October 2003

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The following events occurred in October 2003:


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Ongoing events

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Ongoing armed conflicts

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Ongoing trials

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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]
  • General Wesley Clark suggests that members of the Bush administration may be liable to criminal charges in connection with the Iraq war. 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)
  • 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.[18] He will arrive in Montreal the following afternoon.[19]
  • 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.[20]
  • 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.

October 6, 2003[edit]

October 7, 2003[edit]

October 8, 2003[edit]

October 9, 2003[edit]

October 10, 2003[edit]

October 11, 2003[edit]

October 12, 2003[edit]

  • Cricket: New Zealand prevents India from snatching victory in the first Test cricket at Ahmedabad.[65]
  • Relations between Syria and the United States fall to a low point as Syria criticizes the US for its failure to censure Israel.[66]
  • China confirms that it will launch its first manned space mission between October 15 and 17. The spacecraft plans to orbit Earth 14 times before landing in an undisclosed location. (See Shenzhou 5)[67][68]
  • 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.[69]
  • India, Thailand, and China press ahead with efforts and a study group aimed at creating a Free Trade Area.[70]
  • 2003 occupation of Iraq: A huge explosion occurs in the center of Baghdad, possibly caused by car bomb. A number of fatalities are reported. The blast takes place in Baghdad Hotel.[71]
  • [Researchers announced that they have discovered the detailed relationship between the Ras v12 gene, polarity genes, and metastasis of cancer in fruit flies.[72]
  • 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.[73]

October 13, 2003[edit]

10:30 Tuesday, October 14, 2003[edit]

  • 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.[80]
  • The BBC reports that dissident IRA groups are supplying the weapons that have led to a recent surge in UK gun crime.[81]
  • Microsoft chatrooms close today. Free unmoderated chatrooms outside the US are closed in what Microsoft claim is an attempt to safeguard children.[82]
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Israel orders the expulsion of 15 Palestinian detainees from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip.[83]
  • British 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.[84]
  • A British HIV carrier is found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm after infecting two lovers.[85]

October 15, 2003[edit]

Steven Gerrard becomes captain of Liverpool Football Club.

October 16, 2003[edit]

  • 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.[98] A survey indicates poor morale amongst the US troops serving in Iraq.[99]
  • President Bush re-affirms his intention to pressure China and Japan into fair policies re their exchange rates.[100] China's trade surplus is shrinking as imports surge.[101] At the same time India is wrestling with the implications of the sustained appreciation of the rupee against the dollar.[102]
  • Tens of thousands of Catholics attend Mass celebrating the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II in Rome. The Pope will beatify Mother Teresa on Sunday, October 19, and install 30 new Cardinals on Tuesday, October 21.[103]
  • In a surprise move, Monsanto Company announce their intention to quit the European cereal business. Citing lack of success, the company has decided to cut costs.[104]
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict: European Commissioner for External Relations, Chris Patten has questioned Israel's commitment to a two-states resolution to the conflict with the Palestinians.[105]
  • China's first astronaut, Yang Liwei returns to earth safely aboard a Shenzhou spacecraft, Shenzhou 5. During the 21-hour trip, he circled the planet 14 times.[106]
  • Apple launches its iTunes Music Store, an online download music store, for the Microsoft Windows platform. The iTunes software can be downloaded from apple.com for free.

October 17, 2003[edit]

October 18, 2003[edit]

October 19, 2003[edit]

October 20, 2003[edit]

October 21, 2003[edit]


October 22, 2003[edit]

  • India launches a peace initiative to normalise relations with Pakistan. Formal talks are conditional on Islamabad ending Kashmiri cross-border terrorism initiatives.[146]
  • Mahathir bin Mohamad, outgoing prime minister of Malaysia, accuses leading democratic nations of terrorising the world. He seemed to be referring to the US, Israel, and Australia.[147]
  • 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.[148]
  • 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.[149]
  • 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.[150]
  • Top British runner Dwain Chambers tests positive for the drug tetrahydrogestrinone (THG). The steroid was previously believed to be undetectable but an anonymous source provided a used syringe containing traces last week.[151]

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.[152]
  • 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.[153][154]
  • 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.[155]
  • 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]

  • Wildfires start to rage in Southern California. The scheduled NFL Monday Night Football game between the San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins is relocated from San Diego, California, to Tempe, Arizona, as a consequence of the fires.[170]
  • 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.[171][172] 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.[173][174]
  • 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).[175]
  • Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia's wealthiest businessman, has been arrested and is being held in Moscow facing charges of fraud and tax evasion.[176]

October 27, 2003[edit]

October 28, 2003[edit]

October 29, 2003[edit]

October 30, 2003[edit]

October 31, 2003[edit]

  • 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.[201]
  • The furor surrounding Yukos deepens with an outspoken statement from the Russian Prime Minister expressing deep concern about the freezing of Yukos shares.[202]
  • Kenneth Clarke has ruled himself out of the contest to lead the UK Conservative Party and the field is left potentially clear for Michael Howard to be elected unopposed.[203]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ United Nations News Centre - Iraq: Security Council starts discussing new US resolution
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  5. ^ The Nobel Prize in Literature 2003 to John Maxwell Coetzee - Press Release
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  10. ^ This story is no longer available - Washington Times
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  13. ^ Periódico La Patria - Noticias de Bolivia
  14. ^ Polish troops discover four French missiles in Iraq - The Scotsman
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  25. ^ The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 2003 - Press Release
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  28. ^ Story of my Life | WISH-TV
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  31. ^ Health board chief quits over smoking ban - RTÉ News
  32. ^ Former news correspondent found dead - RTÉ News
  33. ^ One billion living in slums says UN report - RTÉ News
  34. ^ The Nobel Prize in Physics 2003
  35. ^ United Nations News Centre - UN envoy condemns attack from Lebanese territory that killed Israeli soldier
  36. ^ United Nations News Centre - UN team finds 65 bodies in eastern DR of Congo
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  39. ^ Press Release: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2003
  40. ^ BBC NEWS | Americas | Arnie wins California election
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  52. ^ The Nobel Peace Prize for 2003 to Shirin Ebadi - Press Release
  53. ^ Business News, Personal Finance and Money News - ABC News
  54. ^ BBC NEWS | Americas | Red Cross blasts Guantanamo
  55. ^ UNSC open session on Israeli wall - RTÉ News
  56. ^ BBC SPORT | Rugby Union | Rugby World Cup | Australia stumble past Pumas
  57. ^ BBC NEWS | Europe | Dutch prince renounces throne
  58. ^ BBC NEWS | Middle East | Israeli troops pull back in Gaza
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  65. ^ BBC SPORT | Cricket | McMillan defies India
  66. ^ Syrian Official Says Relations With U.S. Plunge to New Low - NYTimes.com
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  79. ^ Traffic overwhelms new online science journal - CNET News
  80. ^ BBC NEWS | Americas | US sniper suspect denies charges
  81. ^ BBC NEWS | UK | Irish guns 'fuel British crime'
  82. ^ BBC NEWS | Technology | Microsoft chatrooms close
  83. ^ BBC NEWS | Middle East | Israel to expel West Bank detainees
  84. ^ Watchdog to investigate Betsy salary | Media | The Guardian
  85. ^ HIV carrier convicted in landmark ruling | UK news | The Guardian
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  91. ^ China successfully launches its first manned spacecraft
  92. ^ BBC NEWS | Business | Japan offers $1.5bn to Iraq
  93. ^ Booker Prize awarded to DBC Pierre - RTÉ Ten
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  104. ^ Monsanto to quit Europe | Business | The Guardian
  105. ^ Frustration shows as Patten challenges Israel
  106. ^ BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | China hails space hero
  107. ^ BBC NEWS | Middle East | US combat deaths pass 100
  108. ^ BBC NEWS | Business | China's growth races ahead
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  114. ^ BBC NEWS | Americas | Spain pledges $300m Iraq aid
  115. ^ BBC NEWS | Africa | Zimbabwe fuel company 'runs dry'
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  118. ^ BBC NEWS | UK | Blair eases off after heart scare
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  127. ^ BBC NEWS | Entertainment | De Niro has prostate cancer
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  129. ^ BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Ancient carved 'faces' found
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  131. ^ CNN.com - U.S. officials say 9/11 mastermind killed Pearl - Oct. 21, 2003
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  133. ^ BBC NEWS | South Asia | Nato in Afghan security warning
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  137. ^ BBC NEWS | Middle East | Analysis: Khatami's nuclear gamble
  138. ^ BBC NEWS | Africa | Locust outbreak threatens Africa
  139. ^ Trimble rejects IRA weapons move | Politics | The Guardian
  140. ^ BBC NEWS | UK | Northern Ireland | IRA arms move 'largest yet'
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  149. ^ BBC NEWS | Americas | Europe urges Guantanamo action
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  151. ^ BBC SPORT | Athletics | Chambers fails drugs test
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  160. ^ BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Earth put on solar storm alert
  161. ^ CNN.com - Cloud of solar gas strikes our planet - Oct. 24, 2003
  162. ^ BBC NEWS | UK | End of an era for Concorde
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  179. ^ BBC NEWS | Business | US fund giant fires traders
  180. ^ BBC NEWS | Business | US rates kept on hold
  181. ^ SpaceWeather.com - News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
  182. ^ CNN.com - Sun erupts in biggest storm in years - Oct. 29, 2003
  183. ^ CNN.com - California wildfires burn through 600,000 acres - Oct. 29, 2003
  184. ^ BBC NEWS | UK | Politics | Duncan Smith faces leadership vote
  185. ^ The Japan Times - News on Japan, Business News, Opinion, Sports, Entertainment and More
  186. ^ World News | Reuters.com
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  190. ^ Few Flare-Ups From Solar Debris - CBS News
  191. ^ Halloween Costume Sparks Capitol Hill Scare | Fox News
  192. ^ U.S. economy posts strongest growth in nearly 20 years - Oct. 30, 2003
  193. ^ BBC NEWS | Europe | Key Kremlin figure removed
  194. ^ Hints in Russia of Crisis Over Tycoon Case - NYTimes.com
  195. ^ BBC NEWS | Middle East | Rabbis back Israeli 'guard pigs'
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  200. ^ BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Mahathir bids farewell to parliament
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  203. ^ BBC NEWS | UK | Politics | Clarke rules out leadership bid