Anti-Americanism: A panel chosen by the administration of President George W. Bush concludes that the United States must drastically increase and overhaul its public relations efforts to recast its image among Muslims and Arabs abroad. "Hostility toward America has reached shocking levels ... What is required is not merely tactical adaptation but strategic, and radical, transformation." The panel adds that "spin" and manipulation "are not the answer," nor is avoiding the debate.
Technology – Genome: The genome chip arrived with several companies rushing to sell the known human genes. The products will allow scientists to scan all genes in a human tissue sample at once to determine which are active, with lower cost and increased speed.
Near-Earth asteroid: Confirmation on the closest near-miss of a natural object ever recorded. The asteroid (designated 2003 SQ222), about the size of a small house, flew past Earth at a distance of around 88,000 kilometres. It would have made a fireball had it entered the atmosphere.
Iraq and weapons of mass destruction: The world continues to digest David Kay's report that finds very little evidence of Weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, although the regime did intend to develop more weapons with additional capabilities. Such plans and programs appear to have been dormant, the existence of these were also concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in 2002. Weapons inspectors in Iraq do find clandestine "network of biological laboratories" and a deadly strain of botulinum. The US-sponsored search for WMD has so far cost $300 million and is projected to cost around $600 million more.
Politics: General Wesley Clark made a bold political move and arguably a risky one by suggesting that members of the Bush administration may be liable to criminal charges in connection with the Iraq war. Mr. Clark alleges that the plans for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and other interventions in the Middle East (possibly including Lebanon and Syria), pre-dated the inauguration of the President and that the reasons for the war were misleadingly presented to the US people.
Missiles: Polishsoldiers of the United States-led Coalition discovered four advanced missiles around central Iraq in the Hilla region near a highway. The Roland-type French-made missiles (which are fired from a mobile launcher vehicle against low flying aircraft) were initially believed to have been manufactured earlier in 2003. Arms exports to Iraq had been barred by the United Nations after the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. France says it last shipped Roland missiles to Iraq in 1986. The Polish soldiers were later found to have misinterpreted markings that read 07-01-KND 2003 as a date on the missiles.
Poland apologizes to France for its claims that it had found newly produced Rolandsurface-to-air missiles in Iraq. It is believed that the Polish soldiers misinterpreted a "use-by" date or installation date marked on the missiles as a date of production.
Maher Arar is reported to have been freed from a Syrian jail. The Canadian engineer was deported to Syria by the United States as he changed planes in New York, over a year ago. He will arrive in Montreal the following afternoon.
Ain es Saheb airstrike: Israeli warplanes attack an alleged Islamic Jihad training base deep in Syria in retaliation for a suicide bombing at a Haifa restaurant that killed 19 people, the army said Sunday. Israeli media state this is the first Israeli attack on Syrian soil in more than two decades. An emergency session of the UN Security Council is scheduled to debate the action. France and Germany condemn the attack. The international community calls for restraint by all parties involved.
The band Hell on Earth reports that an Internet broadcast of a concert that was to feature a suicide of a terminally ill person did not happen on Saturday evening, because the Web site was attacked. Band members state that the concert still went on, but they are unsure whether the suicide took place.
Israel: In his first public comments since the Israeli attack on Syria, President Bush says that Israel has the right to defend its homeland; at the same time Mr. Bush asks Prime Minister Sharon to avoid any further actions that might destabilize the region.
Occupation of Iraq: Some in the international community have rejected a revised United States draft United Nations Security Council resolution concerning Iraq (calling for a multinational force of peacekeeping troops in Iraq under American command; transferring power gradually to elected civilian rule [though there is no handover timetable for sovereignty]). The resolution is being supported by the United Kingdom. France, Germany, and Russia (which opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq) have joined Kofi Annan in opposing the resolution. Annan states that the United Nations itself will not become heavily involved unless there are early moves toward passing sovereignty to the Iraqi people. Annan's stance is similar to that of Pope John Paul II and some members of the European Union.
Irish political magazine Magill is closed down by its publishers, blaming poor readership numbers. The magazine, which played a central part in Irish politics in the 1970s and 1980s, has never regained the readership it attracted under its founder, maverick journalist and political commentator Vincent Browne, who, after an earlier closure, relaunched the title and sold it to its current owners.
Attempts by the Republic of Ireland's government to ban smoking in pubs, restaurants and hotels run into more trouble as a government minister who will have responsibility for enforcing the ban, Frank Fahey, refuses to deny that he is critical of the plan and wants a compromise that would allow smoking in some areas to continue. A former Mayor of Galway and Fianna Fáil councillor who has links with the pub industry resigns from a health authority in protest at the refusal of the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrat government to compromise on the proposed ban. This follows an earlier announcement that publicans in County Kerry will refuse to obey the new law and indications of growing popular opposition to the ban.
Former Sky News correspondent James Furlong, who resigned over allegations that he had faked a report during the Iraq War, is found dead. Furlong, aged 44, had served as Sky News' Defence and Royal Correspondent. He had previously worked for ITN.
A United Nations report says that almost 1 billion people worldwide are living in slums. By 2050 3 billion, out of a world urban population of 6 billion, may be living in slums, unless radical policies are implemented, according to the UN. Dr Anna Tibaijuka of the UN says the persistence of the slums should shame the whole world.
Middle East: United Nations envoy and Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Terje Roed-Larsen, condemns attack from Lebanese territory that killed an Israeli soldier across the southern withdrawal line and urges Beirut to control the use of force everywhere in its jurisdiction. Roed-Larsen, states the attack "constitutes a clear violation of the Blue Line and Security Council resolutions and could escalate tension between Israel and its northern neighbours" and he calls on all sides to use diplomacy and take no action that "could increase the already high level of tension in the region".
Occupation of Iraq: The Turkish Parliament votes (358-to-183) to approve the dispatch of peacekeepers to Iraq, in a major victory for United States efforts to broaden foreign involvement in Iraq. In Baghdad, Iraqi Governing Council officials state that they would oppose any new foreign troop deployment to Iraq. No formal decision had been made by the Council and leaders of the council have stated they would support this if the United States requested this.
Capital punishment: Some legal and medical professionals are stating warnings about the apparent tranquillity of a lethal injection, declaring this may be deceptive. According to these professional the standard chemical combination used to execute people may lead to paralysis that masks intense distress, leaving a wide-awake inmate unable to speak or cry out as he slowly suffocates.
Surveillance: The FBI admits that hidden listening devices planted in the office of the Mayor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were placed there by FBI agents. It is currently not known if the Mayor of Philadelphia is a target of an investigation nor is there any details provided about the nature of the probe that the device was part of. A law enforcement official cautions that the presence of the listening devices does not necessarily mean that the mayor, himself, is under investigation.
Palestinians: Yasser Arafat has suffered a mild heart attack. Palestinian leadership officials tried to hide condition of the president. "Although he has had a slight heart attack, the doctors say he will make a full recovery. He is in full control. There is nothing to worry about," states close aide to Arafat. Officials state that it would "have created panic at a critical time when the Israelis are threatening Arafat's life".
Palestinians: Time magazine reports that Yassir Arafat, whose health has led to confused reporting over the past days, with him variously reported as having had flu and having had a heart attack, in actuality has stomach cancer.
Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz ordered dispatches of Israelitroop reinforcements to the Palestinian Areas, West Bank and Gaza Strip, and weighed a call-up of reserves, citing new warnings about planned attacks by Palestinian militants. The Israeli military also extended a two-weeklockdown on Palestinians' travel within the West Bank and Gaza in what it states as a bid to prevent further attacks. Meanwhile, prime minister Ahmed Qurei is reported to have declined to form a government and told President Yasser Arafat he wants to quit his post.
Safe sex: A BBC report claims that the Roman Catholic Church is incorrectly claiming that condoms are ineffective to prevent the spread of AIDS for ideological reasons, and hence putting lives at risk in high-risk countries.
In Iraq two more soldiers are killed and four wounded in an ambush in the Sadr district of Baghdad. The troops are lured into the ambush by civilians in what could be a new tactic by hostile forces in Iraq.
Camp X-ray: The United States' policy of detaining up to 600 people in Guantanamo Bay comes under fierce attack from the Red Cross and a group of American former judges, diplomats and military officers who are asking the Supreme Court of the United States to review the situation. The Red Cross criticises the policy of holding detainees without legal representation and in contravention of legal conventions; it reports a worrying deterioration in the mental health of detainees.
Royalty: Prince Johan-Friso of the Netherlands, second son of Queen Beatrix and second in line of succession to the throne will lose his succession rights when he marries Mabel Wisse Smit without the Dutch Parliament's permission. Government assent was refused because the couple had been less than candid about the bride's interactions with gangster Klaas Bruisma in the late 1980s.
The flagship channel of the Adventist Television Network (ATN), Hope Channel is launched
Middle East: Syria says that it will retaliate if attacked by Israel again. A week after Israel's attack the two countries continue to exchange insults; the United Nations Security Council is unable to agree on a resolution condemning Israel's attack.
Medicine: The operation to separate two-year old Egyptian twins joined at the head is going well in Dallas; the two boys have been separated and no troublesome complications have arisen. The next steps are to reconstruct the boys' skulls including the skin.
Foreign relations of Liberia: Liberia drops diplomatic relations with the Taiwan and re-establishes ties with China. This move was seen largely as a result of China's lobbying in the United Nations, which is planning to deploy a peacekeeping force to Liberia. Taiwanese Foreign Minister Eugene Chien offers to resign as a result.
Religion: RTÉ's Prime Time current affairs programme reports that Cahal Daly, Bishop of Down and Conor, refused to accept allegations passed on to him by students of improper sexual conduct by Monsignor Micheal Ledwith, then head of St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Ireland's major seminary. According to the programme Daly became aggressive, telling students "go back and say your prayers". The TV programme confirms that Daly, and his predecessor, Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich, were centrally involved in efforts to silence critics of Ledwith, including forcing the resignation of one dean of students who informed them of allegations that Ledwith was making sexual advances against student priests. Ledwith subsequently left the college after paying damages to an under-age teenager to whom he allegedly made sexual advances. Ledwith, once an internationally famous Roman Catholictheologian tipped to become Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, is now associated with an American New Age organization. Having been tracked down by the programme, Ledwith refuses to comment 'for legal reasons'.
Liberia: The Inauguration of a new government takes place. The rebels are expected to disarm.
Occupation of Iraq: The UN Security Council unanimously approves a new US resolution on Iraq. Russia, Germany and France back the resolution but will not provide troops or money. A survey indicates poor morale amongst the US troops serving in Iraq.
East Asia: President Bush re-affirms his intention to pressure China and Japan into fair policies re their exchange rates. China's trade surplus is shrinking as imports surge. At the same time India is wrestling with the implications of the sustained appreciation of the rupee against the dollar.
US: A former employee of Diebold Election Systems (now Premier Election Solutions) has accused the firm of violating state and federal election-certification rules during Georgia's 2002 gubernatorial election, the outcome of which defied all polls.
Canadian Prime MinisterJean Chrétien indicates that during an informal meeting between him and Vladimir Putin, the Russian president indicated that he was tentatively in favour of signing the Kyoto Protocol. Russia's signature is absolutely necessary for the protocol to acquire the force of law.
United States deficit: The United States posts a record budget deficit of $374.2 billion in the fiscal year ending September 30. The figure broke the previous record of $290 billion, set in 1992. The number was actually better than the U.S. government's own forecast of $455 billion.
United States: The publicist of Robert De Niro announces that the actor has prostate cancer.
Ecuador – A trial opens in Lago Agrio in which US oil company ChevronTexaco is charged with polluting a once-pristine swath of the Amazon rainforest. The plaintiffs' lawyers have put a US$1 billion price tag on clean up and medical care for the region's inhabitants.
Occupation of Iraq: The commander of US ground forces in Iraq says that Al-Qaeda is now operating in Iraq as witnessed by increasingly sophisticated attacks on US troops.
European Union and Guantanamo Bay: Leaders of the European Union parliament urge the EU to take action over 26 Europeans being held indefinitely by the US without charges, without trial, without legal representation at Guantanamo Bay. The detainees are experiencing increasing psychological problems.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) releases a report about mentally ill inmates of United States prisons. It concludes that mentally ill offenders are frequently physically abused, punished by staff for self-destructive behavior and not given the treatment they need.
Afghanistan: The commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan says that his troops are increasingly facing a new "excellently trained" species of terrorist.
Occupation of Iraq: There is every sign that the international conference in Madrid at which pledges to re-build Iraq are hoped for will disappoint and e.g. Paul Bremer seeks to lower expectations.
United States Supreme Court: Before a conservative legal organization, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia ridicules the recent Supreme Court decision overturning anti-sodomy laws in Texas, saying that the Court had "held to be a constitutional right what had been a criminal offense at the time of the founding and for nearly 200 years thereafter." According to news reports, Scalia adopted a mocking tone to read from the court's ruling.
Kuwait AL Arabi football club beat Qadsia in the Kuwait derby 2–0.
Mining: 49 miners are trapped in a Russian mine as water began seeping into the mine, disabling electrical systems.
Israeli-Palestinian conflict: The body of the Hamas militant killed in the attack on an Israeli military camp (that killed three Israeli soldiers) is returned to his family in their refugee camp.
2003 invasion of Iraq: The US Senate Committee on Intelligence finalizes its report on pre-war intelligence and is highly critical of George Tenet and the quality of US intelligence about Iraq's weapons.
Occupation of Iraq: A US Blackhawk helicopter is brought down near Tikrit by Iraqi militants. The Daily Star Lebanon reports that the US is effectively plundering Iraq following the occupation. The daily average of attacks on US troops rises and reaches about 25–26 per day. 100,000 march against the occupation of Iraq in Washington DC.
United Kingdom: Tony Blair amazes his advisers and ignores public opinion by insisting that the UK will press ahead with GM technology.
Occupation of Iraq: The Al-Rashid Hotel in Baghdad where US deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying has been evacuated after several rockets were fired at it in the morning. one US Colonel was killed and fifteen individuals wounded (three seriously) in the attack. Two more explosions occurred near Al Rashid hotel later towards the evening. Further investigations confirm that Iraq had no active nuclear program, but did not relinquish nuclear ambitions or technical records.
Syria: The President of Syria says that Iran and Syria, which are increasingly close allies, are capable of neutralizing conspiracies of foreign powers (implicitly referring to the US and Israel).
Russia: Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the country's wealthiest businessman, has been arrested and is being held in Moscow facing charges of fraud and tax evasion.
California: Wildfires are largest in state history; 1,500 homes are destroyed, 16 people killed and 600,000 acres (2,400 km2) burned. Evacuations are ordered from parts of cities in Los Angeles and San Diego counties. The conflagration also spreads across the border into the Mexican state of Baja California, where two deaths are reported.
Republic of Ireland: The Garda Síochána, the Irish police force, opens a criminal investigation following a hoax telephone call on 27 October from a woman claiming that she had abandoned her newborn baby in a derelict flat in Dublin. Hundreds of Gardaí had mounted a round the clock search of thousands of derelict sites in the working class suburb of Ballymun to find the child, as fears grew for its safety amid plummeting temperatures. Police later concluded that no such child existed and that the series of phone calls made to them and to childcare charities had been a deliberate hoax.
United Kingdom: British Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith loses a vote of confidence in his parliamentary party by 90 votes to 75 and, in accordance with party rules, resigns from the leadership. A new leadership election is called. Shadow Deputy Prime Minister David Davis, previously tipped as a future leader, surprises Westminster by announcing that he will not seek the leadership and endorses former Home SecretaryMichael Howard, who is now seen as the frontrunner to assume the leadership. Other leading politicians endorse Howard, once famously described by a colleague as having "something of the night about him."
Occupation of Iraq: The International Red Cross announces that it is to scale back its commitments to Iraq. Two more GIs are killed, bringing the total killed since May 1 to 115.
Russia: Vladimir Putin removes his Chief of Staff as the political battle with the "Russian oligarchs" and between hard-liners and liberals, continues. Russian judicial authorities have seized control of Yukos, the giant oil company.
Iraq War: Officials postpone awarding two contracts to repair Iraq's oil refineries and pipelines (primarily because of sabotage and dilapidated conditions). An investigation has been started on the high price that the United States is paying to Kellogg Brown & Root for oil imported from Kuwait. The Center for Public Integrity says that firms awarded contracts in Iraq have tended to be big donors (in the past) to the Republican Party. The UN announces that it is withdrawing its remaining international staff from Baghdad, perhaps temporarily.
Japan: The trial of Shoko Asahara, accused of involvement in the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, ends in Japan with final statements from lawyers. The next court session is to be held in mid-February 2004.