Israel's Likud Party votes in a referendum not to pull out of the Gaza Strip unilaterally. The referendum's defeat is seen as a major blow to the Sharon government. Sharon subsequently says that he will not resign and may modify the plan. (BBC)
Palestinian gunmen kill a pregnant Israeli mother, Tali Hatuel, and all four of her young daughters near the Kissufim Crossing in the Gaza Strip. The killers are shot dead by security forces. The incident is believed to have influenced voting intentions in the referendum held the same day. (INN)(BBC)
The US is starting to lose its dominance in the sciences; "the rest of the world is catching up", according to John E. Jankowski of the National Science Foundation. Scientists from Europe and now other countries are now publishing more papers in major professional journals than scientists from the U.S.. New York Times p.A1.
An Egyptian court rejects the petition of an Egyptian movie producer seeking to establish an Egyptian-Israeli friendship organization stating: "Egyptian society does not need a friendship association with Israel. The Egyptian public and Arabs do not need such false friendships, as demonstrated by the attacks on the Palestinian people." (INN)(HaAretz)
French police seek 500 kg (1,100 lb) of ammonium nitrate fertilizer stolen from the port of Honfleur at the mouth of the Seine River. The fertilizer can be converted easily into a powerful explosive. Such an explosive was used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. AZF suspended operations inside France while the group seeks to upgrade its arsenal. (NYT)
Mexico and Peru recall their ambassadors from Cuba, citing recent "offensive" comments by Cuban head of state Fidel Castro. The Cuban ambassador to Mexico is also expelled, for "activities incompatible with his diplomatic status". (VOA)(BBC)
At US$38.21 per barrel of crude, oil prices hit their highest level since 1990. (AP)
In an open letter to George W. Bush more than 50 former high-ranking United States diplomats (including former ambassadors to Saudi Arabia and Qatar) complain about the Bush administration's policy towards the Middle East claiming that the President's approach, and specifically his endorsement of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan, is losing the U.S. "credibility, prestige and friends". The letter follows a similar one written by 52 former British diplomats sent to Tony Blair a few days earlier. (BBC)
Parliament grounds and adjoining footpaths in New Zealand host 15,000 people (many of whom have participated in several days of route march – "hikoi") protesting about the proposed law that is expected to change the ownership of foreshore and seabed.
Supreme Court of India announced the judgment in the favor of "Vedic Astrology". Supreme Court of India accepted "Vedic Astrology" as a science. Also, Supreme Court of India orders to the Government of India, to introduce "Vedic Astrology" as a course at university level through the country. A well known astrologer K. N. Rao was the petitioner who filled the case against the Government of India.
President George W. Bush states that a resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians would be the result of negotiations and that the United States would oppose "any developments in the region that might endanger your (Jordan's) interests." (NYT)
The television sitcomFriends airs its final episode in the United States and Canada.
The Prime Minister of NepalSurya Bahadur Thapa resigns amid protests by opposition parties. Prime Minister Thapa was appointed by King Gyanendra eleven months ago. The opposing parties are demanding formation of an all party government with a Prime Minister of their choice. (BBC)
The Palestinian Cabinet announces plans to hold municipal elections, starting with Jericho and followed by some Gaza Strip municipalities. The elections, starting in August, will replace mayors appointed by the Palestine Authority. The previous elections, for president and legislature, were held in 1996. (NYT), (VOA)
The Mexican Air Force releases a video of eleven UFOs filmed over the state of Campeche. The lights were filmed on March 5 by pilots using infrared equipment. UNAM scientists say the phenomenon was probably caused by pockets of atmospheric gas. (CNN)(AP)
Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka loses a parliamentary vote of confidence, less than two weeks after he was appointed to the post. He will continue in a caretaker capacity until a new candidate is appointed. (BBC)(PolitInfo)
The impact crater of the "Great Dying"—the end-Permian event, the largest extinction event in the history of life on Earth—appears to be a 125-mile (200-km)-wide crater called "Bedout" off the northwestern coast of Australia. (UCSB Press release)
The Israeli army announces its intention to demolish hundreds of additional houses in the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip along the border with Egypt after the Supreme Court rejects a petition against the demolitions. In the past, the IDF has found dozens of tunnels hidden underneath homes allegedly used to smuggle guns, ammunition, explosives, fugitives, drugs and other illegal materials into Gaza. The court had previously issued a temporary injunction after 88 homes had been destroyed leaving more than 1000 people homeless (UNRWA figures disputed by the Israeli army). (BBC)(Haaretz)(Maariv)
French European Unionparliamentarian Paul Marie Couteax declares: "I have no hesitation in saying that we must consider giving the Arab side a large enough force, including a large enough nuclear force, to persuade Israel that it cannot simply do whatever it wants. That is the policy my country (France) pursued in the 1970s when it gave Iraq a nuclear force."(JPost)[permanent dead link]
Police in London foil an armed robbery at the Heathrow Cargo Centre, which attempted to steal £40 million (some USD 70 million) in gold and £30-£40 million in cash. Six men are arrested and another is being sought by police. (BBC)
Stock markets in India fall sharply following frenetic panic selling minutes after opening business. Owing to uncertainties over the proposed economic policies of the impending Sonia Gandhi government, Bombay Stock Exchange loses 800 points in the first 23 minutes, or almost 15%, in the biggest ever intra-day slippage in its history. Regulators freeze the trading twice, in an attempt to shelve the damage. Markets recover some ground after public assurances by the Indian National Congress party that the fears are unfounded. (BBC)
The Denver Post has uncovered Pentagon documents that show more than twice as many allegations of detainee abuse (75) are being investigated by the military than previously known. Twenty-seven of the abuse cases involve deaths; at least eight are believed to be homicides. (Denver Post)
The first U.S. soldier is sentenced after pleading guilty: Spc. Jeremy Sivits receives one year in prison, demotion and a dishonorable discharge. (CNN)
At least one British soldier is arrested for creating the faked British abuse photos. (CNN)
Russian PresidentVladimir Putin announces that his country will pursue ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. Ratification will make the protocol take effect and impose trade restrictions on non-participating countries, such as Australia and the United States. (Independent)
The popular singer Madonna cancels three concerts in Israel after receiving letters in which her two young children's lives were threatened. The letters contained intimate details regarding the children's routines and security staff. (The Sun)
FBI Director Robert Mueller and United States Attorney GeneralJohn Ashcroft state that Al Qaeda may be planning a terrorist strike over the coming months. Multiple FBI officials contend that there is no recent intelligence to suggest a significant change in the US's security situation, and critics question the validity and timing of the public warning.(NYT) Seven people wanted for questioning are also named.
A man armed with a knife enters the mansion of Puerto Rican governor Sila María Calderón and takes a secretary hostage. Calderón negotiates with him for the hostage's release, and he is arrested soon after. (CNN)
Islamist militants attack two oil industry installations and a foreign workers' housing complex in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, killing at least 11 people and taking some 50 hostages. Saudi police attempt to storm the housing complex but withdraw after taking casualties. A previously unknown militant group styling itself "The Jerusalem Squadron" claims responsibility and says they are attacking "zionists and crusaders" who are there to "steal our oil and resources". (CNN)(BBC)
U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner (in Massachusetts) rules that stating that someone is homosexual does not constitute libel or slander. (AP)
An F2 tornado on May 30 affected portions of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Area on the same day the Indianapolis 500 was taking place. The tornado missed the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by six miles and forced post-racing events to be held indoors. The tornado did however caused extensive damage across southern and eastern Marion County south of the downtown area. While 26 people were injured, over 700 structures were damaged by the storm.
A bomb explodes at a Shi'a mosque in Karachi, Pakistan, during evening prayers. Around 15 people are killed, dozens more are injured, the building is seriously damaged, and rioting Shi'ites take to the streets. (BBC)