Portal:Current events/August 2008

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2008
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August 2008 was the eighth month of that leap 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This is an archived version of Wikipedia's Current events Portal from August 2008.

Armed conflicts and attacks
  • Georgian-Ossetian conflict:
    • Georgian and separatist South Ossetian forces have exchanged fire again near the town of Tskhinvali, wounding up to 20 people, officials say. (BBC News)
    • The Russian Foreign Ministry said it was concerned over Georgia's "military preparations," while a Georgian official said Russia would further undermine its role as peacekeeper if it failed to convince the South Ossetian side on talks. (Civil Georgia) (Civil Georgia)
    • Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia's president, offers an immediate ceasefire to South Ossetian authorities. (BBC News)
Business and economy
Law and crime
Politics and elections
Sport
  • 2008 Summer Olympics:
  • 2008 South Ossetia War:
    • Russia and Georgia continue to fight in South Ossetia and Georgia. The search for the dead and injured continues after at least 2,000 civilians were killed after two days Georgian offensive. Russia reported 12 peacekeepers killed and 30 wounded in the previous day during the Georgian tank and missile bombardment of Tskhinvali. (BBC News) (AP via Yahoo! News) (BBC News) (RIAN)
    • Russian jets attack military targets in the Georgian city of Gori, outside South Ossetia, killing 60 people; two are shot down. (BBC News) (BBC News)
    • Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says Russia launched a military operation to help peacekeepers stationed in the region under UN mandate since the early 1990s defend their position after 15 were killed during Georgian operations and to protect South Ossetians many of whom hold Russian citizenship. (RIA) Russia's Foreign Ministry accuses Ukraine of encouraging Georgia to carry out "ethnic cleansing" in South Ossetia. (Reuters)
    • Georgia's parliament approves a state of war across the country for the next 15 days. (Reuters) Delegates from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, European Union, and United States head to Georgia to broker peace. (BBC News)
    • The Georgian-controlled section of the Kodori Gorge in Abkhazia came under fire from aircraft. Abkhazia's foreign minister Sergei Shamba, said Abkhaz forces had launched an attack aimed at driving Georgian forces out of the gorge. Georgian television claimed the attacks were by Russians. (BBC News)
    • Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili called for a cease fire which his Security Council secretary said means that Georgian troops will withdraw from Tskhinvali and stop responding to Russian shelling. (AP via Google News)
    • Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt evokes the memory of Adolf Hitler in condemning Russia's attacks on Georgia, saying the protection of Russian citizens there does not justify the assault. "Attempts to apply such a doctrine have plunged Europe into war in the past... And we have reason to remember how Hitler used this very doctrine little more than half a century ago to undermine and attack substantial parts of central Europe". (The Local)
  • At least 38 Warao Indians are dead in Venezuela from a suspected outbreak of rabies from vampire bats. (CNN)
  • A mudslide at an illegal gold mine in Burkina Faso causes at least 31 deaths. (AP via The Guardian)
  • Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr announces the formation of a cultural unarmed group of the Mehdi Army militia. (BBC News)
  • An uprising in the Burmese town of Taunggok, about 200 km northwest of Yangon, results in arrests. (BBC News)
  • 2008 Toronto explosions:
    • Massive explosions at a propane facility just before 4 a.m. erupt in the Toronto, Canada community of Downsview, resulting in the evacuation of thousands of people. The explosions also caused the closure of Highway 401, Canada's busiest highway, through that area of Toronto. At least 18 people are reported injured, one missing, and one firefighter has died in connection with the incident. (CP via The Globe and Mail)
  • Monsoon rains in India kill at least 40 people with flooding heaviest in Andhra Pradesh with flooding in the capital Hyderabad killing 14 people. (BBC News)
  • 2008 South Ossetian War:
    • Georgian troops are forced to withdraw from Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia by Russian army. (AP via Google News) According to Georgian field commanders, some units of Georgian army still stay in South Ossetia to fight with Ossetian and Russian forces. (The Times) Georgia withdraws forces that entered South Ossetia on Thursday, August, 7 after suffering heavy casualties. (Bloomberg)
    • Unnamed US official accuses Russia of launching ballistic missiles on Georgia: "They actually launched ballistic missile attacks on Georgian territory." This 'response has been far disproportionate to whatever threat Russia had been citing', he added. (AP via Google News)
    • Black bodies reportedly found among Georgian soldiers corpses on the streets of Tskhinvali. They were 'probably either mercenaries or instructors in the Georgian armed forces', high-ranking South Ossetian diplomat claims. (APA) (Kommersant) (RussiaToday)
    • President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev calls Georgian actions in South Ossetia 'a genocide' and asks Russian prosecutors to investigate and document all cases of murder of civilians in the region. (AFP via Lloyds) (The President of Russia) (NewsRu)
    • According to Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman, some 130 US military advisors that 'teach combat skills' to Georgian troops now stay in Georgia with no plans of pulling them off. US Georgia Train and Equip Program and Georgia Sustainment and Stability Operations Program continued from April, 2002 to September, 2007. (Marine Corps Times) (US Embassy in Georgia) (US Department of State)
    • Authorities in the breakaway Georgian republic of Abkhazia declare full mobilisation. (AP via Google News) S. Bagapsh, the President of the Republic of Abkhazia gave Georgia an ultimatum to withdraw Georgian troops from the upper Kodori Gorge, part of the breakaway republic. (Bloomberg)
  • 2008 Summer Olympics:
  • A number of blasts in China's western Xinjiang province kill at least two people. (Reuters)
  • Bolivia holds a Vote of confidence referendum over whether the president, vice president and most prefects should face re-election. Unofficial results indicate that President Evo Morales has won a decisive mandate.(BBC News) (Los Angeles Times)
  • Pádraig Harrington wins the 2008 PGA Championship, becoming the first European to do so in 78 years. (AFP via Google News)
  • Bill Gwatney, the current state Chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas is shot and killed at the Party headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas. The man who shot Gwatney is later shot dead by police during a pursuit. (CNN)
  • Princess Lilian of Sweden is taken to hospital after falling and breaking her hip. (The Local)
  • American swimmer Michael Phelps breaks the record for most Olympic gold medals won by an individual athlete at the Beijing Olympics. (ESPN)
  • 2008 South Ossetia war:
    • The Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announces a national day of mourning in Russia in connection with the Battle of Tskhinvali and the death of a large number of Russian citizens there. Georgian Orthodox Church Patriarch Ilia II announced the national day of mourning for soldiers and civilians who died during the 2008 South Ossetia war. (ITARTass) (24.UA) (AOL news India) (Newsgeorgia via NitaPress)
    • The investigation of what Russian officials called a 'genocide' started in South Ossetia. Some witnesses say that a church with civilians inside was burned by the Georgian Army in the captured Ossetian village in the first day of Georgian attack. (Mail On Sunday)
      • Journalists may again enter the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali as the city is mostly secured after Georgian retreat. The articles give new evidence of what the city looks like and what people in Tskhinvali think of the recent events. (The Guardian) (BBC News) (AP)
    • No reports of fighting after ceasefire in the war between Georgia and Russia holds.(HRW) (The Times) (Guardian)
    • Saakashvili accused Russia of bombing Tskhinvali, South Ossetia's capital, and invading Gori. However, journalists in Gori report no Russian tanks seen on the streets. Anatoly Nagovitsyn, the Russian military's deputy chief of staff, categorically denied that there were any tanks on the streets of Gori, saying Russian forces were at an abandoned Georgian artillery base near Gori, dismantling it, but not inside the town. (BBC News) (BBC News) (CNN)
      • Sky's Jason Farrell claims he witnessed Russian armor moving at the outskirts of the Georgian town of Gori. (Sky News)
      • British television's Sky Team was robbed near the Georgian town of Gori by a man who 'did not seem to be Russian'. The journalist Andrew Wilson claims 'he could not be sure the men who had pulled their car over were South Ossetian' either. (Sky News)
    • An unnamed 'senior U.S. NATO official' says that USA may withdraw from a major NATO naval exercise with Russia that is to begin on Friday. (Fox News)
    • President George W Bush has said the United States will use military aircraft and naval forces to deliver aid to Georgia. (BBC News)
  • A Fokker F27-500 cargo aircraft operated by Fly540 Logistics Ltd. crashes in Somalia. Three people died. (Bloomberg)
  • An explosion at a police station in the Pakistani city of Lahore kills at least three people, on the eve of the 61st anniversary of independence. (BBC News)
  • Donald Tusk, the Prime Minister of Poland, announces that the United States and Poland have reached an agreement on basing missile defense in Poland. (AP via Google News)
  • The Consumer Price Index in the United States rises by .8 per cent in July 2008 giving an annual inflation rate of 5.6 per cent, the highest in 17 years. (The Times)
  • 2008 South Ossetia war:
    • Russia says it will support whatever decision the people of breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia will make during referendum on the future of their land (International Herald Tribune) (The New York Times)
      • Analysts 'see the conflict as a gamble initiated by Georgia, which is seeking EU and NATO membership, to test the strength of its Western allies in the face of Russia's unwillingness to see the West encroaching on its doorstep.' (CNN)
    • An Amnesty International worldwide movement for human rights reported on August, 14, that the assault of the Georgian Army on Tskhinvali included '14 hours of bombardment' of the city. Amnesty International is still gathering information on the reported heavy civilian casualties, as well as reported bombings of non-military targets leading to deaths of civilians and the destruction of civilian buildings. (Amnesty International)
    • Russia appeared 'to be handing over a key Georgian city Thursday', U.S. officials said. Senior U.S. General James Cartwright claims that 'Russian forces seemed to be complying with an internationally-mediated cease-fire'. (CNN)
    • Georgia's Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze claimed that more than 100 Russian vehicles, some of them armoured, had gathered outside the major western Georgian town of Zugdidi. However, Robert Gates, the US Secretary of Defense, said that the Russian army is 'withdrawing their forces back towards Abkhazia and towards South Ossetia' US warns Russia of lasting impact (BBC News)
    • Russian forces say they will start to return control of the key town of Gori to Georgia soon. 'For another two days Russian troops will stay in the region to ... hand over control functions to Georgian law-enforcement bodies, after which they will leave," Major-General Vyacheslav Borisov as quoted by Russian news agencies. (Reuters)
    • AV and MT went to watch Kung fu Panday BBS
  • 2008 Summer Olympics
  • Judge Jamie S. Perri of New Jersey's Superior Court rules that the Communications Decency Act exempts the Wikimedia Foundation from liability in a defamation suit filed by literary agent Barbara Bauer. (Ars Technica)
  • ETS Europe, part of the American-owned Educational Testing Service, is sacked by the British government for bad failures in manipulating Key Stage education tests. ETS agrees to repay some £35 million (USD70 million). (BBC News)
  • The Nepalese Constituent Assembly elects former Maoist rebel Prachanda as the first Prime Minister of Nepal as a republic. (BBC News via ABC Australia)
  • Leftist former Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo is sworn in as the President of Paraguay, ending 60 years of one-party rule. (AP via CNN)
  • Former President Hissène Habré is sentenced to death in absentia by a Chadian court for a military assault on the capital. (BBC News)
  • Russia threatens Poland with military consequences for allowing the United States of America to place defense missiles within its borders. (AP via Google News)
  • 2008 South Ossetia war:
    • Russia will provide 'at least' 10 billion Roubles (approx. €270 million, US$420 million) aid to South Ossetia to help rebuild Tskhinvali 'leveled' during the Georgian 'lasting artillery shelling' of 7th and 8th of August. (Rossiyskaya Gazeta) (Regnum) (Rian) (RBC)
    • Russian soldiers continue to occupy Georgian towns. (The Independent)
      • Georgian police left the town of Gori and neighbouring villages right after the hostilities in South Ossetia ended and the peace was brokered, says AP. 'The Russian troops had stopped the looting, restored order', while the locals interviewed by journalists say Russians are 'behaving well'. (AP via Yahoo! News)
    • Russia asks for the adequate covering of the conflict from the Western media. High Russian official names the way the anchor treats his guest in a breaking news on Fox a 'total shamelessness'. The journalist interrupts the story of an Ossetian-American girl and her aunt accusing Micheil Saakashvili of the war, and announces commercial break before the two refugees have chance to continue. (InterFax) (Fox via YouTube) (RT via YouTube)
    • The U.S. Secretary of State has flown to Tbilisi for urgent talks to try to bring the Georgia's conflict with South Ossetia and Russia to an end. (Sky News) (Delfi) (The New York Times)
    • Turkish journalists near the border with South Ossetia came under attack by people Sky News supposes are either Russian soldiers or Ossetian militia. (Sky News)
    • The President of the United States George W. Bush assures Georgia that it has US support stating the people of Georgia have chosen freedom and "we will not cast them aside." (USA Today) The president of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, said on Thursday that Russia's strike into Georgia should persuade NATO urgently to give Georgia and Ukraine membership of the alliance, Reuters reports. (Baltic Business News) (Reuters)
      • However, the outcome of the conflict is characterized by many Western media as a 'victory' of Russia, both in politics and warfare. (The Times) (The Economist) (The Times) (The Guardian) (Calgary Sun)
  • 2008 Summer Olympics
    • Michael Phelps of the United States wins his sixth gold medal of the Beijing Olympics in the men’s 200 metres individual medley setting a new world record. (The Times)
    • United States swimmers Rebecca Soni and Ryan Lochte win gold medals and set swimming world records in the women's 200-metre breaststroke and men's 200m backstroke respectively. (DPA via the Bangkok Post)
  • Five people are arrested in Beijing after unfurling a "free Tibet" banner on the Central TV Tower, the highest building in Beijing. (BBC News)
  • The 39th annual Pacific Islands Leaders Forum opens in Niue, but is boycotted by Fijian leader Frank Bainimarama. (The Australian)
  • Egypt's upper house of Parliament is destroyed in a huge fire. (Reuters)
  • North Korea declares Sweden its enemy and a United States war puppet. (Swedish Armed Forces) (The Local)
  • A bomb at a paramilitary police training academy in the town of Issers 60 km east of Algiers kills at least 43 people and injures another 38. (BBC News)
  • French forces engage in heavy fighting with Taliban insurgents 50 kilometres east of Kabul, Afghanistan with 10 French soldiers dead. (AFP via Google News) (BBC News)
  • 2008 South Ossetia war:
    • Russian and Georgian forces exchange prisoners of war. (Reuters)
    • Russia begins to withdraw troops from Georgia proper according to eyewitness accounts. (Reuters)
    • Russia temporarily closes its borders with Georgia and Azerbaijan to prevent terrorist groups from crossing into Russia. (Delfi) (Reuters)
    • A United Nations aid convoy which entered Gori on Sunday reports evidence of large-scale looting. "While the buildings did not appear to be very damaged, there are clear signs of massive looting of both shops and private accommodations," the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees says. (The Vancouver Sun)
    • Alexander Stubb, the current Chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe says that Russia has agreed to a beefed-up monitoring mission for Georgia's disputed region of South Ossetia. (AP via Google News)
    • NATO cools relations with Russia. (BBC News) (Delfi) NATO says Russia is not honoring cease-fire terms.
  • Hundreds of thousands of Muslim Kashmiris demonstrate in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir demanding independence from India. (BBC News)
  • Usain Bolt leads Jamaica to a victory in world-record time in the men's 400-meter relay in the Olympics. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Vassilis Paleokostas, the most wanted Greek fugitive since 2006 and the alleged mastermind beind the kidnapping of industrialist George Mylonas, is re-arrested by the Greek police. (BBC News)
  • More than 60 people are reported to have been killed and 150 wounded during clashes in the Somali port of Kismayo. (BBC News)
  • War in Afghanistan
  • Pakistan will indirectly elect a new President of Pakistan on September 6 to replace Pervez Musharraf. (AFP via The Australian)
  • 2008 South Ossetia war:
    • Human Rights Watch confirms the use of cluster bombs by Russia during Georgia bombing, urges Russia to keep within the international norms and warns Georgia to take urgent measures to protect the civilian population in Georgian villages from unexploded ordnance left by Russian attacks. (Rustavi 2)
    • Ten Georgian servicemen, who were detained by the Russian forces in Poti few days ago were released on August 22, the Georgian media sources reported. Twelve others, however, are still held by the Russian troops. (Civil)
    • Russian troops have begun the process of pullout by abolishing the checkpoint arranged in the Igoeti sector of the central highway. (Rustavi 2)
    • Russian troops have abolished several checkpoints in the Shida Kartli region, Georgia, and moved towards the conflict zone. (Rustavi 2)
    • Russian troops say they are leaving Georgia. (Sky News) (CNN) (The Independent) (Alfa) (Bernardinai)
    • US says Russian pullback in Georgia is "far too slow". (Reuters) (Delfi)
  • Russia informs Lithuania that Russia is stopping military co-operation with Lithuania. (Delfi)
  • Lithuania's Defense Minister Juozas Olekas has called for amendments to national defense legislation, which he says must be thoroughly revised and updated in the face of a potential Russia threat. (Alfa)
Armed conflicts and attacks
  • War in Somalia (2006–09)
    • Two journalists and three other people are abducted by gunmen near Elasha, Somalia. (CTV News)
  • War in North-West Pakistan
    • A suicide bomber attacks a police station in Swat, NWFP, killing at least six officers and injuring several more. (AP via Contra Costa Times)
  • 2008 South Ossetia war
    • Russia announces that its military has pulled out of Georgia, although reports indicate that it has not complied with the cease-fire agreement. (BBC News) (The Independent) (Globe and Mail) (The New York Times) (BBC News) (CNN)
Disasters and accidents
Health
Politics and elections
  • A flaw in the internet's Border Gateway Protocol that was described ten years ago now "can be used to invisibly eavesdrop on all traffic originating from a particular set of IP blocks." (Ars Technica)
  • U.S. presidential election: Democratic National Convention
  • As many as 71 illegal immigrants are feared drowned after their boat sinks in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Malta. (BBC News)
  • The Dalai Lama cancels two international trips (Mexico & Dominican Republic) to undergo medical tests due to "exhaustion". (AP via USA Today)
  • 2008 South Ossetia war:
    • David Cameron threw his weight behind international condemnation of Russia with a call for the suspension of European negotiations with the superpower. (The Guardian)
    • A Russian armoured personnel carrier raced down the road to where Georgian policemen were manning their checkpoint at the village of Mosabruni, just inside South Ossetia. (BBC News)
    • Georgia PM: War damage is estimated at $1 billion. (Forbes)
    • Georgia is minimizing the level of diplomatic co-operation with Russia, recalling all but two diplomats from Moscow. (Xinhua)(Civil Georgia)
    • French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner is expressing concern that Russia, riding high after its victories in Georgia, may target other neighbors, such as Moldova and Ukraine. (USA Today)
    • Russia's MICEX Index fell to its lowest level since September 2006 on Tuesday after President Dmitry Medvedev's recognized South Ossetia's and Abkhazia's independence, and the ruble tumbled to a seven-month low against the U.S. dollar. (Moscow Times)
    • Russia will be looking for unambiguous support from Asian nations, including China, in its standoff with the West over South Ossetia and Abkhazia when the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meets Thursday in Dushanbe. (Moscow Times)
    • Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has condemned Russia's 'unacceptable' decision to recognise the Georgian rebel regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. (RTE)
    • British Foreign Secretary David Miliband warns Russia against starting a new Cold War. (The Independent) (Sky News)
    • U.S. aid arrives in tense Georgia. (CNN)
    • The United States condemns the decision by the Russian President to recognize as independent states the Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. (Rustavi 2)
    • Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Qin Gang, said on August 27 Beijing was "concerned of the latest development in South Ossetia and Abkhazia." (Civil)
  • Hijackers of a Sudanese Boeing 737 free all 100 passengers at Kufra Airport in Libya but hold on to the flight crew. (AFP via Google News)
  • Thousands of protesters storm the Thai Prime Minister's office and other government buildings, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej. (Reuters)
  • 22 are killed after Hurricane Gustav makes landfall over Haiti. (AP via Yahoo! News)
  • The earthquake with a magnitude 9.0 occurred off the southern coast of Lake Baikal. It was felt strongly in Baikalsk and Slyudyanka, two towns in Slyudyansky District, Irkutsk Oblast, Russia. (Information agency The city of News; in Russian language)
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References

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