Portal:Current events/February 2004
Time: 01:39 UTC | Date: Thursday, June 1, 2023
February 13, 2004
- Iran admits it possesses a design for a far more advanced high-speed centrifuge to enrich uranium than it previously revealed to the International Atomic Energy Agency after being confronted with evidence obtained from the secret network of nuclear suppliers surrounding Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.
- The United States says it may support an Israeli proposal for a partial withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Administration officials said that "...negotiations were impossible because of Palestinian recalcitrance." 
- The Drudge Report releases a story alleging that U.S. Presidential candidate John Kerry pursued a sexual relationship with a 24-year old female intern. The intern's father calls Kerry a "sleazeball". Wesley Clark told reporters earlier this week that Kerry’s campaign would "implode" over the issue. 
- South Korea's parliament on Friday approves sending 3,000 troops to Iraq, responding to a call from the United States for military help in restoring stability to Iraq.
- The European Union anti-fraud office (OLAF) is studying documents suggesting that Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority diverted tens of millions of dollars in EU funds to organizations involved in "terror activity." Their final report is expected in two months. 
- A National Guardsman stands accused of attempting to provide military data to Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network. 
- The former Chechen President Zelimkhan Yanderbiyev is killed in an apparent car bomb explosion in Doha, the capital of Qatar. 
February 12, 2004
- Part of the source code for Microsoft's Windows NT 4 and Windows 2000 products has been leaked to the internet. It is thought that the leak constitutes only a part of the source, and may have originated from Mainsoft. Many readers of slashdot have discovered copies of something purporting to be Windows source on various file sharing networks. It will be impossible to determine whether the copy is complete until an attempt to compile it is made, which could be expected to take many hours.    
- Occupation of Iraq: General John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, escapes injury when his convoy is attacked in Fallujah.
- Same-sex marriage in the United States
- City officials in San Francisco, California starts issuing marriage licenses to homosexual couples, staging what they view as acts of civil disobedience, by performing the first known civil marriage of a homosexual couple in the U.S. by marrying the homosexual activists and lesbian couple, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon. Many couples are whisked through quick ceremonies.
- Various conservative and other family groups, including the Campaign for California Families, plan to sue the mayor of San Francisco for violating California's marriage laws.  The Family Research Council (FRC) states that "It could not be clearer that the institution of marriage is under a direct assault by homosexual activists". 
- Virginia House of Delegates give preliminary approval to legislation that would ban the recognition of same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships. 
February 11, 2004
- A Black Hawk helicopter is reported crashed near Amberley air force base, Mount Walker, Australia, with at least five people badly hurt. 
- Scientists find a fossilised head and identify it as part of a 400 million-year-old fly, making it the oldest known insect. 
- The United States Army in Iraq announces a $10 million reward for the capture of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a leader of the terrorist organization Ansar al-Islam, blamed for the deaths of unknown numbers of Iraqi citizens and U.S. military during the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. 
- Scientists in South Korea report that they have created human embryos through cloning and extracted embryonic stem cells. 
- Intel scientists say that they have made silicon chips that can switch light like electricity. 
- Comcast Corp. makes an uninvited bid for The Walt Disney Company. The US$50 billion to $66 billion deal would create the world's largest media company.
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission adopts enhanced mutual fund expense and portfolio disclosure, part of the continuing fall-out from the mutual fund late-trading scandal of 2003. 
- U.S. Presidential Election, 2004: Retired General Wesley Clark officially announces his departure from the race.  
- The Sudanese government cancels plans to attend scheduled peace talks in Geneva with western rebels just days after the Sudanese president proclaimed military victory in the insurgency. The talks were scheduled to begin February 14, 2004. At this time, the Sudanese government is contending with a southern rebellion as well.
- French prosecutors reveal that a money-laundering probe into the transfers of millions of dollars to accounts held by the wife of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was opened in October 2003. The probe was opened after discovering that nearly $1.27 million is transferred with some regularity from Switzerland to Mrs. Arafat's accounts in Paris. Tracfin, an organization that collates information about money laundering, detected the movements of funds.
- Occupation of Iraq: At least 47 people, mostly Iraqi army recruits, are killed by a car bomb in Baghdad in the second major bomb attack in two days. 
- Richard Desmond, the owner of Britain's Daily Express and Daily Star newspapers, confirms that he has made a bid for the troubled Daily Telegraph. 
- Josh, a Newfoundland, wins Best in Show at the 129th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York.
February 10, 2004
- Same-sex marriage in the United States : A majority of Americans (2 to 1 margin) respond they do not want laws in their states that would legalize same-sex "marriages". The poll is taken after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling. 
- A group of 200 AIDS doctors in the United States calls for a boycott of pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories to protest the company's recent 401% price hike on its anti-HIV drug Norvir. 
- An Italian intelligence report states that Italy is a departure point, as well as focus of logistic and financial support, for suicide bombers linked to al-Qaida and active against United States-led forces in Iraq. The suicide bombers were drawn from Muslim youths living on the fringes of society in Western Europe.
- The French National Assembly votes (494 to 36) to ban hijab and all other conspicuous religious symbols from state schools. 
- The White House rebuts Democrats' accusations that Bush shirked his military responsibilities, releasing pay records for the President's National Guard service between May 1972 and May 1973. 
- The oil cartel OPEC announces further limits on the output of crude by one million barrels a day beginning April 1, 2004. If all member states stick to the agreement, OPEC's daily output will be cut by about 10 percent.
- Recent violence in Haiti has spread as anti-government forces take control of eight towns in Western Haiti. 46 people are dead thus far. Government forces in Cap-Haitien (second largest city in Haiti) built flaming barricades to keep the rebel forces out of the city. The UN is urging Haitians on both sides to stop the violence. 
- Hundreds of militants and their supporters staged a protest against the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip for putting on trial four men charged in the bombing of a United States diplomatic convoy which killed three Americans. The closed military trial began on February 7th.
- Occupation of Iraq: A large car bomb explodes in the central Iraqi town of Iskandariya, 25 miles (40 km) south of Baghdad, killing at least 50 people. 
- An Iranian airliner crashes on arrival at Sharjah airport in the United Arab Emirates, killing at least 35 people. A few people are thought to have survived. 
- 2004 Philippine elections: The 90-day campaigning period for the president, vice-president, and senators starts this day with no less than six qualified candidates, half of which have no previous political experience. The current president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is seeking a full six-year term. The elections will be held on May 10. 
- The missing Russian politician Ivan Rybkin unexpectedly reappears in Kiev, the capital of neighboring Ukraine, and is said to be on his way back to Moscow. According to his own words he "was entitled to two or three days of private life". 
- Canada's auditor-general, Sheila Fraser, releases a scathing report on a CA$250-millon sponsorship fund that had a major portion of its funds directed to firms friendly to the ruling Liberal party; the resulting scandal and inquiry is quite likely to affect the coming election. Alfonso Gagliano, a former cabinet minister involved in the scandal, is removed from his post as ambassador to Denmark and recalled to Canada. 
February 9, 2004
- King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden made a statement where he praised sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the dictator of Brunei for the open society in his country. This has led to a public outrage in Sweden with demands that the king abdicate.  
- Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf admits that he had suspected for at least three years that Abdul Qadeer Khan, Pakistan's top nuclear scientist, was sharing nuclear technology with other countries, blaming the United States for not giving him convincing proof of the activities of his own scientist.
- Russian federal prosecutors close a murder investigation, one hour after it had been opened by Moscow's prosecutor office, in the case of missing presidential candidate, Ivan P. Rybkin. Rybkin was last seen five days ago.
- In Haiti, an armed uprising spreads to nearly a dozen towns in the western and northern areas of the island nation. The uprising is the strongest challenge yet to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. At least 41 people have been killed.
- The final three members of a group of Muslim men from the Portland, Oregon area of the United States who tried to enter Afghanistan to join the Taliban are sentenced to prison. In previous verdicts, the other four members of the group had been sentenced to prison.
- Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov announces that Russia is considering withdrawing from the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, considered to be one of the main cornerstones of European security. Mr. Ivanov cites NATO expansion and the end of the Cold War as justifications for retiring the treaty. 
February 8, 2004
- U.S. Presidential Election, 2004: In the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, John Kerry wins the Maine caucus with 45% of the vote.
- The investigation into nuclear proliferation by the Pakistani scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan expands to include seven nations. Among the countries known to be involved are Malaysia, South Africa, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Germany and Pakistan. Nuclear technology and parts were supplied to Libya, Iran, North Korea.
- The London Iraqi exile admits that information supplied as a key piece of intelligence might have been false (but provided in good faith). The CX report information was one of the items of intelligence on Saddam Hussein's possible use of WMD. 
- Dr Hans Blix, in an interview on BBC TV, accuses the US and British governments of dramatising the threat of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, in order to strengthen the case for the 2003 war against the regime of Saddam Hussein. 
- Seven Chinese acrobats, all Uighur Muslims, defect while touring in Canada. They make refugee claims, stating they were persecuted and discriminated against. 
February 7, 2004
- Nearly 400 members of Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization resign in protest over corruption, mismanagement and a lack of direction with Fatah.
- U.S. Presidential Election, 2004: In the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator John Kerry wins the caucuses in Michigan and Washington. 
- Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga dissolves parliament. 
- Carnival: The Krewe du Vieux parades through the Marigny and French Quarter neighborhoods of New Orleans, Louisiana, starting that city's "Mardi Gras" season of parades.
- In a Gaza military court, four suspects, without legal representation, are charged with possession of explosives and planting bombs in the same area as a bombing attack on a United States diplomatic convoy. The suspects are not charged with the bombing. The United States last week announced a $5 million reward for information leading to the apprehension of the terrorists. 
- Chechnya's spiritual leader, Chief Mufti Akhmad Shamayev, condemns the Moscow subway car bombing. Investigators question hospitalized rush hour commuters and examine documents retrieved from the blast site. 
- Israeli Airforce helicopter gunship fires a missile and destroys a car carrying Islamic Jihad members in Gaza City, killing a leading Islamic Jihad terrorist and an 11-year-old boy. 
- Up to 4000 protesters in Albania threw rocks and tried to storm the offices of Prime Minister Fatos Nano whom they have accused of creating policies that impoverish Albanians. 
- Ivan Rybkin, candidate in the Russian presidential election, is reported missing.
February 6, 2004
- U.S. and Iraqi forces capture more than 100 suspected guerrillas in raids across Iraq. 
- Ministers of Finance from Europe, North America, and Asia meet in Florida. They are focusing on the strength and stability of the U.S. dollar. 
- Russian billionaire Victor Vekselberg purchases a huge private collection of Fabergé art pieces, including nine Fabergé eggs, from the Forbes family. The collection had been expected to go up for auction in April. 
- Gerhard Schröder announces his intention to resign from his post as chairman of the Social Democratic Party but to continue as Chancellor of Germany. 
- An earthquake, measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale, occurs in the Papua province of Indonesia and kills at least 23 people. 
- At least 39 people are killed and around 120 injured in an explosion aboard a train on the Moscow Metro (subway) during the morning rush hour. The authorities are investigating the apparent bombing, which may be connected to a series of terrorist attacks in the Russian capital. President Vladimir Putin publicly blames the blast on Chechen militants and their leader, Aslan Maskhadov. The Chechen rebel leadership issues a statement denying responsibility.   
- A party of cockle pickers - believed to be Chinese immigrants - is caught by tides in Morecambe Bay, Lancashire, England, drowning at least 19 people. 
- The UK Home Office confirms that Maxine Carr, convicted with Ian Huntley concerning the Soham murders of 2001, could be released from prison in the next few days. 
- Parliamentarians in Iran end their sit-in of the country's parliament but vow to continue fighting the mass disqualification of reformist candidates by the conservative Council of Guardians. 
- In Australia, the Music Industry Piracy Investigations organization uses an Anton Pillar order to raid offices of P2P companies Sharman Networks and Brilliant Digital Entertainment, the homes of their key executives, as well as several ISPs and universities. 
- Democratic Presidential Primaries: Howard Dean tells his supporters that he must win the Wisconsin Democratic primary in order to stay in the Democratic presidential race. 
- Electronic voting: The U.S. military abandons plans for a trial of internet voting in the upcoming presidential election. 
- American and British study reports that the 1918 flu virus may have had a unique bird-like protein. The past outbreak, which killed 20 million people, has hallmarks of the current outbreak of bird flu in east Asia. 
- The body of Carlie Brucia, a girl reported missing on Sunday, February 1, 2004 is discovered. Suspect Joseph P. Smith is charged with the murder.
- U.S. President George W. Bush appoints an Iraq Intelligence Commission to investigate United States intelligence capabilities, specifically regarding the 2003 invasion of Iraq and Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The commission is headed by Governor, and former Senator, Chuck Robb and Judge Laurence Silberman. 
February 5, 2004
- Saudi Arabia's religious authority endorses plan by King Fahd to modernize the holy sites of Mecca. 
- SCO v. IBM: SCO Group widens Unix and Linux lawsuit against IBM. They add a copyright infringement claim to case. 
- The United Nations releases a science and technology strategy report, "Inventing a Better Future: A Strategy for Building Worldwide Capacities in Science and Technology", produced by the InterAcademy Council (IAC). 
- Carmine Caridi is expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the "Academy" in the Academy Awards) by vote after having been found to have leaked hundreds of screeners over the past five years to Russell Sprague in Chicago, Illinois. 
- Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan publicly admits illegally transferring nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea. Following a written apology from Khan, President Pervez Musharraf issues a formal pardon.  
- 2003 invasion of Iraq: Responding to criticism that pre-war intelligence gathering was faulty, CIA director George Tenet states that analysts had never presented Saddam Hussein's Iraq as an "imminent threat" in the years immediately preceding the coalition invasion. Tenent states that an overall "objective assessment" for policymakers of a "brutal dictator who was continuing his efforts to deceive and build programs" that might "surprise" and "threaten" American interests was outlined in the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate.    
- U.S. Army Sergeant Jerry Onken of Onamia, Minnesota is sentenced to five years in prison by a South Korean court for killing a Korean woman in a hit-and-run crash involving alcohol. The U.S. established a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with South Korea in 2001 that allowed such prosecutions, and this case marked the first time that an off-duty member of the U.S. military had been charged under that agreement. 
- The United States Department of Interior states that the survival of sea otters in southwest Alaska is threatened. The department proposes adding the sea otter, Enhydra lutris, to the government's endangered species list. 
- The coalition government of Latvia, headed by PM Einars Repse, resigns, but will continue to work until the president appoints a new cabinet. 
February 4, 2004
- A US federal appeals court rules scientists can study the 9,300-year-old remains of the Kennewick Man. The court denies a request by American Indian tribes, who sought an immediate burial.  
- The European Space Agency announces plans to send humans and robot probes to the Moon and Mars over the next three decades.
- Same-sex marriage in the United States: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court answers the state's Senate that the proposed civil unions will still violate the constitution by maintaining an inferior status of same-sex couples.   White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan states that the Bush administration is reviewing the legal decision. The spokesman also states that the court's findings are "deeply troubling" and that the president is "firmly committed to protecting and defending" marriage (as being defined between a man and a woman).  
- The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission held an open meeting in what may be the longest-running SEC fraud case. At issue are the trades that resulted in the firing of Orlando (Joseph) Jett from Kidder Peabody & Co in 1994.  An administrative law judge held that Mr. Jett was responsible for record keeping violations, but rejected the claim of SEC lawyers that he was guilty of securities fraud. Both the staff and Mr. Jett appealed to the full commission, hence this meeting.
February 3, 2004
- Israeli Army Chief of Personnel Major-General Gil Regev told a Knesset committee that the number of soldiers refusing to serve in the territories had dramatically decreased in 2003. He said that 26 persons had been imprisoned for refusal in 2003 compared to 129 in 2002, a decrease of 80%. The refusers' organization Yesh G'vul claimed that Regev's figures were "ridiculous" since 76 persons had been imprisoned for refusal in 2003.   
- British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw announces an independent inquiry, to be chaired by Lord Butler, to examine the reliability of intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. 
- An apartment block collapses in the Turkish city of Konya, killing at least 14 people. 
- Astronomers detect the presence of oxygen and carbon in the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet. This world, provisionally known as Osiris, is known to be venting gas into space.   
- Political status of Taiwan: President Chen Shui-bian proposes to set up a demilitarized zone between Taiwan and Mainland China.
- U.S. presidential election, 2004: In the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts wins primary elections in Arizona, Delaware, New Mexico, Missouri and North Dakota. His best result is 51% in Missouri. Senator John Edwards of North Carolina wins in South Carolina, and General Wesley Clark narrowly wins in Oklahoma. Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who has opted to campaign for the Michigan and Washington primaries on Saturday, polls poorly in all these primaries — his best result is third with 18% in New Mexico. These primaries give Kerry a majority of delegates so far elected for the first time, with 244 delegates to Dean's 121, Edwards' 102 and Clark's 79. Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, who has come second in Delaware but not achieved the breakthrough he needs to maintain his candidacy, announces his withdrawal from the race.
- Nine Cuban migrants attempt to reach Florida in a modified 1959 Buick that was converted to a boat. They are intercepted by the United States Coast Guard. The same group had made a similar attempt the summer before in a modified 1951 Chevrolet truck.
February 2, 2004
- U.S. President George W. Bush announces he will form an independent, bipartisan inquiry presidential commission to probe into prewar intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction leading up to the decision to invade Iraq. Former weapons inspector David Kay, meeting with Bush with at the White House, maintains that Bush was right to go to war in Iraq and characterizes Saddam's regime as "far more dangerous than even we anticipated" when it was thought he had WMDs ready to deploy.   
- Traces of ricin are found in the mailroom of a U.S. Senate office building. 
- Prime Minister of Israel Ariel Sharon announces to the Ha'aretz newspaper that he plans to dismantle 17 Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip, and that he foresees a time when there are no Jews in Gaza at all. 
- Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan confesses to smuggling nuclear hardware on chartered planes, sharing secret designs for the centrifuges that produce the enriched uranium necessary to develop a nuclear weapon, and giving personal briefings to nuclear scientists from Iran, North Korea and Libya, believing that nuclear proliferation would "ease Western attention on Pakistan" and "help the Muslim cause" 
- The leader of Norway's Conservative Party (Høyre), Jan Petersen, announces his resignation as party leader after 10 years at the helm. He will continue as Foreign Minister in the current coalition government where Høyre is the largest part. 
February 1, 2004
- A team composed of Russian scientists at Dubna (Joint Institute for Nuclear Research), and American scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory report on the discovery of two new chemical elements, called "superheavies" because of their atomic mass. From the international convention governing the Periodic Table, element 113 will be given the temporary name Ununtrium (Uut) and element 115 will be designated Ununpentium (Uup). Their discovery still awaits confirmation.     
- Over one hundred MPs in Iran's parliament resign in protest at the Council of Guardians banning nearly two thousand candidates from standing at forthcoming general elections. 
- Pakistan removes Abdul Qadeer Khan, the founder of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, from his post as a special adviser to the country's prime minister. Dr. Khan, three scientists and three low-level army officers are the focus of an investigation into the possible sharing of Pakistani nuclear technology with Iran, Libya and other countries in the late 1980s and early 1990s. 
- 244 Muslim worshippers are trampled to death during the ritual of the stoning of the devil at the Hajj (annual Muslim pilgrimage) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
- Iraq: At least 56 are killed and over 200 injured when two suicide bombers hit the offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Irbil, 200 miles north of Baghdad. Hundreds had gathered at the party offices for the start of al-Adha.   
- The European Union and the United States file documents with the International Court of Justice opposing the court's decision to deliberate on Israel's "security fence".
- The new Minato Mirai subway line in Yokohama, Japan opens. 
- The first Ghan passenger train across Australia from Adelaide to Darwin sets off on its three-day journey. 
- For the second time in three years, Adam Vinatieri kicks a late field goal to give the New England Patriots a Super Bowl victory. 
Past events by month
2003: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2002: January February March April May June July August September October November December
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