April 2004


April 2004

__NOTOC__

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

Events

April 30, 2004

*U.S. newscast "Nightline" is taken off the air by several stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group because of its planned airing of a list of soldiers killed in Iraq. Sinclair claims it is a political ploy, while network ABC says it is meant as "an expression of respect which simply seeks to honor those who have laid down their lives for this country". [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A55041-2004Apr29.html (Washington Post)]
*President George W. Bush expresses his "disgust" at images of Iraqi prisoners being mistreated by U.S. soldiers: "Their treatment does not reflect the nature of the American people." [http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Apr2004/n04302004_2004043010.html (DefenseLink.Mil)]
*Macedonian officials admit that they staged a bogus gun-battle with "terrorists" in March 2002 and that they knew the seven men slain had no terrorist connections. Four members of the security forces face murder charges for their staged killing. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3674533.stm (BBC)]
*Diego Maradona leaves hospital after 12 days of treatment for heart and breathing problems. [http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/hi/sport/6012272.html (Glasgow Evening Times)]
*After 25 years, Bob Edwards hosts NPR's "Morning Edition" for the last time. [http://edition.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/04/29/npr.edwards.ap/index.html (CNN)] [http://www.sun-sentinel.com/entertainment/news/celebrity/sns-ap-npr-edwards,0,4598426.story?coll=sfla-entertainment-headlines (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)] [http://www.sltrib.com/2004/May/05012004/commenta/commenta.asp (Salt Lake Tribune)]

April 29, 2004

*Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse: Photographs showing Iraqi prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad being abused and humiliated by U.S. soldiers spark outrage around the world. Six soldiers face courts martial and their commanding officer is suspended. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3672901.stm (BBC)]
*Google announces plans for an initial public offering to raise as much as USD $2.72 billion. The IPO will be unconventional in that it will use an auction process and a complex averaging formula designed to prevent brokers' elite customers from winning more shares than average investors. [http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/04/30/MNGVC6D2CO22.DTL (SF Chronicle)] [http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/04/30/1083224580385.html (The Age)]
* Ten U.S. soldiers are killed in three attacks in Iraq, raising the number of U.S. combat deaths in April to 126. More U.S. troops have been killed this month than during the six weeks of "major combat" in 2003. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52429-2004Apr29.html (Washington Post)]
*President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney meet in private with all 10 members of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/04/29/bush.911.commission/index.html (CNN)] [http://www.politinfo.com/articles/article_2004_04_29_3603.html (PolitInfo)]
* Federal authorities file the first criminal charges under the Can Spam Act of 2003 against a group that had spammed ads for allegedly worthless "diet patch" products. [http://www.freep.com/news/statewire/sw96936_20040429.htm (Detroit Free Press)]
* The last Oldsmobile automobile is produced in Lansing, Michigan [http://money.cnn.com/2004/04/29/pf/autos/olds_dead/ (CNN)] .
* Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Israel, beats CSKA Moscow, Russia in the Euroleague and qualifies for the finals. Final score: 93-85. [http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2004/04/29/sports1727EDT0429.DTL (AP)]

April 28, 2004

*ROC presidential election, 2004: The High Court schedules a vote recount for 10 May. [http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000080&sid=aDp_REVff5Sw&refer=asia (Bloomberg)]
* Iraq Occupation and resistance:
**Intense fighting breaks out in Fallujah, as US forces respond to attacks on their positions by insurgents. Artillery and AC-130 gunships are used to bombard guerrilla positions, but the number of casualties is as yet unknown. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3665775.stm (BBC)]
**According to a CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll, 71% of Iraqis see the U.S. troops in their country as "occupiers", only 19% as "liberators". Though, 61% say that despite any hardships they had suffered, it was worth ousting Saddam Hussein. Still, 57% would like U.S./British forces to leave immediately. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/04/28/iraq.poll/index.html (CNN)] [http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2004-04-28-gallup-iraq-findings.htm (USA Today)]
*Cable TV giant Comcast abandons its US$66bn bid to take over Disney, citing a lack of interest from the Disney board. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3666749.stm (BBC)]
*More than 100 suspected Jemaah Islamiah militants die during their attacks on security outposts in Thailand's Muslim-dominated southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Songkhla. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3665293.stm (BBC)]

April 27, 2004

*In heavy fighting outside Najaf, Iraq, United States Armed Forces kill 64 insurgents and destroy an anti-aircraft weapon. [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Iraq.html?hp (AP)] [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/04/27/1434254 (Democracy Now!)]
*A bomb explosion and gun battle occur in Damascus, Syria between security forces and a "terrorist group", in which four people are killed and a vacant United Nations building badly damaged. The identity and motives of the attackers is unclear but Islamist militants are the prime suspects. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3664811.stm (BBC)] .
*South African president Thabo Mbeki is sworn in for a second term after being overwhelmingly reelected on April 14. The event is marred by controversy over the attendance of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3659619.stm (BBC)]

April 26, 2004

*In an open letter to Tony Blair, fifty-two former high ranking British diplomats, including former ambassadors to Iraq and Israel, condemn the Prime Minister's foreign policy stance in the Middle East as "doomed to failure". They also condemn George W. Bush's recent endorsement of Ariel Sharon's offer to withdraw settlers from the Gaza strip while leaving some in the West Bank as "one-sided and illegal and which will cost yet more Israeli and Palestinian blood". [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3660529.stm (BBC)]
*Indian elections: the second phase of elections in the world's largest democracy takes place. Many key states such as Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Bihar vote; exit polls favour the opposition [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3663893.stm (BBC)]
*The design of the new U.S. fifty dollar bill is announced. [http://www.moneyfactory.com/newmoney/ (U.S. Treasury)] [http://www.iht.com/articles/517111.html (IHT)] [http://money.cnn.com/2004/04/26/pf/new_50_unveiled/ (CNN)]
*Authorities in Jordan announce that they have broken up an attempt to set off massive explosions in Amman, possibly including the release of toxic chemicals. Alleged targets include the office of the Prime Minister, Jordanian intelligence headquarters, and the US embassy. The plot is attributed to Al Qaida operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/04/26/jordan.terror/index.html (CNN)]
*Three Irishmen arrested in Colombia in August 2001 on charges of training FARC rebels are acquitted. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/3660557.stm (BBC)]
*Hong Kong's democracy movement suffers a setback as the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress declares the territory won't have direct elections for its Chief Executive in 2007 nor for all its lawmakers in 2008.
* A landslide buries a village in southern Kyrgyzstan, and emergency officials state that up to 33 people are missing and feared dead.
* Nick Holonyak Jr., inventor of the light-emitting diode (LED), receives the 10th annual Lemelson-MIT Prize, awarded to prominent inventors by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. [http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/aptech_story.asp?category=1700&slug=LED%20Creator (AP)]
*Norwegian chess prodigy Magnus Carlsen (13) becomes the world's youngest international Grandmaster (GM), and the second youngest ever, after four wins and four draws out of nine games in the 6th Dubai Open Chess Championship. [http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article781461.ece (Aftenposten)]

April 25, 2004

* The Arab League Conference commences in Cairo. [http://www.israelnn.com/news.php3?id=61451 (INN)]
* Alan Kay, co-inventor of the Smalltalk programming language, receives the 2003 ACM Turing award, including 100 000 USD. [http://www.ddj.com/documents/s=7338/ddj1082394014329/ (Dr.Dobb's Journal)]
* Austrian presidential election: Heinz Fischer (SPÖ) wins with 52% against Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner (ÖVP). [http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-4019308,00.html (The Guardian)]
* Arsenal F.C. wins the English football league title for the 13th time.
* Abortion in the United States: Hundreds of thousands march in Washington, D.C. to protest President Bush's pro-life policies. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/04/25/abortion.protest.ap/index.html (AP)] [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/04/26/1346234 (Democracy Now!)]

April 24, 2004

* Iraq Occupation and Insurgency:
** Suicide bombers detonate boats alongside two oil tankers and a coalition boat in the Persian Gulf, targeting Iraq's main oil terminal, Basra. [http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=BATOJRSIWHFBQCRBAELCFEY?type=topNews&storyID=4929705&section=news (Reuters)]
** A bomb in Baghdad's Sadr City market kills 12 Iraqis. In a separate incident, five US soldiers are killed in a rocket attack on a military base north of Baghdad. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/04/24/iraq.main/index.html (CNN)] [http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=540&e=1&u=/ap/20040424/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq (AP)]
** Leaders of Australia and Bulgaria visited their troops Sunday. Australian Prime Minister John Howard joined Australian troops in Baghdad for ceremonies honoring the country's war dead. Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov visited his country's troops two days after a Bulgarian soldier was shot dead in Karbala, the sixth from that country to die in the war.
* In the Cyprus reunification referendum, 65% of Turkish Cypriot voters accept and 75% of Greek Cypriot voters reject the Annan Plan. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3654919.stm (BBC)] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3656009.stm (BBC)]
* Forgent Networks sues 31 companies for infringement of their software patent, which they claim is used in the JPEG standard. [http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/techpolicy/2004-04-23-pic-patent-suits_x.htm (AP)]

April 23, 2004

*DaimlerChrysler announces it will no longer financially support Mitsubishi Motors and will try to sell its current stake. [http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/worldbiz/archives/2004/04/24/2003137940 (Taipei Times)]
*Muqtada al-Sadr threatens U.S. troops with suicide attacks if they move against him in Najaf. [http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=43728&d=24&m=4&y=2004 (Arab News)] [http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=498628&section=news (Reuters)]
* Palestinian gunmen attack a police station in the Gaza Strip, freeing three men arrested for the October 2003 bomb attack against an American diplomatic convoy. A fourth man arrested for the bombing refuses to leave the police station. [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Palestinians-US-Bombing.html (AP)]
* A major fire in downtown Bangkok leaves thousands of residents homeless. Hundreds of buildings, including several hotels, are destroyed in the area near the Australian and German embassies. [http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=516&ncid=731&e=5&u=/ap/20040423/ap_on_re_as/thailand_fire (AP)]
* Ryongchon disaster: Breaking from previous precedent, the North Korean government asks for and receives United Nations recovery assistance. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/asiapcf/04/23/nkorea.train/index.html (CNN)]

April 22, 2004

* At the International Space Station, the second of four stabilizing gyroscopes fails, hours after a new crew arrives. A spacewalk to do the repair will be scheduled in a few weeks. [http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=scienceNews&storyID=4914792&section=news (Reuters)]
* Volkswagen buys LeasePlan from ABN AMRO.
* The US Army states that the insurgents in Fallujah, Iraq, have "days, not weeks" to fulfill a clause in the ceasefire that requires them to turn over heavy weapons. To date, only rocket-propelled grenade rounds marked "inert", rusted mortar shells, dud rockets and unusable guns have been surrendered. [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Iraq.html (AP)] [http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Apr2004/n04222004_200404221.html (Defenselink)]
* The Evangelical Lutheran Church is ordered to pay the largest per capita settlement in a church sexual abuse case in the United States by a jury in Marshall, Texas. [http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040422/ap_on_re_us/lutherans_abuse_4 (AP)] [http://www.ktbs.com/news-detail.html?cityid=1&hid=23740 (ABC/US)]
* The United Nations Security Council passes a unanimous resolution endorsing the inquiry into corruption in the United Nations Oil for food program for Iraq calling upon all 191 member states to cooperate. [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/22/international/middleeast/22CND-NATI.html (NYT)]
* Ryongchon disaster: at least 154 people are killed and over 1200 are injured, according to the Red Cross, in a massive explosion after a train carrying explosives came in contact with live electrical wires in Ryongchon, North Korea. 1850 homes were destroyed and thousands more damaged. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/3649655.stm (BBC)] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/3651705.stm (BBC)] [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/23/international/asia/23CND-KOREA.html%3Fex%3D1083384000%26amp%3Ben%3De1b879058eba7201%26amp%3Bei%3D5062%26amp%3Bpartner%3DGOOGLE (NYT)]
* Yasser Arafat orders 21 members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades section of Fatah, who are wanted by Israel and have been seeking sanctuary within the Mukata for many months, to leave his Mukata headquarters in Ramallah. [http://www.israelnn.com/news.php3?id=61271 (INN)]

April 21, 2004

*A grand jury indicts Michael Jackson on charges of child molestation. [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,117833,00.html (FoxNews)]
* Mordechai Vanunu, who leaked Israeli nuclear-weapons secrets in 1986, is released from prison after 18 years. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1197406,00.html (Guardian)] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3645225.stm (BBC)]
* Two car bombs explode outside the General Security headquarters of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh, killing nine and wounding 125. [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Saudi-Explosion.html?hp (AP)] [http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/04/21/saudi.blast/index.html (CNN)]
* Iraq Occupation and Insurgency:
** Three car bombs explode outside police stations in Basra, killing 68 people and wounding over 100 more. Iraqi officials blame suicide bombers for the terrorism. 23 of the casualties are school children. A fourth car bomb explodes in Zubeir, south of Basra, killing three and wounding four. British soldiers assisting the wounded are pelted with stones, injuring four, two seriously. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3644733.stm (BBC)] [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/21/international/middleeast/21CND-IRAQ.html?hp (NYT)]
** The Iraqi Governing Council chooses a tribunal of judges and prosecutors to try Saddam Hussein. Salem Chalabi, nephew of Ahmed Chalabi, will chair the tribunal. [http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1082499014094&call_pageid=968332188854&col=968350060724 (Toronto Star)]

April 20, 2004

* In Singapore, a Circle MRT Line tunnel being dug under the Nicoll Highway collapses, killing two. Two more are missing and feared dead. [http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/latest/story/0,4390,246785,00.html (Straits Times)]
*Indian Elections
** First phase of the Indian General Elections begin. Almost half the country's constituencies vote.
* A spokesman for Saudi Arabia strongly denies John Kerry's assertion that it had made an agreement with United States President George W. Bush to manipulate the price of oil for political purposes as the U.S. election approaches. The assertion stems from material in Bob Woodward's new book, "Plan of Attack", detailing the Bush Administration's preparation for the invasion of Iraq. [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/20/politics/20CND-SAUD.html?hp (NYT)] [http://www.iht.com/articles/516119.html (AP)] [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/04/20/1410236 (Democracy Now!)]
* United Kingdom referendum on the European Constitution: P.M. Tony Blair confirms that a referendum will be held on the UK's ratification of the future EU constitution. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3640949.stm (BBC)] .
* NASA launches Gravity Probe B in an effort to test Einstein's general theory of relativity. [http://www.gravityprobeb.com/index.html (NASA)]
* Iraq Occupation and Insurgency:
** 12 mortars were fired on Abu Ghraib Prison by insurgents. 22 detainees were killed and 92 wounded. [http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2004-04-20-iraq_x.htm]
** Iraqi security forces who fled the fighting in Fallujah begin to return to the city. [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Iraq.html (AP)]

April 19, 2004

* Ten Iraqi Kurds and North Africans are arrested by UK police on suspicion of violating the Terrorism Act 2000. The arrests are made in dawn raids in Greater Manchester and other parts of the North and Midlands. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3638861.stm (BBC)]
* The law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell makes public a 463 page report on accounting and corporate governance issues affecting oil giant Royal Dutch/Shell. The report, prepared at the request of Shell's audit committee, explains how lax standards have allowed the company to vastly overstate the extent of its oil and natural gas reserves. [http://www.shell.com/home/Framework?siteId=investor-en&FC2=/investor-en/html/iwgen/news_and_library/press_releases/2004/ (company website)]
* Boston Marathon: A new world record of 1:18:27 is set in the men's wheelchair division by a South African (Ernst Van Dyk). Kenyans win the women's race and the men's for the 13th time in fourteen years. [http://www.boston.com/sports/specials/marathon/articles/2004/04/19/ndereba_cherigat_give_kenya_sweep_in_boston/ (Boston Globe)]
* The 10th TV turnoff week starts.
* Argentinian doctors report that soccer superstar Diego Maradona has suffered a major heart attack in Buenos Aires and is in a hospital in intensive care. [http://news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,9334684%255E13780,00.html (news.com.au)]

April 18, 2004

* The Iranian Vice Speaker of Parliament, Behzad Nabavi, resigns over "violation of public rights". [http://www.payvand.com/news/04/apr/1117.html (Payvand News)] [http://www.hipakistan.com/en/detail.php?newsId=en61736&F_catID=&f_type=source (Hi Pakistan)]
* Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad says the "life of an unbeliever has no value, it has no sanctity" and states that several Islamic militant groups are planning a terrorist attack on London, making such an attack inevitable. [http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L18465514.htm (Reuters)]
* Iraq Occupation and Insurgency:
** The new Prime Minister of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, orders that all Spanish troops should be brought home from Iraq "in as short a time as possible", in accordance with "the will of the Spanish people". [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3637523.stm (BBC)]
** "El País" reports Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos, after being sworn into office, will offer to replace Spanish troops in Iraq with non-military assistance when he visits Washington this week. [http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=574&ncid=721&e=1&u=/nm/20040418/wl_nm/spain_politics_dc (Reuters)]
* In Kosovo, a Jordanian UN police officer opens fire upon a convoy of UN police officers killing two female Americans and injuring eleven others. The attack reportedly stemmed from an argument between American and Jordanian UN police over Iraq policies. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3637033.stm (BBC)]
* Fighting breaks out between Pakistani and al-Qaeda fighters near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. [http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/international/international-pakistan-alqaeda-tribe.html (Reuters)]
* Hamas selects a new leader but keeps his identity secret, fearing he will be killed. [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Israel-Palestinians.html?hp (AP)]
* 9-11 Commission member Jamie S. Gorelick receives death threats after allegations that her actions to keep law-enforcement from using military intelligence may have contributed to lapses leading to the attacks. Meanwhile, the "Washington Times" reports allegations by former FBI Director Thomas J. Pickard that Gorelick resisted efforts by the FBI to expand the counterterrorism effort beyond simple law enforcement tactics and agencies. [http://edition.cnn.com/2004/US/04/17/gorelick.threats/index.html (CNN)] [http://washingtontimes.com/national/20040419-124039-3448r.htm (Washington Times)]

April 17, 2004

* His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama begins a visit to Canada. [http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1082239810670&call_pageid=968332188774&col=968705899037 (Toronto Star)]
* Burma's National League for Democracy reopens its Rangoon headquarters nearly a year after the government closed it down. [http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=3042A21B-9CFF-4762-91A06BB5910E6D4A&title=Burma%20Allows%20Opposition%20to%20Reopen%20Headquarters&catOID=45C9C78B-88AD-11D4-A57200A0CC5EE46C&categoryname=Asia%20Pacific (VOA)]
* Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
** Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, leader of Hamas, is killed by an Israeli missile attack. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/04/17/mideast.violence/index.html (CNN)] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3635755.stm (BBC)]
** An Israeli border policeman is killed in a suicide bombing attack at the Erez Crossing in northern Gaza. Hamas and Fatah claim responsibility. [http://www.israelnn.com/news.php3?id=60969 (INN)]
* Socialist Party leader José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is sworn in as Spain's prime minister. [http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/04/17/spain.zapatero/index.html (CNN)]

April 16, 2004

* The People's Republic of China praises the United Nations Commission on Human Rights' decision to block a U.S. motion to condemn Beijing's human rights record. [http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=3293B3DE-4049-4BD5-B00BB93A923B8086&title=Beijing%20Hails%20UNCHR%20Decision%20to%20Block%20Anti%2DChina%20Motion&catOID=45C9C78B-88AD-11D4-A57200A0CC5EE46C&categoryname=Asia%20Pacific (VOA)]
* 1000 more demonstrators, including former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, are arrested in Kathmandu. They are calling on the King of Nepal to restore democracy. [http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/star_news/world/nepal_police_arrest_1_000_democracy_protesters (Morning Star)]
* 2004 South Korean parliamentary elections: The Uri Party, backed by suspended President Roh Moo-hyun, more than triples its representation, winning 152 of 299 seats.
* Iraq Occupation and Insurgency:
** US Army in Iraq employs a 1000 kg bomb at Falluja, near the Shiite town Najaf. [http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,295733,00.html (Spiegel)]
** A new book by Bob Woodward states that U.S. President George W. Bush requested in the autumn of 2001 that plans be prepared for attacking Iraq. [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/16/politics/16CND-BOOK.html?hp (NYT)]
** Arab satellite television network Al Jazeera broadcasts a videotape of a captured US soldier, PFC Keith Maupin, perhaps one of those listed as missing in action since April 9. [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/16/international/middleeast/16CND-SADR.html?hp (NYT)]
* Mexico - Economy of Mexico: Mexico's Foreign Affairs Secretary, Luis Ernesto Derbez, announces that his country is seeking admission to South America's Mercosur trade bloc, the third largest in the world. [http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/040416/ids_photos_wl/r3494084369.jpg(Reuters)]
*Seeking legal recognition as a news organization, the National Rifle Association begins NRANews, a website dedicated to presenting its view of the right to bear arms. [http://www.nranews.com/ (NRANews)]
*Mark Chen replaces Eugene Chien as foreign minister of Taiwan. Chien resigned to take responsibility for American Institute in Taiwan Director Therese Shaheen's resignation. [http://www.japantoday.com/e/?content=news&cat=7&id=295396 (Japan Today)] [http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=4795721 (Reuters)]

April 15, 2004

*A further 2000 pro-democracy demonstrators are arrested in Nepal; all but 22 are later released.
* War on Terrorism:
**An audio tape, purportedly made by Osama bin Laden, is broadcast by Al-Arabiya. In it, a voice offers to cease terrorist operations in European countries which withdraw their troops from Muslim nations. The tape includes a vow of revenge on Israel and the United States for the death of Hamas leader, Ahmed Yassin. [http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/focusoniraq/2004/April/focusoniraq_April134.xml&section=focusoniraq (Khaleej Times)] [http://memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD69504 (transcript)]
** The CIA claims to have determined that the voice on the tape is likely to be bin Laden. European Commission President Romano Prodi rejects negotiation under a "terrorist threat". Britain, Spain, Italy, and Germany also reject the offer. [http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-04/15/content_1422272.htm (Xinhuanet)] [http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=4839834&section=news (Reuters)] [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A13809-2004Apr15.html (Washington Post)]
* India beats Pakistan 2-1 in the historic friendship Test cricket series. This is India's first away win after 11 years and the first against archrivals Pakistan, in Pakistan.
* United Nations' nuclear watchdog group and other U.N. diplomats state that nuclear-related equipment, some contaminated, and a number of missile engines have been smuggled out of Iraq for recycling in Jewometaal Stainless Processing B.V. scrap yards. Satellite photos detect "the extensive removal of equipment and, in some instances, removal of entire buildings" from sites that had been subject to U.N. monitoring before the Iraq war. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has also reiterated a call for arms inspectors to return to Iraq. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A13416-2004Apr14.html (Washington Post)] [http://www.spacewar.com/2004/040415165134.540rlpm3.html (Spacewar)] [http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1087040.htm (ABC AU)]
* Iraq Occupation and Insurgency:
** Khalil Naimi, a senior Iranian diplomat in Iraq, is killed while driving to the Iranian diplomatic mission in Baghdad by three unknown assailants, who drove up and shot him. He died shortly afterwards and the motives for the killing are unknown. The killing could complicate the mission of an Iranian government delegation which is in Iraq trying to mediate in the standoff between Iraq Alliance troops and Muqtada al-Sadr's militia, led by the radical Shiite cleric who is fortified in the town of Najaf. [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/15/international/middleeast/15CND-IRAQ.html?hp (NYT)] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3628985.stm (BBC)] [http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=0000F56D-47B7-429B-879F77E4D95DF67B (VOA)] [http://www.command-post.org/2_archives/011683.html (CommandPost)]
** Iraqi militants execute Fabrizio Quattrocchi, one of four Italian hostages, in the first known murder from among the nearly two dozen foreigners being held in Iraq. [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Iraq-Kidnappings.html (NYT)]
** Three Japanese civilians taken hostage in Iraq are released unharmed after one week in captivity. [http://www.japantimes.com/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20040416a1.htm (Japan Times)] [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Iraq-Kidnappings.html (NYT)]
* Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, reacting to the United States President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon summit, states Palestinian will never give up their struggle for an independent homeland, never abandon the claims of their refugees, nor make more territorial concessions. He states that Jerusalem will be its capital. Sharon, who wants to withdraw Israel from the Gaza Strip, faces opposition to his withdrawal plan. [http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=7165A24C-6AA8-4EA1-85D2398157651646 (VOA)]
* LindowsOS changes its name to Linspire, in a move to counter Microsoft's lawsuit strategy against the company. [http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1568023,00.asp (eWeek)]
* Long-time Canadian NDP member of Parliament Svend Robinson admits that he stole a piece of jewelry at a public sale in what he describes as "a moment of total, utter irrationality." He states he has turned the ring into police, with whom he is cooperating, and that he is putting his career on hold, taking medical leave to obtain psychological help. The auction house later accepted Svend's apology and decided not to press charges, but a special prosecuter was appointed by the government to weigh the decision of whether to prosecute Robinson. [http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2004/04/15/canada/robinson_040415 (CBC)]
* U.S. and German researchers report the sunset could recalibrate the internal compasses of migrating songbirds. [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/04/15/tech/main612112.shtml (CBS News)] [http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=scienceNews&storyID=4842420&section=news (Reuters)] [http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/04/0415_040415_songbirdmigration.html (National Geographic)]
* Three planets are discovered via gravitational microlensing orbiting stars many light years away, including one that is more than three times farther away than the previous record holder. [http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/exoplanet_new_0404015.html (Space.com)]
* Voting begins in South Korean parliamentary elections.
* Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa submits a report on the constitutional development to NPC, asking Beijing's permission to reform the way HK's legislature and the top leadership are chosen in 2007 and 2008.

April 14, 2004

* 2004 South African legislative election: The African National Congress (ANC) of President Thabo Mbeki, which has been in power since the end of the apartheid system in 1994, is re-elected with an increased majority. [http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/africa/04/15/safrica.elections/ (CNN)]
* U.S. presidential election : An advertisement for John Kerry placed in a newspaper in Gulfport, Florida by a local Democratic Party club gets negative national publicity, as it suggests shooting United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The ad was placed by the Saint Petersburg Democratic Club of Florida, and has been condemned by both Republicans and Democrats, including Kerry's campaign. [http://washingtontimes.com/national/20040414-123947-2345r.htm (Washington Times)] [http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/04/13/dem.ad/index.html (CNN)]
* Israeli-Palestinian conflict :
** Palestinian Cabinet Minister Saeb Erekat rejects statements by President of the United States George W. Bush stating that Israel would be allowed to keep some West Bank Israeli population centers. [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Palestinians-US.html (NYT)]
** United States President George W. Bush endorses Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's proposed withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and states that Palestinian refugees should return to a new Palestinian state, not to Israel. Bush says it is unrealistic to expect "full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949." [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/14/international/middleeast/14CND-DIPL.html?hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1081970547-8uEvA8d8kM8y6g4ODpQEIA (NYT)]
* Hungarian police detain a Hungarian citizen of Palestinian origin and two Syrian men who are alleged to have been planning to blow up a Jewish museum in Budapest and assassinate Israeli president Moshe Kutsuv who arrived to attend the museum's inauguration ceremony. [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/415000.html (HaAretz)]
* The United Nations warns of an imminent humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan, where it is alleged that Arabs are waging a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the African population. [http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/star_news/world/un_calls_for_100_million_humanitarian_aid_to_west_sudan (Morning Star)]
* John Ashcroft tells the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States that he blames former president Bill Clinton for intelligence failures and Jamie S. Gorelick for organizational failures leading to the September 11, 2001 attacks. [http://www.washtimes.com/national/20040414-124718-2114r.htm (Washington Times)] [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/04/14/1612210 (Democracy Now!)]
* The Australian Family Court allows a thirteen year old child, born female, to start preliminary hormone treatment: the child identifies as being male and has been suffering from gender identity disorder. [http://smh.com.au/articles/2004/04/13/1081838723546.html (Sydney Morning Herald)] [http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,9275542%255E421,00.html (The Australian)]
* Panjshir, the only part of Afghanistan that was never conquered by the Taliban, and the last defence position of Ahmed Shah Massoud, is named the 34th province of Afghanistan. [http://paktribune.com/news/index.php?id=61808 (PakTribune)]

April 13, 2004

* The Bangkok Subway opens for limited public trials. [http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/southeastasia/view/79924/1/.html (Channel NewsAsia)]
* Shanghai modifies its interpretation of the People's Republic of China's One Child Policy, allowing all divorced residents who remarry to have a second child without penalty. [http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=E6B4825F-25B3-4FA5-87EF0D1455A4DE4A&title=Shanghai%20Modifies%20%27One%20Child%27%20Policy&catOID=45C9C78B-88AD-11D4-A57200A0CC5EE46C&categoryname=Asia%20Pacific (VOA)] [http://www.guardian.co.uk/china/story/0,7369,1191213,00.html (Guardian)]
* April 13, 2004 Press Conference of the President is held at 8:30 pm EST by George W. Bush in The East Room of the White House.
* A provisional report from the September 11 Commission states that the FBI was hampered in its fight against terrorism by poor intelligence, insufficient staffing and resources and a bureaucratic culture. [http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/04/14/1081838731065.html (Sydney Morning Herald)] [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7766-2004Apr13.html (Washington Post)]

April 12, 2004

* Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez states that the mission of the U.S. forces is to kill or capture Muqtada al-Sadr. [http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2004/tr20040412-0601.html (Defenselink)]
*Argentine president Néstor Kirchner spends his fourth day in hospital for a bleeding peptic ulcer. [http://www.falkland-malvinas.com/Detalle.asp?NUM=3510 (Mercopress)]
*Pakistani opposition leader Javed Hashmi, president of the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy is sentenced to 23 years in prison for inciting mutiny and sedition in the armed forces. He distributed a letter critical of Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/3619745.stm (BBC)] [http://www.hipakistan.com/en/detail.php?newsId=en60978&F_catID=&f_type=source (Hi Pakistan)] [http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-04/12/content_1414878.htm (Xinhuanet)]
*Canada starts its largest seal hunt in 50 years. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3618901.stm (BBC)] [http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=510729 (Independent)] [http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/americas/04/12/newfoundland.seals/ (CNN)]
*West Indies captain Brian Lara sets the highest score in Test cricket - 400 not out on the third day of the fourth Test against England in Antigua. He makes his 400 in 773 minutes off 582 balls, hitting 43 fours and four sixes. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/cricket/england/3620145.stm (BBC)]

April 11, 2004

* Food and sanitation are allegedly being denied to more than 2500 people who were arrested in Nepal over the last few days for protesting against the suspension of democracy. [http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/star_news/world/rights_group_condemns_nepal_human_rights_abuses (Morning Star)]
* Arjan Erkel, aid worker for Médecins Sans Frontières, is free after being held hostage in Dagestan since August 12, 2002. [http://www.cbc.ca/cp/world/040411/w041126.html (CBC)]
* Three European researchers say that if Greenland's average temperature were to increase by 3 °C (5.4 °F) or more, its massive ice sheet would melt, gradually swamping coastal communities as seas rise 7 metres (23 feet) over the next 1,000 years. They hypothesize that the upward trend of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions could cause this. [http://www.indystar.com/articles/6/137077-2186-010.html (Indianapolis Star)]
* NASA is considering a Russian plan to keep crews aboard the International Space Station for a year at a time. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3618599.stm (BBC)]
* Iraq Occupation and Insurgency:
** An informal ceasefire holds; Muhammad Bashar al-Fiyadi, spokesperson of the Association of Muslim Scholars, notes that there were minor skirmishes but there were no major clashes. A deputy to a member in the Iraq Interim Governing Council states the truce would be extended for another 12 hours. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3615703.stm (BBC)] [http://wireservice.wired.com/wired/story.asp?section=Breaking&storyId=849579&tw=wn_wire_story (Reuters)] [http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/030691E0-2837-4167-9A18-B6FE7E1EC4FA.htm (Al Jazeera)]
** Gunmen shoot down a helicopter during fighting in western Baghdad. Rebels threaten to kill and burn a civilian, Thomas Hamill, unless the Alliance troops end their assault on Fallujah by 6 am. The deadline passes with no word on Hamill's fate. [http://www.tribuneindia.com/2004/20040412/main6.htm (Tribune India)]
** Marines kill one bomber and discover a bomb workshop in Fallujah apparently run by Iraqis and foreigners. [http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1085405.htm (AFP)]
** President Bush, praying with U.S. troops on Easter Sunday at a military base hit hard by hostilities in Iraq, acknowledges that it had been "a tough week" and it is unclear if the violence would ebb soon. [http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=domesticNews&storyID=4798648&section=news (Reuters)]
** A new Iraqi battalion refuses to support Coalition forces in the town of Falluja after a command failure which lead to miscommunication over their role in the area. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3618949.stm (BBC)]
*Golfer Phil Mickelson wins the 68th Masters tournament. It is his first major win in 47 such events. [http://www.augusta.com/masters2004/stories/041104/latepm_update2.shtml (Augusta Chronicle)]
* Canadian scientists report on a study of mammals from around the world that the species with the best-endowed males live in polar regions, rather than in more equatorial climates. [http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&call_pageid=971358637177&c=Article&cid=1081635608281 (Toronto Star)]
* Apple Computer is investigating a reported security flaw in Mac OS X operating system that could allow hackers to trick Macs into opening dangerous files, such as Trojan horses and viruses. [http://news.com.com/2100-1002_3-5189335.html?tag=nefd.top (CNet)]

April 10, 2004

* Iraq Occupation and Insurgency:
** Iraq marks the anniversary of Saddam Hussein's fall with fighting and bloodshed. Kurds, in the relatively stable north, celebrate with parties and the melting of an ice statue of the ousted dictator. [http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/1234E019-AEAD-4F87-9CBB-D36F2CD61DA6.htm (Al Jazeera)]
** Al Arabiya reports an Iraqi rebel group in Falluja threatens to target Christians, assassinate or kidnap priests, and destroy churches. Saraya wal Mujahideen also calls on the Pope and the United Nations to stop the town's siege. [http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=SCTOQQRKPFHVCCRBAELCFEY?type=topNews&storyID=4797027 (Reuters)]
*More than a thousand Nepalis are arrested in Kathmandu for taking part in a demonstration calling on their king to restore democracy. [http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/star_news/world/nepal_police_arrest_protesters (Morning Star)]
*Responding to requests by the September 11th Commission, the White House releases a newly-declassified briefing from a month before the September 11, 2001 attacks warning of possible Al-Qaida activity, including planned hijackings, within the United States. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/04/10/bush.briefing/index.html (CNN)] [http://www.cnn.com/2004/images/04/10/whitehouse.pdf (Briefing in PDF format)] [http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/0409041pdb1.html (Smoking Gun)]
* Researchers develop a small device called "the CPOD" which does for people what black boxes do for airplanes. [http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2004/07apr_blackbox.htm?list67154 (NASA)]

April 9, 2004

* Henry C. Lee arrives in Taipei to investigate the March 19, 2004 assassination attempt in Taiwan.
* Basketball: The Euroleague Final Four tournament will be held in Tel Aviv, Israel despite concerns over Palestinian terrorism. Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel beats Zalgiris Kaunas, Lithuania to qualify.
* Good Friday - Ruben Enaje is crucified for the 18th time in San Pedro Cutud, Philippines.
* Iraq Occupation and Insurgency:
** South Korea announces the deployment of 3,700 soldiers in Iraq by August, despite recent attacks. The augmentation will make it the coalition's third largest contingent. [http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/breaking_10.html (World Tribune)]
** Japan refuses to withdraw troops from Iraq in the face of the death threats from insurgents holding three of its citizens. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3613383.stm (BBC)]
** Coalition forces retake Kut, meeting little opposition.
** US Marines resume their advance into Fallujah, after a pause to allow humanitarian supplies to enter the city. An attempt to use the pause to negotiate terms of surrender fails when the representatives from the city fail to show.
** United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan urges stepped-up efforts to protect civilians and end the violence in the deteriorating security situation in Iraq. [http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=10362&Cr=iraq&Cr1= (UN)]

April 8, 2004

* Bulgaria Mourning Day - Bulgaria mourns twelve children who died in a bus crash between Serbia and Montenegro on April 4.
* Bangladesh is paralysed by a general strike called in protest at alleged government corruption. [http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/star_news/world/opposition_s_general_strike_shuts_down_bangladesh (Morning Star)]
* US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice testifies before the September 11 Commission. Rice states President George W. Bush understood threat from al-Qaeda before September 11. She asserts "the terrorists were at war with us, but we were not yet at war with them." She also says that President George W. Bush came into office in 2001 determined to develop a "more robust" policy to combat Al-Qaida. The commission asks the White House to declassify a key August 2001 document entitled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US". [http://wid.ap.org/transcripts/rice.html (Transcript)] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3610031.stm (BBC)] [http://apnews.myway.com/article/20040408/D81QQ7400.html (AP)] [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/04/09/1524215 (Democracy Now!)] [http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/04/08/911.commission.memo/ (CNN)]
* Iraq Occupation and Insurgency:
** Iraq Alliance troops are locked in heavy fighting. Ukrainian troops cede Kut to Moqtada al-Sadr supporters. Sunni Muslim insurgents engage in two fronts west of Baghdad; a Shiite uprising spreads in southern and central Iraq. [http://www.iht.com/articles/513972.html (IHT)] [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/04/08/1441244 (Democracy Now!)]
** Militiamen in black outfits of Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army are visible at the grand mosque of Kufa; Moqtada al-Sadr is in the golden-domed mosque. [http://www.iht.com/articles/513889.html (IHT)]
** Shiite Muslim militias holding two southern Iraqi cities kidnap three Japanese, eight South Korean, and two Israeli Arab civilians. The South Koreans are later released. Al-Jazeera television airs a videotape of militants threatening to burn alive the blindfolded Japanese hostages unless Tokyo withdraws its troops from Iraq. [http://www.iht.com/articles/513972.html (IHT)] [http://www.israelnn.com/news.php3?id=60681 (INN)] [http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/international/international-iraq-hostages.html (NYT)]
** 30 Americans and more than 150 Iraqis are dead in the fighting for the city in Fallujah. A U.S. helicopter hits militants in a mosque with three missiles; 40 individuals are killed in the mosque. Marines and rebels continue to exchange fire. [http://www.news8austin.com/content/headlines/?ArID=103132&SecID=2 (TWEAN)]
* Militia forces loyal to Abdurrashid Dostum take Meymaneh, the capital of Faryab province, Afghanistan, from the interim government and force the governor to flee. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A62511-2004Apr8.html (WP)]
* The Middle East Forum is seeking support to form the Islamic Progress Institute, a progressive Islamic institute, that would represent liberal Muslims living in the United States. [http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20040407-043618-6537r (UPI)]
* NASA announces that the mission of Spirit and Opportunity will be extended by five months. [http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=scienceNews&storyID=4790517&section=news (Reuters)] [http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/04/08/mars.rovers/ (CNN)]

April 7, 2004

* Study reports estimates of how long it took for the last four reversals of the Earth's magnetic field. It also reports that the turnarounds occur more quickly nearer the equator than at higher latitudes closer to the poles. [http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4687974/ (MSN)]
* Occupation of Iraq -- Iraq Insurgency:
** Baghdad office of Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr is surrounded by U.S. tanks and troops amid efforts to arrest the Iraqi cleric. Some 500 armed Sadr militia burn tires, forming roadblocks and promising jihad near the office. Snipers have also been placed in homes in the neighborhood in the Baghdad slum of Sadr City. [http://www.upi.com/ (UPI photo)] [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/04/07/1527241 (Democracy Now!)]
** Militants inside the Abdul-Aziz al-Samarrai mosque shoot at US Marines, and Lt. Col. Brennan Byrne orders his men to return fire. "If they use the mosque as a military machine, then it's no longer a house of worship and we strike", he said. [http://apnews.myway.com/article/20040407/D81Q35G84.html (AP)]
* Same-sex marriage in the United States: Represented by the ACLU, New York State Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell and his partner and 12 other same sex couples file suit against the New York Department of Health to strike down a state law defining marriage as between "a man and a woman." [http://www.365gay.com/newscon04/04/040604nyMarry.htm (365Gay.com)] [http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/ny-bc-ny-brf--gaymarriage-l0406apr06,0,7932346.story?coll=ny-ap-regional-wire (Newsday)]

April 6, 2004

* The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress rules that the right to amend the Basic Law of Hong Kong belongs to the National People's Congress. The Standing Committee also issued an "interpretation" (effectively an amendment) of the Basic Law which set out an additional step required for any changes in Hong Kong's political structures. [http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/asiapcf/04/06/hk.china.law/index.html (CNN)]
* State security in the People's Republic of China is on high alert as disgraced Premier Zhao Ziyang seems to be near death. [http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/asiapcf/04/06/china.zhao/index.html (CNN)]
* The parliament of Lithuania narrowly votes to impeach President Rolandas Paksas for violating the constitution. Parliamentary speaker Artūras Paulauskas will act as president for two months pending new elections. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3602895.stm (BBC)]
* ABC reports that British government sources believe that suspects arrested last week in the UK may have been plotting to make an improvised chemical weapon using the toxic agent osmium tetroxide. [http://abcnews.go.com/sections/WNT/Investigation/poison_bomb_plot_040405-1.html (ABC/US)] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3603961.stm (BBC)]
* Palestinian officials state that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) asks Hamas fighters to join a decision making body to run the Gaza Strip if Israel pulls out. [http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/0C099809-C210-4410-B287-7E089263DA9B.htm (Al Jazeera)]
* Iraq:
** Shiites want Iraqi political control by June 30 but say the violence the Mahdi Army has incited since Sunday is dangerous. [http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0407/p01s02-wome.html (Christian Science Monitor)]
** Iraqi insurgents and rebellious Shiites challenge Coalition occupation forces. At least 30 Iraqis are killed. Sixteen Iraqis died in battles with Marines in Fallujah. At least 18 American soldiers and more than 116 Iraqis have died in three days of clashes. A Salvadoran soldier and one from Ukraine also are killed. [http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/iraq/20040406-1308-iraq.html (AP)] [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/04/06/1354213 (Democracy Now!)]
** Militant cleric Moqtada Sadr rallies his Mahdi Army militia in a third day of urban warfare with coalition forces after fleeing to a refuge close to Shia Islam's holiest shrine. [http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1079420198499 (Financial Times)]
** Muqtada al-Sadr is accused of confiscating the "khums" (or donations) of worshipers to mosques and shrines in southern Iraq. [http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/ECBD601F-972F-4413-A7DD-BB3A8F5DFEBB.htm (Al Jazeera)]
** United States civilian administrator Paul Bremer states that there is "no question" that coalition forces are in control. "I know if you just report on those few places, it does look chaotic. But if you travel around the country ... what you find is a bustling economy, people opening businesses right and left, unemployment has dropped." [http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/04/06/iraq.main/index.html (CNN)]
*IBM requests that the court dismiss the SCO Group's copyright charges against it "with prejudice". [http://www.sltrib.com/2004/Apr/04062004/business/154471.asp (Salt Lake Tribune)]
* University of Connecticut becomes the first NCAA Division I school to win the men's and the women's U.S. amateur national basketball championships in the same season, after the women's team three-peats. [http://sports.espn.go.com/ncw/ncaatourney04/news/story?id=1777154 (ESPN)] [http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/basketball/ncaa/women/specials/ncaa_tourney/2004/04/06/uconn.tenn.ap/ (Sports Illustrated)]

April 5, 2004

* Occupation of Iraq:
** Paul Bremer states that militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is an outlaw and warns that uprisings by the cleric and his followers will not tolerated. [http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=9514 (Middle East Online)]
** The U.S. Army closes off the turbulent Iraqi city of Falluja ahead of a major operation against insurgents following the slayings of four civilian American security contractors. [http://www.menewsline.com/stories/2004/april/04_05_1.html (Middle East Newsline)] [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Iraq-Fallujah.html?hp (NYT)] [http://www.npr.org/display_pages/features/feature_1813404.html (NPR)]
** The U.S. is examining the possibility of sending more troops to Iraq if situation gets out of control. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3602803.stm (BBC)]
** An Iraqi judge issues arrest warrant for Muqtada al-Sadr, whom the Coalition Provisional Authority accuses of igniting anti-American violence that led to the deaths of eight U.S. troops. [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/jan-june04/turmoil_4-5.html (Online NewsHour)]
** Secretary-General's Special Adviser, Lakhdar Brahimi holds talks with the Iraqi Governing Council in Baghdad. [http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=10314&Cr=Iraq&Cr1= (UN)]
* Queen Elizabeth II begins a state visit to France in honour of the centennial of the Entente Cordiale, arriving in the Eurostar via the Channel Tunnel. The following day, she is to address the French Senate. [http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2004/04/05/world/queen_france040405 (CBC)]
* Ottawa orders the slaughter of 19 million chickens in British Columbia due to bird flu fears. [http://vancouver.cbc.ca/regional/servlet/View?filename=bc_chickens20040405 (CBC)]
* The "Los Angeles Times" wins five journalism awards in the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. [http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/breaking_news/8361737.htm (Mercury News)]
* Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, of Qatar, calls upon Arab states to consider United States proposals for democratic reform. He states that Arabs should no longer use the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and security fears to justify delaying such reform. [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/412870.html (HaAretz)]
* Mordechai Vanunu seeks to renounce his Israeli citizenship to avoid confinement to the nation after his release from jail. [http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L0387878.htm (Reuters)]
* For the first time in six years, a Norwegian policeman is killed in the line of duty. [http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article768657.ece (Aftenposten)]
* Economists from Harvard and UNC - Chapel Hill determine that peer to peer file sharing and music downloads "have an effect on sales which is statistically indistinguishable from zero, despite rather precise estimates." [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/05/technology/05music.html?hp (NYT)]
* A United States government study finds that an African-American woman was 23 times more likely to be infected with AIDS than is a white woman. Recent studies suggest that 30 percent of all black bisexual men may be infected with HIV. [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/05/health/05AIDS.html?hp (NYT)]
* In South Korea, Uri Party chairman Chung Dong-young calls on the opposition parties to withdraw the motion for impeachment against President Roh Moo-hyun. [http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/nation/200404/kt2004040515432711950.htm (Hankooki)]
* Investigators trace ties of international Islamist groups to Madrid train bombers from six international arrest warrants. [http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L04169340.htm (Reuters)]
* Swedish business weekly "Veckans Affärer" argues that Ingvar Kamprad, a Swede who founded the furniture retail chain store IKEA, has overtaken Microsoft's Bill Gates as the world's richest person. IKEA disagrees, stating that he does not personally own the company. [http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/919_661280,001800030001.htm (Hindustan Times)] [http://www.ktvu.com/money/2975041/detail.html (KTVU.COM)]
* Australia's biggest supplier of the potential explosive ammonium nitrate will pull the product from its stores in response to concerns it could be used by terrorists. [http://www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,9194059%255E421,00.html (News Limited)]
* After "serious social resonance", the Duma's United Russia majority backpedals from outright support of a bill banning public protests in many public places. [http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2004/04/05/001.html (Moscow Times)]

April 4, 2004

* Iran asks EU members (France, Britain, and Germany) to stand by their commitments within the framework of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Tehran Declaration. [http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=4/5/2004&Cat=4&Num=009 (Tehran Times)]
* Thomas H. Kean, chairman of the commission investigating the September 11, 2001 attacks and former Republican governor of New Jersey says that the attacks could have been prevented had the United States government acted sooner to dismantle Al Qaeda and responded more quickly to other terrorist threats. [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/04/politics/04CND-PANE.html?hp (NYT)]
* Iraqi interior minister arrives in Tehran for security talks. [http://www.irna.ir/?LANG=EN&PART=_HOME&TYPE=HP (Islamic Republic News Agency)]
* The US Customs and Border Protection Agency begin patrols with unmanned aerial vehicles to identify illegal immigrants at U.S. land borders. [http://www.washingtontechnology.com/news/1_1/daily_news/23213-1.html (Post-Newsweek Media)]
* Serhane ben Abdelmajid Farkhet (alias "The Tunisian") is suspected of dying in April 3 Madrid explosion (along with three other suspects). Spanish Interior Minister Angel Acebes announces that the ringleader of the March 11, 2004 Madrid bombings is dead. 200 detonators and 22 pounds of dynamite were found "in the apartment where the four terrorists blew themselves up as police closed in", Acebes said. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3598219.stm (BBC News)] [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Spain-Bombings.html?hp (NYT)]
* UK Police refuse discussion of reports over tonnes of unaccounted ammonium nitrate fertiliser stolen from a Welsh farm near Abergavenny, South Wales. [http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_912310.html?menu= (Ananova)]
* Occupation of Iraq:
** At least two Shiite Muslim followers of militant Iraqi cleric, Moqtada Sadr, are killed early in the day after throwing themselves in front of United States tanks during a demonstration in Baghdad. [http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1080574.htm (AFP)]
** Supporters of Moqtada Sadr outside a coalition military base in Najaf, Iraq throw rocks and fire shots. Spanish troops and Iraqi police return fire. Nineteen people (including some soldiers) are killed from the fire. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3597887.stm (BBC)] [http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=B878DF92-9997-4D57-9B153BA6CE0C206D&title=Coalition%20Forces%20Open%20Fire%20On%20Iraqi%20Protesters,%20Killing%20Eight (VOA)]
** Police chief of Kufa, Saeed Tryak, is killed and one of his escorts is injured when their car is attacked at al-Adala in Najaf, southeast of Baghdad. Police chief of al-Mahmudiya in Baghdad, Usama Husayn, is also killed leaving his house in al-Khadra neighbourhood. He is shot by men in police uniforms. [http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/1E587A95-A4F5-4528-9E4D-CFDC40419FDC.htm (Al Jazeera)]
* Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
**Palestinian Yasser Arafat dismisses Israel's threat to kill him. American representatives, and other world leaders, criticize Israel's prime minister for the suggestion. [http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=42503&d=4&m=4&y=2004 (ArabNews)]
** Prime Minister Ariel Sharon conflicts with right-wing ministers over a plan to unilaterally disengage from the Gaza Strip. Housing and Construction Minister, Effie Eitam, and Tourism Minister, Benny Elon, demand that the plan receive cabinet approval. [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1081052087090 (Jerusalem Post)]
** A year-long European Parliament investigation into how the Palestinian Authority spents money given to it by the European Union fails to find evidence linking its funds with terrorist activity. The findings, leaked before they were made public, are under attack, with one member of the probe calling it a "partial" whitewash. [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1080979165731 (Jerusalem Post)]

April 3, 2004

* NASA announces that the Gravity Probe B is ready for launch on April 17. [http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/04/03/probe_eyes_key_concept_of_physics/ (Globe)]
* Jordanian officials report that suspected terrorists were arrested when their vehicle filled with explosives, detonators and bombs was apprehended in a Jordanian town on the Syrian border. [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1080979160569 (Jerusalem Post)]
* Vladimir Meciar has won the first round of Presidential election in Slovakia.
* At least three persons suspected in involvement in the March 11, 2004 Madrid bombings blow themselves up in an apartment building in the Madrid suburb Leganés as police officers try to arrest them. Besides the suspects, one police officer is killed and 11 injured. [http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2004/04/03/world/spain_blast040403 (CBC)]
* "Simpsons" voice actors are on strike. [http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/04/02/1080544690429.html (The Age)]
* Germany: 500,000 people protest against lowering social standards in Berlin, Cologne, and Stuttgart as part of a European protest weekend. [http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/0,1518,293972,00.html (SPIEGEL)]
* An ongoing study by sociologist Robert Cushing for the "Austin American-Statesman" newspaper reveals a statistical anomaly: soldiers and Marines from rural areas are dying at twice the rate of troops from cities and suburbs. [http://www.npr.org/display_pages/features/feature_1810753.html (NPR)]
* Pennsylvania's chief auditor states that community notification about felons is often "incorrect, late, and ineffective", after review of state police monitoring of sexually violent predators under Megan's Law. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/04/03/megans.audit.ap/index.html (AP)]

April 2, 2004

* United States Vice-president's wife, Lynne Cheney, stops reissue of sexy novel, "Sisters", authored in 1981. [http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/World/2004/04/02/406533-ap.html (CANOE)]
* To stop the rapid spread of avian influenza in British Columbia, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency could kill up to 16 million chickens in poultry farms around Abbotsford, British Columbia. [http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2004/04/02/canada/birds040402 (CBC)]
* Federal commissioners investigating the September 11, 2001 attacks look into the 6,000 documents from former President Bill Clinton's presidential archive. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/04/01/clinton.commission.ap/ (CNN)]
* Teenagers from areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority provoke a riot by throwing large stones at Israeli police shortly after noon prayers at the Western Wall. When police try to stop them, hundreds of other Muslims join the stone throwers. Resisting apprehension, the rioters seek refuge at the Temple Mount, site of Al Aqsa Mosque, most holy place to Jews and third-holiest place for Muslims. [http://ap.washingtontimes.com/dynamic/stories/I/ISRAEL_PALESTINIANS?SITE=DCTMS&SECTION=HOME (AP)]
* Hong Kong police forcibly disperse a peaceful demonstration outside the Government Headquarters building, carrying away people, including journalists, one by one. The demonstrators hoped the Government would send a representative to accept an open letter from the demonstrators. The Hong Kong Journalists Association condemns the police action for infringing freedom of press by removing journalists from the scene first. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3592355.stm (BBC)] [http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/asiapcf/04/02/hk.china/index.html (CNN)] [http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail_frame.cfm?articleid=46453&intcatid=1 (Hong Kong Standard)]
* Calm returns to Falluja as the desecrated remains of four US civilians are handed over to occupation authorities; townspeople state they were torn between pride in the attack and shame over the mutilations. [http://www.iht.com/articles/513123.html (International Herald Tribune)]
* A judge in New York declares a mistrial after eleven days of deliberations in the case of former Tyco International chairman and chief executive Dennis Kozlowski and former chief financial officer Mark Swartz after a juror received either a "threatening or coercive" letter in the previous 24 hours. Kozlowski and Swartz have been accused of stealing $600 million from Tyco. [http://apnews.myway.com/article/20040402/D81MS7H00.html (AP)]
* Sun Microsystems announces that it moves to a new phase of legal and technical cooperation with longtime foe, Microsoft, that will involve a payment of $1.95 billion to Sun. [http://news.com.com/2100-1014_3-5183848.html?tag=nefd_lede (CNet)]
*Economy of the United States: "Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 308,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was about unchanged at 5.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Payroll job growth was fairly widespread, as construction employment rose sharply and several major service-providing industries also added jobs." [http://bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm (BLS)]
* A report on anti-Semitism by the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) concludes attacks against Jews in Europe are rising, primarily ascribed to youths from neighborhoods sensitive to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, principally of North African descent. [http://web.israelinsider.com/bin/en.jsp?enPage=ArticlePage&enDisplay=view&enDispWhat=object&enDispWho=Article%5El3488&enZone=AntiSemi&enVersion=0&] ("Israel Insider")
* Ariel Sharon states that he is ordering a halt to all construction and development in Gaza Strip settlements. [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/P/FrontPage/FrontPage&cid=1002116796299 (Jerusalem Post)]
* The Spanish government discloses that a powerful bomb has been discovered on the high-speed AVE railway line between Madrid and Seville. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3593927.stm (BBC)] The bomb, found near Toledo, is revealed the next day to be the same type as those used in the 11 March 2004 Madrid train bombings, which killed 191 people. [http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2004/04/03/world/spain_bomb040403 (CBC)]
* A United States federal judge in Providence, Rhode Island, finds Hamas guilty in a civil lawsuit resulting from the 1996 murder of Yaron and Efrat Ungar in Israel. Hamas is ordered to pay the family of Yaron and Efrat Ungar $116 million. The court has not yet ruled regarding the liability of the Palestinian Authority and the PLO. [http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2004/01/29/116m_awarded_in_terrorism_suit/ (BostonGlobe)]
*The BBC reports of a surgery which cured a patient of Tourette syndrome. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3589395.stm (BBC)]
*The BBC announces that Michael Grade will become its new Chairman on May 17, following the resignation of its previous Chairman Gavyn Davies in the fall-out from the Hutton Inquiry report. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3591985.stm (BBC)]
*Sri Lanka holds a parliamentary election. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3590757.stm (BBC)] [http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=7B13057F-A55F-4EDF-9EA8AF3AD065A04B (VOA)]
* Former US marine Toby Studabaker, who abducted a 12-year-old British girl after "grooming" her via the Internet, is jailed for four and a half years. [http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_910784.html?menu=news.topheadlines (Ananova)] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/3594235.stm (BBC)]
* An estimated crowd of between 10,000 and 19,000 mourners show up to pay their final respects to Mexican singer Adán Sánchez in Los Angeles. Many in the crowd turn violent, jumping onto the van carrying the singer's body. Some are injured, and police and emergency rescue intervention is required. [http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/custom/wire/sns-ap-sanchez-rowdy-mourners,0,3638356.story?coll=sns-ap-entertainment-headlines (Baltimore Sun)]
* Disney's 44th animated movie, Home on the Range, is released in theatres.

April 1, 2004

*George W. Bush signs the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, commonly known as Laci and Conner's Law, that states that an act of violence that leads to the death of a pregnant mother and her child can be counted as two offenses. [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040401-3.html (White House)] [http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20040401-041701-1460r (UPI)]
* Faroese Prime Minister's Office announces that from then on the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister's Office would use a new version of the Faroese Coat of Arms. The colours were inspired from the Merkið (flag) and yellow/gold was added. The new Coat of Arms depicts a Ram on a blue shield ready to defend. It can be used by the Government Ministries and by Faroese embassies, but some still use older versions of the Coat of Arms.
* The Turkish Interior Ministry states forty-one members of terrorist organization, Revolutionary People's Liberation Party (DHKP-C), are detained in synchronous operations in Turkey, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands. [http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-04/01/content_1396648.htm (Xinhua)]
* Following a gun battle, in which Palestinians hiding in a World Health Organization psychiatric hospital, in Bethlehem, opened fire on Israeli troops outside who came to arrest them, 12 of the Palestinians, mostly known militants from al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades that make up part of Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, are arrested. [http://reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=OXGW3W3TKK1ZWCRBAELCFEY?type=topNews&storyID=4723774 (Reuters)] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3589759.stm (BBC)]
* Astronomers estimate that Earth-like planets may orbit as many as one in twenty stars. [http://www.webindia123.com/news/showdetails.asp?id=34978&cat=Science (Webindia123)] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3588721.stm (BBC)]
* Paul Bremer pledges justice for the contractors killed and mutilated in an attack in Falluja. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3589057.stm (BBC)]
* British Immigration Minister Beverley Hughes resigns over visa irregularities. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3589131.stm (BBC)]
* Palestinian General Haj Ismail Jabber is discovered to have been claiming the payroll for 37,000 members of the Palestinian Authority's National Security force when only 30,000 members exist. The difference of $2 million is kept by General Jabber each month. [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/411056.html (HaAretz)]
* Same-sex marriage in Canada: Michael Hendricks and René Leboeuf become the first same-sex couple to legally wed in Quebec. [http://montreal.cbc.ca/regional/servlet/View?filename=qc_marriage20040401 (CBC)]
* Various April Fool's hoaxes are perpetrated throughout the world as is custom on the first of April.
*Neil H. Shubin of the University of Chicago reports in the journal "Nature" the discovery of a 365-million-year-old forelimb in Pennsylvania, representing the evolution of fish to land-dwelling animals. [http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa003&articleID=000BC4A9-8057-106C-BA3083414B7F0000 (Scientific American)] Voting begins in South Korean parliamentary elections.


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