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August 2003


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

  • Tens of thousands of people turn out in Baghdad for the funeral procession of the murdered Shia Muslim leader Ayatollah Sayed Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim. [1] The Iraqi police handling the investigation say they have arrested 19 men in connection with the blast, many of them foreigners and all with admitted links to al-Qaeda. [2]
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declassifies carbon dioxide as a pollutant, a move seen as leading to the elimination of restrictions on industrial emissions of the controversial gas. Climate scientists have debated carbon dioxide's role in global warming for over a decade, with most voices (though notably fewer within the US) calling it the biggest factor, while others call it negligible. [3]
  • Occupation of Iraq: American and Iraqi officials are discussing the possibility of forming a large Iraqi militia or paramilitary force to help improve security in the country. [4]
  • Terrorist: Terrorism group Jemaah Islamiyah has schemes, revealed in a 40-page manifesto (the Pupji book or General Guide to the Struggle of Jemaah Islamiyah), for a suicide bombing campaign designed to change Asia and the Pacific region into Islamic provinces. Jemaah Islamiyah is also shown to be a well-formed organization with a constitution, rules of operation, and leadership structure. [5]
  • Afghanistan: Soldiers are killed in a remote region (near the town of Shkin) near the Pakistani border. Taliban reinforcements moved into mountainous region in southern Afghanistan where U.S. and Afghan forces have been attacking hideouts in a battle over the past week. [6]

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. [7]
  • WTO deal to allow poor countries to bypass drug patents and import cheap copies to treat AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. [8]
  • 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 August 12 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. [9]

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. [81][82]
  • Natural disaster: Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano sends a column of smoke and ash three kilometres into the air. [83]
  • Natural disaster: Wildfire forces around 10,000 people from their homes in British Columbia. This is Western Canada's worst fire season in decades. [84]
  • 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. [85] Powell also sought a new Security Council resolution that would involve other nations to contribute troops and aid in securing and rebuilding Iraq. [86]
  • War on Terrorism – Canal Hotel: Investigators focus on the possibility that former Iraqi intelligence agents working as security guards may have assisted the attack. [87]
  • 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. [88] They urge militant cells in Palestine to strike. Israeli security officials state this is "only the beginning" of responses to Palestinian attacks. [89] [90]
  • 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. [91] [92]
  • 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." [93]
  • 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. [94] [95]

August 21, 2003

August 20, 2003

August 19, 2003

August 18, 2003

August 17, 2003

August 16, 2003

August 15, 2003

  • Power is restored to many, but not all areas of the north-eastern United States and Canada affected by the previous day's blackout [150]. Investigations into the root cause of the grid collapse are currently focusing on transmission lines circling Lake Erie [151].
  • Libya formally accepts responsibility for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. It consists of general language that lacks expression of remorse for lives lost. [152] Although some claim the acceptance is just a business deal and not a true admission of guilt. [153]
  • Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein announces that he will abdicate the throne in 2004, in favor of his son, Prince Alois.

August 14, 2003

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. An 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. [170] [171] [172]
  • Iraq's northern oil fields resumes exports. [173]
  • 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. [174]
  • 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 allow same-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. [175]

August 12, 2003

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. [204]
  • 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. [205]
  • 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 soldiers and Iraqi police officers, among others. [206]
  • 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. [207] 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. [208]
  • 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. [209] [210] [211] [212]
  • 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. [213]
  • 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. [214]
  • 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. [215] [216]

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. [217]
  • 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. [218] [219] [220]
  • 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. [221] [222] [223] 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.[224]

August 8, 2003

August 7, 2003

August 6, 2003

August 5, 2003

August 4, 2003

August 2, 2003

August 1, 2003








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