Portal:Current events/May 2003

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May 2003 was the fifth month of that common year. The month, which began on a Thursday, ended on a Saturday after 31 days.

Portal:Current events[edit]

This is an archived version of Wikipedia's Current events Portal from May 2003.

  • Boeing unveils a drawing of a proposed airplane of the future and launches a public contest to name the aircraft.
  • Professional social networking site LinkedIn launches.
  • Nearly 40,000 manuscripts and 700 artifacts belonging to the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad are recovered by U.S. Customs agents working with museum experts in Iraq. Some looters had returned items after promises of rewards and amnesty, and many items previously reported missing had actually been hidden in secret storage vaults at the museum prior to the outbreak of war.
  • A five-hour transit of Mercury takes place, an event that occurs only 13 times per century on average.
  • 30 German passengers and the driver of a tourist bus are killed by a train collision at a railroad crossing near Siofok, Hungary. 12 people are injured. Most of the passengers came from Lower Saxony or Schleswig-Holstein.
  • A vulnerability in the Microsoft Passport Internet authentication system is announced which allows an attacker to change a victim's password and thereby hijack their account. This affects Hotmail and other Passport-enabled systems, allowing an attacker to use a victim's email account and obtain other personal data such as credit card numbers.,[4][5]
  • The Russian mathematician Dr Grigori Perelman claims to have resolved the Poincaré conjecture.[6]
  • In New York City, the World Boxing Council declares itself bankrupt, to avoid paying a former world champion 30 million dollars after the former boxer wins a lawsuit against the organization.
  • King Mohammed VI of Morocco releases 9459 prisoners from Morocco's prisons in celebration of the birth of his first son and heir, who was named Prince Hassan.
  • An F4 tornado hits metro area of Oklahoma City, and became the 10th costliest tornado in United States history. No one was killed but many were injured. The tornado followed a path similar to that of the F5 tornado of May 3, 1999.
  • As many as 129 are feared dead after a door opens on a plane flying from Kinshasa to Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The victims were sucked from the plane, which returned to Kinshasa after the incident. Although the airline to which the plane belongs to is unknown, the plane involved in the tragedy has a logo of Ukrainian Cargo Airlines.
  • The United States Senate Armed Services Committee votes to lift a 10-year-old ban on the research and development of low-yield nuclear weapons as part of its 2004 defense-spending bill. The majority of the committee and the Bush administration argue that such weapons may in the future become necessary to deal with terrorist threats, and to effectively incinerate biological or chemical weapons installations. The move is criticized by Democrats who fear that it will increase the risks of nuclear proliferation and nuclear escalation in warfare.,[7][8]
  • The National Association of Evangelicals, a group of evangelical Christians, condemns Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jerry Vines, Pat Robertson and other evangelical ministers for anti-Islamic statements.
  • The United States House of Representatives approves a tax-cut measure for $550 billion over 10 years. This is $176 billion less than President George W. Bush originally proposed, but $200 billion more than the Senate's version of the same measure. One highly controversial aspect of the President's initial proposal that the House removed is the repeal of the tax on dividends paid by corporations to shareholders. There are also important differences between the House and Senate bills, and great difficulty is foreseen in reconciling them before they may be sent to the President for approval.
  • The first confirmed SARS case is reported in Finland. A man who had been visiting Toronto is now being treated at Turku University Hospital.
  • Ponds on the north side of Catoctin Mountain, near Gambrill Park Road and Tower Road in Frederick, Maryland, are under investigation by the FBI, in connection with the 2001 anthrax attacks. FBI investigators found anthrax spores and other evidence in their search of ponds in the area during December and January 2002. Divers retrieved a "clear box" with holes that could accommodate protective biological safety gloves, as well as vials wrapped in plastic from a pond in the Frederick Municipal Forest. A new theory has been developed suggesting how a criminal could have packed anthrax spores into envelopes without harming (him/her) self. Officials from Fort Detrick have stated that the water is safe because once in water anthrax spores cluster together and descend to the bottom. The water in the pond has been tested several times over the course of the investigation, and all indications are that the water is safe.
  • A number of newspapers have published the alleged identity of the British Force Research Unit's most senior informer within the Provisional IRA, code-named Stakeknife, who is thought to have been head of the Provisional IRA's internal security force, charged with routing out informers like himself. The person named has fled.
  • The Governor-General of Australia Peter Hollingworth has stood down from his post while investigations into his past are proceeding. Tasmanian Governor Sir Guy Green is appointed as Commonwealth Administrator.
  • Filip Vujanovic, a former Prime Minister who favors independence, was elected President of Montenegro. This was the third attempt at electing a President in five months; the first two votes did not attract enough voters to make the vote valid. This time the legislature had eliminated the turnout requirement.
  • Voters in Lithuania vote to join the European Union.
  • Manchester City F.C. close the curtains, at their stadium, Maine Road after 80 years.
  • Texas Rangers slugger Rafael Palmeiro became the 20th member of the 500 home run club in a game against the Cleveland Indians.
  • The Bureau of Engraving and Printing of the Treasury Department of the United States releases a new 20 dollar note, aimed at defeating the technological advances of counterfeiters. The note is expected to begin circulating in the fall of 2003; which is five years since the last $20 note was released in 1998. New designs for the $50 and $100 notes will follow in 2004 and 2005. The most distinctive change in the new currency design is in color. It is the first U.S. currency since 1905 to include colors other than green and black. Different colors for different denominations will make it easier to tell one note from another, and more difficult to counterfeit. The New Color of Money Web site (includes images)
  • Much of France comes to a standstill in a general strike of the public and private sectors.[12]
  • Russian officials identify Arab militant Abu Walib as the mastermind behind the May 12 bombing in Znamenskoye, Chechnya, and claim links between that incident and the bombings in Riyadh 14 hours later.[13]
  • A suicide bombing occurs at a religious festival in the town of Iliskhan-Yurt, in southeastern Chechnya. At least 14 people are killed by the bombing. The attack is apparently an attempt to assassinate Akhmad Kadyrov, the Moscow-appointed chief administrator of Chechnya. Kadryov escaped injury.,[14][15]
  • DARPA's Information Processing Technology Office solicits bids for the LifeLog project, an extremely ambitious effort to create a massive searchable computer database, "an ontology-based (sub)system that captures, stores, and makes accessible the flow of one person's experience in and interactions with the world ... The objective ... is to be able to trace the 'threads' of an individual's life in terms of events, states, and relationships".,[16][17]
  • SCO v. IBM Linux lawsuit: Apparently noticing the incongruity of their selling a Linux distribution while suing IBM for stealing their intellectual property and giving it to the developers of that operating system, the SCO Group (formerly Caldera International and Caldera Systems) announces they will no longer distribute Linux. According to their press release, "SCO will continue to support existing SCO Linux and Caldera OpenLinux customers and hold them harmless from any SCO intellectual property issues regarding SCO Linux and Caldera OpenLinux products."
  • Carlos Menem quits the Argentinian presidential race; fellow Peronist Néstor Kirchner is consequently expected to win.
  • The bodies of 17 Hispanics, suspected Mexican illegal immigrants, were found by police in Victoria, Texas. One more person, a man, died in a hospital, raising the death total to 18. 13 of the bodies were found inside a locked truck, and four of them outside it. A man was later arrested in Houston on suspicion of being the smuggler who led the 18 persons to their deaths.
  • The journal Nature reports that all species of large fish in the world's oceans have been so thoroughly overfished that just 10% of the population that there was in 1950 remains. The scientists who authored the report conclude that the world's oceans are no longer even close to their natural state. Sharks, Atlantic cod, and Pacific sardines are tapped as particularly imperilled with extinction. The scientists recommend drastic measures to reduce ocean fishing. Nature, Environment News, BBC
  • The United States Senate approves a tax-cut bill designed to cut revenues by a total of $350 billion over ten years. The Senate takes a compromise position on the controversial issue of taxing stock dividends; the dividend tax is temporarily reduced, then eliminated, and reinstated for 2007. The bill will now go to a conference committee to resolve differences with a $550 billion tax cut passed by the House on May 10.
  • China announces a new series of measures to combat SARS. Foreign adoptions of Chinese babies are now suspended. The penalties for knowingly spreading the disease have been increased, and now include execution.
  • United States federal prosecutors indict Jamal Ahmad Mohammad Al Badawi and Fahd al-Quso, in absentia, in connection with the USS Cole bombing in Yemen on October 12, 2000.
  • Horse-racing: Funny Cide, the winner of the Kentucky Derby, wins the Preakness Stakes by 934 lengths.
  • Flooding begins in Sri Lanka; it left 500 missing and 350,000 homeless.
  • White House spokesman Ari Fleischer announces he will resign from his job in the summer, citing his desire to see his new wife more and to work in the private sector as reasons for his decision.
  • Boobs! The Musical, the World According to Ruth Wallis, by Ruth Wallis, opens at the Triad Theater in New York City. Gennifer Flowers is an eventual understudy in this play.
  • Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon states that the "occupation" of Palestinian territories is "a terrible thing for Israel and for the Palestinians" and "can't continue endlessly." Sharon's phraseology prompts shock from many in Israel, leading to a clarification that by "occupation," Sharon meant control of millions of Palestinian lives rather than actual physical occupation of land.[31]
  • SCO v. IBM Linux lawsuit: Novell enters the lawsuit between the SCO Group and IBM with a press release concerning the SCO Group's ownership of UNIX. "To Novell's knowledge, the 1995 agreement governing SCO's purchase of UNIX from Novell does not convey to SCO the associated copyrights," a letter to the SCO Group's CEO Darl McBride said in part. "We believe it unlikely that SCO can demonstrate that it has any ownership interest whatsoever in those copyrights. Apparently you share this view, since over the last few months you have repeatedly asked Novell to transfer the copyrights to SCO, requests that Novell has rejected."
  • The first version of the free and open-source blogging tool WordPress was released. It was labelled as Version 0.7, a continuation of the last release of its predecessor, b2/cafelog.[32]
  • Space Shuttle Columbia disaster: NASA officials release experimental findings proving that the insulation known to have hit the leading edge of Columbia's left wing could have created a gap in between protective heat panels.[36]
  • A Russian nuclear energy company founded a branch to promote its bid for Finland's new nuclear power plant. Competing bids have been submitted by French-German company Framatome and General Electric[37]. Finnish power company TVO will make its selection in the autumn at the earliest, but by the end of the year at the latest.
  • The Indian Ministry of Defence announced its purchase of Phalcon early warning radar systems from Israel. The contract is worth U.S. $1.2 billion.
  • Legendary entertainer Bob Hope celebrates his 100th birthday, quipping "I'm so old, they've canceled my blood type." [38]
May 2003

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