October 2003

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The following events occurred in October 2003:

October 1, 2003[edit]

October 2, 2003[edit]

October 3, 2003[edit]

  • 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.[9]
  • 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.[10][11]
  • California recall: Arnold Schwarzenegger denies admiring Hitler. Arnold Schwarzenegger's denial comes days before the vote for the next governor of California.[12]
  • 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.
  • Evo Morales said that Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, president of Bolivia, may be preparing a coup.[13] (in Spanish)
  • Missiles: Polish soldiers 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.[14][15][16]

October 4, 2003[edit]

October 5, 2003[edit]

  • 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.[19] He will arrive in Montreal the following afternoon.[20]
  • 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.[21]
  • Pope John Paul II canonizes Daniele Comboni (1831–1881), Arnold Janssen (1837–1909) and Josef Freinademetz (1852–1908).
  • Ireland on Sunday claims that Pope John Paul II is suffering from terminal stomach cancer which has spread to his colon. The newspaper reports that the Pope has dictated a living will which gives instructions as to how the Roman Catholic Church is to be administered when the medical treatment he is receiving makes it impossible for him to function as pope. According to the paper, Cardinals have been told to be ready at a moment's notice to fly to Rome for a Papal funeral and Papal conclave.
  • 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.

October 6, 2003[edit]

  • 2004 U.S. Democratic Primaries: Senator Bob Graham announces on Larry King Live that he is ending his 2004 presidential campaign.[22]
  • Chechen Election: Moscow's choice, the Kremlin-backed Akhmad Kadyrov swept presidential election in the Russian republic of Chechnya, winning 81 percent of the votes.[23]
  • SCO v. IBM: In an open letter to the Linux community published by Silicon Graphics (SGI), SGI states it conducted a comprehensive comparison of the Linux kernel and the UNIX System V source code owned by The SCO Group. According to the letter (authored by SGI Vice President of Software Rich Altmaier), SGI's "exhaustive comparison" of the source codes turned up only "trivial" code segments that "may arguably be related" to SCO's software. The letter also disputed SCO's claims that SGI inappropriately contributed its XFS (eXtensible File System).[24]
  • Middle East: Facing renewed threats from Israel, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, declares a state of emergency in Palestinian areas and installs a new government by decree. Ahmed Qurei is appointed prime minister and head of the eight-member emergency cabinet.[25]
  • 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.
  • Paul Lauterbur and Sir Peter Mansfield are jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries concerning Magnetic Resonance Imaging.[26]
  • 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.[27][28][29][30][31]
  • 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.[32]
  • 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.[33]
  • 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.[34]
  • 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.[35]

October 7, 2003[edit]

October 8, 2003[edit]

October 9, 2003[edit]

October 10, 2003[edit]

  • The flagship channel of the Adventist Television Network (ATN), Hope Channel is launched

October 11, 2003[edit]

October 12, 2003[edit]

October 13, 2003[edit]

October 14, 2003[edit]

  • 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 Catholic theologian 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.
  • SniperTerrorism: Trial of John Allen Muhammad, who is suspected of being the Washington DC serial sniper, begins. He pleads not guilty.[89]
  • Weapons: The BBC reports that dissident IRA groups are supplying the weapons that have led to a recent surge in UK gun crime.[90]
  • Instant Messaging: Microsoft chatrooms close today. Free unmoderated chatrooms outside the US are closed in what Microsoft claim is an attempt to safeguard children.[91]
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Israel orders the expulsion of 15 Palestinian detainees from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip.[92]
  • British Politics: Conservative Party leader, Iain Duncan Smith, is being investigated by Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Sir Philip Mawer over allegations that he paid a secretarial salary to his wife without her doing sufficient work to warrant the payments.[93]
  • Law – A British HIV carrier is found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm after infecting two lovers.[94]
  • Steve Bartman incident – A Chicago Cubs fan, Steve Bartman interferes with a foul ball leading to the Chicago Cubs losing to the Florida Marlins in Game 6 of the 2003 Major League Baseball NLCS.

October 15, 2003[edit]

October 16, 2003[edit]

October 17, 2003[edit]

October 18, 2003[edit]

October 19, 2003[edit]

October 20, 2003[edit]

October 21, 2003[edit]


October 22, 2003[edit]

October 23, 2003[edit]

  • Luis A. Ferré, the third Democratically Elected Governor of Puerto Rico, dies at age 99.
  • Canada: Dalton McGuinty is sworn in as the 24th premier of Ontario.[172]
  • 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.[173][174]
  • 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.[175]
  • Kuwait AL Arabi football club beat Qadsia in the Kuwait derby 2–0.

October 24, 2003[edit]

October 25, 2003[edit]

October 26, 2003[edit]

October 27, 2003[edit]

October 28, 2003[edit]

October 29, 2003[edit]

  • Medicine: The US FDA approves Risperdal Consta (Risperidone long-acting injection) for the treatment of schizophrenia. Although already approved in several other countries, it is the first long-acting, atypical antipsychotic medication to be approved by the FDA.
  • 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 Secretary Michael 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."[206][207]
  • Occupation of Iraq: The International Red Cross announces that it is to scale back its commitments to Iraq.[208] Two more GIs are killed, bringing the total killed since May 1 to 115.[209]
  • Earth's magnetic field: Halloween Solar Storms. The Earth's magnetosphere is hit by the recent solar flare causing a brief but intense geomagnetic storm, provoking unusual displays of Northern Lights.[210]

October 30, 2003[edit]

October 31, 2003[edit]

  • 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.[222]
  • Japanese supercentenarian Kamato Hongo dies from pneumonia.
  • Russia: The furor surrounding Yukos deepens with an outspoken statement from the Russian Prime Minister expressing deep concern about the freezing of Yukos shares.[223]
  • United Kingdom: Kenneth Clarke has ruled himself out of the contest to lead the Conservative Party and the field is left potentially clear for Michael Howard to be elected unopposed.[224]
  • Surfer Bethany Hamilton's arm is bitten off by a shark.

See also[edit]


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