Portal:Current events/August 2003

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August 2003 was the eighth month of that common year. The month, which began on a Friday, ended on a Sunday after 31 days.

Portal:Current events

This is an archived version of Wikipedia's Current events Portal from August 2003.

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August 1, 2003 (Friday)

  • A truck bomb destroys a military hospital in Mozdok in Southern Russia, near Chechnya, killing 41 and wounding at least 76. The Russian government blames the attack on Chechen separatists. A media spokesman for rebel political leader, Aslan Maskhadov, denied any connection with the incident.[1]
  • North Korea agrees to multilateral talks in its nuclear standoff with Japan, South Korea, Russia, The United States, and the People's Republic of China.[2]
  • The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health plans to propose an amendment to Finnish tobacco legislation which would make retail sales of tobacco products subject to a license.[3]

August 2, 2003 (Saturday)

August 3, 2003 (Sunday)

  • At least 52 people have died in a series of explosions in northern Pakistan (BBC).
  • Sir Richard Dearlove announces his retirement from MI6 amid speculation about differences of opinion over the war in Iraq (BBC).

August 4, 2003 (Monday)

  • Construction workers of Qiqihar, Heilongjiang Province, People's Republic of China accidentally dig out five Japanese mustard gas bombs from the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). Two of the bombs are damaged, and the gas poisons 43 (one died 19 days later). Japan a week later accepts responsibility and sends doctors and compensation to China.[7]
  • The clergy and lay people of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, by a comfortable margin, vote in favor of the appointment of an openly gay bishop. The vote is thought likely to get confirmation from the bishops' collegium, which however is delayed due to last minute independent allegations of misconduct and intense conservative opposition.[8][9]
  • SCO v. IBM Linux lawsuit: Reuters have reported that Red Hat intends to start legal action against SCO to establish that SCO's claims against the Linux operating system are invalid.

August 5, 2003 (Tuesday)

August 6, 2003 (Wednesday)

August 7, 2003 (Thursday)

August 8, 2003 (Friday)

August 9, 2003 (Saturday)

  • 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. Scotland records its highest temperature in history, 32.9 °C (91.2 °F) at Greycrook, near Newtown St. Boswells, Borders, the previous record had stood since 1908. 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.[53]
  • 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.[54][55][56]
  • 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.[57][58][59] 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.[60]

August 10, 2003 (Sunday)

  • One hundred thousand people 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 Cancún in Mexico.[61]
  • Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens gives British police in London "shoot-on-sight" orders to deal with possible suicide bombers as expectations rise of an Al-Qaeda attack on the British capital.[62]
  • 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.[63]
  • Pope John Paul II urges Catholics to pray for rain in Europe as the heat wave continues. The heat wave in Britain reaches 100 Fahrenheit (37.8 Celsius) at Heathrow, for the first time in history.[64] 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.[65]
  • 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.[66]
  • A 16-year-old Israeli was killed and five people were injured in Hezbollah shelling of the northern Israeli town of Shlomi. Israeli planes attacked Hezbollah targets in Lebanon in response. 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 in which two passersby were injured.[67]
  • While retired South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his successor, Archbishop Njongonkulu Winston Ndungane, fail 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 that supported the election of a gay priest as bishop if what they called the "path of deviation" is not changed.[68][69]
  • The highest temperature ever recorded in the UK – 38.5 °C (101.3 °F) at Brogdale near Faversham in Kent.[70] It is the first time the UK has recorded a temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

August 11, 2003 (Monday)

August 12, 2003 (Tuesday)

August 13, 2003 (Wednesday)

  • Ivan Jovovic and Bogdan Bukomiric, both 16 years old, from Goraždevac near Pec die after two attackers fired AK-47s on a group of children from Goraždevac who were bathing in the river Bistrica. Four children were 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 a German military hospital at Prizren, against his parents' wishes. An Italian KFOR patrol refused to lend fuel for the 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 at Pec, doctors there refused to treat the children. KFOR claims that it is researching the location of the incident with 300 men.[citation needed]
  • 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.[99][100][101]
  • Iraq's northern oil fields resumes exports.[102]
  • 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.[103]
  • Disgraced Irish former Taoiseach Charles 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.[104]

August 14, 2003 (Thursday)

August 15, 2003 (Friday)

  • Power is restored to many, but not all areas of the north-eastern United States and Canada affected by the previous day's blackout.[120] Investigations into the root cause of the grid collapse are currently focusing on transmission lines circling Lake Erie.[121]
  • 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.[122] Although some claim the acceptance is just a business deal and not a true admission of guilt.[123]
  • Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein announces that he will abdicate the throne in 2004, in favor of his son, Prince Alois.

August 16, 2003 (Saturday)

August 17, 2003 (Sunday)

August 18, 2003 (Monday)

August 19, 2003 (Tuesday)

August 20, 2003 (Wednesday)

  • War on TerrorismCanal 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."[155]
  • 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.[156]
  • 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.[157]
  • 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.[158][159][160][161][162]
  • 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.[163] Israel notifies the public that it will retaliate with military strikes for bus bombing.[164] There are conflicting reports that Israel will hold off on the attacks to see if the Palestinian administration takes action against terrorist groups.[165]
  • 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 Mahmud Kasuri's visit to Kabul. Afghanistan claims Pakistani based Taliban have killed many Afghan soldiers.[166]

August 21, 2003 (Thursday)

August 22, 2003 (Friday)

August 23, 2003 (Saturday)

August 24, 2003 (Sunday)

August 25, 2003 (Monday)

August 26, 2003 (Tuesday)

August 27, 2003 (Wednesday)

August 28, 2003 (Thursday)

August 29, 2003 (Friday)

August 30, 2003 (Saturday)

  • Software patents: After protests, the European Parliament has postponed its decision about legality of patents on software in the European Union from September 1 to September 22.[258]
  • WTO deal to allow poor countries to bypass drug patents and import cheap copies to treat AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.[259]
  • 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.[260]
  • August 30, 2003 – Top fashion designer Stella McCartney, third daughter of former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney marries publisher Alasdhair Willis in a private Roman Catholic chapel at Mount Stuart House, the stately home of the Marquess of Bute.

August 31, 2003 (Sunday)

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