2003 : January - February - March - April - May - June - July - August - September - October - November - December

A timeline of events in the news for August, 2003.

See also:

August 31, 2003

August 30, 2003

  • Software patents: After protests, the European Parliament has postponed its decision about legality of patents on software in the European Union from September 1st to September 22nd. [1]
  • WTO deal to allow poor countries to bypass drug patents and import cheap copies to treat AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. [1]
  • Natural disaster: French official first report from the Institut de Veille Sanitaire was presented to Jean-François Mattei (Health Minister). It reports 11,500 more deaths than the previous three years would be due to the heat wave of early August. It had previously been suggested that the number was 3,000.
  • Russian nuclear submarine of K-159 November class sinks in the Barents Sea. The sub was decommissioned and it had 10 crew on board. The incident comes three years after Russia's worst peacetime naval disaster when all 118 crew of the nuclear submarine Kursk died when it sank in the Barents Sea on 12 August 2000. Environmental organizations say that the submarine could be dangerous for fishes, because radioactive material could leak to the sea from its two nuclear reactors. [1]

August 29, 2003

August 28, 2003

August 27, 2003

August 26, 2003

August 25, 2003

August 24, 2003

August 23, 2003

August 22, 2003

  • A Brazilian Space Agency VLS-1 space rocket explodes on its launch-pad at Alcantara space base, killing at least 21 people. It is thought that one of the rocket's four motors caught fire; the subsequent explosion destroyed the rocket, its cargo of two satellites, and the launch-pad, as well as the deaths of many of Brazil's space-specialists, causing an estimated US$12m worth of damage. This ends Brazil's third attempt since 1997 at becoming a space power. class="external">[1
  • Natural disaster: Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano sends a column of smoke and ash three kilometres into the air. [1]
  • Natural disaster: Wildfire forces around 10,000 people from their homes in British Columbia. This is Western Canada's worst fire season in decades. [1]
  • Occupation of Iraq: United Nations Security council members are split on the issue of Iraq. France, Russia, People's Republic of China, and Germany are proposing differing ways to expand the United Nations mandate in Iraq beyond humanitarian aid and reconstruction. Secretary of State of the United States Colin Powell states that there is no plan to cede authority to the United Nations from the Coalition forces. [1] Powell also sought a new Security Council resolution that would involve other nations to contribute troops and aid in securing and rebuilding Iraq. [1]
  • War on Terrorism - Canal Hotel: Investigators focus on the possibility that former Iraqi intelligence agents working as security guards may have assisted the attack. [1]
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Palestinian militants and the Israeli Government vow to continue attacks on each other after the terrorist attacks and bloodshed. Hamas and Islamic Jihad release an official joint statement on their participation ending in the peace plan. [1] They urge militant cells in Palestine to strike. Israeli security officials state this is "only the beginning" of responses to Palestinian attacks. [1] [1]
  • War on Terrorism: President of the United States George W. Bush announces a freeze on the assets of the Palestinian militant leaders of Hamas and organizations financially supporting the "terrorist organization". The action is taken due to the fact that Hamas officially claims responsibility for the act of terror on August 19. [1] [1]
  • Efforts by US broadcaster Fox News to seek an injunction preventing satirist Al Franken from publishing a book backfire as the judge not merely refuses their request but ridicules it. Judge Denny Chin told Fox, which had claimed that the subtitle of the book, which included the words "fair and balanced", infringed on their trademark of the term, "this is an easy case. This case is wholly without merit, both factually and legally". Chin added "It is ironic that a media company, which should be protecting the First Amendment (guaranteeing free speech), is seeking to undermine it." Franken, who as a result of the Fox case had received massive media exposure, commented "I'd like to thank Fox's lawyers for filing one of the stupidest briefs I've ever seen in my life." [1]
  • Separation of church and state: Alabama's Chief Justice Roy Moore is suspended by a Judicial Ethics Panel over his refusal to remove a monument listing the Ten Commandments which he had installed in the state Supreme Court building. Moore had been ordered to remove the controversial monument by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, who in a judgment in 2002 said the monument "violates the constitution's ban on government promotion of a religious doctrine". Thompson's judgment was upheld by eight Associate Justices. Their ruling was criticised by Moore and the Christian Defense Coalition, who have threatened to block the court building to prevent the monument's removal. [1] [1]

August 21, 2003

August 20, 2003

  • War on Terrorism - Canal Hotel: US officials comment terror group linked to al Qaeda, Ansar al-Islam, is emerging as a top suspect in the U.N. headquarters bombing in Baghdad. "It's part of a global war against terrorism that was officially declared on us on September 11. It's quite clear we do have terrorists inside Iraq now." [1]
  • Natural disaster: French undertakers state that 10,000 more French people died during the early August summer heatwave than the first two weeks of August in 2002. It had previously been suggested that the number was 3,000. President Jacques Chirac demands reports from cabinet ministers on the crisis, while in Italy the newspaper La Repubblica suggests that Italy had 2000 more deaths than normal due to the heatwave. [1]
  • A 4-week-old boy, born to Nigerian parents, dies after a botched home circumcision by a friend of the boy's parents, in the Republic of Ireland. The Garda Siochána are searching for the man, who had no medical qualifications. [1]
  • One of the holiest sites in Jerusalem, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif or the Noble Sanctuary, is re-opened to controversy. Jerusalem's police chief, Mickey Levey says the decision was taken before the most recent suicide bombing. However the decision is condemned by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, who says the re-opening was done without the agreement of the Waqf, the Muslim authority that oversees the site. Palestinians from outside Jerusalem who are under the age of 40 are currently barred from entering. The compound includes the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. [1]
  • California recall: Republican recall candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger promises to take quick action. [1]
  • A computer worm called W32.Welchia.Worm infects computers across the internet. The virus has been labeled "good" by some, because it attempts to remove W32.Blaster.Worm, and downloads the Windows security patch which prevents W32.Blaster.Worm infections before spreading to other computers. It will also remove itself once the date hits 2004. [1] [1] [1] [1] [1]
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, breaks negotiations with the Islamic militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad in response to the bombing in Jerusalem. [1] Israel notifies the public that it will retaliate with military strikes for bus bombing. [1] There are conflicting reports that Israel will hold off on the attacks to see if the Palestinian administration takes action against terrorist groups. [1]
  • Fighting persists in Chechnya, with six Russian servicemen killed and 11 others wounded in the war-ravaged region.
  • Pauline Hanson, former leader of the Australian anti-immigration One Nation Party, is sentenced in Queensland to three years in prison for electoral fraud.
  • Afghanistan: Afghan President Hamid Karzai's spokesman comments that the issue of Taliban crossing into Afghanistan from Pakistan will be discussed during Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri's visit to Kabul. Afghanistan claims Pakistani based Taliban have killed many Afghan soldiers. [1]

August 19, 2003

August 18, 2003

August 17, 2003

August 16, 2003

August 15, 2003

August 14, 2003

  • A major power outage due to a power grid failure affects more than 50 million people in the northeast of North America, including New York City, New Jersey, Cleveland, Ottawa, Toronto and Detroit [1] [1] [1] ABC BBC CNN. According to U.S. authorities, the cause is still unclear; according to the Canadian Department of National Defense, the chain reaction was started by a lightning strike in the Niagara Falls region on the U.S. side of the border [1]. A press release with some technical details of the event is a available at [1]. The NRC reports that all 9 affected nuclear power plants have been safely shut down [1].
  • Heat wave: French health officials estimate that as many as 3,000 people may have died in France as a result of the heat wave. Fatalities and illnesses are swamping the French health system. The city of Paris launches its Plan blanc emergency response procedure. However, temperatures in Paris have now dropped from 40°C to 30°C. [1]
  • SARS: Public health officials are investigating seven deaths and several infections in an outbreak that resembles, but is not believed to be, SARS in a nursing home in Surrey, British Columbia (a suburb of Vancouver). However, until more is known about the disease, the home will be treated as a SARS site for safety's sake. [1]
  • A single-celleded microbe, of the domain Archaea, is found to be able to survive at 121°C (250°F), making it the life form that can tolerate the highest temperature. The microbe, temporarily named Strain 121, which was found 200 miles away from Puget Sound in a hydrothermal vent, may provide clues to when and where life first evolved on Earth. It metabolizes by reducing iron oxide. [1] [1] [1] [1]
  • Terrorism: Hambali, an important leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, is in U.S. custody after being captured in Thailand. [1]
  • Liberian crisis: News services are reporting that Moses Blah met with Sekou Conneh of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) group and Thomas Nimley of a smaller faction known as Model. Meanwhile, the Pentagon expands the United States' military presence by adding a "quick reaction" force of 150 combat troops to back up Nigerian peacekeepers. [1] [1]
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Israel frees another 76 prisoners, a week after releasing more than 300 people. Israel argues that it is a gesture of goodwill and in accordance with agreements. The Palestinian authority disagrees and says that most not arrested for terrorist activities, and that it was the people arrested for the latter that Israel originally agreed to release. Palestinian officials want the release of 6000 prisoners, many of whom it claims were wrongly arrested, to obtain public support for the US-backed road map for peace. [1]

August 13, 2003

  • Ivan Jovovic and Bogdan Bukomiric, both 16 years old, from Gorazdevac near Pec die after two attackers fired from AK-47 on group of children from Gorazdevac who were bathing in river Bistrica. Four children got injured in the attack, two of which are in critical condition. UNMIK and KFOR claimed that they transferred one of them, Marko Bogicevic, to Belgrade, but he is actually in German military hospital at Prizren, against his parents' wishes. Italian KFOR patrol refused to borrow fuel to car which was transporting wounded children to hospital in Pec, when it ran out of fuel, and took no action when car was stoned by local Albanians. After finally arriving to Pec, doctors there refused to treat the children. KFOR claims that it researches the location of the incident with 300 men.
  • Discovery of a Saudi Arabia airplane plot. Intelligence agencies producing alerts and relaying them to Washington, D.C, and London of a specific threat to airlines flying around Riyadh international airport. The plan to shoot down a British Airways plane was discovered after a member of the plot drove his car through a checkpoint in Riyadh. In response to the threat BA cancels all flights to Saudi Arabia until further notice. The United States issues a travel alert for Saudi Arabia citing the threat of terrorism including potential attacks against civil aviation. [1] [1] [1]
  • Iraq's northern oil fields resumes exports. [1]
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger names Warren Buffett as his economic adviser on Wednesday. Mr Buffett will help the actor build a team to lead the state out of its fiscal crisis. [1]
  • Disgraced Irish former Taoiseach Charles J. Haughey sells his historic home and estate, Kinsealy, in north Dublin to a property developer for 35 million euro. The former taoiseach, whose financial dealings and tax-evasion is the subject of a judicial inquiry and which have largely destroyed his reputation, bought the palatial mansion, for £120,000 in the 1960s. Haughey, who is suffering from terminal prostate cancer, will not be allowed to remain in the house as a sitting tenant for the rest of his life, a demand of his which scuppered past attempts to sell.
  • Same-sex marriage in Canada: At its convention in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, the United Church of Canada votes overwhelmingly to ask the federal government to allowsame-sex marriage.
  • A National Geographic team releases the discovery of a new species of large dinosaur, Rajasaurus Narmadensis, native to the Indian subcontinent. The research effort was made by a joint Indo-American group, including members from the University of Michigan, University of Chicago, and the Punjab University of Northern India. [1]

August 12, 2003

  • War on Terrorism: An exclusive BBC report says a joint United States, Russia and United Kingdom "sting" halted a plot to shoot down Air Force One using an Igla surface to air missile. According to the BBC, the plot, initially unearthed by the Russians, led President Vladimir Putin to request that an FBI agent go to St. Petersburg, where the agent posed as an Islamic extremist and met the British arms dealer supplying the missile. The missile was shipped from St. Peterburg to Baltimore in the United States. The British arms dealer "arranging" the deal was arrested when he arrived in Newark, New Jersey in the United States today. The White House has publicly denied that Air Force One was to be the target of the missile. However Tom Mangold, the BBC veteran investigative reporter who broke the story, claims the British dealer supplying the missile recommended to the undercover FBI agent that the President's jet, rather than a commerical jet, be the target, saying that he could get another 60 Ingla missiles which could then be used to launch a co-ordinated attack on Air Force One. [1]
  • Occupation of Iraq: The Associated Press is reporting that troopss in Iraq should expect to serve for at least a year according to the commander of United States forces. [1] [1] [1] [1] [1] [1]
  • George W. Bush nominates former NGA chairman and current governor of Utah, Michael O. Leavitt for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. [1]
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Two Israelis killed and about a dozen wounded in two separate suicide bombings by Palestinian terrorists in the towns of Rosh-Ha'ayin and Ariel. Hamas and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility for the attacks. The IDF retaliated on Wednesday by demolishing the house in Nablus where the bomber in the Rosh Ha-Ayin attack lived with his family, an activity which is specifically outlawed as a war crime by the Fourth Geneva Convention.[1]
  • The Serbian government has indicated that it wants to retake control of the province of Kosovo, arguing that the United Nations, which currently has control, has failed to reestablish the rule of law. [1] [1]
  • Sir Jocelyn Gore-Booth announces the sale of the historic Lissadell estate in County Sligo in Ireland, the childhood home of early twentieth century Irish republican Constance Gore-Booth (Countess Markievicz) and which had major associations with the poet W.B. Yeats. Critics condemn the Irish government for failing to buy the estate; Sir Jocelyn had offered it first refusal. The identity of the buyer has not yet been revealed but rock singer Bono had shown major interest in the property. [1]
  • The remains of a viking warrior are found at a building site in Dublin. The warrior had been stabbed to death during a ninth century viking raid on Dubhlinn monastery. The dagger was still attached to his body when his remains were found. The archaeological dig is expected to continue at the site for six months.
  • The Rev. Peter Short is elected Moderator of the United Church of Canada, the country's largest Protestant denomination, in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. [1]
  • Microsoft has decided to appeal a verdict to pay $520.6 million from a Chicago federal jury that affirms the Internet Explorer browser violated Intellectual Property rights of Eolas Technologies (concerning Patent US 5838906). [1] [1]

August 11, 2003

August 10, 2003

  • 100,000 attend a rally in the French countryside to condemn next month's round of trade liberalisation talks being held under auspices of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Cancun in Mexico. [1]
  • British police in London are given 'shoot-on-sight' orders to deal with possible suicide bombers by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens as expectations rise of an Al-Qaeda attack on the British capital. [1]
  • War on Terrorism: The Sunday Times reports that Al-Qaeda terrorists have infiltrated Iraq from surrounding Arab countries and have aligned themselves with former intelligence agents of Saddam Hussein to fight the Coalition forces. Their attacks have killed Coalition soliders and Iraqi police officers, among others. [1]
  • Pope John Paul II urges Catholics to pray for rain in Europe as the heat wave continues. The heatwave in Britain reaches 100° Fahrenheit (just under 38° Celsius) at Heathrow, for the first time in history. [1] Warnings of avalanches are issued in the Alps, as mountain glaciers melt.
  • Liberian President and convicted war criminal Charles Taylor, who is to step down tomorrow, has appealed to rebels to 'submit to the democratic process'. He also accuses the United States of funding the rebels who have besieged the capital, Monrovia for a week. [1]
  • The Russian space program has the been the first to send a man, a dog, a woman, and a tourist into space. And it may be the first to marry a couple in space. Yuri Malenchenko (41), aboard the international space station, and his bride, Yekaterina Dmitriyeva (26) in Texas, are making preparations for what seems to be the first cosmic wedding. [1] [1] [1] [1]
  • The British Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith demands that Prime Minister Tony Blair apologise for the comments of his press secretary, Tom Kelly, in which Kelly compared Dr. David Kelly, the BBC source who took his own life after his identity was revealed by the Ministry of Defence, to the fictional Walter Mitty character. [1]
  • 16-year-old Israeli killed and five other injured in Hizbollah shelling on the northern Israeli town of Shlomi. Israeli planes attacked Hezbollah targets in Lebanon in response to the shelling. Some sources claim Hezbollah's attack was a response to Israel's car bomb assassination of Hezbollah member Ali Hussein Saleh in Beirut on August 3 which also seriously injured 2 passers-by. [1]
  • While Retired South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his successor, Archbishop Njongonkulu Winston Ndungane, fails to see what "all the fuss" is over the ordination of a gay bishop, other African Anglicans suggest that their churches may sever relations with the American dioceses which supported the election of a gay priest as bishop if what they called the "path of deviation" is not changed. [1] [1]

August 9, 2003

  • A historic heat wave continues to afflict Europe and is expected to continue for another week. Spain and Portugal are particularly hard hit; forest fires in Portugal are declared a national disaster, with damages estimated at €1 billion. Other fires are reported on Majorca and in the Canary Islands. Temperatures of 49°C are recorded in Andalusia. London records its highest temperature in history. The cause of the heat wave is believed to be a stagnant air mass over the Sahara sending hot air as far north as Sweden. [1]
  • Occupation of Iraq: United States Central Command military officials confirm that Mahmoud Diyab al-Ahmed, the Iraqi Minister of Interior was in its custody. He occupies the number 29 position on the U.S. list of most-wanted Iraqis. The Iraqi Minister of Interior surrendered to coalition forces yesterday. He was the seven of spades on the deck of cards distributed to U.S. troops. [1] [1] [1]
  • SCO v. IBM Linux lawsuit: Aduva, Inc., a Linux developing company, releases this week a tool to allow companies to replace any offending Linux code, if it exists, with code that does not infringe on SCO's intellectual property rights. [1] [1] [1] It is unknown how this tool will work, as SCO has not disclosed which code it considers infringing.
  • The city of Vyborg commence the 600-years anniversary of King Eric of Pomerania establishing the town's trading privileges in a Royal Charter.[1]

August 8, 2003

August 7, 2003

August 6, 2003

August 5, 2003

August 4, 2003

August 2, 2003

August 1, 2003