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"
Israeli Army Chief of Personnel Major-General Gil Regev tells 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.
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 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 Jett appealed to the full commission.
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. Tenet 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" US 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.
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 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.
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.
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 attackers.
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.
The London Iraqi exiles 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.
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 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.
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 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-Haïtien (second largest city in Haiti) built flaming barricades to keep the rebel forces out of the city. The United Nations urges 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 7.
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-million 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.
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.
Controversy erupts in Canada over a segment of Conan O'Brien's NBC television talk show, filmed in Quebec City and shown to a studio audience in Toronto, featuring his character Triumph the Insult Dog making ethnic insults against French-Canadians, including telling them to speak English. The Canadian government condemns the comments. The Government of Ontario, which had paid $1 million to sponsor the taping of four episodes of the show in Toronto to promote the city, also distances itself from the comments.
Ivan Rybkin, a Russian presidential candidate and fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin, holds a press conference in London, stating that during his recent disappearance for several days he was drugged and made the subject of a compromising videotape.
U.S. President George W. Bush opens his National Guard file for resolving questions about Vietnam era military service. Reportedly, released papers do not document Bush's Alabama service. Roswell businessman John Calhoun, 69, remembers Lt. George W. Bush worked weekends at an Air Force base in Montgomery.
The United States, in a major shift of policy on the Middle East, says it may support an Israeli proposal for a unilateral partial withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage says that a pullout from Gaza would be "a step in the right direction." Administration official state "... negotiations were impossible because of Palestinian recalcitrance."
Occupation of Iraq: 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.
A new U.S.-sponsored satellite TV channel called Al Hurra (The Free One) begins broadcasting in the Middle East and pledges to provide accurate and balanced news, but faces a skeptical Arab audience.
Russian rescue workers are digging through what remains of an indoor water park in Moscow after the roof collapsed yesterday. At least 25 people have been killed, more than 100 people are injured, and at least 17 people are missing. (AP)(CNN)
Two fires sweep through China, one in a shopping center and the other in a temple, killing at least 90 and injuring 71. (AP)
L. Paul Bremer, the United States administrator of Iraq states he will veto any interim constitution that would make Islam "the chief source of law", as opposed to "a source of inspiration for the law." Many Iraqi women express fears that the rights they hold under Iraq's longtime secular system may be denied them in the interim constitution based upon Islam as "the chief source of law." (NYT)
The United States states that Afghanistan's elections scheduled for this June may have to be postponed because of security problems and the failure to register enough voters. Only 8% of eligible Afghan voters have been enrolled to date. (NYT)
The territory of Nunavut, Canada, holds its second general election since its creation. Of the 19 members, one is chosen by acclamation. Eight members of the previous government are returned to office, and five are defeated. The members will elect a premier on March 5.
The US FAA announces it will attempt to require a fuel tank inerting system in most large airliners in an effort to prevent fuel tank explosions such as the one which apparently destroyed TWA Flight 800 in 1996. The order could take two years to complete and then would require a retrofit of about 3,800 large Boeing and Airbus jets over the next seven years. (Newsday)(NYT)
A CNN survey finds that children made more than 11,000 allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic priests. The 4,450 accused priests represent about 4% of the 110,000 priests who served during the 52 years covered by the study. Nearly 3%, or 133 of the priests, had 10 or more allegations. (CNN)
Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, a top Vatican official arrives in Moscow for sensitive talks with the Russian Orthodox hierarchy, which accuses the Catholic Church of aggressive proselytizing in traditionally Orthodox lands. (NYT)(Russian Orthodox Church)
An outbreak of dengue fever kills 91 people in Indonesia and infects thousands more. Health officials report that 4,500 people have been hospitalized for the mosquito-borne disease, mostly in the capital and other parts of East Java, including the city of Yogyakarta. The number hospitalized is double that of last year. (BBC)(NYT)
A federal appeals court in the United States ruled that district court judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, presiding judge in the much-watched Martha Stewart trial, was in the wrong in barring the media from the voir dire process at the beginning of that trial. (AP)
Scientists at NASA and the ESA witness a supermassive black hole in galaxy RXJ1242-11 graze, partially consume, and tear apart a star. This is the first time such a phenomenon has been observed. (NASA)
One Dane and five of the nine Britons held without trial as terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay are to be released, probably within the next two weeks, according to British Foreign SecretaryJack Straw. The soon-to-be-released captives have been amongst the 660 detainees at the US base in Cuba, held for the past two years as suspected Al-Qaida or Taliban 'combatants'. (BBC)(BBC)
Laura Bush states that same-sex marriage is "a very, very shocking issue" for some people. She hopes the subject can be debated by Americans together, rather than it be settled by a Massachusettscourt or the mayor of San Francisco. (USA Today)
States of emergency are declared in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Canada, after a prolonged blizzard dumps 90 centimetres of snow on the provinces. This doubles the previous record, set in the 1950s. Roads are completely impassable, blocked with drifts of up to 3 to 4 metres. (CBC)
Lithuania's parliament starts impeachment proceedings against President Rolandas Paksas, who is charged with violating the constitution by leaking state secrets, rewarding a financial supporter with citizenship and illegally influencing companies. (Bloomberg)
San Francisco judge denies request to immediately stop same-sex weddings. (Reuters) Homosexual couples win reprieve when the judge declines to stop San Francisco from granting them marriage licenses. (ABC US)
King Norodom Sihanouk, the constitutional monarch of Cambodia, states that he believes his country ought to allow same-sex marriage. He says he decided this upon seeing footage of same-sex couples marrying in San Francisco. He also says that transvestites ought to be well-treated in Cambodia. (Advocate)
Prime Minister Tony Blair is under pressure from British human rights groups and MPs because of the government's sweeping powers under the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act, which have allowed the detention of 14 foreign terrorist suspects in the UK at what has been described as 'Britain's Guantanamo Bay'. (The Independent)
In Tirana, Albania, a crowd of up to 20,000 protesters, led by ex-president and opposition party leader Sali Berisha, demanded once again that Prime MinisterFatos Nano resign for failing to improve the economy. This protest, though a peaceful one, comes on the heels of a more violent protest two weeks ago in which protesters threw rocks at police and tried to storm the Prime Minister's office. (BBC)(ChannelNewsAsia)
The California Public Employees' Retirement System, CalPERS, a major shareholder in The Walt Disney Company, indicated that it will withhold its votes from Disney chief executive Michael Eisner at next week's shareholders' meeting, a new sign of a growing rebellion against Eisner's leadership, (TheStreet)
In the northern Uganda city of Lira, protests and riots cause at least nine deaths after the Ugandan army announces it killed 21 members of the Lord's Resistance Army, a rebel group, in retaliation for an attack on a refugee camp at Barlonyo. (CNN)
The United States lifts a ban on travel to Libya, ending travel restrictions to the nation that had lasted for 23 years. (Reuters)
Expressions by Disney shareholders of a lack of confidence in its management continue. Five more state pension funds announced that they will not vote for the re-election of chairman (and chief executive) Michael Eisner at next week's meeting. These pension funds – New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Virginia – are following the lead of California – CalPERS made its announcement to the same effect Wednesday. (TheStreet)
Swiss police are investigating a man in the killing of an air traffic controller. The suspect apparently lost his family in a midair collision in 2002; the murder victim was on duty at the time of the crash.
Microsoft's Japan headquarters are raided on suspicion of violating anti-monopoly laws by the fair trade watchdog. (BBC)(Mainichi)
The mayor of New Paltz, a village in New York State, announces that the town will start performing civil marriages for same-sex couples. It will not attempt to issue marriage certificates, but married couples in New York State have six months from the date of their wedding to seek a certificate. (365Gay)