December 2003

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The following events occurred in December 2003:

Events[edit]

December 1[edit]

December 2[edit]

December 3[edit]

December 4[edit]

December 5[edit]

December 6[edit]

December 7[edit]

December 8[edit]

December 9[edit]

December 10[edit]

December 11[edit]

December 12[edit]

December 13[edit]

December 14[edit]

  • Occupation of Iraq:
    • Iraq's Civil Administrator L. Paul Bremer announces that Saddam Hussein was captured by US forces. Saddam was found approximately 15 km south of his home town of Tikrit at 2030 local time on December 13. Hussein was captured without resistance in a so-called "spider-hole" at a farmhouse in the town of ad-Dawr. He is in Coalition custody at an undisclosed location. At a press conference, Bremer presents video of Saddam in custody with a full beard, which is later shown removed. Bremer says that Saddam is in good health and is being "co-operative and talkative". He says that Saddam will "face justice" before an Iraqi court and under Iraqi law.[142][143][144][145]
    • In an address to his nation, US president George W. Bush comments on the capture of Saddam, "Now the former dictator of Iraq will face the justice he denied to millions."[146]
    • British Prime Minister Tony Blair welcomes the capture of Saddam, urging the Iraqi people "to reach out and to reconcile." Other world leaders offer similar sentiments: Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov says that the arrest "will contribute to the strengthening of security in Iraq and to the process of political regulation in the country," while UN Secretary General Kofi Annan comments that Saddam's capture provides a chance "to give fresh impetus to the search for peace and stability in Iraq".[147][148]
    • A car bomb explodes at a police station in Khaldiyah, 60 km west of Baghdad, killing at least 17 and wounding 30.[149]
  • Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf narrowly escapes a bombing. "The president's motorcade passed a minute before the blast", according to officials.[150]
  • In an interview with The Washington Post newspaper, a 78-year-old African-American Los Angeles woman claims to be the illegitimate daughter of the late U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond.[151]
  • The famous Italian opera house La Fenice in Venice reopens after being destroyed by fire in 1996. It was rebuilt at the cost of 90mn.[152]
  • Jason White, quarterback of the University of Oklahoma Sooners, wins the Heisman Trophy, awarded to the best player in college football.[153]

December 15[edit]

December 16[edit]

December 17[edit]

December 18[edit]

December 19[edit]

December 20[edit]

  • The Holy See announces plans to beatify the last Austro-Hungarian emperor Karl. Karl, who was overthrown in 1918 and died in exile in 1922, is expected to be beatified, a step to sainthood, in the next year. Karl's widow, Zita of Bourbon-Parma died in 1989. His son, former Crown Prince Otto von Habsburg was until recently a German MEP.[222][223]
  • CCTV footage at Hampton Court Palace near London, once home of King Henry VIII of England, is released, and claimed to show a "ghost". The footage, taken in October 2003, shows a man in 16th century clothes closing a firedoor that had blown open. The palace markets itself as one of Britain's most haunted locations.[224][225]
  • Celebrations marking the Bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase culminate in New Orleans, Louisiana.[226]
  • Irish charity fundraiser John O'Shea attacks Manchester United football manager Sir Alex Ferguson as "greedy" for demanding £90,000 to attend a cancer charity function in Ireland in 1999. According to O'Shea, a sports celebrity demanding 'appearance money' from a charity is unheard of in his experience. Ferguson's appearance fee amounted to half the money raised. The fundraisers, until now unaware that Ferguson had taken half the proceeds, denounce his behaviour and say if they had known about it at the time they would have cancelled the event.
  • Former Argentinian president Carlos Menem is charged with tax fraud for failing to declare a Swiss bank account containing $600,000. If convicted he could be debarred from public office.[227]
  • The World Court says it will hear legal arguments about Israel's construction of a controversial barrier in the West Bank to separate Israeli and Palestinian areas. The hearings will begin on 23 February 2004.[228]
  • Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar pays a surprise visit to Spanish troops in Iraq.[229]
  • Massive landslides in the Philippines caused by heavy rain result in the deaths of up to 90 people.[230]
  • A Malaysian opposition website is shut down by its British web-hosting company amid claims of "political censorship" from the opposition.[231]
  • Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai tells his supporters to "fight fear" as they campaign against President Robert Mugabe. His comments follow the decision of Zimbabwe's police to occupy the offices of Zimbabwe's only privately owned newspaper in defiance of a court order that the newspaper could resume publication.[232]
  • Eleven people, mainly young people from Germany, die in a bus crash in Belgium.[233]
  • In Comoros, leaders signed an agreement clearing the way for legislative elections in April.[234]
  • CW meets KM

December 21[edit]

December 22[edit]

December 23[edit]

December 24[edit]

December 25[edit]

December 26[edit]

  • A powerful earthquake occurs near the southern Iranian city of Bam at 0156 GMT (5.26 am local time). The USGS estimates its magnitude as 6.7 on the Richter scale. The BBC reports that "70% of the modern city of Bam" is destroyed. Iranian government officials estimate the death toll at over 20,000 with a further 50,000 injured. Bam Citadel the largest adobe structure of the world is destroyed. The area of the citadel is about 180,000 square meters and the construction date of parts of it goes back for about 2500 years.[282][283][284]
  • The death toll in the Chinese gas-leak rises to 191.[285]
  • Fearing the state's BSE outbreak may extend beyond a single farm, the U.S. Department of Agriculture quarantines a second cattle farm in Washington state.[286]

December 27[edit]

December 28[edit]

December 29[edit]

December 30[edit]

December 31[edit]

New Year's Eve: Times Square counts down to 2004.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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