Luíz Inácio Lula da Silva ("Lula") becomes the 37th president of the Federative Republic of Brazil for the period (2003–2007). Da Silva was elected representing the Worker's Party with 61% percent of the vote. His inaugural speech includes vows to wipe out poverty, hunger, and corruption, but da Silva promised during the campaign to abide by an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to maintain a budget surplus of 3.75% and filled key economic posts with men considered friendly to foreign investment. Among guests at the inauguration were Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, Cuban President Fidel Castro, and U.S. Trade RepresentativeRobert Zoellick.
The Turkish-registered tanker Vicky, with 70,000 tonnes of diesel cargo, struck the wreck of the sunken auto carrier Tricolor off the coast of Dunkirk, France. The double-hulled tanker freed itself from the wreck with the rising tide and sailed a mile off to check for leakage. The Vicky is the second ship to strike the wreck of the Tricolor since the carrier sank on December 14, 2002.
Oil leakage from the sunken tankerPrestige threatens the southwestern coast of France. The prefect of Aquitaine reported a slick from the tanker is 50 kilometers (30 standard miles) from the coast. French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin promised 50 millioneuros for the cleanup. The Prestige, which carried 77,000 tonnes of crude oil, sunk in late November 2002, off the coast of the Galician region of Spain.
The People's Republic of China Foreign Ministry reacted to a report in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz which stated that Israel had complied with a U.S. request to suspend all contracts on the exports of arms and security equipment from the PRC to Israel. Israeli Defence Ministry Director-General Amos Yaron stated that Israel intends to "track down" all security ties with the PRC. An unnamed senior Israeli official stated that the Americans were using the pretext of protecting Taiwan to cover a proposed shift of American policy to allow direct arms sales to the PRC.
Clonaid Chief Executive Brigitte Boisselier told the French television station France 2 that the American parents of the supposed clone that Clonaid created are balking at providing DNA evidence to prove that their new-born baby "Eve" is really a clone. The claim is that the parents are afraid that Florida will try to take the baby away from them.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service of the United States proposes rules that will require all Americans traveling abroad to disclose detailed personal information both before leaving the country and before being permitted to re-enter the country.
In Bouaké, Ivory Coast, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin met with political leaders of the Patriotic Movement of the Ivory Coast, who agreed to participate in negotiations to be held in Paris, France, the week of January 15, 2003. However, two independent rebel groups in the west of the country, assisted by fighters from Liberia, have seized villages and the cocoa crops inside those villages, forcing residents to flee to the port of San Pédro with no possessions. One-fifth of the world's cocoa crop passes through San Pédro. A French unit is guarding the port.
U.S. plan to invade Iraq: United Nations arms inspectors from UNMOVIC have established a base of operations in Mosul, Iraq, 375 kilometers or 200 miles north of Baghdad, to speed the inspection process.
Journalist Geoff Mackley reports after a helicopter mission that the Cyclone Zoe led to no casualties on the island of Tikopia, even though devastation was enormous. The 1,000 inhabitants of the island survived in caves. Reports that they had already resumed their daily occupations like fishing are misleading: they were "fishing" for their possessions that were blown out to sea. The situation on the island of Anuta with 600 inhabitants is not known yet.
War on Terrorism: British police announced details of the discovery of traces of the toxin ricin in a flat in Wood Green in North London in the wake of the arrest of six terrorist suspects. The timing of this news coincided with a major speech by Prime Minister Tony Blair dealing with the threat of terrorism and Britain's relationship with the U.S.A.
British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon announced details of the call-up of reservists in the military build-up calculated to increase pressure on Iraq.
French President Jacques Chirac, in a New Year's message to French forces, stated that French forces should be prepare to be activated if the United Nations decides on military action in Iraq.
George H. Ryan, Governor of Illinois, announced that he commuted the sentences of all 157 people on the state of Illinois' Death Row to life in prison. "Our capital system is haunted by the demon of error: error in determining guilt and error in determining who among the guilty deserves to die. What effect was race having? What effect was poverty having? Because of all these reasons, today I am commuting the sentences of all death row inmates", Ryan said. Ryan's term of office expires on January 13.
A U.S. court ordered the controversial organization Clonaid, which claims that it produced a human clone, to reveal the identity and whereabouts of the alleged cloned baby.
The Indian government had to shamefully withdraw its case against Iftikhar Gilani to prevent itself from a rather piquant situation where two of its ministries would have given contradictory opinions. Gilani had been arrested under the Official Secrets Act 1923.
War on Terrorism: Three more suspects have been arrested in Manchester in England in connection with the investigation into ricin found in London, although it now appears as though the raid was initially carried out as the pursuance of an investigation into immigration issues. A Special Branch police officer, Stephen Oake, was fatally stabbed during the arrests, and three other officers were also injured, one seriously. This brings the total of those arrested to fourteen.
British humanitarian agency Care International warns that the security situation in Afghanistan is "urgent" and warns that coalition troops should not redirect resources from security to nation-building efforts, as this could enable factional forces to overthrow the internationally backed government in Kabul.
20,000 workers at US industrial giant General Electric go on strike in 23 states over a GE plan to require workers to pay more for health insurance benefits.
Borland Software Corporation (Nasdaq NM: BORL) announced the completion of its acquisition of TogetherSoft Corporation. Borland acquired the privately held TogetherSoft for approximately $82.5 million (cash) plus 9,050,000 shares of Borland common stock (reported as a total of $185 million) [news on Borland website].
The Swiss yacht Allinghi, captained by New Zealand skipper Russell Coutts, defeated Oracle, a San Francisco, California-based yacht, to win the challenger final of the America's Cup. Allinghi will now face the New Zealand defender, yet to be determined.
As part of the plan to invade Iraq, British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon announces that 26,000 British troops and equipment including 120 tanks will be sent to Kuwait, joining the 5,000 troops already on their way there.
The RIAA, a music industry lobbying group, announces that Hilary Rosen will step down as head of the organization at the end of 2003. Rosen achieved notoriety on the Internet for her prolific efforts to halt the spread of copyrightedMP3 recordings on peer-to-peer file sharing networks such as Napster and Kazaa. Reports indicate that the members of the RIAA are unhappy with Rosen's nearly total failure to achieve this goal.
350 Australian troops begin their journey towards Iraq, joining the US and UK troops already assembled there. Prime Minister John Howard said that "pre-positioning troops increased the likelihood of (the crisis) being resolved peacefully". Around 150 people protested as the troop ship left Sydney, some shouting "Go yourself!" to Mr. Howard.
Fast food restaurant chain McDonald's reports a quarterly loss for the first time. The loss amounted to US$344 million. Shares in the company fell around 3% on the news.
The last signal from Pioneer 10 was detected before losing signal with it completely.
Hulk Hogan returns to WWE.
The msy Wind Song was towed into the Sea of the Moon between Tahiti and Moorea and sunk in 9,843 feet of water.
An election in the state of Oregon to pass a temporary three-year income tax failed with 54% of the votes voting against and 44% voting for. This forced the first layoffs in the Oregon State Police since its creation in 1931, and other actions including cutbacks in many of the local school districts.
A false rumor that Thai actress Suvanant Kongying had told a reporter that the temple ruins at Angkor really belong to Thailand led to a riot in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This caused the destruction of the Thai Embassy and dozens of Thai-owned businesses, hotels and factories.
France strongly advises its citizens to leave the Ivory Coast. 1,500 French nationals remain trapped in the airport of the commercial capital Abidjan, which is surrounded by a crowd of around 5,000 supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo. Last week, the French brokered a power-sharing deal between the Government and the Northern rebels.