's order for San Francisco to "cease and desist issuing marriage licenses to and/or solemnizing marriages of same-sex couples; to show cause before this court..." had an improper semicolon; to do both, rather than one or the other, would have exceeded the judge's jurisdiction. [http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4251510/ (MSNBC)]

February 18, 2004

* The California state agency that records marriages states that forms that have been altered, which San Francisco has done slightly on its same-sex marriage licenses, will not be registered. [http://washingtontimes.com/national/20040219-123003-6956r.htm (Washington Times)]
* An [http://www.99mac.se/vbindex.php?id=34#more internal memo] suggests that Apple Computer has paid off its remaining 3 million dollars debts and is now debt-free with 4.8 billion dollars in cash.
* At least 200 people are reported to have been killed in Iran after rail wagons carrying sulphur, petrol and fertiliser derailed and exploded. The accident happened near the town of Nishapur in Khorasan province. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3498851.stm (BBC)]
* Occupation of Iraq: Suicide bombers in two vehicles killed 11 Iraqis and wounded 58 foreign troops and 44 Iraqis near the entrance to a Polish-manned coalition logistics base near the town of Hilla in central Iraq south of Baghdad. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3498577.stm (BBC)]
*Howard Dean officially ends his campaign for President of the United States, after placing a distant third in the Wisconsin primary elections of February 17, 2004. "I am no longer actively pursuing the presidency," he announced.
* Opinion poll results indicate either of the two main Democratic presidential candidates would beat President Bush by at least 10 points. [http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=962CC8A6-5A56-4E5F-9BCBDCAAE4E0329A (VOA)]
*Israel is condemned by the International Committee of the Red Cross for the location of the Israeli West Bank barrier. The aid agency declared that the barrier at its current position was contrary to international humanitarian law and had caused extensive damage to Palestinian land and property and deprived thousands of Palestinians access to water, health care and education. [http://www.icrc.org/Web/Eng/siteeng0.nsf/iwpList4/F06BB484D900B227C1256E3E00324D96 (ICRC)]
* A federal appeals court in the United States ruled that district court judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, presiding judge in the much-watched Martha Stewart trial, was in the wrong in barring the media from the voir dire process at the beginning of that trial. [http://www.mediainfo.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=2093737 (AP)]
* Scientists at NASA and the ESA witness a supermassive black hole in galaxy RXJ1242-11 graze, partially consume, and tear apart a star. This is the first time such a phenomenon has been observed. [http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2004/feb/HQ_04061_black_hole.html (NASA)]

February 19, 2004

* One Dane and five of the nine Britons held without trial as terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay are to be released, probably within the next two weeks, according to British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. The soon-to-be-released captives have been amongst the 660 detainees at the US base in Cuba, held for the past two years as suspected Al-Qaida or Taliban 'combatants'. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3504221.stm (BBC)] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3505365.stm (BBC)]
*Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling surrenders to the FBI in Houston and is arraigned on charges of fraud and insider trading. Skilling pleads not guilty and the judge sets bail at $5 million and confiscates Skilling's passport. [http://money.cnn.com/2004/02/19/news/companies/skilling/index.htm (CNN)]
*Lt. Gurgen Markarian, an Armenian military officer attending a NATO Partnership for Peace program, is hacked to death with an axe and a knife by Lt. Ramil Safarov, an Azerbaijani participant. The officers were attending an English language course at the Hungarian Military University within the framework of the Partnership for Peace program, which is aimed at increasing cooperation between neutral and former Soviet bloc nations and NATO in peacekeeping and other areas. [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Armenian-Killed.html (NYT)]
*European Commission President Romano Prodi vows stronger action to combat anti-Semitism in Europe. Prodi states that some criticism of Israel was inspired by "what amounts to anti-Semitic sentiments and prejudice." Youths from the large Arab immigrant communities in France, Belgium and other European countries are blamed for the rise in attacks against Jews in Europe. The European Union's [http://eumc.eu.int/eumc/index.php European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia] in Vienna, Austria, found the increase of anti-Semitic attacks was "committed above all either by right-wing extremists or radical Islamists or young Muslims mostly of Arab descent." [http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/396146.html (Haaretz)]
*Reformist newspapers "Shargh" and "Yas-e-no" are shut down by the Iranian judiciary, only one day before the parliament elections. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3502995.stm (BBC)]
*The Kuwaiti newspaper "A-Siasa" reports that Palestinian and international terrorist organizations have decided at a recent Beirut conference to launch a wave of terror attacks against Israeli and Jewish interests worldwide. According to the report, there will also be similar attacks against coalition troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The conference, which took place at the start of February, was also said to have been attended by senior members of the Syrian, Lebanese and Iranian intelligence services who presented a list of Israeli intelligence officials to be assassinated. Organizations in attendance included: Al-Qaeda, Ansar al-Islam, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad. [http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/396163.html (Haaretz)] [http://www.albawaba.com/news/index.php3?sid=270760&lang=e&dir=news (Al Bawaba)]
*The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear agency, finds undeclared components in Iran compatible with advanced uranium centrifuge designs, increasing Western concerns that it may be developing nuclear weapons. [http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/396159.html (Haaretz)]
*The United Kingdom decides to award an honorary knighthood to Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal in recognition of a "lifetime of service to humanity". The knighthood also recognized the work of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, which was founded in 1977 to promote remembrance of the Holocaust and the defense of human rights. [http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/396278.html (Haaretz)]
*ROC presidential election, 2004: Lagging behind his rival Lien Chan in opinion polls, President Chen Shui-bian promises not to declare Taiwan independence if he is re-elected. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3501887.stm (BBC)]
*Same-sex marriage in the United States:
** The White House reserves judgement on the Federal Marriage Amendment, a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as a "union of a man and a woman," until Massachusetts legislature and San Francisco courts take further action. Media reports speculate that the White House will probably also keep their opinion quiet until Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry takes a stand on the issue. [http://washingtontimes.com/national/20040218-121438-3512r.htm (Washington Times)]
** San Francisco sues California to force the state to accept marriage licenses it altered to remove reference to bride and groom and recognize same-sex marriage. [http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/nation/7995259.htm (Kansas City Star)]
** Laura Bush states that homosexual marriage is "a very, very shocking issue" for some people. She hopes the subject can be debated by Americans together, rather than it be settled by a Massachusetts court or the mayor of San Francisco. [http://www.indystar.com/articles/9/122015-1389-010.html (AP)]
*States of emergency are declared in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Canada, after a prolonged blizzard dumps 90 centimetres of snow on the provinces. This doubles the previous record, set in the 1950s. Roads are completely impassable, blocked with drifts of up to 3 to 4 metres. [http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2004/02/20/newweather_atl040220 (CBC)]
*It's reported that billionaire Philip Anschutz is purchasing the San Francisco Examiner for an estimated $20 million.

February 20, 2004

* Stanislaw Ryniak (88), the first person imprisoned at the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, is buried in Wrocław, Poland. [http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/world/2420786 (AP)]
* Latvia's president Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga has appointed Indulis Emsis, a Green party legislator, as the new Prime Minister, after the resignation of Einars Repše's cabinet on 5 February. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3507007.stm (BCC)] [http://www.greens-efa.org/en/press/detail.php?id=1808&lg=en (Greens-EFA)]
* Hubble Space Telescope measurements show that "Dark energy" is pushing apart the universe; this appears to be the constant, repulsive force that Albert Einstein once predicted. Astronomers announce this as evidence that the theory of the cosmological constant proposed, but later discarded, by Einstein may have been right after all. [http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/breaking_news/8003724.htm (Mercury News)] [http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4327735/ (MSNBC)] [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A58912-2004Feb20.html (Washington Post)]
* Microsoft denies that it illegally uses its desktop computer operating system monopoly to hurt digital media rivals. [http://news.com.com/2100-1032_3-5162785.html?tag=nefd_lede (CNet)]
* During the past month and a half, the total number of hits to NASA's homepage was 6.5 billion, a record for the agency. [http://news.com.com/2100-1025-5162838.html (CNet)]
* The insecticide Regent (fipronil), from BASF, is banned in France for its implication in Pollinator decline, The firm itself will be sued. [http://www.lemonde.fr/web/recherche_articleweb/1,13-0,36-353552,0.html?query=regent&query2=&booleen=et&num_page=1&auteur=&dans=dansarticle&periode=30&ordre=pertinence&G_NBARCHIVES=810101&nbpages=1&artparpage=10&nb_art=5 (Le Monde)]
* Lithuania's parliament starts impeachment proceedings against President Rolandas Paksas, who is charged with violating the constitution by leaking state secrets, rewarding a financial supporter with citizenship and illegally influencing companies. [http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000087&sid=ajIRo3yZp6xU&refer=top_world_news (Bloomberg)]
* Linda Schade, spokeswoman for Ralph Nader's presidential exploratory committee, states Nader will appear on NBC's "Meet the Press" to announce whether he will make another run for the White House. [http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/politics/8000581.htm (Kansas City Star)]
* Louise Arbour is nominated by Kofi Annan to serve as the next United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Arbour, currently a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, will replace the late Sérgio Vieira de Mello, pending ratification by the General Assembly. [http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2004/02/20/arbour_UN040219 (CBC)] [http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=9836&Cr=human&Cr1=rights (UN)]
* 5,500 workers for CN Rail, members of the Canadian Auto Workers, go on strike. [http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2004/02/19/cn_strike040219 (CBC)]
* 90482 Orcus, a huge planetoid, is discovered by the Near Earth Asteroid Tracking survey team. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3506329.stm (BBC)]
* Former Alabama attorney general Bill Pryor is appointed by U.S. President George W. Bush to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals during the U.S. Congress's recess period, avoiding U.S. Senate confirmation. Pryor was first nominated in April 2003. [http://abcnews.go.com/wire/Politics/ap20040220_1495.html (ABC US)]
* Same-sex marriage:
** San Francisco judge denies request to immediately stop same-sex weddings. [http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=4406775 (Reuters)] Homosexual couples win reprieve when the judge declines to stop San Francisco from granting them marriage licenses. [http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/news/022004ap_gay_marriage_ruling.html (ABC US)]
** Victoria Dunlap, the Republican county clerk of rural Sandoval County, New Mexico, starts issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing lack of legal grounds for denial. [http://www.abqjournal.com/news/state/apwed02-20-04.htm (AP)] Republican state Senator Steve Komadina, criticizes the decision and urges state Attorney General Patricia Madrid to issue a prompt opinion. [http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=37223 (WorldNetDaily)]
**California Democratic leaders try to withdraw from the divisive political issue of same-sex marriage. A Public Policy Institute of California poll indicates that half of Californians oppose homosexual marriage. Some California Democratic officeholders were discontented over the matter becoming a national political issue. [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/02/20/MNGSF54RDD1.DTL (SF Chronicle)]
** California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger writes to Attorney General Bill Lockyer telling him to take legal action to stop the city from granting marriage licences to homosexual couples, saying the practice presents "an imminent risk to civil order". [http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/53EBC410-48B6-41EE-A40A-3187377999BA.htm (Al Jazeera)]
**King Norodom Sihanouk, the constitutional monarch of Cambodia, states that he believes his country ought to allow same-sex marriage. He says he decided this upon seeing footage of same-sex couples marrying in San Francisco. He also says that transvestites ought to be well-treated in Cambodia. [http://advocate.com/new_news.asp?ID=11379&sd=02/20/04 (Advocate)]
** A proposed amendment to the state constitution of Oklahoma to outlaw same-sex marriage dies in Senate Human Resources Committee; the Republican leader of the Oklahoma Senate criticizes the Democratic Senate leadership for killing the proposed ban. [http://www.newsok.com/cgi-bin/show_article?ID=1182413&TP=getarticle (Oklahoman)]

February 21, 2004

* Taiwan presidential election 2004: the official campaigning period starts at 07:00 local time.
* Prime Minister Tony Blair is under pressure from British human rights groups and MPs because of the government's sweeping powers under the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act, which have allowed the detention of 14 foreign terrorist suspects in the UK at what has been described as 'Britain's Guantanamo Bay'. [http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/story.jsp?story=493598 (The Independent)]
* 2004 European Parliament Election: The first pan-European political party organization, the European Greens, is established in Rome. [http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L21606050.htm (Reuters)] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3506347.stm (BBC)]
* Early results from Iran's parliamentary elections show conservative candidates get victory over reformists. [http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=06732116-6501-40F2-840311BDA8B8F897&title=Early%20Results%20Show%20Huge%20Victory%20for%20Conservatives%20in%20Iranian%20Election (VOA)]
* Two International Red Cross staff members visit Saddam Hussein in United States custody. [http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/ap20040221_249.html (ABC US)] [http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1050414.htm (ABC)]

February 22, 2004

* Zvi Mazel, the ambassador of Israel in Sweden, calls former foreign minister Sten Andersson and Sweden's UN ambassador Pierre Schori "professional anti-Israelis". [http://www.aftonbladet.se/vss/nyheter/story/0,2789,437040,00.html (Aftonbladet)] [http://tv4.se/visa/?ID=304771 (TV4.se)] [http://www.aftonbladet.se/vss/telegram/0,1082,63110927_852__,00.html (Aftonbladet)] [http://www.dn.se/DNet/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1042&a=236848&previousRenderType=1 (dn.se)] [http://www.svd.se/dynamiskt/inrikes/did_6951586.asp (SVD)]
* Rebels capture Haiti's second-largest city, Cap-Haitien, after just a few hours of fighting Sunday. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A62122-2004Feb22.html (Washington Post)]
* Israeli-Palestinian conflict: 8 Israelis are killed and 60 wounded, among them children on their way to school, in a suicide bombing of a city bus in Jerusalem, Israel. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades branch of Fatah claimed responsibility. The attack occurs one day before the start of hearings at the International Court of Justice regarding the Israeli West Bank barrier. "This attack proves just how urgent it is to build the fence," Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said. "It is a clear preventive measure ... We will continue building it because it saves lives." The suicide bomber came from Husan, a populated area near Bethlehem. [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Israel-Palestinians.html?hp (NYT)] [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/396964.html (Haaretz)]
* 2004 U.S. Presidential Election: Ralph Nader declares his candidacy for the position of President of the United States as an independent candidate. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,1282,-3776917,00.html (Guardian)] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3510679.stm (BBC)]
* Same-sex marriage in the United States: Saying he will defend California's laws limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples, state attorney general Bill Lockyer dismisses California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's "order" in the San Francisco marriage licenses debate, saying his office is independent of gubernatorial power. [http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/politics/8012589.htm (Mercury News)]
* A Pentagon report is leaked predicting global doom from climate change. The report was reportedly suppressed by the Bush administration. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,12374,1153530,00.html (Guardian)]
* The death toll from an outbreak of dengue fever on Java has risen to 224. [http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/72205/1/.html (ChannelNewsAsia)]
* In Tirana, Albania, a crowd of up to 20,000 protesters, led by ex-president and opposition party leader Sali Berisha, demanded once again that Prime Minister Fatos Nano resign for failing to improve the economy. This protest, though a peaceful one, comes on the heels of a more violent protest two weeks ago in which protesters threw rocks at police and tried to storm the Prime Minister's office. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3509877.stm (BBC)] [http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/72161/1/.html (ChannelNewsAsia)]
* The Lord's Resistance Army kills more than 190 people in an attack on a camp for displaced persons near Lira, Uganda. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3513039.stm (BBC)]

February 23, 2004

* Israeli soldiers confiscate villager's shoes. After what an Arab news sources characterized as an unprovoked incident of humiliation and beating at an Israeli army roadblock near Ramallah, the 30-year West Bank resident was left to return to his village bare-footed. [http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/am/publish/article_4767.shtml (palestine-info.co.uk)]
*United States Secretary of Education Rod Paige calls the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers' union, a "terrorist organization." He later apologizes, calling his comments "an inappropriate choice of words to describe the obstructionist scare tactics the NEA's Washington lobbyists have employed against No Child Left Behind's historic education reforms." [http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.asp?Page=%5CNation%5Carchive%5C200402%5CNAT20040223c.html (CNSNews)]
* The Iranian parliament starts processing the resignation of more than 120 members, starting with Fatemeh Haghighatjou who is among the few female members.
* The United States Army cancels the RAH-66 Comanche helicopter program with US$8 billion already invested in the project and an additional US$450-680 million in contract cancellation fees to pay. The reconnaissance helicopter project is being phased out in favor of unmanned aerial vehicles. [http://www.forbes.com/newswire/2004/02/23/rtr1271929.html (Forbes)] [http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=businessNews&storyID=4419627 (Reuters)]
* Palestinian representatives put their case to the International Court of Justice against the Israeli West Bank barrier. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3512255.stm (BBC)]
* A fire kills six people at the Dhawan Space Centre, the launch facility of the Indian Space Research Organisation. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/asiapcf/02/23/india.fire.ap/index.html (CNN)]
* 2003 in film: "" becomes the second film in history to gross more than $1 billion in worldwide box office receipts. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/Movies/02/23/leisure.rings.reut/ (CNN)] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/film/3516055.stm (BCC)]

February 24, 2004

*The British Olympic Association bans European 100 meter champion Dwain Chambers from competing in the Olympic Games for life for a positive test for the designer steroid THG.
*Same-sex marriage in the United States: U.S. President George W. Bush announces his support for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Bush did not explicitly endorse the Federal Marriage Amendment, proposed by Representative Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colorado), which has been criticised for potentially also denying states the ability to recognise same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships. However, he said that the FMA "meets his principles" in protecting the "sanctity of marriage" between men and women. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/02/24/elec04.prez.bush.marriage/index.html (CNN)] [http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2004-02-24-bush-marriage_x.htm (USA Today)]
* Russian president Vladimir Putin dismisses Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and implicitly the entire Russian cabinet less than a month prior to presidential elections. [http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/02/24/russia.putin.ap/ (CNN)] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3517331.stm (BBC)]
*At least 564 people are killed in Morocco, in an earthquake of 6.1-6.5 Richter magnitude, occurring outside the tourist resort Al Hoceima in the middle of the night (0227 UTC). [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3515803.stm (BBC)]
* In protest of EMI's attempts to stop the distribution of DJ Danger Mouse's The Grey Album, several hundred websites post the album for download in a coordinated act of civil disobedience known as Grey Tuesday. [http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/35692.html (TheRegister)] [http://p2pnet.net/story/830 (P2PNet)]
*2004 Haiti Rebellion: Rebels in Haiti have wrested large parts of the island from government control. The capital, Port-au-Prince is still held by supporters of the President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Supporters of the president vowed to defend the city and fight to the death.

February 25, 2004

*Maysun Al-Atawana, director of family and children affairs in the Palestinian Authority's social affairs ministry, claims that Israeli shelling of heavily populated suburbs was targeting children. She noted that 35.5% of casualties among the Palestinians wounded since start of the Aqsa intifada in late September 2000 were children including 1.4% less than five years old. [http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/am/publish/article_4794.shtml (palestine-info.co.uk)]
*Libya's Foreign Minister, Abdulrahman Shalgam, issues a statement reaffirming its acceptance of culpability for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, after the Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem, in an interview for the BBC, claimed Libya had "bought peace" with the $2.7bn compensation payments, but had not accepted guilt. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3487562.stm (BBC)] [http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/world/8042204.htm (Mercury News)]
*A wolverine, the state animal of Michigan, has been spotted in that state for the first time in 200 years.
*The California Public Employees' Retirement System, CalPERS, a major shareholder in The Walt Disney Company, indicated that it will withhold its votes from Disney chief executive Michael Eisner at next week's shareholders' meeting, a new sign of a growing rebellion against Eisner's leadership, [http://www.thestreet.com/tech/georgemannes/10145572.html (TheStreet)]
*The controversial film, "The Passion of the Christ" opens in theaters in the United States. Jewish leaders fear the film will stoke antisemitism, while some Christians laud the realistic depiction of the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A2863-2004Feb24.html (Washington Post)] A woman in Wichita, Kansas collapses and dies of a massive heart attack while viewing the harrowing Crucifixion scene. [http://www.kake.com/home/headlines/653662.html (KAKE)]
*Pakistani leaders pressure Muslim militants in Kashmir to declare a ceasefire with India. Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee tries to gain Muslim votes for his Bharatiya Janata Party with the prospect of peace with Pakistan. [http://in.news.yahoo.com/040225/137/2bnd1.html (Reuters)] [http://in.news.yahoo.com/040225/137/2bo5l.html (Reuters)]
*In the northern Uganda city of Lira, protests and riots cause at least nine deaths after the Ugandan army announces it killed 21 members of the Lord's Resistance Army, a rebel group, in retaliation for an attack on a refugee camp at Barlonyo. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/africa/02/25/uganda.massacre.rebels.ap/index.html (CNN)]
*King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia, who recently made a statement in support of same-sex marriage, responded to an "insulting" e-mail by announcing he is not gay. The king is 81 years old and has 14 children. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/02/25/wcam25.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/02/25/ixworld.html (Telegraph)]
*Guantanamo Bay: The Pentagon announces that the first charges are to be filed against two of the six hundred detainees of the detention camp, but human rights groups have had their request to observe the military tribunals turned down. The defendants are named as Ali Hamza Ahmed Sulayman al-Bahlul and Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al-Qosi, both alleged to be Al-Qaeda members and charged with "conspiracy to commit war crimes". [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3518653.stm (BBC)] The Pentagon also confirms that even if cleared by the tribunals, the defendants may still not be released. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3487958.stm (BBC)]

February 26, 2004

*IDF soldiers fire against protesters against the Israeli West Bank barrier killing two and injuring 60, several of them seriously. [http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/am/publish/article_4825.shtml (palestine-info.co.uk)]
*The United States lifts a ban on travel to Libya, ending travel restrictions to the nation that had lasted for 23 years. [http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=4447998 (Reuters)]
*Expressions by Disney shareholders of a lack of confidence in its management continue. Five more state pension funds announced that they will not vote for the re-election of chairman (and chief executive) Michael Eisner at next week's meeting. These pension funds – New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Virginia – are following the lead of California – CalPERS made its announcement to the same effect Wednesday. [http://www.thestreet.com/p/_tscs/rmoney/jamesjcramer/10145911.html (TheStreet)]
*Russian President Vladimir Putin opens the 2,165 km (1,345 mile) Chita-to-Khabarovsk Amur Highway connecting the Russian Far East alongside the Pacific to the rest of the country. Construction of the highway was begun in 1978. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-3793188,00.html (Guardian)] [http://www.trivalleyherald.com/Stories/0,1413,86~10669~1985699,00.html (Tri-Valley Herald)]
* Swiss police are investigating a man in the killing of an air traffic controller. The suspect apparently lost his family in a midair collision in 2002; the murder victim was on duty at the time of the crash.
* Microsoft's Japan headquarters are raided on suspicion of violating anti-monopoly laws by the fair trade watchdog. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3488186.stm (BBC)] [http://mdn.mainichi.co.jp/news/20040226p2a00m0dm004000c.html (Mainichi)]
*Israel raids four banks in the West Bank seizing currency amounting to over 6 million dollars from accounts which it alleged had been used to fund terrorism. Israel claims it will use the funds for humanitarian projects in Palestinian areas. The U.S. State Department criticized the Israeli raid, and Palestinian Arabs condemned it utterly. [http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=F3713E59-ED0B-4EFB-9EFEF60D085BF0B0 (VOA)] [http://svt.se/svt/jsp/Crosslink.jsp?d=1805&a=180907 (SVT)]
* Clare Short, former British Cabinet Minister, alleges on the BBC "Today" radio programme that British spies regularly intercept UN communications, including those of Kofi Annan, its Secretary-General. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3488548.stm (BBC)] [http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=2578236 (Scotsman)] The claim comes the day after Katharine Gun, formerly an employee of British spy agency GCHQ, had a charge of breaching the Official Secrets Act dropped after prosecutors offered no evidence, apparently on the advice of the Attorney-General. Gun had admitted leaking American plans to bug UN delegates to a newspaper. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3485072.stm (BBC)]
* Same-sex marriage in the United States:
**The mayor of New Paltz, a village in New York State, announces that the town will start performing civil marriages for same-sex couples. It will not attempt to issue marriage certificates, but married couples in New York State have six months from the date of their wedding to seek a certificate. [http://www.365gay.com/newscon04/02/022604nyWed.htm (365Gay)]
**Rosie O'Donnell marries her partner Kelli Carpenter at San Francisco City Hall. [http://www.canada.com/entertainment/story.asp?id=FBE5BCB2-5EF7-4287-80D5-7A1478A7D271 (AP)]

February 27, 2004

* Same-sex marriage in the United States: The California Supreme Court refuses a petition by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer asking for an immediate ruling on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage laws and a cease and desist order against San Francisco's granting of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. [http://www.365gay.com/newscon04/02/022704calCourt.htm (365Gay)]
*In an angry public exchange, Yasser Arafat calls Fatah official Nasser Yousef a "traitor" and hurls a microphone at him. [http://www.albawaba.com/news/index.php3?sid=271360&lang=e&dir=news (Al Bawaba)] [http://www.maarivintl.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=article&articleID=3719 (Maariv)]
*International Space Station crew Michael Foale and Alexandr Kaleri perform the first ever spacewalk involving the station's entire crew; the spacewalk is cut short by a malfunction in Kaleri's spacesuit. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3486794.stm (BBC)] [http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1055200.htm (ABC)]
*Shoko Asahara, the leader of a Japanese cult that gassed the Tokyo subway in 1995, is sentenced to death by hanging. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3491488.stm (BBC)]
*The U.S. Justice Department says it will move to block Oracle Corporation's hostile $9.4 billion takeover bid for larger rival PeopleSoft, saying a merger of the two largest accounting and human resources software companies in the U.S. would hurt competition. [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/02/27/ORACLE.TMP&type=tech (SF Chronicle)] [http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1077837010994&call_pageid=968350072197&col=969048863851 (Toronto Star)]
* Iranian state radio reports Osama bin Laden captured. United States officials discount the reports. [http://www.orf.at/index.html?url=http%3A//www.orf.at/ticker/139600.html (ORF)] [http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=23003&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs (Iran Mania)] [http://www.ajc.com/news/content/news/ap/ap_story.html/Intl/AP.V7725.AP-Bin-Laden.html (AP)]
*A bombing of a Superferry by Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines worst terrorist attack kills 116. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A14395-2004Feb28.html (Washington Post)]

February 28, 2004

* 2004 in film: The 2004 Golden Raspberries are handed out in commemoration of the low points struck last year by the motion picture industry. [http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=502&ncid=757&e=10&u=/ap/20040228/ap_on_en_mo/film_razzies (Yahoo)] [http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/02/28/1077677019435.html (Age)]
* Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Ronnie Kasrils, the South African minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, calls the Israeli West Bank barrier a "wall of shame" and states that the wall is meant to dispossess Palestinians of their land and water resources. [http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/am/publish/article_4846.shtml (palestine-info.co.uk)] [http://iafrica.com/news/sa/303288.htm (iafrica)]

February 29, 2004

*Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigns as president of Haiti and flees the country for the Central African Republic. The chief justice of the Haitian supreme court, Boniface Alexandre, is sworn in as interim president. [http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/02/29/1077989442372.html (Sydney Morning Herald)] [http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=4461959 (Reuters)] [http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20040228.whaiti0228_2/BNStory/International/ (Globe and Mail)]
*Occupation of Iraq
**Iraq's leaders meet deadline for drafting interim constitution. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/02/29/sprj.nirq.main/index.html (CNN)]
**Saddam Hussein's government systematically extorted billions of dollars in illegal payments from companies doing business with Iraq. [http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2001867868_oilforfood29.html (Seattle Times)]
**Kurdistan activists bring petition to the authorities in Baghdad asking for a referendum on whether Kurds will stay within a united Iraq or to form an independent Kurdistan. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3492630.stm (BBC)]
*76th Academy Awards: "" wins Best Picture and Director awards and nine others for a total of 11 Academy Awards, a tie for the most ever won by a single film, and the largest sweep ever for a single film, having received 11 nominations. Acting honors were as follows: Best Actor: Sean Penn for "Mystic River", Best Actress: Charlize Theron for "Monster", Best Supporting Actor: Tim Robbins for "Mystic River", Best Supporting Actress: Renée Zellweger for "Cold Mountain". [http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/movies/ny-oscarwinners-list,0,6833602.story?coll=ny-movies-bigpix (Newsday)] [http://www.boxofficemojo.com/oscar/chart/?view=allcategories&yr=2003&p=.htm (Box Office Mojo)] [http://www.imdb.com/ (IMDB)]
*This day falls within a leap year.


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