Historical Timeline

Calendar Months

     "Most newspaper article events happen anywhere from days, to months, to years before they reach publication. Consequently, most newspaper articles on this timeline are preceded by the date of the newspaper in which they appear." [E.M.]      *Color Code

January 2003

2003 - Astronomic Configuration - January 1st, 2003: "Sun [10 Capricorn], Moon [19 Sagittarius], Mercury [28 Capricorn], Venus, [23 Scorpio], Mars [19 Scorpio], Jupiter [16 Leo R], Saturn [24 Gemini R], Uranus [26 Aquarius], Neptune [9 Aquarius], Pluto [18 Sagittarius], Chiron [10 Capricorn]." [Link: 1]

2003 - Earth Being Watched by Aliens? - January 12th, 2003: " 'It's possible Earth is being watched by aliens, the astronomer, James E. McDonald, told a congressional subcommittee in 1968. He also charged that 'the scientific community has been seriously misinformed for 20 years.' " [Link: 1]

2003 - HAARP Poses Global Threat? - January 15th, 2003: "A lot of specialists and scientists believe that unpredictable natural disasters and several man-caused catastrophes that struck Europe and Asia in the summer of the year 2002 say that there might be certain global reasons that caused them all. First and foremost, it goes about a possibility of secret geophysical weapon tests. [....]" [Pravada, 01-15-03] [Link: 1]

2003 - Big Brother Society? / United States - January 16th, 2003: "Warning that a technology explosion is transforming the United States into 'a surveillance society' where every detail of Americans' daily lives can be tracked, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a report Wednesday urging national debate on new laws to reclaim citizens' right to privacy." [Link 1]

2003 - Empty Nuclear Warhead Shells? / Iraq - January 17th, 2003: "The United States announced the discovery of empty nuclear warhead shells found in Iraq and publicly insinuated a justification for war. Meanwhile the United States maintains the largest and most deadly military arsenal in recorded history." [E.M.]

2003 - Whirl-Making Weapon? - January 20th, 2003: "It is known that for many years the USSR and the USA have been working secretly on development of a so-called 'climate weapon.' It was believed that artificial cyclones, squall typhoons and tornado could be created over hostile territories, at that nature would be considered the author of these disasters. It is not clear whether military men were a success with such developments, but the public community still suspects that some climate disasters are of unnatural origin. Recently, Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky blamed Americans for a hurricane that raged in Moscow. [....]" [Pravada, 01-20-03]

2003 - U.S. Cold Snap - January 22nd, 2003: "Portions of the United States entered a severe pattern of cold temperatures. Some regions in the United States reported 60 below zero wind chill factors."

2003 - Earthquake / Colima, Mexico - January 22nd, 2003: "Earthquake location: Colima, Mexico. Earthquake magnitude: 7.6. Number of recorded fatalities: 29."  [Based on: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005, p. 208]

2003 - Foreign Relations / U.S.A. & Iraq - January 27th, 2003: "American sources made it clear that the United States fully intended taking over Iraq’s oil fields, administering them in the long term and using Iraqi oil revenues to partly defray the costs of conducting war and maintaining a long-term military occupation of Iraq. According to DEBKAfile’s Washington sources, the war bill which, unlike Gulf War I, America will carry more or less single-handed, is estimated at $130 billion, while maintaining app. 70,000 US troops in the country to protect the oil fields and maintain Iraq’s post-war stability could run to another $10-12 billion a year. To raise this cash, the United States plans to increase Iraq’s oil output from 1.6 million to 6.5 million barrels per day, necessitating further heavy outlay for renovating the badly run down Iraqi oil production equipment. At the same time, the long-term, military-backed control over Iraq’s oil resources – on the spot rather than from outside the region – will make America the leading strategic-political-military force in the Middle East and Persian Gulf as well giving Washington a controlling interest in the global oil market." [Based on article by Henry L. Marconi, PRAVDA.Ru, Sydney]

2003 - What Did Happen To Flight 93? - January 28th, 2003: "According to a January 28th report, eye witness accounts on that fatal day of September 11th, 2001 saw what looked like a white military style aircraft in the immediate vicinity just prior to the crash of flight 93." [Link: 1]

2003 - Refers to Iraq's Quest for Niger Uranium / President George W.Bush - January 28th, 2003: "President Bush refers to Iraq's quest for Niger uranium in State of Union address but does not say U.S. questioned intelligence." [Based on: News Reports, p. A5 S.L.P.D., 10/28/05]

*Trivia: "Italy's spymaster identified an Italian occasional spy named Rocco Martino on Thursday [11/03/05] as the disseminator of forged documents that described efforts by Iraq to buy hundreds of tons of uranium ore from Niger for a nuclear weapons program, three Italian lawmakers said Thursday. The spymaster, Gen. Nicolo Pollari, director of the Italian military intelligence agency known as SISMI, disclosed that Martino was the source of the forged documents in closed-door testimony to a parliamentary committee that oversees secret services, the lawmakers said. Sen. Massimo Brutti, a member of the committee, told reporters that Pollari had identified Martino as a former intelligence agency informer who had been 'kicked out of the agency.' The revelation came on a day when the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed that it had shut down its two-year investigation into the origin of the forged documents from Italy. The information about Iraq's desire to acquire the uranium ore, known as yellowcake, was used by the Bush administration to help justify the invasion of Iraq, notably by President George W. Bush in his State of the Union address in January 2003. But the information was later revealed to have been based on forgeries. [....] Martino has long been suspected of being the person responsible for peddling the false documents on the Iraq-Niger connection. But this was the first time that his role was formally disclosed by Italian intelligence. Neither Martino nor his lawyer was available for comment. Brutti also told reporters that the Italian intelligence agency had warned the United States in early 2003 that the Niger-Iraq documents were false. 'At about the same time as the State of the Union address, they said that the dossier doesn't correspond to the truth,' Brutti said. He made the claim more than once, but gave no supporting evidence. Amid confusing statements by various lawmakers, he later appeared to backtrack in conversations with both The Associated Press and Reuters, saying that because SISMI never had the documents, it could not comment on their merit." [Based on: New York Times article by Elaine Sciolino & Elisabetta Povoledo (Italy alleges ex-spy spread bogus Iraq uranium report), p. A11, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 11/04/05]

*Trivia: "[....] Four U.S. officials said the Italian military intelligence agency known as SISMI passed three reports to the CIA station in Rome between October 2001 and March 2002 outlining an illegal deal for Iraq to buy uranium ore, known as yellowcake, from Niger. [....] One of the reports passed by SISMI contained language that turned out to have been lifted verbatim from crudely forged documents that outlined the purported uranium-ore deal, the U.S. officials said. 'SISMI was involved in this; there is no doubt,' said a U.S. intelligence official who has closely followed the matter. The United States obtained complete copies of the forgeries in October 2002. Five months later, the International Atomic Energy Agency determined that the documents were fakes, shortly before the invasion of Iraq, and the White House later conceded that Bush shouldn't have made the allegations. The Italian government has denied that SISMI was involved in concocting or passing the forged documents. A July 2004 Senate Intelligence Committee report said three reports on the alleged deal were passed to the CIA in that period, but it didn't disclose the name of the foreign intelligence service that had provided them. Two of the U.S. officials said SISMI had passed similar reports about the alleged deal, based on the forgeries, to the intelligence services in Britain, France and Germany. Britain has continued to stand by a 2002 'white paper' report that charged that Iraq had sought to buy yellowcake in Africa. Bush cited the British assertion in his 2003 State of the Union address rather than the U.S. intelligence reports, which had been disputed by some CIA experts and by the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research. The U.S. oficials were reacting to the reported testimony by SISMI Director Nicolo Pollari on Thursday [11/03/05] in a closed-door Italian parliamentary committee hearing. After the hearing, Italian lawmakers said Pollari had pinned the passing of the forgeries on a former SISMI informer named Rocco Martino. Pollari denied that any Italian intelligence agency was involved in concocting the fakes or disseminating them. News reports have quoted Martino as saying he had obtained the documents from a contact at the Niger Embassy in Rome, but this was the first time he was officially identified. Key questions remain about how the Niger claim made it into the Bush administration's case for war, including who concocted the forged documents and why the claim was in Bush's State of the Union after being cut from a draft of a presidential speeech some two months earlier." [Based on: Knight Ridder Newspapers article by Jonathan S. Landay (U.S. again blames Italy for bogus Iraq reports) , p. A3, S.L.P.D., 11/06/05]

*Trivia: "The German intelligence officials responsible for one of the most important informants on Saddam Hussein's suspected weapons of mass destruction say that the Bush Administration and the CIA repeatedly exaggerated his claims during the run-up to the Iraq war. Five senior officials from Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, or BND, said in interviews with the Los Angeles Times that they warned U.S. intelligence authorities that the source, an Iraqi defector code-named Curveball, never claimed to produce germ weapons and never saw anyone else do so. According to the Germans, President George W. Bush mischaracterized Curveball's information when he warned before the war that Iraq had at least seven mobile factories brewing biological poisons. [....] At the Central Intelligence Agency, senior officials embraced Curveball's claims even though they could not verify them or interview him until a year after the invasion. They ignored multiple warnings about his reliability, punished in-house critics who provided proof that he had lied and refused to admit error until May 2004, 14 months after invasion. After the CIA vouched for Curveball's information, Bush warned in his State of the Union Speech in January 2003 that Iraq had 'mobile biological weapons labs' designed to produce 'germ warfare agents.' The next month, Bush said in a radio address and in a statement that Iraq 'has at least seven mobile factories' for germ warfare. [....] The BND supervisor said he was aghast when he watched Powell misstate Curveball's information as a justification for war. 'We had always told them it was not proven. ... It was not hard intelligence.' " [Based on: Los Angeles Times article (U.S. exaggerated Iraqi informant's weapons claims, Germans say) by Bob Drogin and John Goetz [paragraph indents removed], p. A9, S.L.P.D., 11/20/05]

February 2003

2003 - Chinese Black Ram [Sheep] Year - February 1st, 2003: "The Chinese lunar calendar marks this as the new year, 4700, the Year of the Ram." [Link: 1]

2003 - Fatality / Space Shuttle Columbia - February 1st, 2003: "At about 9:00 am E.S.T. NASA lost contact with space shuttle Columbia returning from a sixteen-day science mission. While traveling at a speed of nearly 12,000 mph and descending over the borders of Texas and New Mexico, space shuttle Columbia at an altitude of nearly 200,000 ft. [about 40 miles] subsequently began to break apart. On its way down to earth Columbia rained a trail of debris over the states of Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. All seven crew members were believed dead, including the first Israeli Citizen in space, Israeli Air Force Colonel and Payload Specialist, Ilan Ramon. First launced in April and November of 1981, Columbia was the first shuttle in space." [Links: 1]  

2003 - Trivia / Dollar vs. Euro? - February 3rd, 2003: "[....] Ever since 1971, when US president Richard Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard [at $35 per ounce] that had been agreed to at the Bretton Woods Conference at the end of World War II, the dollar has been a global monetary instrument that the United States, and only the United States, can produce by fiat. The dollar, now [2003?] a fiat currency, is at a 16-year trade-weighted high despite record US current-account deficits and the status of the US as the leading debtor nation. The US national debt as of April 4 was $6.021 trillion against a gross domestic product [GDP] of $9 trillion. [....]" [Link 1: about 1/3 down page] [Other Links: 1]

*Trivia: "[....] Around 2005, from an economic and monetary perspectivem, it will be logical for OPEC to switch to the euro for oil pricing. Of course that will devalue the dollar, and hurt the US economy unless it begins making some structual changes - or use its massive military power to force events upon the OPEC states. [....] Facing these potentialities, I hypothesize that President Bush intends to topple Saddam in 2003 in a pre-emptive attempt to initiate massive Iraqi oil production in far excess of OPEC quotas, to reduce global oil prices, and thereby dismantle OPEC's price controls. The end-goal of the neo-conservatives is incredibly bold yet simple in purpose, to use the 'war on terror' as the premise to finally dissolve OPEC's decision-making process, thus ultimately preventing the cartel's inevitable switch to pricing oil in euros. [....]" [Link: 1 past middle page]

*Trivia: "[....] One of the dirty little secrets of today's international order is that the rest of the globe could topple the United States from its hegemonic status whenever they so choose with a concerted abandonment of the dollar standard. This is America's preeminent, inescapable Achilles Heel for now and the foreseeable future. [....]" [Link: 1 3/4 down page]

*Trivia: "[....] Despite President Bush's attempt to use the threat of applying military force to OPEC producers who may wish to switch to the euro for their oil payments, it appears their belligerent neo conservative policies may paradoxically bring about the dire outcome they hope to prevent - an OPEC currency switch to euros.
   "The American people are not aware of such information due to the U.S. mass media, which has been reduced to a handful of consumption/entertainment and profit-oriented conglomerates that filter the flow of information in the U.S. Indeed, the Internet provides the only source of unfiltered 'real news.' [....]" [Link: 1 4/5 down page]

*Trivia: "[....] It would appear that any attempt by OPEC member states in the Middle East or Latin America to transition to the euro as their oil transaction currency standard shall be met with either overt U.S. military actions or covert U.S. intelligence agency interventions. Under the guise of the perpetual 'war on terror' the Bush administration is manipulating the American people about the unspoken but very real macroeconomic reasons for this upcoming war with Iraq. This war in Iraq will have nothing to do with any threat from Saddam's old WMD program. This war will be over the global currency of oil.
   "Sadly, the U.S. has become largely ignorant and complacent. Too many of us are willing to be ruled by fear and lies, rather than by persuasion and truth. Will we allow our government to initiate the dangerous 'pre-emptive doctrine' by waging an unpopular war in Iraq, while we refuse to acknowledge that Saddam does not pose an imminent threat to the United States? We seem unable to address the structural weakness of our economy due to massive debt manipulation, unaffordable 2001 tax cuts, massive current account deficits, trade deficits, corporate accounting abuses, unsustainable credit expansion, near zero personal savings, record personal indebtedness, and our dependence and over consumption of cheap Middle Eastern oil. How much longer can we reliably import our oil from middle eastern states that dislike or despise us because of our biased foreign policy towards Israel?
   "Lastly, we must bear in mind Jefferson's insistence that a free press is our best, and perhaps only mechanism to protect democracy, and part of today's dilemma lies within the U.S. media conglomerates that have failed to inform the People. [....]" [Link: 1 4/5 down page]

*Trivia: "[....] If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. [....] The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State. [....]" [Joseph Goebbels, German Minister of Propaganda, 1933-1945] [Link: 1 near bottom page]

*Trivia: "[....] Since the mid-late 1990s the Caspian Sea region of Central Asia was thought to hold approx. 200 billion barrels of untapped oil [the latter would be comparable to Saudi Arabia's reserve base](16). Based on an early feasibility study by Enron, the easiest and cheapest way to bring this oil to market would be a pipeline from Kazakhstan, through Afghanistan to the Pakistan border at Malta. In 1998 then CEO of Halliburton, Dick Cheney, expressed much interest in building that pipeline.
   "In fact, these oil reserves were a *central* component of Vice President Cheney's energy plan released in May 2001. According to his report, the U.S. will import 90% of its oil by 2020, and thus tapping into the reserves in the Caspian Sea region was viewed as a strategic goal that would help meet our growing energy demand, and also reduce our dependence on oil from the Middle East (17). According to the French book, The Forbidden Truth (18), the Bush administration ignored the U.N. sanctions that had been imposed upon the Taliban and entered into negotiations with the supposedly 'rogue regime' from February 2, 2001 to August 6, 2001. According to this book, the Taliban were apparently not very cooperative based on the statements of Pakistan's former ambassador, Mr. Naik. He reports that the U.S. threatened a 'military option' in the summer of 2001 if the Taliban did not acquiesce to our demands. Fortuitous for the Bush administration and Cheney's energy plan, Bin Laden delivered to us 9/11. The pre-positioned U.S. military; along with the CIA providing cash to the Northern Alliance leaders, led the invasion of Afghanistan and the Taliban were routed. The pro-western Karzai government was ushered in. The pipeline project was now back on track in early 2002, well, sort. [....]
   "After three exploratory wells were built and analyzed, it was reported that the Caspian region holds only approximately 10 to 20 billion barrels of oil [although it does have a lot of natural gas] (16). The oil is also of poor quality, with high sulfur content. Subsequently, several major companies have now dropped their plans for the pipeline citing the massive project was no longer profitable. Unfortunately, this recent realization about the Caspian Sea region has serious implications for the U.S., India, China, Asia and Europe, as the amount of available hydrocarbons for industrialized and developing nations has been decreased downward by 20%. [Global estimates reduced from 1.2 trillion to approx. 1 trillion] (18, 19). The Bush administration quickly turned its attention to a known quantity, Iraq, with it proven reserves totaling 11% of the world's oil reserves. Our greatest nemesis, Bin Laden, was quickly replaced with our new public enemy #1, Saddam Hussein. [....]
   "For those who would like to review the impact of depleting hydrocarbon reserves from the geo-political perspective, and the potential ramifications to how this may ultimately create an erosion of our civil liberties and democratic processes, retired U.S. Special Forces officer Stan Goff offers a sobering analysis in his essay: 'The Infinite War and Its Roots' (20). Likewise, for those who wish to review the unspeakable evidence surrounding the September 11th tragedy, the controversial essay 'The Enemy Within' by the famous American writer Gore Vidal offers a thorough introduction. Although published in Italy and a major UK newspaper, The Observer, you will not read Gore Vidal's controversial essay in the U.S. media. Note: Gore Vidal's latest book, 'Dreaming War' features this as the opening essay (21). Finally, 'The War on Freedom' by British political scientist Nafeez Ahmed asks disconcerting questions about the 9/11 tragedy (22)." [Link: 1 near bottom page]

[Based on: http://www.rense.com/general34/realre.htm]

*Trivia: "The dollar declined on Monday [12/27/04] to weaker than $1.36 a euro for the first time, touching its seventh record low this month [December 2004], on speculation the United States and Europe will allow the currency to drop. Record U.S. budget and trade deficits have deterred foreign investors, pushing the dollar to its third straight annual loss against the euro and yen. The U.S. currency has fallen 7.5 percent this year [2004] against the euro and 3.8 percent against the yen. A weaker dollar may spur U.S. exports and crimp imports. [....] The dollar reached an all-time low of $1.3640 a euro, and traded at $1.3616 at 4 p.m. in New York, from $1.3540 late on Friday [12/24/04]. [....]" [Bloomberg News, 12/28/04]

2003 - Not Hard Intelligence? / Biological Weapons Arsenal, Iraq - February 5th, 2003: "The German intelligence officials responsible for one of the most important informants on Saddam Hussein's suspected weapons of mass destruction say that the Bush Administration and the CIA repeatedly exaggerated his claims during the run-up to the Iraq war. Five senior officials from Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, or BND, said in interviews with the Los Angeles Times that they warned U.S. intelligence authorities that the source, an Iraqi defector code-named Curveball, never claimed to produce germ weapons and never saw anyone else do so. According to the Germans, President George W. Bush mischaracterized Curveball's information when he warned before the war that Iraq had at least seven mobile factories brewing biological poisons. Then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell also misstated Curveball's claims in his pre-war presentation to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003, the Germans said. [....] 'This was not substantial evidence,' said a senior German intelligence official. 'We made clear we could not verify the things he said.' The German authorities, speaking about the case for the first time [2005], also said that their informant suffered from emotional and mental problems. 'He is not a stable, psychologically stable guy,' said a BND official who supervised the case. Curveball was the chief source of inaccurate pre-war U.S. claims that Baghdad had a biological weapons arsenal, a commission appointed by Bush reported earlier this year [2005]. [....] After the CIA vouched for Curveball's information, Bush warned in his State of the Union Speech in January 2003 that Iraq had 'mobile biological weapons labs' designed to produce 'germ warfare agents.' The next month [February 2003], Bush said in a radio address and in a statement that Iraq 'has at least seven mobile factories' for germ warfare. [....] The BND supervisor said he was aghast when he watched Powell misstate Curveball's information as a justification for war. 'We had always told them it was not proven. ... It was not hard intelligence.' " [Based on: Los Angeles Times article (U.S. exaggerated Iraqi informant's weapons claims, Germans say) by Bob Drogin and John Goetz [paragraph indents removed], p. A9, S.L.P.D., 11/20/05]

2003 - Audiotape / Osama Bin Laden? - February 11th, 2003: "A voice purported to be bin Laden's calls on Iraqi's to carry out suicide attacks against Americans and defend themselves against a U.S. attack in a tape broadcast on Al-Jazeera. The voice urges Muslims to rise up against several U.S.-allied governments in the region. U.S. counterterrorism officials say the audio message was probably authentic." [A.P., 10/30/04]

2003 - Audiotape / Osama Bin Laden? - February 13th, 2003: "An audiotape purported to be of bin Laden reads a poetic last will and testament in a recording first obtained by the British-based Islamic Al-Ansaar news agency. Bin Laden says he wants to die a martyr in a new attack against the United States. It wasn't possible to verify the recording's authenticity." [A.P., 10/30/04]

2003 - World Peace Demonstrations - February 15th, 2003: "In 600 cities around the world, in 50 countries, millions of people gave up their free time this Saturday to turn out in demonstrations for peace. In question is not the character of Saddam Hussein, but rather the notion that war cannot be waged without a valid pretext.
   "Governments and organisers will refute the exact figures but today, Saturday 15th February 2003, something special happened. The citizens of the world, whatever their colour or creed, came together in Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa, North and South America to show to those who wish to wage war against Iraq that they are isolated and wrong.
   "The citizens of the world came together today to lay the foundations of a new world order, based on a multi-lateralist, democratic approach. The citizens of the world today claimed their stake in the way major events are managed, because today it was proved that every individual counts. [....]" [By Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey, PRAVADA.Ru]

2003 - Blizzard / Eastern Seaboard, U.S.A. - "Blizzard date(s): February 16th-17th, 2003. Number of recorded deaths: 59." [Based on: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005, p. 206]

2003 - U.S. Propositions / Turkey - February 19th, 2003: "The United States reportedly offered Turkey 26 Billion dollars of grants and loans for the use of their military bases to launch a war on Iraq. Turkey has yet to respond." 

2003 - Nuclear Weapons / Israel? - February 20th, 2003: "Peres [Shimon Peres] admitted in a Feb. 20, 2003 speech in Jerusalem that Israel did indeed have nuclear weapons. The Israeli leader made the admission to a delegation from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
   "(Despite all of this, most mainstream reports about Israel’s nuclear programs continue to state that Israel officially denies having nuclear weapons, Peres’ statement notwithstanding.)
   "This admission by Peres was particularly interesting because in 1999, many American Jewish organizations reacted with alarm when then-President Bill Clinton dared to mention Israel’s nuclear program." [Based on: article by Michael Collins Piper, A.F.P., March 2004]

2003 - Earthquake / China - February 24th, 2003: "The Xinjiang region in China's far west was hit by a powerful earthquake of magnitude 6.8 that killed 268 people." [News Services]

2003 - Comet C / 2002 VI NEAT - February 24th, 2003: "A huge comet is rounding the sun, a comet twice the size of Jupiter [about 22 times the size of earth].  Some have seen it at sunrise and sunset; otherwise, it is not visible because it is occluded by solar glare.  Essentially, it is coming from behind the sun and was first observed by NASA less than two months ago." [Links: 1, 2]

2003 - Snow Storm / Middle East  - February 25th, 2003: "Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon received their heaviest snow in 50 years."

2003 - Astronomic Configuration - February 26th, 2003: "Sun [7 Pisces], Moon [9 Capricorn], Mercury [18 Aquarius], Venus, [24 Capricorn], Mars [25 Sagittarius], Jupiter [10 Leo R], Saturn [22 Gemini], Uranus [29 Aquarius], Neptune [11 Aquarius], Pluto [19 Sagittarius], Chiron [15 Capricorn]. February 26th, 2003 shows the strongest opposition between Saturn to Pluto since May 26th, 2002." [Link :1]

*Trivia: "This date [02/26/03] will see not only an opposition between Saturn and Pluto, but also an opposition between Saturn and Mars. By February 27th, 2003, Saturn will again have moved to direct motion." [E.M.]

2003 - Missing? / U.S.-Iraq  History - February 27th, 2003: "George W. Bush also has some questions he should answer before missiles start crashing into Baghdad. When he took office in 2001, one of his first acts as president was to block the legally required release of documents from the Reagan-Bush administration.
   "Then, after the September 11 terrorist attacks as a stunned nation rallied around him, Bush issued an even more sweeping secrecy order. He granted former presidents and vice presidents or their surviving family members the right to stop release of historical records, including those related to 'military, diplomatic or national security secrets.' Bush’s order stripped the Archivist of the United States of the power to overrule claims of privilege from former presidents and their representatives. [For details on Bush’s secrecy policies, see the New York Times, January 3, 2003]
   "By a twist of history, Bush’s order eventually could give him control of both his and his father’s records covering 12 years of the Reagan-Bush era and however long Bush’s own presidential term lasts, potentially a 20-year swath of documentary evidence.
   "As the junior Bush now takes the nation to war in the name of freedom and democracy, he might at least be challenged to reverse that secrecy and release all relevant documents on the history of the Reagan-Bush policies in the Middle East. That way, the American people can decide for themselves whether Saddam Hussein is an aggressive leader whose behavior is so depraved that a preemptive war is the only reasonable course of action.
   "Or they might conclude that Saddam, like many other dictators through history, operates within a framework of self-preservation, which means he could be controlled by a combination of tough arms inspections and the threat of military retaliation.
   "Without the full history – as embarrassing as that record might be to the last five U.S. presidents – the American people cannot judge whether the nation’s security will be enhanced or endangered by Bush’s decision to put the United States on its own aggressive course of action." [ Link: 1, Bottom of Page]

2003 - Hazardous Train Derailment / Illinois - "More than 1,000 people were evacuated in a 3-mile radius ... after hazardous chemicals spilled from 16 tank cars. Federal investigators blamed a defective joint in the railroad tracks." [Based on: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 07/10/04]

2003 - Passed Iraqi Intelligence to U.S.A. / Germany? - "Germany denied a report Monday [02/27/06] that its intelligence service passed information about Saddam Hussein's plans for defending Baghdad to the United States a month before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. The New York Times said German agents in Baghdad obtained a copy of the Iraqi plan and a German intelligence officer supplied it to the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency in February 2003. 'This account is wrong,' German government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said at a news conference. 'The Federal Intelligence Service and, therefore, also the government, had until now no knowledge of such a plan.' " [Based on: News Services article (Germany denies passing Iraq intelligence to U.S.), p. A5, S.L.P.D., 02/28/06]

March 2003

2003 - Iraq-Invasion Warning / Britain - March 7th, 2003: "In an embarrassing about-face ahead of elections, Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday [04/28/05] released a secret memo warning of the legal consequences of invading Iraq without a second U.N. resolution. Blair had long refused to publish the March 7, 2003, document from Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, saying it was confidential. Instead the prime minister had consistently pointed to the written statement Goldsmith gave to parliament 10 days later, which said the war would be legal without another resolution. [....] Opponents insist there is a clear diffrence between Goldsmith's views in the March 7 and March 17 documents, and question whether the attorney general came under political pressure. [....]" [Based on: A.P., 04/29/05]

2003 - London Concert / The Dixie Chicks - Entertainment highlights during the week of March 9th-15th, 2003: Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines told an audience in London, "Just so you know, we're ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas." They endured a firestorm of criticism. [Based on: A.P. article (THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS), p. E2, S.L.P.D., 03/11/08]

2003 - Geomagnetic Disturbance? - March 13th-24th, 2003: "Max solar wind speed (km/sec) for this date in history: 834." [Based on: http://www.dxlc.com/solar/coronal_holes.html]

2003 - SARS Epidemic - March 17th, 2003: "Reported cases of  a 'mysterious illness' showing characteristics of 'severe pnemonia' started showing up in a number of Asian countries. This, on the day that President George W. Bush attended a so-called illegal summit meeting with representatives from Britian and Spain." [E.M.]

2003 - Bush Threatens Iraq - March 17th, 2003: "President Bush threatens Saddam Hussein and his sons with military force unless they leave the country within 48 hours." 

*Trivia: "[....] A lengthy Time magazine story published in March 2003, barely a week after the war's start, opened with this salty Bush quote from one year earlier: 'F---- Saddam. We're taking him out.' The remark, made in a White House meeting, was the president's dismissive response to talk about coalition-building and possible U.N. actions. [....]" [Based on: article by Eric Mink, S.L.P.D., p. B7, 06/22/05]

2003 - U.S. Launches War on Iraq - March 20th, 2003: "U.S. President George W. Bush launches war on Iraq. The Srikes begin at dawn." [Trivia: 1]

*Trivia: "Of the 580,000 troops who served in the 6-week 1991 Gulf War, 11,000 are now dead, and by the year 2000, 325,000 were on permanent medical disability frome multiple causes.
   "Of 251 Mississippi veterans in a study group who had normal babies before, 67 percent have now had babies born with birth defects. Some researchers, both here and abroad, believe that the 320 tons of depleted uranium weapons (DU) that were dropped on Iraq and a huge saran depot that we destroyed with fallout on 100,000 of our troops, could be responsible for their horrendous statistics. Over 1500 tons of DU have been used in our latest Iraq [2003] invasion. [....] Much of Iraq's air, soil, and water is saturated with tiny cancer-causing uranium particles that when inhaled, can lead to an early death. One recent study reported that 8 out of a 20-person unit that returned from Iraq in 2003 showed classic symptoms of DU exposure.
   "The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that before the Gulf War, Iraq had one of the best health systems in the entire Middle East Region. They now report that in the year 2000, Iraq had a total of 195,374 new cases of cancer and 126,677 deaths."

*Links: http://www.veteransforpeace.org
              http://globalresearch.ca/articles/MOR407A.html
              http://www.life.com/Life/essay/gulfwar/gulf02.html

2003 - Depleted Uranium Trivia / Iraq - "The amount of DU used in Iraq in 2003 is equivalent in atomicity to nearly 250,000 Nagasaki bombs."

[Based on: http://www.mindfully.org/Nucs/2003/Leuren-Moret-ICT13dec03.htm]

*Trivia: "[....] Britain and America not only used DU in this year's Iraq war, they dramatically increased its use-from a minimum of 320 tons in the previous war to at minimum of 1500 tons in this one. And this time the use of DU wasn't limited to anti-tank weapons-as it had largely been in the previous Gulf war-but was extended to the guided missiles, large bunker busters and big 2000-pound bombs used in Iraq's cities. This means that Iraq's cities have been blanketed in lethal particles-any one of which can cause cancer or deform a child. In addition, the use of DU in huge bombs which throw the deadly particles higher and wider in huge plumes of smoke means that billions of deadly particles have been carried high into the air-again and again and again as the bombs rained down-ready to be swept worldwide by the winds. [....]"

[Based on: http://www.rense.com/general64/du.htm]

*Commentary: "Consider the number of earthquakes during the months [and years] before and after this war began: In 2003 [following the war], at least 17 notable earthquakes [a total of 19 for the year]. The previous year, 2002, recorded 18 notable earthquakes. In 2004, the world  will see 30 notable earthquakes [not to mention at least 9 notable volcanic events, 8 notable floods, 4 cyclones, 4 major hurricanes, and one epic tsunami!]. In 2005, the United States will witness a record number of named storms [Tropical Storms & Hurricanes]. Also in 2005, the world will witness more than 100 earthquakes [6.0 or above]." [E.M.]

2003 - War Costs / Iraq - "On March 24th, the administration justified its request for more than $70 billion to cover the costs of the war for the next six months with the prediction of 'a period of stabilization in Iraq, and the phased withdrawl of a large number of American forces within that six month window.' Oops." [By E.J. Dionne, September 2003]

2003 - Executive Order 13292 / U.S.A. - March 25th, 2003: "[....] President Bush signed  Executive Order 13292 on March 25, 2003, amending a Clinton-era order, to grant the vice president the same power as the president on top-secret material. W. must have been concerned that Vice didn't have enough power to abuse. [....]" [Based on: Article (The Bush Administration / Cheney and Rumsfeld don't get it) by Maureen Dowd (Copyright - The New York Times), p. B9, S.L.P.D., 02/21/06]

2003 - U.S. War Dead / Iraq - "Total amount of identified hostile and non-hostile U.S. troops killed in Iraq this month [March 2003] amounts to 65." [A.P., 05/01/04]

2003 - U.S. Military Women / Iraq War - 2003: "Women serve as convoy gunners and checkpoint sentries, 39 women have died [as of July 2005?]." [Based on: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A10, 07/10/05]

2003 - Chapter 11 / Hawaiian Airlines - "[....] Hawaiian filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2003. [....]" [Based on: S.L.P.D., p. C2, 05/11/05]

2003 - Republicans and the Environment - "In a March 2003 memo to party leadership, Republican pollster Frank Luntz noted: 'The environment is probably the single issue on which Republicans in general and President Bush in particular are most vulnerable.' He cautioned that the public is inclined to view Republicans as being 'in the pockets of corporate fat cats who rub their hands together and chuckle maniacally as they plot to pollute America for fun and profit." [Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Crimes Against Nature, p. 3]

April 2003

2003 - Trivia / Planet X? - "APRIL 6, 2003 - Guest NANCY LIEDER - Author Of Zeta Talk. "SPECIAL PLANET X SHOW" Program 85"

"This is the incredible updated show you've been waiting for. With Planet X's expected arrival in mid May, Nancy will be telling us the precise coordinates of Niburu, and what effect it will have on planet earth as related to her by the Zeta Reticulans. Nancy Lieder is now 100% certain of Planet X's passage this year! Are you prepared? [....]

[Based on: http://www.crosswynd.com/pastguests2003.htm]

2003 - Audiotape / Osama Bin Laden? - April 7th, 2003: "In an audiotape obtained by The Associated Press in Pakistan, bin Laden exhorts Muslims to rise up against Kuwait, Saudia Arabia and other governments it claims are 'agents of America,' and calls for suicide attacks against U.S. and British interests. The CIA determines the 27-minute tape is likely authentic." [A.P., 10/30/04]

2003 - U.S. Occupation / Iraq - April 14th, 2003: "American forces occupy Saddam Hussein's hometown."

*Trivia: "According to the ministry [Iraqi Health Ministry], the interim Iraqi government recorded 3,487 Iraqi deaths in 15 of the country's 18 provinces from April 5 [2004] - when the ministry began compiling the data - until Sept. 19 [2004]. Of those, 328 were women and children. Another 13,726 Iraqis were injured, the ministry said. [....] Many Iraqi deaths, especially of insurgents, are never reported, so the actual number of Iraqis killed in fighting could be significantly higher. During the same period, 432 American soldiers were killed. [....] Nearly a third of the Iraqi dead - 1,122 - were killed in August [2004], according to the statistics. May [2004] was the second deadliest month, with 749 Iraqis killed. Most of those killed lived in Baghdad; the ministry found that 1,068 had died in the capital." [Based on: Nancy A. Youssef, Knight Ridder Newspapers, 09/26/04]

*Trivia: "In April 2003, the Defense Department approved a list of interrogation techniques for use at the Guantanamo Bay prison that permits making a detainee disrobe entirely for questioning, reversing normal sleep patterns and exposing detainees to heat, cold and 'sensory assault,' including loud music and bright lights, according to defense officials. The classified list of roughly 20 techniques was approved at the highest levels of the Pentagon and Justice Department and represents the first known documentation of an official policy permitting interrogators to use physically and psychologically stressful methods during questioning. [....] The United States has stated publicly that it does not engage in torture or cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners. Defense officials said Saturday [05/08/04] that the techniques on the list were consistent with international law and contained appropriate safeguards such as legal and medical monitoring." [Based on: Washington Post, May 2004]

2003 - Status / Human Genome Project - April 15th, 2003: "Scientists claim to have mapped 99.9 percent of the Human Genome."

2003 - Foreign Relations / U.S.A. & Syria - April 15th, 2003: "U.S. allegations claim that Syria might possess [the same as Iraq] chemical weapons and/or weapons of mass destruction. So far the United States has failed to provide credible evidence to support either claim. Meanwhile, American military forces continue to infiltrate the Middle East at will." [E.M.]

2003 - U.S. Denial / Venezuela Coup  - April 16th, 2003: "The U.S. Embassy denied Venezuelan claims that the United States supported last year's short-lived coup against Hugo Chavez." [News Services]

2003 - Earthquake / China - April 17th, 2003: "A 6.6 earthquake struck China's northwestern region of Qinghai."

2003 - Agent Orange Study - April 17th, 2003: "A new study increases the estimate of how much Agent Orange and other dioxin-tainted defoliants the U.S. military sprayed during the Vietnam War. Whether the increased amount raises the illness risk of those who were exposed remains unclear, scientists say. After re-examining military records, researchers at the Columbia University School of Public Health determined that about 21 million gallons of the herbicides had been sprayed - ten percent more than previously believed. About 55 percent was Agent Orange. Scientists said the other herbicides were closely related but even more potent. Two-thirds of the herbicides were contaminated with the most dangerous form of dioxin - TCDD, which is associated with cancer, neurological disorders, miscarriages and birth defects. The Columibia researchers suggest that 2.1 million to 4.8 million people were living in 3,181 villiages that were directly sprayed." [A.P.]

2003 - Trivia / U.S. War Cost, Iraq - April 17th, 2003: "Pentagon puts war cost at 20 billion so far."

2003 - Status / U.S. Human Rights & Civil Liberties - April 17th, 2003: "New anti-terrorism measures are curtailing human rights and civil liberties in much of the world, a watchdog group says." [A.P.]

2003 - Earthquake / Western Brazil - April 27th, 2003: "An earthquake reportedly measuring 6.0 occured in Brazil."

2003 - Earthquake / Vanuatu Islands - April 27th, 2003: "An earthquake reportedly measuring 6.3 occured in the Vanuatu Islands."

2003 - Oil Spill / Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts - April 27th, 2003: "A tugboat pilot [Franklin Robert Hill] was charged Tuesday [04/26/05] with allowing a barge to drift off coarse and spill 98,000 gallons of fuel oil into a bay off the Massachusetts coast two years ago [04/27/03]. [....] The spill in Buzzards Bay killed hundreds of birds and shut down shellfish beds, affecting nearly 90 miles of coastline in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Hill is alleged to have left the helm unattended to work at the stern of the boat. [Based on: News Services, 04/27/05]

2003 - Earthquake / Arkansas - April 30th, 2003: "An earthquake reportedly measuring 4.0 occured in Arkansas."

2003 - U.S. Empire-Building? / Iraq - "In late April of last year [2003], Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld held a press conference at the U.S. Central Command base in Doha, Qatar. A reporter from the Arab satellite news service Al Jazeera asked him why the U.S. was empire-building in Iraq. 'We don't seek empires,' the famously short-fused Rumsfeld shot back. 'We're not imperialistic. We never have been. I can't imagine why you'd even ask the question.' Three days later, his boss, President George W. Bush, made his Top Gun landing on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln and reiterated: 'Other nations in history have fought in foreign lands and remained to occupy and exploit. Americans, following a battle, want nothing more than to return home.' [....] In 1947, Churchill was urged to reconsider his views on British rule in India in light of Gandhi's quiet revolution. His reply: 'I am quite satisfied with my views on India, and I don't want them disturbed by any bloody Indians.' " [Kevin Horrigan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2003 - Settlement Trivia / MasterCard & Visa - "Target Corp., the No. 2 U.S. discount retailer, said [2005] it will collect at least $27 million from a settlement U.S. merchants reached in 2003 with Visa International Inc. and MasterCard International Inc. [....] Visa and MasterCard settled the case for $3 billion in April 2003, just before it was to go to trial in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y." [Based on: Business Page article, p. B2, S.L.P.D., 11/04/05]

2003 - U.S. War Dead / Iraq - "Total amount of identified hostile and non-hostile U.S. troops killed in Iraq this month [April 2003] amounts to 73." [A.P., 05/01/04]

May 2003

2003 - End? / War in Iraq - May 1st, 2003: "President Bush formally announces an 'end' to the war in Iraq."

*Trivia: "[....] President George W. Bush announced the end of major fighting on May 1, 2003. In the following 12 months, 598 service members died. The death toll was 852 Americans in the year that ended April 30th, 2005. The figures are from Department of Defense information compiled by CNN.com. The number of Americans wounded in the war increased from 3,732 between May 2003 and April 2004 to 7,748 in the following year, according to the New York Times News Service. [....]" [Based on: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A1, 06/06/05]

2003 - Earthquake / Greece - May 1st, 2003: "An earthquake reportedly measuring 4.1 occured in Greece."

2003 - Earthquake / E. Turkey - May 1st, 2003: "An earthquake reportedly measuring 6.4 occured in Turkey and killed an estimated 167 people [177, according to the 2005 World Almanac]."

2003 - Earthquake / Iran - May 2nd, 2003: "An earthquake reportedly measuring 4.6 occured in Northeastern Iran."

2003 - Earthquake / Southeast U.S.A. - May 2nd, 2003: "The U.S. Geological Survey now says an earthquake that rattled the Southeast this morning registered 4.9 on the Richter scale, much stronger than the 4.5 first reported.  In fact, it could be the most powerful earthquake in the region in over 100 years. [....] The epicenter was along Interstate 59 near where Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia meet." [WorldNow]

2003 - Tornadoes / Midwest U.S.A. - May 4th, 2003: "A series of violent tornadoes began to sweep through the states of Kansas, Missouri, and Tennessee."

2003 - Planetary Alignement / Mercury, Sun & Earth - May 7th, 2003: "Mercury aligned with the Earth and the sun on May 7, 2003, as it does 12 or 13 times a century." [N.G.M., July 2004]

2003 - Tornadoes / Midwest U.S.A. - May 10th, 2003: "In dollars and lives, Missouri suffered the greatest losses in the nation's most violent week ever for tornadoes, state and insurance officials said Monday. The National Weather Service counted an estimated 395 tornadoes nationwide from May 4 through last Saturday [May 10th], destroying whole towns and killing at least 44 people in five states, including 18 in Missouri. The tornado total is more than twice the old record of 173 tornadoes, set in 1995 during the week of May 12-18. The Missouri Department of Insurance estimated Monday that insured damage alone would exceed $400 million for 60,000 policies covering homes or vehicles. 'We don't know of any state that was hit harder,' said spokesman Randy McConnel." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 05/13/03]

2003 - Terrorist Attacks / Saudi Arabia - May 12th, 2003: "Attackers shot their way into three compounds housing Westerners and Saudis and set off car bombs Monday [05/13/03], officials said. At least one person was killed and 60 people were injured, a hospital official said. The attackers struck just hours before secretary of state Colin Powell was scheduled to start a visit to Saudi Arabia." [A.P.]

2003 - De-Baathification? / Iraq - May 16th, 2003: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Easing the ban on top members of Saddam Hussein's former Baath party [May, 2004] is an overdue correction of a U.S. mistake, experts and many Iraqis said, blaming the policy for converting thousands of potential allies into anti-U.S. guerrillas. [....] The much debated 'de-Baathification' policy emerged in a May 16 [2003?] decree from newly arrived U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer. It fired tens of thousands of Baathists from government jobs. A week later, a flourish of Bremer's pen disbanded Iraq's 350,000-member military and barred high-ranking officers from receiving pensions, saying they were too tainted by ties to Saddam's party to have a place in Iraq's future." [A.P., 4/24/04]

2003 - Flooding / Sri Lanka - "Flood date(s): May 17th-27th, 2003. Number of recorded deaths: 250." [Based on: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005, p. 207]

2003 - Earthquake / N. Algeria - May 21st, 2003: "An earthquake measuring 6.7 was reported in Algeria today. Over 2,000 people were killed and 8,626 injured as a result."

*Trivia: "Earthquake location: N. Algeria. Earthquake magnitude: 6.8. Number of recorded fatalities: 2,200+."  [Based on: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005, p. 208]

2003 - Ground Breaking / Eckankar Spiritual Center, MN - May 27th, 2003: "Ground breaking for the new Eckankar Spiritual Center took place at 10:25 a.m. on May 27. Construction workers began moving earth on May 29 at 9:00 a.m. Several days later, work began on paving the trail from the Temple of ECK to the ECK Celebrations of Life Chapel. [....]"

[Based on: http://www.eckankar.org/Campus/index06-02-03.html]

2003 - Found? / WMD, Iraq - May 30th, 2003: "We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories … And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them." [Based on: — Washington, D.C., May 30, 2003 - George W. Bush]

2003 - Marathon Meeting / U.S. Pilots - "In May 2003, a journalist in Portugal reported on a sensational, marathon meeting of a group of U.S. pilots that issued a report concluding that the story told by the U.S. government about what happened on Sept. 11, 2001 is improbable and unlikely. [....] That 72-hour non-stop symposium by a group of military and civilian pilots concluded the flight crews of the four passenger airliners involved in the 9-11 tragedy had no control over their aircraft." [By John Kaminski, A.F.P., March 2004]

2003 - 1st Case / Mad Cow Disease, Canada - May 2003: "Canada's first case of mad cow surfaced in May 2003." [From News Services, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A11, 01/12/05]

2003 - Released [Saudi] Terrorist Suspects / Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - May 2003: "LONDON - U.S. officials agreed to return five terrorism suspects to Saudia Arabia from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, last year [May 2003] as part of a secret three-way deal intended to satisfy important allies in the invasion of Iraq, according to senior U.S. and British officials. Under the arrangements, Saudi officials later released five Britons and two others who had been convicted of terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia, the officials said. British diplomats said they believed that the men had been tortured by Saudi security police officers into confessing falsely. Officials involved in the deliberations said the transfer of the Saudis from Guantanamo initially met with objections from officials at the Pentagon, the CIA and the Justice Department. The Saudi prisoners were transferred to Riyadh, the capital, in May 2003. The five Britons and two others were freed three months later, in August. The releases were public relations coups for the Saudi and British governments." [New York Times, 07/04/04]

2003 - U.S. War Dead / Iraq - "Total amount of identified hostile and non-hostile U.S. troops killed in Iraq this month [May 2003] amounts to 37." [A.P., 05/01/04]

June 2003

2003 - U.S. Credibility Gap? - June 1st, 2003: "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq's neighbors and against Iraq's people . [....] The danger is clear: Using chemical, biological, or one day, nuclear weapons obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of innocent people, in our country or any other."
   "With those words March 17th, President George W. Bush justified his decision to give Iraqi President Saddam Hussein 48 hours to leave his country or face military action by the United States. The deadline had no sooner passed than Mr. Bush, operating on what was said to be solid intelligence, ordered a 'decapitation' strike on a bunker where Saddam and his sons were supposed to be hiding. Now, it turns out there was no bunker. Now, it turns out that the basic premise for the war - the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction - was selected 'for bureaucratic reasons.' " [Based on: article, St. Louis Post- Dispatch, 06/01/03]

*Trivia: "Over the past month, a growing number of credibility issues began to surface in the United States. Examples include: a deceptive New York Times reporter; a different Jessica Lynch story; incredible U.S. Military Intelligence concerning Iraq; Sammy Sosa's cork bat; multiple trips by Vice President Dick Cheney and his senior aide to the CIA over the past year; Martha Stewart indicted in connection with a stock-trading scandal; the first Catholic Nun [from Missouri] accused of improper sexual conduct, etc." [E.M.]

2003 - Geomagnetic Disturbance? - June 1st-11th, 2003: "Max solar wind speed (km/sec) for this date in history: 881." [Based on: http://www.dxlc.com/solar/coronal_holes.html]

2003 - Launch / Mars Express & Beagle 2 - June 2nd, 2003: "Mars Express, so called because of the rapid and streamlined development time, represents ESA's [European Space Agency's] first visit to another planet in the Solar System. Borrowing technology from the failed Mars 96 mission and ESA's Rosetta mission, Mars Express will help answer fundamental questions about the geology, atmosphere, surface environment, history of water and potential for life on Mars." [Link: 1]

Trivia: "Surface water on Mars existed across a significant span of time, not just for years but eons, suggest new findings made by NASA's Mars rover Opportunity." [Newscientist.com, 07/19/04]

2003 - CIA Leak Case Trivia / Bob Woodward? - Mid June, 2003: "Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward testified under oath Monday [11/14/05] in the CIA leak case that a senior administration official told him about CIA operative Valerie Plame and her position at the agency nearly a month before her identity was disclosed. Woodward told Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald that the official casually told him in mid June 2003 that Plame worked as a CIA analyst on weapons of mass destruction, and that he did not believe the information to be classified or sensitive, according to a statement Woodward released Tuesday [11/15/05]. Citing a confidentiality agreement in which the source freed Woodward to testify but would not allow him to discuss their conversations publicly, Woodward and Post editors refused to disclose the official's name or give details about the testimony." [Based on: Staff Reports & News Services article (Bob Woodward testifies in CIA leak case), p. A4, S.L.P.D., 11/16/05]

*Trivia: "Vanity Fair is reporting that former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee says it is reasonable to assume the former State Department official Richard Armitage is likely the source who revealed the CIA operative Valerie Plame's name to Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward. In an article to be published in the magazine today, Bradlee is quoted as saying: 'That Armitage is the likely source is a fair assumption.' Armitage was deputy secretary of state in President George W. Bush's first term. In an interview Monday [03/13/06], Bradlee said he does know the identity of Woodward's source but does not recall making that precise statement to a Vanity Fair reporter. He said he has no interest in unmasking the official who first told Woodward about Plame in June 2003. [....] Bradlee, currently Post vice president at large, said he learned the source's name from someone other than Woodward. Woodward said he did not reveal the source of his friend and former boss. Woodward and Bradlee refused to disclose the source's name. Armitage did not return phone calls requesting comment." [Based on: Washington Post article (Article names 'likely' Woodward source), p. A3, S.L.P.D., 03/14/06]

2003 - CIA Leak Case  Trivia / I Lewis Libby Jr. & Dick Cheney - June 12th, 2003: "I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, first learned about the CIA officer at the heart of a leak investigation from Cheney weeks before her identity became public in 2003, lawyers involved in the case said Monday [10/24/05]. Libby's notes of a conversation with Cheney on June 12, 2003, appear to differ from Libby's testimony [2005] to a federal grand jury, the lawyers said. [....] Libby's notes indicate that Cheney got his information about Plame from George Tenet, the director of central intelligence, in response to the vice president's questions about her husband. [....] The notes do not show that Cheney knew Plame's name. But they show that Cheney did know and told Libby that she was employed by the Central Intelligence Agency and that she may have helped arrange her husband's trip. [....] [Based on: New York Times article p. A1 & A5, S.L.P.D., 10/25/05]

*Trivia: [....] Cheney told NBC on Sept. 14, 2003, that he didn't know who sent Wilson on a mission to Niger to explore claims that Iraq was seeking nuclear material. 'He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back,' Cheney said at the time. 'I don't know Mr. Wilson. I probably shouldn't judge him. I have no idea who hired him.' He made those remarks months after the reported conversations with Tenet and Libby, in which he would have learned about Wilson and his wife. [....]" [Based on: A.P. article by Ron Fournier (Cheney's credibility becomes issue as CIA leak investigation proceeds), p. A6, S.L.P.D., 10/26/05]

2003 - Married / Adam Sandler & Jackie Titone - June 2003: "Entertainment highlights during the week of June 18th-24th, 2003: Actor Adam Sandler married longtime girlfriend Jackie Titone. [Based on: A.P.]

2003 - CIA Leak Case  Trivia / Judith Miller & I Lewis Libby Jr. - June 23rd: 2003 "[....] An Associated Press story Friday [10/21/05] reported that Judy [Judith Miller] had coughed up the details of an earlier meeting with Libby only after prosecutors confronted her with a visitor log showing that she had met with him on June 23rd, 2003. This cagey confusion is what makes people wonder whether her stint in the Alexandria jail was in part a career rehabilitation project. Judy is refusing to answer a lot of questions put to her by Times reporters, showing them the notes that she shared with the grand jury. I admire Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Bill Keller for aggressively backing reporters in the cross hairs of a prosecutor. But before turning Judy's case into a First Amendment battle, they should have nailed her to a chair and extracted the entire story of her escapade. Judy told The Times that she plans to write a book and intends to return to the newsroom, hoping to cover 'the same thing I've always covered - threats to our country.' If that were to happen, the institution most in danger would be The New York Times."  [Based on: Other Views page article (Judy Miller's account raised many troubling questions) by Maureen Dowd, p. B9, S.L.P.D., 10/25/05]

2003 - Saturn in Cancer - June 4th, 2003 "On this date in history, the planet Saturn entered the sign of Cancer." [Based on: http://www2.bitstream.net/~bunlion/bpi/ephm/E200306.html]

2003 - Ocean Crisis? - June 5th, 2003: "There is not one place I can go back to and say it has improved. We have also pretty much destroyed our coastal habitats - the mangroves, marshes, estuaries, and coral reefs of the world - making it extremely difficult for nature to produce at a normal pace. It's an ocean crisis that affects evey one of us on the planet." [Jean-Michel Cousteau]

2003 - Nitrate Runoff / U.S.A. - June 5th, 2003: "Annual United States nitrate runoff was reported today. The states of Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri showed the highest concentrations, roughly 1,440 kilograms per square kilometer! The states of Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee showed the second highest concentrations, 615 kilograms per square kilometer!"

2003 - Troubled Waters / U.S.A. - June 5th, 2003: "WASHINGTON - The oceans bordering the United States are overfished, polluted, infested with invasive species and dotted with 'dead zones,' but they still can be saved, an independent commission reported Wednesday. [....] Urban and rural runoff pollution contributed to closed beaches or swimming advisories 13,000 times in 2001, said commission member Kathy Sullivan, the former chief scientist for the national Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. [....]"

2003 - Launch / "Spirit" Lander - June 10th, 2003: "Mars Spirit spacecraft launched." [Link: 1]

2003 - Foreign Relations: U.S.A. & Iran - June 18th, 2003: "WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush said Wednesday that he and other world leaders would not tolerate nuclear weapons in Iran. Meanwhile, administration officials expressed concern to the U.N. nuclear agency about Iran's atomic program. Bush also asked Iranian leaders to treat protestors with 'the utmost of respect' as they seek the ouster of the Islamic government. [....] 'The international community must come together to make it very clear to Iran that we will not tolerate construction of a nuclear weapon,' Bush told reporters at the end of a meeting in the White House Cabinet Room. 'Iran would be dangerous if it had a nuclear weapon.' " [A.P.]

2003 - Foreign Relations: U.S.A. & North Korea - June 18th, 2003: "North Korea threatened to streghten its 'nuclear deterrent force' and dismissed American calls for international negotiations over its nuclear program Wednesday. Secretary of State Colin Powell sought diplomatic support against North Korea at a meeting in Cambodia. The timing of the announcement - with Powell in Cambodia for a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian nations - reinforced the view that North Korea will not readily give in to American demands that it negotiate away its nuclear ambitions. 'We will step up the strengthening of our nuclear deterrent force as a justified self-defense measure to counter the threat increasing daily from the U.S. strategy to isolate and stifle North Korea,' Nort Korea's Foreign Ministry said." [News Services]

2003 - Mosque Explosion / Iraq - "An explosion at a Fallujah mosque killed nine Iraqis, including an imam."

2003 - Died / Katharine Hepburn - June 29th, 2003: Entertainment highlights during the week of June 24-30, 2003: Katharine Hepburn [b. 05/12/1907] died [d. 06/29/2003] of natural causes in Old Saybrook, Conn. She was 96. [Based on: A.P. article (THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS), p. E2, S.L.P.D., 06/26/07]

2003 - Change of Guard / Plum Island, New York - "The Department of Homeland Security took over operations on the Plum Island Animal Disease Center from the Department of Agriculture in June 2003." [Based on: News Services, 07/08/04]

*Trivia: "Plum Island is an isolated island off the eastern tip of Long Island, New York, and is home to a laboratory that studies contagious animal diseases." [Based on: News Services, 07/08/04]

2003 - U.S. War Dead / Iraq - "Total amount of identified hostile and non-hostile U.S. troops killed in Iraq this month [June 2003] amounts to 30." [A.P., 05/01/04]

July 2003

2003 - Astronomic Configuration - July 4th, 2003: "Chiron [15 Capricorn], Pluto [17 Sagittarius], Neptune [12 Aquarius], Uranus [2 Pisces], Saturn [3 Cancer], Jupiter [18 Leo], Mars [6 Pisces], Venus, [29 Gemini], Mercury [10 Cancer], Moon [5 Virgo], Sun [11 Cancer]." [Link: 1]

2003 - Explosion / Iraq - "A blast killed seven Iraqi police recruits at their graduation ceremony in Ramadi."

2003 - Trivia / "Urban Surveilance System" - July 3rd, 2003: "WASHINGTON - The Pentagon (news - web sites) is developing an urban surveillance system that would use computers and thousands of cameras to track, record and analyze the movement of every vehicle in a foreign city. Dubbed 'Combat Zones That See,' the project is designed to help the U.S. military protect troops and fight in cities overseas. Police, scientists and privacy experts say the unclassified technology could easily be adapted to spy on Americans. The project's centerpiece is groundbreaking computer software that is capable of automatically identifying vehicles by size, color, shape and license tag, or drivers and passengers by face. According to interviews and contracting documents, the software may also provide instant alerts after detecting a vehicle with a license plate on a watchlist, or search months of records to locate and compare vehicles spotted near terrorist activities. The project is being overseen by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is helping the Pentagon develop new technologies for combatting terrorism and fighting wars in the 21st century. [....]"

[Based on: http://www.libertypost.org/cgi-bin/readart.cgi?ArtNum=18193]

2003 - Unverified? / Niger Uranium Sold to Iraq - July 6th, 2003: "In N.Y. Times op-ed, Wilson [Joseph Wilson] says he could not verify Niger sold uranium to Iraq." [Based on: News Reports, p. A5 S.L.P.D., 10/28/05]

2003 - Launch / "Opportunity" Lander - July 7th, 2003: "Mars Opportunity spacecraft launched." [Link: 1]

2003 - Conversation / Ari Fleischer & I. Lewis Libby - July 7th, 2003: "Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer testified Monday [01/29/07] that I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby divulged Valerie Plame's identity to him in July 2003, three days before Libby has told investigators he first learned of the undercover CIA officer. [....] Fleischer  ... also made clear that Libby had told him that Wilson's wife held a position in a division of the CIA where most employees work undercover. [NP] Fleischer said he believed Libby had mentioned Plame's name, although he told the jury he could not be sure. Libby 'added that this was something hush-hush or on the QT; that not many people knew this information,' Fleischer testified. [....] Fleischer testified that his lunch at the White House with Libby - the first he ever had with Cheney's top aide - took place July 7, 2003, before Libby spoke with Russert [Tim Russert]. [....] Under cross-examination by defense attorney William Jeffress Jr., Fleischer said that his conversation with Libby about Wilson's wife had been short and that Fleischer had not relayed that information to reporters until he heard a similar account from another White House aide. [....]" [Based on: Washington Post article (Fleischer's testimony could be damaging to defense) by Amy Goldstein & Carol D. Leonnig, p. A2, S.L.P.D., 01/30/07]

2003 - CIA Leak Case Trivia / Karl Rove & Matthew Cooper - July 11th, 2003: "White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove spoke with at least one reporter about Valerie Plame's role at the CIA before she was identified as a covert agent in a newspaper column two years ago [2003], but Rove's lawyer said Sunday [07/10/05] that his client did not identify her by name. Rove had a short conversation with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper on July 11, 2003, three days before Robert Novak publicly exposed Plame in a column about her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV. [....] Cooper, according to an internal Time e-mail obtained by Newsweek magazine, spoke with Rove before Novak's column was published. In the conversation, Rove gave Cooper a 'big warning' that Wilson's claims might not be entirely accurate and that it wasn't the director of the CIA or the vice president who sent Wilson on his trip. Rove apparently told Cooper that it was 'Wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on WMD (weapons of mass destruction) issues who authorized the trip,' according to a story in Newsweek's July 18 issue. [....] Although the information is revelatory, it still is unknown whether Rove is a focus of the investigation. Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, has said he is not a target of the inquiry. Luskin said Sunday [07/10/05] that Rove didn't know Plame's name and was not actively trying to push the information into the public realm. [....] 'Rove did not mention her name to Cooper,' Luskin said." [Based on: Washington Post article by Josh White, S.L.P.D., p. A3, 07/11/05]

2003 - Lava Dome Collapse / Montserrat's Volcano - July 12th, 2003: "A major lava dome collapse occured at Montserrat's Volcano in the Caribbean. No one was reported injured. Montserrat's volcano came to life in 1995, eventually causing more than half the Caribbean island's population to leave. An eruption in 1997 killed 19 people and buried the capital, Plymouth."  

2003 - Earthquake Temblor / Alaska - "A 6.1 magnitude temblor shook the town of Craig, Alaska." [Based on: News Services, 06/28/04]

2003 - "Confessions of a God Seeker" - July 14th, 2003: "Author Ford Johnson questions the 'bedrock' of religious history with his new book, Confessions of a God Seeker, A Journey to Higher Consciousness [shipped in U.S.A., July 14th, 2003]."

2003 - Identified as CIA Agent by Robert Novak / Valerie Plame - July 14th, 2003: "Columnist Robert Novak identifies Wilson's [Joseph Wilson's] wife as a CIA agent; says two Bush officials were sources, who said she suggested sending him to Niger." [Based on: News Reports, p. A5 S.L.P.D., 10/28/05]

2003 - Fire / St. Louis Arch - July 17th, 2003: "Approximately 8000 people were evacuated from the St. Louis Gateway Arch and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on Thursday. The fire evidently started near an electrical transformer. Fortunately people were quickly evacuated and nobody was hurt." [CNN.com]

2003 - Mentions "Valerie Plame" as CIA Agent / Matthew Cooper - July 17th, 2003: "Matthew Cooper writes on Time.com that Bush officials told him Wilson's wife was CIA agent monitoring weapons of mass destruction." [Based on: News Reports, p. A5 S.L.P.D., 10/28/05]

2003 - Fire / Eiffel Tower - July 23, 2003 - "Smoke rises Tuesday from the Eiffel Tower in Paris after a fire broke out on the upper level of the  1,069-foot historic landmark. As many as 4,000 people were evacvuated after the fire broke out in a knot of cables in a telecommunications room just below the tower's broadcast antenna." [A.P.]

2003 - Fatalities / Saddam Hussein's Sons - July 23, 2003: "MOSUL, Iraq - Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's two sons were killed Tuesday during a long gunbattle with U.S. soldiers who raided a mansion after receiving a tip from an informer, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq said." [The Washington Post]

2003 - Earthquakes / Japan  - "YAMOTO, Japan - Japanese soldiers brought water and blankets to weary people huddled in school gymnasiums Saturday [7/26/03] after three powerful earthquakes  rocked northern Japan, toppling homes and injuring more than 400 people."

2003 - Geomagnetic Disturbance? - July 26th-August 1st, 2003: "Max solar wind speed (km/sec) for this date in history: 980." [Based on: http://www.dxlc.com/solar/coronal_holes.html]

2003 - Flood Plain Development / St. Louis Missouri - July 27th, 2003: "More than 2.2 billion worth of new development in the St. Louis area stands on land that was under water in the 1993 flood."

2003 - Denied Release / 9-11 Report  - July 29th, 2003: "Bush rejects Saudi request to release classified 9-11 report."

2003 - Trivia / Social Security Cuts?, U.S.A. - July 30th, 2003: "WASHINGTON - Social Security benefits promised to retirees would have to be cut by nearly a third by 2039 if no changes are made to the system to keep it afloat, congressional investigators said Tuesday [8/29/03]." [A.P.]

2003 - Heat Wave / Europe - "A record heat wave visits continental Europe during the months of July and August 2003."

2003 - U.S. War Dead / Iraq - "Total amount of identified hostile and non-hostile U.S. troops killed in Iraq this month [July 2003] amounts to 47." [A.P., 05/01/04]

August 2003

2003 - Flooding / E India - "Flood date(s): August - mid-September, 2003. Number of recorded deaths: 200+." [Based on: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005, p. 207]

2003 - Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller / Iraq - August, 2003: "Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the former commander of the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, led a 30-member team to Iraq in August and September [2003] that focused on ways of sharpening interrogation proceedures. In a report on the Abu Ghraib scandal, Maj. Gen. Anthony Taguba wrote that the team recommended 'that the guard force be actively engaged in setting the conditions for successful exploitation of the internees.' On Saturday [05/08/04], Miller said, 'There was no recommendation ever by this group... that recommended that the military police become actively involved in the interrogation.' " [A.P., 05/09/04]

2003 - Released / British Terrorist Suspects, Saudi Arabia - "LONDON - U.S. officials agreed to return five terrorism suspects to Saudia Arabia from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, last year [May 2003] as part of a secret three-way deal intended to satisfy important allies in the invasion of Iraq, according to senior U.S. and British officials. Under the arrangements, Saudi officials later released five Britons and two others who had been convicted of terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia, the officials said. British diplomats said they believed that the men had been tortured by Saudi security police officers into confessing falsely. Officials involved in the deliberations said the transfer of the Saudis from Guantanamo initially met with objections from officials at the Pentagon, the CIA and the Justice Department. The Saudi prisoners were transferred to Riyadh, the capital, in May 2003. The five Britons and two others were freed three months later, in August. The releases were public relations coups for the Saudi and British governments." [New York Times, 07/04/04]

2003 - Truck Bomb / Jordanian Embassy, Iraq - August 7th, 2003: "A car bomb killed 19 people and wounded more than 60 at the Jordanian Embassy in Iraq."

2003 - NATO Deployment  / Afghanistan - August 10th, 2003: "In the alliance's first deployment on the ground outside Europe, NATO took command of the multinational peacekeeping force in Afghanistan."

2003 - Project for the New American Century? - August 10th, 2003: "Sunday [8/10/03] The Washington Post published the results of a lengthy investigation into the Bush administration's claims about an Iraqi nuclear weapons program. The story also described the creation within the White House last August [2002] of a special group charged with winning support from Congress, from the United Nations if necessary and from the American people for a war against Iraq. [....]
   "September 11th left me emotionally battered, struggling and scared, and it was precisely that fear that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice tapped into - in me and everyone else - with their calculated, misleading conjurings of mushroom clouds, poisons and diseases.
   "Only later did I realize that the real campaign for this war began in the spring of 1997, with the creation of the Project for the New American Century, a group of conservative acedemics, ideologues and once-and-future government functionaries. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush and many senior officials in the current administration signed its founding statement of principles.
   "On January 26, 1998, the Project issued a public letter to then-President Bill Clinton. It called for regime change in Iraq, by force if necessary.
   "Not quite four years later, the attacks of September 11th supplied an aching touchstone through which the Project, whose backers had returned to positions of power throughout government, could build support for its new-world-order objectives. Facts can be debated and the meaning of intelligence estimates can be argued, but the emotional, psycological and political power of September 11th is enduring and unassailable." [Source: Eric Mink, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 08/13/03] [Link: 1]

2003 - Trivia / Ethics Rules - August 12th, 2003: "SAN FRANCISCO - Lawyers who learn that a client is cooking the books or looting a company's till could alert authorities with a clear conscience under changes to ethical rules approved Monday [8/11/03] by the American Bar Association's policymaking board. [....]" [By Anne Gearan, A.P.]

2003 - Agent Orange Contamination / Vietnam - August 12th, 2003: "HANOI, Vietnam - Decades after the wartime defolient Agent Orange was sprayed over Vietnam to kill trees and plants, toxic chemicals continue to contaminate Vietnamese people and the food they eat, according to a new study released Monday [8/11/03]. [....] During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military sprayed an estimated 21 million gallons of herbicides over central and southern Vietnam to destroy jungles where communist forces hid. About 55 percent of that was Agent Orange. Bien Hou was the site of a 5,000-gallon underground spill of Agent Orange about three decades ago." [A.P.]

2003 - Power Plant Failure - August 14th, 2003: "Around 1:35 p.m. [E.S.T.], a generator at FirstEnergy Corp.'s Eastlake Power plant failed."

2003 - Blackout / Northeast United States - August 14th, 2003: "The largest power outage in U.S. history occured shortly after 4pm E.S.T. and affected several locations in the Northeast & Midwest United states, and Canada.  Some authorities believed the outage was caused by a large 'surge' that originated somewhere near Niagra Falls N.Y. Days later the official cause of the blackout was still unknown, however authorities were quick to rule out terrorism."

2003 - Trivia / U.S. Blackout Status - August 16th, 2003: "Apparently still looking for a cause to the largest blackout in U.S. history, authorities began to focus on a powerline in Clevland Ohio."

2003 - Blackout / Georgia - August 18th, 2003: "All of Geroria was without power for the entire day on Monday [8/18/03], and officials in the former Soviet republic were struggling to determine the cause of the blackout. Electricity went off at 7a.m. in the entire country of 4.4 million people and was not fully restored until about 10 p.m. It was the first time in two years that the whole country was affected at once." [News Services, 8/19/03]

2003 - Trivia / Smallpox Vaccine - August 18th, 2003: "WASHINGTON - Millions of Americans already vaccinated against smallpox may retain at least some protection many years later, a study indicates. [....] A report scheduled for the September edition of the journal Nature Medicine indicates that lab tests can detect immune response in 90 percent of vaccinated people for many years, some for as long as 75 years. [....] There has not been a natural case of smallpox in the world since 1977." [A.P., 8/18/03]

2003 - Suicide Attempts? / Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - "Twenty-three terrorism suspects tried to hang or strangle themselves at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay during a mass protest in 2003, the military confirmed Monday [01/24/05]. The incidents took place the same year the camp suffered a rash of suicide attempts after Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller took command of the prison with a mandate to get more information from prisoners. [....] From Aug. 18 to Aug. 26, 2003, the 23 detainees tried to hang or strangle themselves with pieces of clothing and other items in their cells, demonstrating 'self-injurious behavior,' the U.S. Southern Command in Miami said in a statement. Ten detainees made a mass attempt on Aug. 22. [....] In 2003, there were 350 'self-harm' incidents, including 120 'hanging gestures,' according to Lt. Col. Leon Sumpter, a spokesman for the detention mission. Last year [2004], there were 110 self-harm incidents, he said. [....]" [A.P., 01/25/05]

2003 - Personal Bankruptcies / U.S.A. - August 19th, 2003: "NEW YORK - Personal bankruptcies continued at a record pace in the 12 months ended June 30 as Americans struggled with the debt they took on in the 1990's. The American Bankruptcy Institute said Monday [8/18/03] that personal bankruptcy filings totaled more than 1.6 million - an all time high for any 12-month period. That figure was up 10 percent from the 1.47 million cases filed in the 12 months that ended June 30, 2002." [A.P., 8/19/03]

2003 - Bombing / U.N. Headquarters, Iraq - August 19th, 2003: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - A suicide bomber rammed a cement truck loaded with explosives into the U.N. headquarters, toppling a wing of the building in a thunderous roar and killing the mission's leader and at least 16 other people. Scores more foreigners and Iraqis - were injured." [Los Angeles Times]

2003 - PCB Suits / U.S.A. - "BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A nearly $700 million settlement reached here Wednesday [8/20/03] dispatched the claims of more than 20,000 residents of Anniston, Ala., against three once-related companies: Solutia Inc. , Monsanto Co. and Pharmacia, a division of Pfizer Inc." [By Rachel Melcer, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2003 - Plutonium Removal / Colorado - August 20th, 2003: "Crews have finished removing the last of more than 12 tons of weapons-grade plutonium left at Rocky Flats, marking a milestone in a $7 billion cleanup in the former nuclear weapons site that closed in 1989. The 6,000 acre site 15 miles northwest of Denver is slated to become a national wildlife refuge after the cleanup ends in 2006." [News Services]

2003 - "The Wall" / Iraq - August 21st, 2003: "There is now a huge cement wall being built around part of the U.S. compound in central Baghdad that is a carbon copy of the wall Israel is building in the West Bank." [Thomas Friedman, 8/21/03]

2003 - U.S. Clean Air Rule - "WASHINGTON - A group of 13 states, including Illinois, asked a federal court Wednesday to block the Bush administration's new Clean Air Act rule that would allow coal-fired power plants to expand operations without installing modern pollution control equiptment." [Chicago Tribune, 8/21/2003]

2003 - "Church vs. State" / U.S.A. - August 21st, 2003: "As the midnight deadline approached Wednesday [8/20/03] for Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore to remove the 5,280-pound monument of the Ten Commandments he secretly installed one night in the lobby of the state Supreme Court - a monument now known as Roy's Rock - the judge was not budging. The rock was not rolling. And hundreds of protestors vowed to form a human chain on their knees to protect it. On Wednesday afternoon, Moore lost a last-ditch appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, hurdling him head-on into a conflict with a federal judge who has threatened to make him pay $5,000 for every day that the Ten Commandments remain in public view." [By Jeffrey Gettleman, The New York Times]

2003 - Life on Mars? - August 22nd, 2003: "WASHINGTON - Researchers say there is virtually no evidence of limestone formation on Mars, a finding that suggests the Red Planet never had oceans or seas. But that conclusion does not alter the possibility of life on Mars, experts say." [By Paul Recer, A.P.]

Trivia: "Surface water on Mars existed across a significant span of time, not just for years but eons, suggest new findings made by NASA's Mars rover Opportunity." [Newscientist.com, 07/19/04]

2003 - Blackout Investigation / U.S.A. - August 22nd, 2003: "CARMEL, Ind. - Two federal regulators were in the control room of a Midwest power grid manager as the nation's biggest blackout spread, giving U.S. officials an eyewitness account that could prove crucial to an investigation, authorities disclosed Thursday [08/21/03]. Even before the cascading blackout, the Federal Energy Regulatory Comission had been closely watching the Midwest Independent Transmission Operator, now a focus of the broad inquiry into the failure to isolate the Aug, 14 crash. Power lines owned by FirstEnergy Corp. of Akron, Ohio, which is at the center of the inquiry, were among several lines in the Midwest that failed last week in the hours before the outage multiplied, the Midwest Independent Transmission Operator's chief executive said Thursday." [By Mark Jewell, A.P.]

2003 - Mars Watch - August 26th, 2003: "The planet Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in 60,000 years."

2003 - Bombing / Najaf, Iraq - August 29th, 2003: "NAJAF, Iraq - A car bomb ripped through a crowd of worshippers leaving Iraq's holiest Shiite shrine after prayers Friday [08/29/03], killing a top cleric and at least 84 other people. The blast also wounded more than 140. The bombing was the deadliest attack since U.S. troops captured Baghdad in early April and the third massive vehicle bombing in less than a month. It followed attacks in Baghdad on the U.N. headquarters and the Jordanian Embassy." [By D'Arcy Doran, A.P., 08/31/03]

2003 - Pluto 17 / 14 Sagittarius - August 29th, 2003: Pluto at 17 / 14 degrees Sagittarius, D. ...

*Link: http://www.astro.com/swisseph/ae/2000/ae_2003.pdf

2003 - Status / 911 Claims - August 31st, 2003: "NEW YORK - Federal and local officials are growing increasingly concerned that almost 60 percent of families who lost relatives in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have not filed claims with the victim compensation fund established by Congress." [New York Times]

2003 - Assassination / Najaf, Iraq - "NAJAF, Iraq - Vowing revenge and beating their chests, more than 300,000 Shiites marched Sunday [08/31/03] behind the rose-strewn coffin of a beloved cleric who was assassiniated in a car bombing in the holy city of Najaf. The FBI said it would join the investigation into the bombing, which killed 125 people." [By Tarek Al-Issawi, A.P.]

2003 - Heat Wave Status / France - August 31st, 2003: "PARIS - France's first comprehensive tally of its searing heat wave stirred new outrage Friday [08/29/03] when the government disclosed that 11,435 people had died - far beyond its initial estimates." [A.P., 08/31/03]

2003 - Budget Deficit / United States - August 31st, 2003: "Tax cuts: Three hundred and fifty billion. War on Iraq: Forty-eight billion. Reconstructing Iraq: Twenty billion. Perscription drugs for the elderly: Forty billion. Missle defense system: Ten billion. Farm subsidies: Nineteen billion. A new shuttle system for NASA: Chicken feed, $2 billion, tops. Paying for it all: Pricey. The Congressional Budget Office last week estimated that the U.S. budget will run $401 billion in the red in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, and that next year's deficit will reach $480 billion. Over the next decade, the CBO estimated, the United States will come up 1.4 trillion short of making ends meet. This is what $1.4 trillion looks like: $1,400,000,000,000. It's $5,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. It's a tricked out Cadillac SUV for everyone in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Iowa. It's tuition, room, board and fees for all 6,509 undergraduates at Washington University... for the next 5,527 years. It's a stack of $100 bills, squished really tight, 95,000 miles high. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 09/01/03]

2003 - Trivia / U.S. Automobile Owners - August 31st, 2003: "WASHINGTON - For the first time, the typical American family has more vehicles in the garage than licensed drivers in the house, the latest survey by the Transportation Department shows." [By Leslie Miller, A.P.] 

2003 - Chemical Weapons Incineration? / U.S.A. - "The Army on Sunday [08/31/03] began buring about 800 gallons of deadly sarin drained from rockets, marking the most dangerous phase of its weapons incinerator use since the process began August 8th." [News Services - Anniston, Ala.]

2003 - Perscription Marijuana / Netherlands - "AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - The Netherlands this week will become the world's first country to make marijuana available as a perscription drug in pharmacies to treat chronically ill patients, a top Dutch health official said Sunday [08/31/03]." [Reuters News Service]

2003 - U.S. War Dead / Iraq - "Total amount of identified hostile and non-hostile U.S. troops killed in Iraq this month [August 2003] amounts to 35." [A.P., 05/01/04]

September 2003

2003 - Union Membership  / U.S.A. - "As recently as the 1960s, union membership stood at just over 30 percent of all workers, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. But for the last decade, union membership has hovered at around 14 percent." [By Allyce Bess, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2003 - Trivia / EPA Officials, U.S.A. - September, 2003: "WASHINGTON - Two top Environmental Protection Agency officials [John Pemberton & Ed Krenik] who were involved in easing an air pollution rule for old power plants have just taken private-sector jobs with companies that benefit from the changes." [By Seth Borenstein, Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2003 - Labor Statistics / United States - "Critcisms leveled by the AFL-CIO and other labor activists against the Bush Administration include:
   * More jobs have been lost than under any other president since the Great Depression.
   * Bush has stripped 170,000 federal employees of civil service and union protections.
   * The Labor Department created a new ergonomics program based on voluntary guidelines.
   * The president is proposing regulations that might exempt millions of workers from overtime pay.
                                                                                                                    [Allyce Bess, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2003 - Troop Strength Reductions / China - September 2, 2003: "China's People's Liberation Army has undertaken nine rounds of reductions since the Communist party took power in 1949, falling from a high of about 6.2 million during the Korean War in 1951."

2003 - Status / Sarin Incineration, U.S.A. - "ANNISTON, Ala. - The Army destroyed about 530 gallons of sarin nerve agent in the first bulk burn of the lethal chemical at the Army's newest weapons incinerator. The remaining 270 or so gallons are to be destroyed later this month, An Army spokesman said Monday. The Army had expected the 15 1/2-hour burn, which began Sunday and ended early Monday, to consume the entire 800 gallons of sarin drained from rockets. Because it did not, workers will be 'fine-tuning' the incinerator during the next burn in about three weeks to make it more efficient, Army spokesman Mike Abrams said." [A.P.]

2003 - Chemical Weapons Incinerator / U.S.A. - "The Army is testing another incinerator at Pine Bluff Arsenal near Pine Bluff, Ark., a city of about 55,000, and is expected to begin burning chemical weapons there late next year." [A.P.]

2003 - Typhoon Dujuan / S China - "Typhoon date(s): -September 2nd, 2003. Number of recorded deaths: 32." [Based on: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005, p. 206]

2003 - Poverty Rate / United States - September 3rd, 2003: "WASHINGTON - Almost 1.4 million more people in the United States fell into poverty last year - almost half of them children - even as the country emerged from recession, according to a Census Bureau survey. About 12.4 percent of the population, or almost 34.8 million people, lived in poverty last year, according to the Bureau's American Community Survey, to be released today. That was up from 12.1 percent, or 33.4 million in 2001." [By Genaro C. Armas, A.P.]

2003 - PCB-Tainted Properties / U.S.A. - "WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush's administration has quietly allowed the sale of properties contaminated with PCBs, reversing a 25-year-old policy aimed at protecting people from exposure to the highly toxic chemical." [By Elizabeth Shogren, Los Angeles Times]

2003 - Earthquake / California - September 4th, 2003: "A medium-size earthquake sent a sharp, short jolt through the San Francisco bay area Thursday evening." [News Services]

2003 - Status / U.S. Casualties, Iraq - September 4th, 2003: "WASHINGTON - U.S. battlefield casualties in Iraq are increasing dramatically in the face of continued attacks by remnants of Saddam Hussein's military and other forces, with almost ten American soldiers a day now being officially declared 'wounded in action.' The number of those wounded in action totals 1,124 since the war began in March." [By Vernon Loeb, Washington Post]

2003 - Deficit? / U.S. Pension Agency - "WASHINGTON - The deficit at the government's pension insurance program grew by 300 million from April through July, reaching 5.7 billion as the number of bankrupt retirement plans it must take over kept climbing. The cash-strapped Pension Guaranty Corp. will be responsible for paying a record $2.5 billion in benefits to nearly 1 million people in the budget year that ends Sept. 30, the agency's executive director told Congress on Thursday. That compares with a payout of $1.5 billion last year." [A.P.]

2003 - Status / Substance Abuse, U.S.A. - "WASHINGTON - About 22 million people in the United States abused or were dependent on alcohol, drugs or both last year, but only a fraction received treatment, the government said Friday [09/05/03]. Other survey findings:
   * The percentage of youths who said they ever had used marijuana declined slightly, from 21.9 percent in 2001 to 20.6 percent.
   * Young adults who ever had used marijuana increased slightly, from 53 percent in 2001 to 53.8 percent last year.

                                                                                                                                         [Darlene Superville, A.P.]

2003 - Crumbling Infrastructure? / United States - "WASHINGTON - America's infrastructure is coming apart at the seams, according to an analysis released Thursday [09/04/03] by civil engineers. The analysis warned about congested roadways, crumbling bridges and schools and outdated drinking water systems.
   "In its report, the American society of Civil Engineers said the condition of 12 key categories of infrastructure had shown little or no improvement - and in many cases had worsened - in the past two years.
   "The organization's president, Thomas Jackson, said it found myriad examples of the problems, including last month's massive blackout in the Northeast and Midwest.
  "In assessing trends since its 2001 report card, the group said the nation was 'failing to maintain even the substandard conditions we currently have' for roads and bridges.
   "The report said 75 percent of the nation's school buildings were inadequate. With population growth outpacing investment in schools, the engineers estimated that more than $127 billion would be needed to build new classrooms and renovate old schools." [A.P.]

2003 - Resignation / Mahmoud Abbas - September 6th, 2003: "Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas tendered his resignation to Arafat after fewer than four months in office."

2003 - Hurricane Fabian / Bermuda - "HAMILTON, Bermuda - The dark clouds of fabian lifted Saturday [09/06/03], revealing the devestation wrought by the most powerful hurricane to hit Bermuda in 50 years: pulverized trees, shorn rooftops and tens of thousands of homes without power." [Based on:   Matthew Taylor, A.P.]

2003 - Hurricane Isabel / NC, VA, MD, E Seaboard, U.S.A. - "Hurricane date(s): September 7th-19th, 2003. Number of recorded deaths: 40+." [Based on: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005, p. 206]

2003 - Postwar Request  / President Bush - "WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush's $87 billion request for postwar costs is heavily weighted to maintaining military operations, with $65.5 billion to go to the armed forces, $15 billion toward rebuilding Iraq and $5 billion toward building its security forces, and $800 million to new spending for civilian programs in Afghanistan, administration officials said Monday [09/08/03]." [News Services]

*Trivia: "On March 24th, the administration justified its request for more than $70 billion to cover the costs of the war for the next six months with the prediction of 'a period of stabilization in Iraq, and the phased withdrawl of a large number of American forces within that six month window.' Oops." [Based on: E.J. Dionne, September 2003]

2003 - U.S. Troop Deployment Status / Iraq - "WASHINGTON - The Army has ordered thousands of National Guard and reserve forces in Iraq to extend their tours in the country to a year, months longer than any of the troops had anticipated, Army officials said Monday [09/08/03]. [....] Now 122,000 Army forces are in Iraq, including 3,000 National Guard soldiers and 5,000 reservists, Army officials said. An additional 5,000 guard soldiers and 7,000 reservists are serving in Kuwait, they said. Overall, 350,000 troops are in the Army National Guard and 205,000 in the Army Reserves. As of last week, a total of 128,919 Army Guard and reserve forces were mobilized in support of operations overseas and in the United States. Although the total is lower than during the peak of the Iraq war, it is more than ten times greater than the average annual Guard and Reserve call-up during the 1990s, which typically was less than 10,000 a year." [Washington Post]

2003 - Trivia / U.S. Patriot Act - "Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the FBI access to private details of the lives of law-abiding Americans: which books we have checked out from the library, what our medical histories say and what charges we have rung up on our credit cards. [....] For example, under section 215, the FBI could subpoena Amazon.com or eBay for all the purchasing records of their customers - or a library for all the borrowing records of its patrons - simply by asserting that it wants the information for a terrorism investigation." [Based on article by Russ Feingold, 09/09/03]

2003 - New Prime Minister / Palestine - "JERUSALEM - Palestinian Parliament speaker Ahmed Qureia agreed Monday to become his people's new prime minister while insisting that he could not move forward on the U.S-backed peace plan unless he gets more support from Washington than it gave his predecessor." [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2003 - Conviction / Enron Treasurer - "HOUSTON - Enron Corp's former treasurer on Wednesday [09/10/03] pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was led away in handcuffs and ankle chains to begin serving five years behind bars." [By Kristen Hays, A.P.]

2003 - Video Image / Osama Bin Laden - September 10th, 2003: "In the first video image of bin Laden in nearly two years, he is shown walking through rocky terrain with al-Zawahri. Two taped messages accompanied the video - all aired on Al-Jazeera on the eve of the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. In one, a voice purporting to be bin Laden's praises the 'great damage to the enemy' on Sept. 11 and mentions five hijackers by name. In the other tape, a voice said to be that of al-Zawahri threatens more attacks on Americans." [A.P., 10/30/04]

2003 - Typhoon Maemi / South Korea - "Typhoon date(s): September 12th, 2003. Number of recorded deaths: 130." [Based on: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005, p. 207]

2003 - Fatality / Swedish Foriegn Minister - September 12th, 2003: "STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Police searched Thursday [09/11/03] for a tall stocky Swede with acne-scarred shin who fatally stabbed Foreign Minister Anna Lindh in a Stockholm store." [A.P.]

2003 - WTO Failure - "CANCUN, Mexico - Talks designed to change the face of farming around the world collapsed Sunday [09/14/03] amid differences between rich and poor nations, the second failure for the World Trade Organization in four years. Some poor nations celebrated what they called a victory against the West. [....]" [A.P.]

2003 - E.M.U. Rejection / Sweden - "On Sunday, the Swedish people decisively rejected membership in the European Monetary Union and, in doing so, also rejected adoption of the single European currency known as the euro. The results are no anomaly, but a warning that the EMU and Europe's 50-year progress toward a closer union may be in jeopardy. [....] In Sweden, only Anna Lindh, the foriegn minister who was savegly murdered last week, could have rescued the floundering EMU cause. Despite the backing of Prime Minister Goran Persson, the country's establishment powers and a slick 'Ja' campaign that had outspent the 'Nye' side by at least five to one, the public was not on board, and by June the campaign was a shambles. [....]" [John R. Gillingham III]

2003 - CIA Leak Case Trivia / Dick Cheney - September 14th, 2003: "[....] The New York Times reported Tuesday [10/25/05] that notes taken by Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby suggest that the vice president learned about CIA officer Valerie Plame from then-CIA Director George Tenet, then passed the information to Libby in a conversation on June 12, 2003. [....] Cheney told NBC on Sept. 14, 2003, that he didn't know who sent Wilson on a mission to Niger to explore claims that Iraq was seeking nuclear material. 'He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back,' Cheney said at the time. 'I don't know Mr. Wilson. I probably shouldn't judge him. I have no idea who hired him.' He made those remarks months after the reported conversations with Tenet and Libby, in which he would have learned about Wilson and his wife. [....] It was Cheney who all but made a direct link between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, then denied that he had ever done so. He also insisted there was a link between al-Qaida and Iraq. Cheney said in May [2005] that the Iraqi insurgency was in its 'last throes,' an assertion rejected by military leaders. [....]" [Based on: A.P. article by Ron Fournier (Cheney's credibility becomes issue as CIA leak investigation proceeds), p. A6, S.L.P.D., 10/26/05]

2003 - Power Plant Failure / Pennsylvania - September 16th, 2003: "An electrical disturbance cut off power to a nuclear plant early Monday [09/15/03] and caused both of the facility's reactors to shut down automatically, officials said. [....] No radiation was released and no workers were injured, Simon said. Plant officials declared an 'unusual event' just after 2:30 a.m. An unusual event is the lowest of four emergency classifications." [News Services]

2003 - Foreign Relations / China & N. Korean - September 16th, 2003: "BEIJING - China said Monday [09/15/03] that its military has taken over patrolling its frontier with North Korea but wouldn't disclose why it made the change." [A.P.]

2003 - Changing Story? / 911 - "WASHINGTON -  President George W. Bush said Wednesday [09/17/03] there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. His remarks dispute an impression that critics say the administration tried to foster to justify the war against Iraq. 'There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al-Qaida ties,' the president said. But he also said, 'We had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th.' " [Based on: article by Terence Hunt, A.P.]

2003 - Resignation / Richard Grasso - September 18th, 2003: "NEW YORK - "The chairman and chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange resigned Wednesday [09/17/03] after the board called an emergency meeting to quell three weeks of blistering criticism of his pay package." [New York Times]

2003 - Hurricane Isabel / U.S. East Coast - September 19th, 2003: "One of the largest hurricanes in five years reached the U.S. East Coast."

2003 - Israeli Policy Protests - "... In Tel Aviv, several thousand Israelis marched to the Defense Ministry, protesting their government's tough policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and calling for an end to the occupation. In the past three years of fighting against Palestinian militants, Israeli troops have reoccupied most West Bank towns, enforced travel bans on civilians and carried out frequent arrest raids. [....] About 2,000 people also marched in the West Bank town of Hebron on Saturday [09/20/03], carrying Palestinian flags and banners that read "Arafat is our hero.' " [A.P.]

*Trivia: "[....] ... a year and a half ago [2003], Shapira [Israeli Air Force Reserve Captain, Yonatan Shapira] lost his wings as a helicopter pilot. The reason: Shapira joined a few dozen other pilots in refusing to fly missions that they view as immoral and illegal. [....] 'Almost all of those missions do not serve Israel and are neither legal nor moral,' Shapira said [2005] at a session with Post-Dispatch editorial writers. [....] A year and a half ago, 27 pilots and 800 reservists signed a letter refusing to carry out missions they deemed illegal and immoral. Most such missions take place in the occupied territories. [....] Shapira insisted that his group was following the first law of the Israeli Defense Forces: 'A soldier must not follow illegal or immoral commands.' He said, 'We told them we're unwilling to participate in missions where we'd harm innocents. It's not only immoral. It also harms Israel by spreading hatred.' [....] Meanwhile [March 2005], Shapira is on a month-and-a-half speaking trip across the United States. He recently met with congressional staff aides and think-tank analysts in Washington. His take: 'They think the Jewish lobby in Washington represents the Jewish voice - and it's not true.' Shapira singled out the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee. But AIPAC's Josh Block called his group the mainstream voice of U.S. public opinion on relations with Israel - 'the only democracy, and our only ally, in the Middle East. And because Israel is a free country, the gentlemen in question is free to make such statements.' [....]" [Based on article by Harry Levins, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. 26, 03/12/05]

2003 - Economic Status / Iraq - "BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S.-led occupation authority has ordered the overhaul of fundamental elements of Iraq's socialist economy and instituted wide-ranging free-market reforms that will allow full owernship in all sectors except oil, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Sunday. [....] The new economic policy, enacted Saturday [09/20/03] by U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer, allows foriegn companies to enter and potentially dominate key elements of the economy, from banking to manufacturing, that had been off-limits to outside owernship. [....]" [Washington Post]

2003 - Assassination Attempt / Akila Hashimi - "Akila Hashimi, one of three womwn on the 25-member Governing Council and a leading candidate to Iraq's representative at the United Nations, was shot in the abdomen by gunmen Saturday [09/20/03] as she drove to work."

2003 - Fatality / Galileo Spacecraft - "PASADENA, Calif. - NASA's Galileo spacecraft plunged into Jupiter's atmosphere Sunday [09/21/03], ending a 14-year, 1.5 billion exploration of the solar system's largest planet and its moons. [....] NASA chose to crash the 3,000 pound Galileo to eliminate the chance it could hit the watery moon Europa and contaminate it with any microbes aboard." [By Andrew Bridges, A.P.]

2003 - Iraq War Comment / Dalai Lama - "The Dalai Lama called war 'legalized violence' and said Sunday [09/21/03] that he wished he had visited Iraq and pushed for a better dialogue between countries before the war started to try to avert it. [....] He said war is an outdated concept in a global society, and people should instead learn to communicate. [....] 'Violence is very unpredictable. Although your motivations may be sincere, violence... easily can be out of control.' " [U.S. Digest]

2003 - Hurricane Marty / California Coast - "The Mexican government issued a hurricane warning for the southern tip of the Baja California coast Sunday [09/21/03] as the tropical storm Marty reached hurricane strength." [News Services]

2003 - Neanderthal Crossbreading? - "Three fossils - 34,000 to 36,000 years old - may support the theory that early Europeans bred with Neanderthals, a WU [Washington University] anthropologist says." [By Tina Hesman, St Louis Post-Dispatch]

2003 - Begins to Circulate / White House Leak Scandal - September 21, 2003: "A White House leak scandal begins to circulate."

2003 - Earthquake / Dominican Republic - "A 6.5 earthquake struck the Dominican Republic just after midnight on Monday [09/22/03]. The quake was felt as far away as Puerto Rico."

2003 - U.N. General Assembly / New York - "UNITED NATIONS - President George W. Bush told the world on Tuesday [09/23/03] that he welcomes its help in the rebuilding of Iraq - but on U.S. terms only, and with no apologies for toppling Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein without explicit U.N. authorization. [....] French president Jacques Chirac delivered a speech that was sharply critical of U.S. policy. 'In an open world," he said, 'no one can live in isolation, no one can act alone in the name of all, and no one can accept the anarchy of a society without rules. [....]" [Jon Sawyer]

2003 - Computer Virus / U.S. State Department - "WASHINGTON - The State Department's electronic system [CLASS] for checking every visa applicant for terrorist or criminal history failed worldwide late Tuesday [09/23/03] for several hours because of a computer virus, leaving the U.S. government breifly unable to issue visas. [....]" [A.P.]

2003 - Status / Missile Defense System, U.S.A. - "The administration's push to deploy a $22 billion missle defense system by this time next year could lead to cost increases and technical failures that will have to be fixed before it can hope to stop enemy warheads, congressional investigators said on Tuesday." [News Services]

2003 - Ecstasy / Global Use - "... The report, presented at a news conference in Rome, estimated that global use of Ecstasy rose by 70 percent from 1995-1997 to 2000-2001, while use of amphetamines rose by 40 percent over the same period. [....]" [News Services]

2003 - Stalled / U.N. Resolution - "UNITED NATIONS - President George W. Bush came home empty-handed Wednesday [09/24/03] from his two-day push at the United Nations to begin getting foreign troops and financial help in Iraq." [Knight Rider Newspapers]

2003 - Inmate Release Bill / Alabama - "The Alabama Legislature approved on Wednesday a bill that would allow for the early release of thousands of inmates to reduce costs in the prison system and help solve the state's budget problems." [News Services]

2003 - U.S. Troop Status / Iraq - "The United States has about 130,000 troops in Iraq. Of the 302 U.S. troops who have died in Iraq since the war began, at least 47 were National Guard or Reserve members." [Los Angeles Times]

2003 - Grounded Pilots / Israel - September 25th, 2003: "Israel temporarily grounded reserve air force pilots who condemned air strikes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as 'immoral' and refused to fly such sorties."

2003 - Dismissed / War Crimes Complaints - "Belgium's highest court dismissed war crimes complaints Wednesday against former President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, ruling the country no longer has a legal basis to charge them. [....] Under international pressure, Parliament amended the 1993 law in August to require that human rights complaints could be filed only if the victim or suspect was a Belgian citizen or long-term resident at the time of the alleged crime." [News Services]

2003 - Earthquake / Japan - September 26th, 2003: "OBIHIRO, Japan - An earthquake regestering 8.0 on the Richter scale rocked Japan's northern island of Hokkaido early today, injuring at least 243 people. [....] The quake struck at 4:50 a.m., cracking roads capsizing fishing boats and causing the roof of a local airport to cave in partly. The temblor was centered in the Pacific Ocean about 60 miles off Hokkaido's eastern shore, Japan's Central Meteorological Agency said. A magnitude-8 earthquake is capable of causing tremendous damage. The meteorological agency said the earthquake was centered 36 miles under the seabed. An aftershock of magnitude 7 followed shortly after 6 a.m., the U.S. Geological survey said from Golden, Colo. Another aftershock was reported at 8 a.m., but its magnitude was unknown. [....] Japan is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries. It sits atop four tectonic plates, slabs that move across the earth's surface. Tokyo is especially vulnerable. A quake and subsequent fire in 1923 killed more than 140,000 people in the capital area, and experts believe that Tokyo is overdue for another major jolt. In January 1995, a magnitude 7.2 temblor in Kobe killed more than 6,000 people. [....]" [A.P.]

2003 - 1st Nigerian Satellite - "A Nigerian satellite blasted into orbit Saturday [09/27/03] aboard a Russian rocket, giving one of the poorest nations on earth a presence in space for the first time." [News Services]

2003 - Foriegn Relations / U.S.A. & Russia - "WASHINGTON - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday [09/27/03] rebuffed President George W. Bush's requests for help in limiting Iran's nuclear program and also declined to provide immediate aid in Iraq. The leaders also disagreed on how to deal with North Korea. [....]" [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2003 - Electrical Blackout / Italy - "ROME - Italy slowly came to life Sunday morning [10/28/03] after an electrical blackout darkened the country from the Alps to the tip of Sicily. [....] The outage affected more than 50 million people. [....] Italian officials discounted the possibility of sabotage, but the exact cause of the outage was unclear." [Washington Post]

2003 - After-Tax Income Gap / U.S.A.  - "The latest Forbes magazine [September? 2003] contains heartening news: President George W. Bush's economic recovery plan is working like a charm! After two years of seeing their wealth decline, the 400 richest Americans last year got ten percent richer. They now hold $955 billion in assets - about 8.8 percent of the gross national product. In 2002, more people than ever - 34.6 million - were living below the federal poverty line, defined as an income of $18,244 for a family of four. That's 1.7 million more 'officially poor' people than in 2001. The U.S. median household income fell for the third straight year, to $42,409. The Congressional Budget Office last week announced that in the year 2000, the famous 'richest 1 percent' of Americans had the same amount of after-tax income as the poorest 40 percent combined. That's 2.8 million people with the same after-tax income as the poorest 112 million. The gap between the richest 1 percent and the poorest 40 percent more than doubled between 1979 and 2000. The gap may be even wider now. Since those figures were compiled, Mr. Bush has instituted his tax cut program, 42 percent of the benefits of which will acrue to the richest 1 percent, according to analysis by the Tax policy Center... people who qualify for the earned income tax credit for working people with children [32 million low-income Americans] don't even have to pay income taxes." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 09/29/03] 

2003 - White House Leak / Karl Rove? - September 29th, 2003: "[....] White House press spokesman Scott McClellan, when asked how Mr. Bush knew Mr. Rove wasn't involved in the leaks, replied 'Well, I've made it very clear that it was a ridiculous suggestion in the first place.... I've said that it's not true.... And I have spoken with Karl Rove.... If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration.' [....]" [Based on: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. D10, 07/14/05]

*Trivia: "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Sunday [07/24/05] that he notified White House chief of staff Andrew Card after the Justice Department opened an investigation into who revealed a CIA officer's identity, but he waited 12 hours [till the next morning] to tell anyone else in the executive mansion. [....] "The real question now is, 'Who did the chief of staff speak to?' " Biden asked, speculating as to whether Card might have spoken to Rove or someone else. [Based on: A.P., 07/25/05] - [Brackets text added by E.M.]

2003 - Anti-War Protests / Los Angeles - "About 3,000 people took part in a peaceful march and rally protesting U.S. military involvement in Iraq."

2003 - Status / U.S. Welfare Deadline - "The Senate acted Tuesday [09/30/03] to keep the nation's welfare system  running for six months, buying extra time to consider revisions to the program. The extention marks the fifth time lawmakers have pushed back their deadline for renewing a broad 1996 overhaul of the nation's welfare system. Federal law authorizing welfare programs expired Tuesday. The House must pass the legislation before it can be sent to the White House. The House passed a broad bill revising the rules for the welfare system in February. A Senate committee started just last month to advance its blueprint to renew the program." [News Services]

2003 - Americans Lacking Health Insurance - "WASHINGTON - The number of Americans who don't have health insurance rose sharply last year, mainly because of unemployment increases and two straight years of cuts in employer-provided health coverage. The number of uninsured Americans jumped by 2.4 million to 43.6 million last year the U.S. Census Bureau reported Monday [09/29/03]. That's 15.2 percent of the population, compared with 14.6 percent in 2001. [By Tony Pugh, Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2003 - White House Leak Comment / George W. Bush - September 30th, 2003: "[....] Mr Bush said he took the leaks seriously 'If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action.' [....]" [Based on: Article, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. D10, 07/14/05]

2003 - Why Weapons Containing Depleted Uranium Are Illegal - September 30th, 2003:

There are two ways to determine if the use of a particular weapon in military operations is illegal. The easiest way is if the weapon is used in violation of a treaty that forbids its use and the State using it is a party to that treaty. If there is no treaty on a specific weapon, then one must determine if the use of that weapon would violate existing rules and principles of binding humanitarian (armed conflict) law. Under these rules (the "weapons test") – derived from The Hague Conventions, the Geneva Conventions, and all other sources of military law – a weapon may be banned if: (1) it has harmful effects outside the legal field of battle (the "geography" test); (2) it has harmful effects after the war is over (the "time" test); (3) its use is unduly inhuman or causes undue suffering (the "humaneness" test); or (4) it has a harmful effect on the environment (the "environment" test). The first two tests arise from the requirement that weapons may not be indiscriminate. Because there is no specific weapon treaty forbidding the use of depleted uranium, the illegality of DU must be shown by the second method.

Weaponry containing depleted uranium (DU) fails all four tests. [....]

[Based on: article by by Karen Parker, J.D. September 30, 2003 @
http://www.mindfully.org/Nucs/2003/Leuren-Moret-ICT13dec03.htm - bottom of page]

2003 - U.S. War Dead / Iraq - "Total amount of identified hostile and non-hostile U.S. troops killed in Iraq this month [September 2003] amounts to 30." [A.P., 05/01/04]

October 2003

2003 - Abuse Allegations / U.S. Prisons, Iraq - October, 2003: "NEW YORK - Detailed allegations of psychological abuse, deprivation, beatings and deaths at U.S.-run prisons in Iraq were met by public silence from the Army last October [2003] - six months before shocking photographs stirred world outrage and demands for action. [....] On Friday [05/07/04], in an unusual public statement, the International Red Cross agreed, disclosing that its inspectors last year [2003] found a 'broad pattern' of abuse. [....] Miller, the former commander of the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, led a 30-member team to Iraq in August and September [2003] that focused on ways of sharpening interrogation proceedures. In a report on the Abu Ghraib scandal, Maj. Gen. Anthony Taguba wrote that the team recommended 'that the guard force be actively engaged in setting the conditions for successful exploitation of the internees.' On Saturday [05/08/04], Miller said, 'There was no recommendation ever by this group... that recommended that the military police become actively involved in the interrogation.' " [A.P., 05/09/04]

2003 - Israeli Barrier Extension / West Bank - "JERUSALEM - The Israeli Cabinet voted Wednesday [10/01/03] to extend a separation barrier in the West Bank, approving a route that will place thousands of Palestinians and a broad expanse of their farmland on the Israeli side of the barrier." [Boston Globe]

2003 - Nuclear Arms / North Korea - "Beijing - North Korea said Thursday [10/02/03] that it had prossessed spent nuclear-fuel rods to make nuclear weapons, and a North Korean diplomat reportedly said his country would boost its nuclear arsenal but would not market weapons abroad." [By Tim Johnson, Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2003 - Israeli Expansion / West Bank - "JERUSALEM - Israel announced Thursday [10/02/03] that it would build 565 new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank." [By Ravi Nessman, A.P.]

2003 - Failure To Find W.M.D. / Iraq - "WASHINGTON - The head of a CIA team hunting for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq told Congress Thursday [10/02/03] that he had not found any stockpiles of the chemical or biological arms that President George W. Bush cited as the primary reason to invade Iraq in March." [By Warren P. Strobel & Jim Kuhnhenn, Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2003 - Trivia / American Casualties, Iraq - "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Each week in Iraq, an average of three to six Americans die and 40 are wounded at the hands of an enemy that has become more lethal and sophisticated since the fall of Baghdad in April, the commander of coalition forces said Thursday [10/02/03]. U.S. soldiers are facing 15-20 attacks a day, including roadside bombs, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez said. Seven to 10 attacks a day involve small groups of fighters." [A.P.]

2003 - Suicide Bomb / Israel - 2:20 pm, Saturday, October 4th, 2003: "Haifa, Israel - At least 19 people were killed and at least 55 injured when a Palestinian suicide bomber set off an explosin in a landmark beachfront restraunt packed with a lunch crowd at the start of the holiday weekend, according to Israeli police. [....] Hours later, Israeli helicopters fired missles at an empty home near the beach in Gaza city at a house belonging to an Islamic Jihad leader in the Boureij refugee camp in central Gaza, witnesses said. There were no immediate reports of casualties. The suicide attack, one of the most deadly in three years of violence, came on the Jewish Sabbath and a day before the start of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. [....] The Islamic Jihad militant group claimed responsibility for the attack in statements issued to television networks and wire services. It identified the bomber as Hanadi Tayseer Jaradat, a woman from the Jenin who was in her 20s and had recently graduated from law school in Jordan. The statement said Jaradat had watched as Israeli soldiers fatally shot her brother and a cousin, both Islamic Jihad supporters, at their family home in June." [By John Ward & Molly Moore, Washington Post]

2003 - Status / Personal Bankruptcies, U.S.A. - "Unexpected medical expenses are among the leading causes of personal bankruptcies, which were filed in record numbers last year. Half of those who filed for that reason had some health insurance, but not enough. Roughly one of every six Americans was without health insurance throughout 2002. That is 43.6 million people, more than the combined populations of 24 states and the District of Columbia. Last year's total of uninsured Americans represents a 40 percent increase since 1987. [....] The best estimates suggest it would cost between $34 billion and $69 billion to cover all of the nations's uninsured. That's alot of money, but it pales in comparison to the $159 billion to $209 billion in extra administrative costs we pay compared to Canada's more efficient single-payer system." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/04/03]

2003 - Trivia / World Slum Population - "UNITED NATIONS - "About a sixth of the world's population - nearly 1 billion people - live in slums, and that number could double by 2020, according to a United Nations report." [News Services]

2003 - Fiscal Irresponsibility / United States - "... Last week, three organizations joined at the Press Club to issue their first-ever joint statement on fiscal policy. The Committee for Economic Development, a group of business and education leaders; the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal-leaning research and advocacy group; and the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan organization focussed on sound fiscal policy, called the current budgetary situation 'the most fiscally irresponsible' in American history. Staff members of the three groups said that a realistic picture of the next decade shows that it is likely that annual deficits will rise from current levels of $400 billion to more than $600 billion and total $5 trillion between 2004 and 2013, even assuming a quick return to healthy economic growth and lower unemployment. What this means - if current policies continue - is that balancing the budget by 2013 would require raising individual and corporate income taxes by 27 percent, cutting Social Security by 60 percent, cutting defense by 73 percent, or cutting all programs - except defense, homeland security, Social Security and Medicare - by 40 percent. And after 2013, the reality is that things will get worse." [By David Broder, WASHINGTON]

2003 - Israeli Bombing / Syria - "MAJDAL, SHAMS, Golan Heights - Israel bombed a target inside Syria on Sunday [10/05/03] that it claimed was an Islamic Jihad training base. The attack, deep inside the territory of Israel's neighbor, was Israel's first in Syria in three decades and widened the pursuit of Palestinian militants." [By Jason Keyser, A.P.]

2003 - Not Involved in White House Leak? / I. Lewis Libby & Karl Rove - October 7th, 2003: "White House spokesman says Libby and presidential aide Karl Rove were 'not involved' in leaking Plame's name to journalists." [Based on: Illustrated Timeline, p. A13, S.L.P.D., 10/30/05]

2003 - Grocery Strike / St. Louis Mo. - "The first major grocery strike in the St. Louis area was punctuated by a war of words Tuesday [10/07/03] between the union involved and the companies, with each side saying the other didn't take it seriously." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2003 - California Governor-Elect / Arnold Schwarzenegger - "LOS ANGELES - Arnold Schwarzenegger bounded onto stage to cheers and applause late Tuesday night [10/07/03], surrounded by Hollywood celeberties and republican party leaders, to deliver his first speech as governor-elect of California." [New York Times]

2003 - Bankrupt / U.S. Environmental Superfund - "Remember Superfund, the federal program to clean the nation's worst hazardous waste sites? It used to be funded almost entirely by a tax on polluters. But as of a week ago [10/02/03], the Superfund - about 1.5 billion annually - will be funded by taxpayers. The tax on polluters was quietly allowed to expire in 1995 despite former president Bill Clinton's efforts to restore it. President George W. Bush has refused to even consider asking Congress to reimpose it. Accumulated money from the tax  plummeted  from more than $2 billion in 1995 to less than $370 million in 2002. By the end of the 2003 fiscal year, which ended last Tuesday [10/02/03], the money was gone. Financial responsibility for cleaning sites that were trashed and abandoned by big polluters must now fall to someone else. That's where taxpayers come in. Their share has risen from $283 million in 1995 to $676 million last year. Expect it to grow even more in years to come." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

*Trivia: "In October 2003, after President Bush failed to renew an environmental tax on oil and chemical companies, Superfund went bankrupt. [....] The EPA's principal leverage over recalcitrant polluters was Superfund's treble damages provision, which allows the agency to use the fund to clean up the site and then charge the polluter three times its cost. [....] Thanks to President Bush's decision, one out of every four Americans lives within a few miles of a Superfund site that may never be cleaned up." [Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Crimes Against Nature, pp. 8-9]

2003 - Resignation / Larry Mefford - "The FBI's top counterterrorism official [Larry Mefford] announced his retirement Wednesday [10/08/03] after just three months on the job, marking the latest in a wave of departures from the senior ranks of the FBI since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. [....] Mefford is the third person in the last 18 months to hold that position, which FBI Director Robert Mueller III created to oversee terrorism and intelligence investigations." [News Services]

2003 - Suicide Bombers / Iraq - October 9th, 2003: "Two suicide bombers killed eight Iraqis at a police station in Sadr City, northeast Baghdad."

2003 - Status / Re-election Campaign, George W. Bush - "President George W. Bush has raised at least $83.9 million since starting his re-election campaign last spring, according to the latest figures released by his campaign Tuesday." [News Services]

2003 - White House Leak Comment / Scott McClellan - October 10th, 2003: "[....] Mr McClellan said he had spoken to Rove and two other top administration officials who had 'assured me they were not involved in this.' [....]" [Based on: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. D10, 07/14/05]

2003 - 1st Manned Spaceflight / China - October 15th, 2003: "BEIJING - A spacecraft dubbed the Divine Vessel lifted off with a lone astronaut [Lt. Col. Yang Liwei] from a remote Gobi Desert site this morning, catapulting China into the elite club of nations that have orbited a human." [By Ching-Ching Ni, Los Angeles Times]

2003 - U.S. Supreme Court Review / "Under God"  - "WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday [10/14/03] to take up one of the most emotional legal questions to arise in many years: whether the Pledge of Allegiance should be banned from the classroom because it violates the separation of church and state. [....] The words were inserted into the pledge in 1954 as the United States was locked in a Cold War with the Soviet Union and the phrase 'Godless communism' was a staple of American political life. The original pledge, minus the reference to God, was adopted in 1942." [Based on: article by David Stout, New York Times]

2003 - Ricin Letter / Washington - "A ricin-tainted letter signed by 'Fallen Angel' and postmarked October 17th, 2003 from Chattanooga Tennessee was intercepted November 6th, 2003 by the Secret Service at an offsite mail processing facility in Washington."

2003 - U.S. Military Spending & Foreign Aid / Iraq - "WASHINGTON - The House and Senate on Friday [10/17/03] overwhelmingly approved one of the largest foreign aid and military spending plans in U.S. history, earmarking nearly $87 billion to support U.S. troops abroad and to help rebuild Iraq's shattered roads, water systems and other facilities." [Washington Post]

2003 - Status / Dioxin Tainted Sludge, U.S.A. - "The Environmental Protection Agency said Friday that it would not regulate dioxins in land-applied sludge because it believes there is minimal danger from dioxins, a class of organic chemicals that the agency's studies have shown pose a possible cancer risk to humans." [A.P.]

2003 - Philippine Speech / President Bush - "MANILA, Philippines - President George W. Bush toughened his appeal for help in securing and rebuilding Iraq, telling Philippine legislators Saturday [10/18/03] that countries reluctant to aid his war on terrorism are endangering their neighbors and hindering democracy." [BY Mike Allen, The Washington Post]

2003 - Trivia / Nazi Funding, Prescott Bush - "WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush's grandfather was a director of a bank seized by the federal government because of its ties to a German industrialist who helped bankroll Adolf Hitler's rise to power, government documents show." [A.P.]

2003 - Specific Questions / Prisoner Abuse Allegations, Iraq, etc. - October 18th, 2003: "On Oct. 18, The Associated Press posed specific questions about the allegations of abuses [prisoner abuses] to the U.S. military command in Baghdad and the 800th Military Police Brigade, which was in charge of detainees at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison and other facilities. The MP unit drafted responses, the AP later learned, but the Baghdad command did not release them. No explanation was given. The Associated Press report, published Nov. 1, cited a statement to Arab television by the MP commander, Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, that prisoners were treated humanely. Meantime, 'between October and December 2003, at the Abu Ghraib Confinement Facility (BCCF), numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees,' according to the report of a later Army investigation. The Army report said the photos from Abu Ghraib dated from this period. The Army's report found that soldiers also had commited 'egregious acts and grave breaches' at Camp Bucca, in southern Iraq. That report did not come to light until the May 10 issue of The New Yorker magazine. It had been classified 'secret'. [....] The camps held not only men captured in the anti-U.S. insurgency, but also many others picked up by U.S. troops in broad neighborhood sweeps, on slight suspicions or unverified tips [Like the Dark & Middle Age Inquisitions?], or as curfew breakers, checkpoint-dodgers or common criminals. Up to 8,000 are believed still [May 2004] held. " [A.P., 05/09/04]

*Trivia: " [....] The records disclosed Monday [12/20/04] are the second set in which FBI officials objected to military detention practices. They are notable because some instances occurred after revelations this year [2004] of prisoner abuses at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. This month, the ACLU released records in which FBI agents complained about prisoner abuse in 2002. The new records show FBI complaints have continued through this year [2004]. In each case, the names of the agents were redacted before the records were released. [....] Many agents assigned to Iraq and Cuba reported witnessing incidents of abuse by military units or civilian contractors. [....] An FBI official in a July 30 [2004] e-mail message described an incident at Guantanamo Bay that he found bothersome. 'I saw a detainee sitting on the floor of the interview room with an Israeli flag draped around him, loud music being played and a strobe flashing.' [....] 'Such techniques were not allowed nor approved by FBI policy,' the agent wrote." [Los Angeles Times, 12/21/04 and, The Washington Post contributed to this report]

2003 - Trivia / U.S. Guard & Reserve Deployment, Iraq - "The current deployment of the National Guard and Reserve units is the largest since the Korean War 50 years ago."

2003 - President Carlos Mesa / Bolivia - "Bolivia's new president, Carlos Mesa, swore in his new Cabinet on Sunday [10/19/2003] . [....]" [News Services]

2003 - U.S. Officer Fatality / Iraq - October 19th, 2003: "Lt. Col. Kim S. Orlando, 43, was the highest-ranking U.S. Army officer killed by hostile fire since the U.S.-led war on Iraq began March 20."  [A.P.] 

2003 - President Akhmad Kadyrov / Chechnya - "MOSCOW - Akhmad Kadyrov was inaugurated Sunday as president of the Russian republic of Chechnya, two weeks after winning the election." [A.P.] 

*Trivia: "Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov was killed in a bomb blast at a Victory Day parade [05/09/04] in the heart of Grozny." [Based on A.P., 09/02/04]

2003 - Trivia / Reconstruction, Iraq - "BANGKOK, Thailand - Under pressure from potential donors, the United States will allow a new agency to determine how to spend billions of dollars in reconstruction aid for Iraq, administration and international aid officials say. The new agency will be independent of the U.S. occupation. The operation will be run by the World Bank and the United Nations. They are to announce the change this week at a donor conference in Madrid, Spain." [Based on: article by Steven R. Weisman, New York Times]

2003 - Bad Reputation / St. Louis Missouri - "Most dangerous city in 2003. Ranked tops for the worst air pollution. And last week, the least healthy place for women in the nation. St. Louis has weathered a remarkable run of first-place finishes this year, outpacing every city in the country for titles no one wants to win. [....] And St. Louis' placing fifth on the Men's Health fattest cities list didn't really help." [Todd C. Frankel, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/20/2003]

2003 - International Relations / U.S.A. & North Korea - "BANGKOK - President George W. Bush said Sunday [10/19/03] that he would be willing to sign a written agreement in which the United States would pledge to refrain from invading North Korea - but only if other Asian leaders also signed. [....] For months, he [President George W. Bush] has refused to enter into a formal, one-on-one nonaggression treaty with North Korea." [Chicago Tribune]

2003 - Status / U.S. Budget Deficit - "WASHINGTON - The federal government posted a $374.2 billion deficit in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, more than double the previous year's shortfall, the Treasury Department reported Monday [10/20/03]. [Los Angeles Times]

2003 - Anti-Semitism? - "BANKOK Thailand - President George W. Bush told Malaysian Prime Minister Mathathir Mohamad on Monday [10/20/03] that Mathathir had been 'wrong and divisive' to declare last week that Jews run the world by proxy." [New York Times]

2003 - Docking / International Space Station - "MOSCOW - A Soyuz spaceship with a three-person crew docked successfully at the international space station Monday [10/20/03]." [Los Angeles Times]

2003 - Status / Israeli Barrier, West Bank - "JERUSALEM - "Israel has rejected a call by the United nations to dismantle a massive barrier being built in the West Bank." [A.P.]

2003 - Space Weather Advisory - October 21st, 2003: "A space weather advisory went out on October 21, 2003: 'Intense active regions emerge on the sun.' In the next two weeks the sudden sunspot activity spawned more major flares and Earth-bound CMEs [coronal mass ejections] than had been seen all year. Airliners took more southerly routes, a small power blackout hit Sweden, and dozens of satellites suffered problems. The biggest Earth-directed salvo came on the 28th: a flare nearing the top of the record charts, followed by a CME moving five times faster than normal. But the CME, with a northward magnetic field , proved relatively minor. Then, just as the sunspots were rotating away from the Earth, a parting shot: the largest flare ever recorded. Fortunately, it and the CME that followed only brushed our planet. Storms just after the solar max (the most recent ended in 2001) aren't uncommon. Still, the episode amazed scientists. Among the satellites hurt in the October outbursts was Mars Odyssey. The red-planet orbiter lost an instrument that, ironically, had just finished measuring the radiation levels that a crewed mission to Mars would face. As solar physicist Pal Brekke cautions, 'If humans want to leave the magnetosphere, we've got to understand space weather.' " [N.G.M., July 2004, pp. 26-27]

2003 - Niagra Falls Stunt - "NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario - A man who survived a trip over Niagara falls with only the clothes on his back will be charged with illegally performing a stunt, park police said Tuesday [10/21/03]. [A.P.]

2003 - European Tax Shelters Cost U.S. Billions - "WASHINGTON - Large U.S. companies are promoting abusive tax schemes that deprive the Treasury of tens of billions of dollars while sending millions to European governments, a former tax shelter executive told Congress on Tuesday [10/21/03]." [Cox News Service]

2003 - U.N. Condemnation / Israeli Barrier  - "UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. General Asembly overwhemingly approved a resolution Tuesday [10/21/03] demanding that Israel halt construction of a barrier intended to cut it off from the West bank and dismantle parts already built. [....] General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding. But the votes of the 191-member assembly are considered a guage of world opinion. The assembly voted 144 in favor and four opposed, including the United States. There were twelve abstentions." [A.P.]

2003 - Wildfires / California - "Since October 21st, at least 10 wind-driven wildfires have rampaged through Southern California, destroying neighborhoods, gutting businesses and blackening more than half a million acres of land from the Mexican border to the northern edge of Los Angeles county." [A.P., 10/29/03]

2003 - Peace Negotiations? / Sudan - "Negotiators in Kenya reacted cautiously Wednesday [10/22/03] to a U.S. deadline for ending Sudan's civil war." [News Services]

2003 - Examples of Genocide / Darfur (Sudan) - 2003-Present [April 2005]: "180,000 non-Arabs killed as of April 22 [2005]." [Based on: Reuters, World Almanac and KRT - St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A12, 06/26/05]

2003 - ECK Worldwide Seminar / "Year of the Shariyat" - October 24th, 2003: "ECKANKAR, Religion of the Light and Sound of God, began its annual New Year celebration  with the ECK Worldwide Seminar in Minneapolis, MN [October 24-26, 2003]. The theme for this year is: The 'Year of the Shariyat.' " [E.M.]

2003 - Anti-War Demonstrations - October 25, 2003: "Citizens from the United States and Canada protest War in Iraq."

2003 - Arrest / Mikhail Khodorkovsky - "Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, 40, Russia's richest man."

2003 - Trivia / U.S. Textbooks Overseas - "Just like perscription drugs, textbooks cost far less overseas than they do in the United States." [By Tamar Lewin, New York Times]

2003 - Suicide Bombers / Iraq - "Bombers strike four times in Baghdad, killing at least 35 people near a Red Cross building and three police stations. Some 230 people are injured." [Reuters News Service]

2003 - Anti-American Rocket Attack / Iraq - October 26th, 2003: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Anti-American guerillas fired a barrage of rockets Sunday at the Baghdad hotel where Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying, U.S. officials said. Wolfowitz was not injurd they said. [....]  The attack on the hotel came on the heels of an assault Saturday [10/25/03] on a convoy of civilian contractors west of Baghdad that killed at least three of the civilians and wounded at least two. Also Saturday, A U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter crashed and burned near the northern town of Tikrit, injuring one crew member." [News Services]

2003 - Status / Asbestos Imports, United States - October 26th, 2003: "Foreign asbestos brake material imported into the United States has increased almost 300 percent in the past twelve years." [By Andrew Schneider, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2003 - Status / Grocery Strikes, United States - "With a one-two punch, health care inflation is knocking down company profits and assaulting family budgets. Several years of double-digit inflation in insurance costs have employees and employers reeling. [....] Health care benefits are the central issue in United Food and Commercial Workers grocery strikes and lockouts in St. Louis, Souithern California, West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio." [By Judith VandeWater, St Louis Post-Dispatch]

2003 - Explosion / Baghdad, Iraq - "BAGHDAD, Iraq - A strong explosion today rocked an area of Baghdad near the Red Cross building and thick black smoke was billowing from the area, witnesses said." [News Services]

2003 - 22nd Socialist International Congress - October 27th-29th, 2003: "Left-leaning politicians from around the world worked Tuesday on a declaration against U.S.-style regime changes and the spread of unfettered capitalism. Speakers at the 22nd Socialist International Congress criticized a new world order where rich countries and corporations benefit while the planet's legions of poor only grow larger. 'There is no doubt, the world we face every day is an unjust world,' said Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Margareta Winberg. Delegates spent Tuesday fine-tuning a declaration expected to be approved today, the last day of the three-day gathering of 600 delegates from 150 political parties from Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa." [News Services]

2003 - X17 Solar Flare - October 28th, 2003: "The fourth largest solar flare on record [X17.2] fires from the sun." [Based on: N.G.M., July 2004, p. 27]

*Trivia: "Astronomers warned Tuesday [10/28/03]  that a massive solar flare could cause power outages and spectacular northern lights shows from about noon today [10/29/03] into Thursday [10/30/03]. Or not. [....] Beyond its larger size, the latest flare is different in that it occured in the center of the sun's disc as seen from earth, sending a blast of material, called a coronal mass ejection, directly toward our planet, said Leonard Strachan, an astrophysicist at the center. The gust of electrically charged gas is traveling at 1,000 miles per second. [....] Geomagnetic storms can also destroy satellites and electronic equipment and short out power grids. A 1989 solar flare smaller than the latest one triggered a massive blackout in Quebec." [based on article by Faye Flam, Knight Ridder Newspapers]

[Other Links: http://spaceweather.com/solarflares/topflares.html]

*Trivia: On this date in history an X17.2 solar flare ["3rd-largest solar flare" recorded since 1976] blasted from the Sun. [Based on: http://spaceweather.com/solarflares/topflares.html] - [T.D. 12/12/06]

2003 - Power Blackout / Brazil - October 28th, 2003: "A power blackout occured in Brazil about this time [10/28/03]."

*Trivia: "A blackout in Florianopolis, the popular tourist destination and the capital of Brazil's Santa Catarina state, entered its third day on Friday [10/31/03], spreading chaos in the city where authorities had declared a state of emergency."

2003 - Arms Shipments / Congo - "UNITED NATIONS - The key to ending Congo's civil war and the plunder of its wealth is to break the 'vicious cycle' of arms shipments to the African nation, a U.N.-appointed panel said Tuesday." [A.P.]

2003 - Trivia / Digital TV's, U.S.A. - "WASHINGTON - All but the smallest new televisions will have to be able to tune in over-the-air- digital TV signals by July 2007 under a government rule upheld by a federal appeals court Tuesday [10/28/03]." [A.P.]

2003 - X10 Solar Flare - October 29th, 2003: On this date in history an X10 solar flare ["11th-largest solar flare" recorded since 1976] blasted from the Sun. [Based on: http://spaceweather.com/solarflares/topflares.html] - [T.D. 12/12/06]

2003 - Trivia / Radiation Exposure, St Louis Mo. - "Cold War-era nuclear workers at Mallinckrodt Chemical Co. in St. Louis received doses of radiation up to 2,400 times those considered acceptable today, according to an unprecedented government report. [....] Dusty, sloppy and hazardous conditions were routine at Mallinckrodt's uranium-processing plant, which operated from 1942-1957, according to a report presented at a meeting in St. Louis on Wednesday [10/29/03]. One section describes a worker scooping uranium by hand with a piece of cardboard because mechanized equiptment had failed. [....] Additionally, the repot acknowledges that workers were not monitored for radiation exposure at all in the first three years the plant was open, from 1942-1945. Only sketchy data exists for the next two years, until a full-scale health program was institued in 1948. [....] The occupational safety institute already has released four site profiles and has 15 more pending. About 350 former nuclear sites nationwide are part of the compensation program, including eight other sites in the St. louis region. [....] Mallinckrodt refined uranium ore for the national defense program. In April 1942, federal officials asked Mallinckrodt to convert its chemical plant into a uranium processing facility to help with the war effort. Three months later, the plant produced a ton of uranium a day. By December the plant had produced enough uranium to supply a nuclear reactor in Chicago, the first step in the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb. Over the next 12 years, the plant processed more than 50,000 tons of uranium products. The St. Louis plant closed after the work moved to Weldon Spring in 1957." [By Sara Shipley, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

*Trivia: "WASHINGTON - St. Louis-area workers who got cancer after refining uranium for atomic weapons in the 1940s and '50s could automatically qualify for federal compensation under a measure approved unanimously by the Senate on Wednesday [06/23/04]." [By Will Sullivan, Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau]

2003 - Trivia / U.S. Military Base Closings - "Since 1988, the base realignment and Closing commission [BRAC] has closed 97 major facilities. Mr. Rumsfeld said [2003] the next round, scheduled for 2005, will be the mother of all BRAC's.' " [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/29/03]

2003 - Fighting / Sudan - "Fighting in western Sudan has killed 7,000 people and forced some 600,000 others to flee their homes during the past eight months, a top U.S. official said Thursday [10/30/04]." [News Services]

*Trivia: "180,000 non-Arabs killed as of April 22 [2005]." [Based on: Reuters, World Almanac and KRT - St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A12, 06/26/05]

2003 - Political & Economic Turmoil / Russia - MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin tightened his grip on the Kremlin on Thursday [10/30/03] by relieving his chief of staff from duty, Russian news agencies reported. The move is likely to deepen political and and economic turmoil after the arrest of Russia's richest tycoon." [A.P.]

2003 - Trivia / U.S. Annual Economic Growth Rate - "The Commerce Department said Thursday [10/30/03] that the economy grew at an annual rate of 7.2 percent in the July-September period as a result of higher consumer spending, business investment, housing construction and exports. It was the highest growth rate since the first quarter of 1984. [....] In spring, defense spending skyrocketed and contributed substantially to the second quarter's 3.3 percent economic growth rate. Last year and early this year, the economy grew slowly, at an annual rate of 1.4 percent." [Washington Post]

2003 - Status / Ocean Warming - "WASHINGTON - Two sections of Antartica's Larsen ice shelf have collapsed over the past decade and another portion could be headed for the same fate as warming ocean waters undermine the ice, researchers say. [....] Large sections of the shelf collapsed and broke into icebergs in 1995 and 2002, the major section could be weak enough to fail within a century, a research team led by Shepard reports today [10/31/2003] in the journal science. [....] From 1992 to 2001, the surface level of the 12,000-square-mile region of the shelf lowered between 3 inches and 6.6 inches per year, they found, with the decline more pronounced at the northern end of the shelf. It was in the northern part of the shelf that the earlier collapses occured." [A.P.]

2003 - Trivia / Atrazine Use, U.S.A. - October 31st, 2003: "WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture announced an unprecedented plan Friday [10/31/03] to entrust testing for water pollution from atrazine, one of the most heavily used weedkillers in the country, to the chemical's manufacturer. [....] Friday's announcement was part of an ongoing reveiw begun nine years ago to re-evaluate the safety of the chemical, which was licensed in the United States in 1959 and became the most heavily used weedkiller in American agriculture. [....] The weedkiller was put under reveiw as a possible carcinogen when epidemiological studies in the 1990s identified what appeared to be a prostate cancer cluster among workers at an atrazine manufacturing plant in St. Gabriel, La. [....] Across the cornbelt states in springtime, when atrazine is used most heavily before planting corn and sorghum, water testing by the U.S. Geological Survey has traditionally found rates from 10 to 100 times higher than the 3 parts per billion allowed by the EPA in drinking water. Last year a study from the University of California at Berkley, study showed that quantities 30 times lower than those allowed in drinking water still caused gross malformations in frogs. Earlier this year, epidemiologists at the University of Missouri at Columbia found reproductive problems in humans. Their study found male semen counts to be almost 50 percent lower in Missouri farm country where atrazine was used than in big cities, where it wasn't. An ongoing study involving men in Iowa corn country so far is producing similar results, she said. [....] The European Union recently announced a ban on the use of atrazine. The new Syngenta monitoring program will start in March by looking at 20 waterways in 10 states. Including Missouri and Illinois." [Los Angeles Times]

2003 - Trivia / Cloned Farm Animals - October 31st, 2003: "WASHINGTON - Cloned farm animals and their offspring pose little scientific risk to the food supply, the Food and Drug Administration has concluded in a new report that could pave the way for allowing products derived from clones or their offspring onto the nation's grocery shelves." [Washington Post]

2003 - Reduced Red Cross Staff / Iraq - "U.S. policy in Iraq suffered another setback when the International Red Cross announced it was reducing  its staff in the country, two days after a deadly suicide car bombing at its Baghdad headquarters." [A.P.]

2003 - Internal Criticism / Israeli Military Tactics - "JERUSALEM - Israel's most senior military commander [Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon] says military tactics against the Palestinian population are too repressive and are fomenting explosive levels of 'hatred and terrorism' that may become impossible to control." [Washington Post]

*Trivia: "[....] ... a year and a half ago [2003], Shapira [Israeli Air Force Reserve Captain, Yonatan Shapira] lost his wings as a helicopter pilot. The reason: Shapira joined a few dozen other pilots in refusing to fly missions that they view as immoral and illegal. [....] 'Almost all of those missions do not serve Israel and are neither legal nor moral,' Shapira said [2005] at a session with Post-Dispatch editorial writers. [....] A year and a half ago, 27 pilots and 800 reservists signed a letter refusing to carry out missions they deemed illegal and immoral. Most such missions take place in the occupied territories. [....] Shapira insisted that his group was following the first law of the Israeli Defense Forces: 'A soldier must not follow illegal or immoral commands.' He said, 'We told them we're unwilling to participate in missions where we'd harm innocents. It's not only immoral. It also harms Israel by spreading hatred.' [....] Meanwhile [March 2005], Shapira is on a month-and-a-half speaking trip across the United States. He recently met with congressional staff aides and think-tank analysts in Washington. His take: 'They think the Jewish lobby in Washington represents the Jewish voice - and it's not true.' Shapira singled out the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee. But AIPAC's Josh Block called his group the mainstream voice of U.S. public opinion on relations with Israel - 'the only democracy, and our only ally, in the Middle East. And because Israel is a free country, the gentlemen in question is free to make such statements.' [....]" [Based on article by Harry Levins, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. 26, 03/12/05]

2003 - U.S. War Dead / Iraq - "Total amount of identified hostile and non-hostile U.S. troops killed in Iraq this month [October 2003] amounts to 43." [A.P., 05/01/04]

November 2003

2003 - Flooding / Sumatra, Indonesia - "Flood date(s): early November, 2003. Number of recorded deaths: 65." [Based on: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005, p. 207]

2003 - Associated Press Report / Prisoner Abuse, Iraq - November 1st, 2003: "The Associated Press report, published Nov. 1, cited a statement to Arab television by the MP commander, Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, that prisoners were treated humanely. Meantime, 'between October and December 2003, at the Abu Ghraib Confinement Facility (BCCF), numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees,' according to the report of a later Army investigation. The Army report said the photos from Abu Ghraib dated from this period. The Army's report found that soldiers also had commited 'egregious acts and grave breaches' at Camp Bucca, in southern Iraq. That report did not come to light until the May 10 issue of The New Yorker magazine. It had been classified 'secret'. [....] The camps held not only men captured in the anti-U.S. insurgency, but also many others picked up by U.S. troops in broad neighborhood sweeps, on slight suspicions or unverified tips [Like the Dark & Middle Age Inquisitions?], or as curfew breakers, checkpoint-dodgers or common criminals. Up to 8,000 are believed still [May 2004] held. " [A.P., 05/09/04] [bracket emphasis by E.M.]

*Trivia: "An Iraqi whose corpse was photographed with grinning U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison died under CIA interrogation while suspended by his wrists, with his hands cuffed behind his back, according to reports reviewed by The Associated Press [2005?]. Human rights group contend this position is torture. [....] Al-Jamadi's death in November 2003 became public with the release of photos of Abu Ghraib guards giving a thumbs-up over his corpse, packed in ice. One guard was Pvt. Charles Graner, who last month [January 2005] received ten years in a military prison for abusing detainees. [....]" [Based on: A.P. - S.L.P.D., p. A1, 02/18/05]

2003 - Fatality / U.S. Chinook Helicopter, Iraq - "The big, lumbering Chinook helicopter that crashed in flames Sunday [11/02/03] in the Euphrates River farm country west of Baghdad  took with it not just the lives of 16 American soldiers but also any hopes anyone may have harbored that the war in Iraq would end anytime soon." [The Associated Press]

2003 - Gay Bishop / Episcopal Church, U.S.A. - "DURHAM, N.H. - The Episcopal Church became the first major Christian denomination to make an openly gay man a bishop, consecrating V. Gene Robinson on Sunday as bishop of New Hampshire. The action almost certainly means disgruntled conservatives will break from the church." [Based on: article by Richard N. Ostling, A.P.]

2003 - Solar Flares & CMEs - November 2nd-3rd, 2003: "The sun fired at least three more salvos of highly charged particles toward earth Sunday [11/02/03] and Monday [11/03/03], and scientists said more explosions from the sun's surface were likely. The latest solar eruptions brought to six the number of flares noted since last Wednesday, one of the most turbulent periods in solar observation since 1940." [Based on: News Services, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

*Trivia: "Often flares and CMEs [coronal mass ejections] occur together, as was the case last October [2003] when the fourth most powerful flare ever observed [10/28/03] exploded. Back-to-back CMEs then smacked the planet. Thanks to modern detection equiptment, we had enough warning to take preventive action. The atmosphere was so electrically charged that the northern lights were seen as far south as the Mediterranean, but little damage was done." [N.G.M., July 2004, p. 15] 

2003 - Draft Constitution / Afghanistan - "KABUL, Afghanistan - The Afghan government  set out on Monday [11/03/03] the draft of a constitution that seeks a unified Islamic state under a powerful presidency." [A.P.]

2003 - Diabetes Epidemic / United States - "An epidemic is raging in America. But unlike scourges that ravaged earlier populations, only to die back and later be tamed by vaccines, this one is quietly spreading, bringing devestating complications and occasionally death. Researchers predict that of the babies born in 2000, a staggering 33 percent of males and 38 percent of females will develop this disease in their lifetimes. In addition to its human toll, this epidemic has another victim - the health-care system that is reeling under heavy cost of treating this disease in so many people. The disease: Type 2 Diabetes. [....] The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that on average, Americans eat 160 pounds of sugar a year - 45 to 50 teaspoons a day. [....] Some 6.5 percent of American adults were diagnosed with the disease in 2002, the National Center for Health Statistics says. The number grew from 5.1 percent in 1997. [....] According to the American Diabetes Association, about 17 million Americans have diabetes; most have Type 2, but 5 to 10 percent have Type 1. [....] The cost of treating diabetes is staggering: $92 billion for medical care in 2002 alone, according to the American Diabetes Association. 'The care of diabetes consumes 25 percent of the Medicare budget, because diabetes becomes progressively more common as we age,' says Cryer." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 11/03/03]

2003 - Insulin Resistance / United States - "Documents on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Web site note that as of 1998, researchers found a trend of 'the sharp rise in the type of diabetes normally found only in adults,' and linked it to childhood obesity. A Charleston, S.C., study by the American Diabetes Association found that nearly half of new diabetes cases among children were Type 2, the diabetes that is due mainly to poor eating habits and wearing out the pancreas and has been more commonly seen in people over 40. [....] Morley said insulin resistance seems to have developed because the abundant life of America developed too quickly for our physiological evolution to adapt. [....] If a disease hasn't developed that needs a physician's expertise, minimal exercise - about 30 minutes a day, four days a week - will diminish insulin resistance, maybe even eliminate it. [....] 'A number of studies by the national Institutes of Health suggest that exercise and watching your food intake - if you come from a family where everyone has diabetes - will actually stop you from having it.' " [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 11/03/03]

2003 - Nuclear Weapons Under International Control? - "The U.N. nuclear chief called Monday for the United Nations to consider putting all production of weapons-usable uranium and plutonium around the world under international control." [News Services]

2003 - Most Powerful Solar Flare - November 4th, 2003: "The most powerful solar flare on record blasts from the sun." [Based on: N.G.M., July 2004, p. 27]

*Trivia: "Giant sunspot 486 unleashed yet another powerful solar flare today (Nov. 4th, 1950 UT), and this one could be historic. The blast saturated X-ray detectors onboard GOES satellites at X17.4 for 11 minutes. The last time such a thing happened in 2001 the flare was classified as an X20-the biggest ever. This one might be even bigger; stay tuned for updates."

[Based on: http://spaceweather.com/index.cgi] - [Note: view archives (upper right corner) for 11/04/03]
[Other links: http://spaceweather.com/solarflares/topflares.html]

*Trivia: "On this date in history an X28+  solar flare [the "largest solar flare" recorded since 1976] blasted from the Sun. [Based on: http://spaceweather.com/solarflares/topflares.html] - [T.D. 12/12/06]

2003 - Anti-American Bombing / Iraq - "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents struck Tuesday [11/04/03] at the center for the U.S.-led occupation, firing mortars after sundown at the heavily guarded district that includes major American facilities. Three people were wounded, the Pentagon said. [....] Huge explosions thundered throughout central Baghdad about 7:45 p.m. as the insurgents targeted the two-square-mile 'Green Zone,' which includes coalition headquarters, the military press center and other key facilities." [A.P.]

2003 - Foriegn Relations: U.S.A. & Cuba - "The U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday [11/04/03] urged the United States for the 12th straight year to end its 42-year-old trade embargo against Cuba. The resolution is not legally binding. It was passed overwhelmingly with only Israel and the Marshall Islands joining the United States in voting against." [News Services]

2003 - Nuclear Weapons Research / United States - "WASHINGTON - House and Senate bargainers agreed Wednesday [11/05/03] to cut in half President George W. Bush's request for studying 'bunker buster' nuclear warheads and make other cuts in research into a new generation of nuclear weapons. [....] Bargainers on the energy-water bill decided to provide $7.5 million for work on the bunker busters, bombs that would borrow through the earth and rock to destroy underground targets. The administration wanted twice that amount. The bill would provide all $6 million Bush proposed for research into 'mini-nukes' of less than 5,000 tons of TNT, or one-fourth the explosive power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on Aug. 6, 1945. But $4 million of that amount would be provided only after the administration submits a report on the status of the country's nuclear weapons stockpile." [A.P.]

2003 - Guilty Plea / Green River Killer - November 6th, 2003: "SEATTLE - After conceding that he killed so many women that he could not keep them all straight, Gary Leon Ridgway calmly said the word 'guilty' 48 consecutive times in response to a judge's recitation of murders that date back 21 years." [Washington Post]

2003 - Mideast Democracy? - "WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush on Thursday [11/06/03] challenged Iran, Syria and two crucial American allies in the Middle East - Egypt and Saudi Arabia - to begin embracing democratic traditions. He also urged the world to view the fall of Saddam Hussein as 'a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.' " [By David E. Sanger, New York Times]

2003 - Intercepted Ricin Letter / Washington - "A ricin-tainted letter signed by 'Fallen Angel' and postmarked October 17th, 2003 from Chattanooga Tennessee was intercepted November 6th, 2003 by the Secret Service at an offsite mail processing facility in Washington."

2003 - Lunar Eclipse - November 8th, 2003: "Saturday night saw a total lunar eclipse [at least in portions of the United States] and marked [for some] a weekend of  'Harmonic Concordance'."

2003 - Age of Aquarius? - "Once every several billion years, celestial and galactic cycles within cycles within cycles dovetail into one rhythmic pulsation. For an awesome moment, this unique pulsation brings all life into cadence with the heartbeat of the Cosmic I AM ALL That Is. During that Cosmic Moment, our omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent Father-Mother God Inbreathes the whole of creation into a higher octave of evolution. This Cosmic Inbreath is known as the Shift of the Ages.
   "This rare event took place during the Lunar and Solar Eclipses in November 2003. The grand cycles involved included Earth's transition from the 2,000-year Piscean Age into the 2,000-year Age of Aquarius and the culminating of the 26,000-year orbital cycle known as the Precession of the Equinox. The other cycles involved were the 438,000-year cycle known as the Kali Yuga, the 1.8 million-year cycle known as the Satya Yuga, the 4.4 million-year cycle known as the Mayahuga and the 4.4 billion-year cycle known as Kalpa or the day of Brahm.
   "The Shift of the Ages, which was coined Harmonic Concordance, escorted the Earth and the Universe into the initial impulse of the New Day of Brahm. This is the time foretold by the prophets and seers of old when the human-soul evolution will make a quantum shift out of the darkness into the Light of Divine Consciousness. [By, Patricia Diane Cota-Robles, Pathfinder, May/June 2004, Vol. 14 No. 3]    

2003 - Astronomic Configuration - November 8th, 2003: "Sun [15 Scorpio], Moon [6 Taurus], Mercury [23 Scorpio], Venus [6 Sagittarius], Mars [10 Pisces], Jupiter [14 Virgo], Saturn [13 Cancer R], Uranus [28 Aquarius], Neptune [10 Aquarius], Pluto [18 Sagittarius], Chiron [14 Capricorn]."

2003 - Israeli / Arab Prisoner Exchange - "JERUSALEM - The Israeli Cabinet on Sunday [11/09/03] narrowly approved a planned prisoner exchange with Lebanon's Hezbollah guerillas that would free more than 400 Arabs in return for a kidnapped Israeli businessman and the remains of three soldiers. [....] Sharon, who has often opposed concessions to Israel's enemies, said he supported the plan largely because it would bring home a captive Israeli businessman, Elhanan Tannenbaum." [By Greg Myre, New York Times]

2003 - Bombing / Riyadh, Saudia Arabia - "RIYADH, Saudia Arabia - The casualty toll leaped to 17 dead and 122 wounded Sunday [11/09/03] in a bombing of a residential compound that officials  attributed to al-Qaida." [New York Times]

2003 - Status / Detention Policy, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - "WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court agreed Monday [11/10/03] to have the final word in the debate over whether foreign citizens can be held by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba without access to American courts. The case, which will be held sometime next year, will be the first in which the court will weigh in on an administration policy designed as part of the war on terrorism." [Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau]

2003 - Trivia / Iraqi Resistance - "WASHINGTON - A new, top secret CIA report from Iraq warns that the growing numbers of Iraqis are concluding that the U.S.-led coalition can be defeated and are supporting the resistance." [Knight Ridder newspapers]

2003 - Not Guilty? / Robert Durst - "GALVESTON, Texas - New York real estate heir Robert Durst, who said he accidentally killed a neighbor in self-defense and then dumped the cut-up corpse in Galveston Bay, was found not guilty Tuesday [11/11/03] of murder." [A.P.]

2003 - Update / Mars Express + Beagle 2 - "A British-built craft designed to search the surface of Mars for signs of life is scheduled to land on the planet on Christmas Day, scientists said Tuesday [11/11/03]." [World Digest]

2003 - Heavy Rain / Puerto Rico - "Hundreds of people fled their homes as relentless rains unleashed floods across Puerto Rico, swelling rivers and setting off landslides. [....] The storm has dumped at least 15 to 18 inches of rain in Puerto Rico and 10 to 15 inches in the U.S. Virgin Islands since Sunday [11/09/03], said Scott Stripling, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in san Juan." [News Services]

2003 - Rain & Hail / Los Angeles California - "Two weeks after the most destructive wildfires in state history blackened the skies over Southern California, a freak storm deluged Los Angeles on Wednesday [11/12/03] night and left piles of hail more than a foot deep in some parts of the city." [New York Times]

2003 - Car Bomb / Iraq - November 12th, 2003: "A car bomb killed at least 28 people, including 19 Italians, mostly carabinieri, and nine Iraqis in Nasiriyah."

2003 - Removal / Alabama Chief Justice - "MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A state diciplinary court on Thursday [11/13/03] removed from office Roy Moore, the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court whose defiant display of a granite Ten Commandments monument made him a hero to many Christian conservatives." [Washington Post]

2003 - Black Hawks Down / Iraq - BAGHDAD, Iraq - Two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters collided in midair and crashed Saturday [11/15/03] evening in the northern city of Mosul, killing at least 17 of the U.S. soldiers aboard and injuring five others, officials said. One other soldier was reported missing. [....] If initial estimates prove correct, the two Black Hawks that crashed Saturday would be the fourth and fifth U.S. helicopters to be brought down as a result of hostile fire in the past three weeks." [New York Times]

2003 - Queen Mary 2 Fatalities / France - "ST. NAZAIRE, France - A gangway on the world's largest cruise ship, the Queen Mary 2, collapsed Saturday [11/15/03], killing 13 people and injuring 32. Most were workers and their families on a special tour of the vessel, almost complete at a shipyard." [A.P.]

2003 - Trivia / U.S. Mutual Fund Scandal - November 16th, 2003: "WASHINGTON - The Securities and Exchange Commission failed for years to police the mutual fund industry effectively, because it was captive to the industry when writing new regulations, was preoccupied by other problems on Wall Street and was severely short of staff and money, current and former officials say." [New York Times]

2003 - Trivia / Radioactive Waste Cleanup, U.S.A. - "WASHINGTON - Missouri thought it peculiar when an Energy Department team arriving for the first annual inspection of the Weldon Spring nuclear waste site last month brought no Geiger counters. [....] As the first large, high-level nuclear waste cleanup to be completed, Weldon Spring is being watched closely by states with troublesome waste sites that also will need attention for generations to come. The Energy Department insists it is doing an exemplary post-cleanup job at Weldon Spring, but some states aren't reassured about what they are hearing. [....] Production and testing of weapons from the Manhattan Project in the 1940s through the Cold War left a legacy of radioactive and chemical contamination at more than 100 sites in 30 states, according to an Energy Department accountiing. None is in Illinois. [....] Tom Winston, of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, said planning decisions for the old Fernald uranium production site in his state would be easier if the long-term stewardship questions had been answered. Fernald was identical to the uranium facility at Weldon Spring, but the contaminated soil there is being hauled away for burial rather than entombed. The Fernald cleanup is expected to be completed in 2006. [....] Power [Max Power] said that questions of long-term funding would be important after cleanup of the 562-square-mile Hanford site in southeastern Washington, which was part of the Manhattan Project in the 1940s. [....] Tribal land in the west has significant contamination , but the Energy Department is barely paying attention to Indians, said Armand Minthorn, of the Umatilla Tribe in Oregon. 'Tribes are being limited in this planning process because the Energy Department has no policy or guidance in how to deal with us,' said Minthorn, who took part in the Washington meeting. John Owsley, who represented Tennessee, said his state worried that the Energy Department might be considering less rigorous cleanup than promised in his state and elsewhere. The Oak Ridge Reservation, in eastern Tennessee, was another site contaminated in the manufacturing of nuclear weapons as part of the Manhattan project. Tennessee is keeping an eye on Weldon Spring, Owsley said. [....] In the 1940s Weldon Spring was the world's largest munitions plant, producing TNT and other explosives. From 1957 to 1966, pure uranium was manufactured on the site for nuclear weapons and as fuel for nuclear power plants. The cleanup that was largely completed at Weldon Spring cost $900 million over 17 years and included burial of 1.5 million cubic yards of radioactive materials and chemicals in a seven-story hill. [....] The inspection was carried out Oct. 28-29 by Energy Department staff members from Weldon Spring assisted by a team from Grand Junction. Colo." [Based on article by Bill Lambrecht, Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau, 11/16/03]

2003 - Penalty / Morgan Stanley - November 17th, 2003: "Morgan Stanley is penalized $50 million for failing to tell customers that a select group of mutual funds paid the firm 'substantial fees' for preferred marketing of their funds." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A 10, 12/21/04]

2003 - Status / Civil War, Congo - November 17th, 2004: "Congo plunged into civil war in 1998, a year after Mr. Kabila's father, Laurent Kabila, overthrew dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. [....] Neighboring countries, including Rwanda and Uganda, entered Congo's civil war. [....] So far, this 5-year-old war has claimed more than 3.3 million lives. [....] The fighting is less about ideology than exploiting Congo's resources, both for personal gain and to purchase the illegal arms that have kept this conflict alive." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2003 - Trivia / U.S. Occupation, Iraq - November 18th, 2003: "WASHINGTON - American forces will stay on in Iraq when a new interim government takes charge from the U.S. military occupation next year, President George W. Bush said Monday [11/17/03]." [A.P.]

2003 - Conviction / John Allen Muhammad - November 18th, 2003: "VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - In a verdict that could cost him his life, John Allen Muhammad was convicted Monday [11/17/03] of using a rifle, a beat-up car and a teenage sidekick to murder people at random and terrorize the Washington area in last year's sniper attacks." [A.P.]

2003 - Genome Project Research / W.U. St. Louis, Mo. - November 18th, 2003: "Washington University unveiled plans Monday [11/17/03] for a $300 million dollar initiative to speed the transfer of laboratory discoveries to medical treatments." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2003 - Earthquake / Philippines - November 19th, 2003: "A strong earthquake jolted the Philippines early today. [....] The quake of 6.6 magnitude struck at 1:14 a.m. and was centered offshore, about 45 miles northeast of the town of Borogan in Eastern Samar Province, officials said. It was felt in Surigao City, about 185 miles away." [News Services]

2003 - Tactical Control / Abu Ghraib, Iraq - November 19th, 2003: "The New Yorker magazine [May 17th, 2004 issue] says that on Nov. 19, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top operational commander in Iraq, issued an order taking tactical control of Abu Ghraib prison away from the MPs and turning it over to the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade." [A.P., 05/09/04]

2003 - Same Sex Couples? / Massachusetts - November 19th, 2003: "BOSTON - Massachusetts' highest court declared Tuesday [11/18/03] that the state constitution guarantees gay couples the right to marry." [A.P.]

2003 - Unconstitutional / Ten Commandments Display, Clarkesville, Georgia - November 19th, 2003: "A federal judge has ruled a Habersham County display of the Ten Commandments unconstitutional and ordered it removed immediately." [News Services]

2003 - U.S. Navy / Saigon - November 20th, 2003: "HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam - The streets of what was once Saigon were again teeming with American sailors on Wednesday after the arrival of the first U.S. Navy ship since the Vietnam War." [By Margie Mason, A.P.]

2003 - Trivia / U.S. Mutual Funds Scandal - November 20th, 2003: "WASHINGTON - The House voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to toughen penalties for mutual fund abuses and to make sure investors are provided with more information. The 418-2 vote came as mutual fund scandals escalate, more big-name companies are cited by authorities and investors withdrawl billions of dollars from implicated funds." [A.P.]

2003 - Suicide Bombs / Turkey - November 21st, 2003: "ISTANBUL, Turkey - Turkey's security forces went on highest alert Thursday 11/20/03] after two suicide bomb attacks killed 27 people and wounded more than 450." [A.P.]

2003 - Syphilis Trivia / United States - November 21st, 2003: "The nation's syphilis rate has climbed for the second year in a row, mostly because of an increase in cases among gay and bisexual men, the government said Thursday. From 2001 to 2002, the syphilis rate rose 9.1 percent from 2.2 cases per 100,000 people to 2.4 cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The rate had dropped every year between 1990 and 2000 before reversing course." [News Services]

2003 - Suicide Bombers / Iraq - November 22nd, 2003: "Suicide bombers detonated cars packed with explosives outside Baquba police headquarters and police station in the nearby town of Khan Bani Saad, killing at least 18 people."

2003 - Trivia / U.S. Defense Bill - November 24th, 2003: "President Bush signed a $401.3 billion defense bill, including a 4.15 percent raise for people in uniform."

2003 - Gross U.S. Fatalities / Iraq - November 24th, 2003: "MOSUL, Iraq - Iraqi teenagers dragged two bloodied U.S. soldiers from a wrecked vehicle and pummeled them with concrete blocks Sunday [11/23/03], witnesses said, describing the killings as a burst of savagery in a country once safe for Americans. Elsewhere, another soldier was killed by a bomb and a U.S.-allied police chief was assassinated." [A.P.]

2003 - Trivia / Prisoner Release, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - November 25th, 2003: "The United States has freed 20 prisoners from its high-security prison for foreign terrorism suspects in Cuba and plans to send dozens more home soon, officials said Monday [11/24/03]." [News Services]

2003 - Status / AIDS Epidemic - November 26th, 2003: "LONDON - The HIV/AIDS epidemic continues its devastating march across the globe, with more deaths and infections this year than ever before, according to a U.N. report released Tuesday [11/25/03]. The report by UNAIDS, the U.N. agency responsible for coordinating global efforts to fight the disease, said the epidemic has killed more than 3 million people this year. About 5 million more acquired the immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, bringing the number of people living with the virus to between 34 million and 46 million. [....] The report said the epidemic is rampant in sub-Saharan Africa - an estimated 26.6 million of the continent's people are living with HIV - and a new wave of the disease is threatening China, Indonesia and Russia because of transmissions through drug use and unsafe sex." [A.P.]

*Trivia: "The world is losing the race against the AIDS virus, which last year [2003] infected a record 4.8 million people and killed an unprecedented 2.9 million, the United nations reported Tuesday [07/06/04]." [By Emma Ross, A.P., 07/07/04]

2003 - Trivia / 911 Panel - November 27th, 2003: "Victims relatives who pressed for an independent commission to investigate the 9-11 attacks say the panel risks being undercut by the government's failure to cooperate with it." [News Services]

2003 - Trivia / AIDS Orphans - November 27th, 2003: "JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Although AIDS has already orphaned more than 11 million African children under the age of 15, 'the worst is yet to come,' warns a new report from the U.N. Children's Fund. By 2010, about 20 million children in sub-Saharan Africa will have lost at least one parent to AIDS. The total number of orphans in the region will rise to 42 million." [A.P.]

2003 - Trivia / Canadian Drugs - November 27th, 2003: "WASHINGTON - Although they've been warning Americans about the dangers of prescription drugs from Canada for nearly a year, U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials can't name a single American who's been injured or killed by drugs bought from licensed Canadian pharmacies." [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2003 - Trivia / HIV Infection, Gay Men - November 27th, 2003: "The number of gay men newly diagnosed with HIV infection was 17 percent higher last year than in 1999, according to data released Wednesday by government epidemiologists. The increase provides more evidence that the epidemic is resurging in that high-risk group of people." [Health Digest, Washington]

2003 - Fired / Darleen Druyun - November, 2003: "Darleen Druyun is fired by Boeing." [Based on: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. G2, 12/12/04]

2003 - Trivia / State Farm Insurance Co. - November, 2003: "Privately, State Farm officials tell the Iowa attorney general's office that the company has been selling thousands of wrecked vehicles nationwide without obtaining salvage titles." [Based on: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A4, 01/24/05]

2003 - U.S. War Dead / Iraq - "Total amount of identified hostile and non-hostile U.S. troops killed in Iraq this month [November 2003] amounts to 82." [A.P., 05/01/04]

December 2003

2003 - Earthquake / China - December 1st, 2003: "A strong earthquake rumbled through western China's mountainous Xinjiang region today killing at least eight people and causing the collapse of some homes in an area near the Chinese border with Kazakhstan, the government said. [....] Officials said the quake had a magnitude of 6.1... Though China's western regions are known for their earthquakes, the number of fatal quakes in recent months - at least a half dozen - has been noteworthy." [News Services]

2003 - Guerrilla Attacks / Iraq - December 1st, 2003: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - In the biggest battle since U.S. forces captured baghdad in April, Iraqi guerrillas ambushed two U.S. convoys in simultaneous attacks in the northern Iraqi city of Samarra on Sunday [11/30/04]. [....] That brought the number of coalition deaths to 104 last month, the bloodiest month since the U.S.-led invasion began on March 20." [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2003 - Miss Ireland - December 7th, 2003: "SANYA, China - Ireland's Rosanna Davison was crowned Miss World on Saturday 12/06/03], beating 105 other women from around the globe at the competition held at this southern Chinese tropical resort." [A.P.]

2003 - Car Bomb / Sunni Mosque, Iraq - "A car bomb at a Sunni mosque in Baghdad killed three people."

2003 - Suicide Blasts / Iraq - December 10th, 2003: "TALAFAR, Iraq - Suicide bombers blew themselves up at the gates of two U.S. military bases on Tuesday [12/09/03], wounding 61 American soldiers but failing to inflict deadly casualties on the scale of recent attacks in Iraq." [A.P.]

2003 - Suicide Bombing / Moscow - December 10th, 2003: "MOSCOW - In an attack that came disturbingly close to the seats of Russian power, a suicide bomber blew herself up near Red Square Tuesday [12/09/03] morning, killing five other people and wounding at least 12." [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2003 - Failed Mars Mission / Japan - December 10th, 2003: "Japan abandoned its troubled mission to Mars on Tuesday after space officials failed in their final effort to put the craft back on course to orbit the Red Planet. The probe is Japan's first interplanetary explorer. It had been traveling for five years toward Mars and would have reached the planet next week." [News Services]

2003 - Flooding / Sumatra, Indonesia - "Flood date(s): December 10th, 2003-January 23rd, 2004. Number of recorded deaths: 148." [Based on: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005, p. 207]

2003 - Scandal / Kellogg, Brown & Root - December 12th, 2003: "WASHINGTON - A Pentagon investigation has found evidence that a subsidiary [Kellogg, Brown & Root] of the politically connected Halliburton Co. overcharged the government by as much as $61 million for gasoline delivered to Iraq under huge no-bid reconstruction contracts, senior Defense Department officials said Thursday." [By Douglas Jehl, New York Times]

2003 - Major U.S. Lead Producer / Missouri - December 13th, 2003: "Missouri is the  major lead producing state, with facilities that still spread lead into the environment. Could this be a reason St. Louis is above the national and state averages?" [By Tom Kruzen, Mountain View, Mo.]

2003 - Sir Mick Jagger - December 14th, 2003: "LONDON - An icon of rock rebelliousness officially joined the British establishment Friday [12/12/03]- and hardly anyone objected. Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones accepted a knighthood from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace." [A.P.]

2003 - Car Bomb / Iraq - December 14th, 2003: "A car bomb ripped through a police station in Khalidiyah in western Iraq, killing at least 17 people and wounding 33."

2003 - Desertions / Iraqi Army - December 14th, 2003: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Faced with the desertion of nearly half the new Iraqi army, the U.S. military is thinking about raising pay for Iraqi soldiers, the commander of U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq said Saturday [12/13/04]." [A.P.]

2003 - Pagan Prejudice / U.S.A. - December 14th, 2003: "White House political strategists have avidly courted the Christian right, the Jewish vote, and even American Muslims. But apparently they are not too interested in the political clout of pagans. Colby Lewallen, Missouri chairman of Pagan Unity Campaign, logged on to a WhiteHouse.gov chat last month to ask James Towey, head of the White House's faith-based initiative, if pagan groups should be given the same consideration as other groups seeking government aid. 'I haven't run into a pagan faith-based group yet, much less a pagan group that cares for the poor!' came the response from Towey. 'Helping the poor is tough work, and only those with loving hearts seem drawn to it.' Towey's answer struck a sour note with those who practice the religion that centers on the worship of nature and is sometimes associated with witchcraft." [Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau]

2003 - Suicide Car Bombings / Iraq - December 15th, 2003: "Suicide car bombings at two Baghdad area ploice stations kill nine people [including two bombers] and wound 30 people."

2003 - Captured / Saddam Hussein - December 15th, 2003: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - A force of 600 American soldiers captured Saddam Hussein in a raid Saturday [12/13/03] night on an isolated farm near Tikrit, U.S. military officials said Sunday [12/14/03]." [New York Times]

*Trivia: "When Saddam Hussein was caught a year ago [12/13/03] today [12/13/04] ... there were many in U.S. military and government circles who predicted the capture would stem the brewing insurgency in Iraq. [....] Twelve months later [12/13/04], Saddam's capture is a distant memory. He sits in an undisclosed U.S. facility with no trial date set. In the meantime, bandits and rebels have kidnapped hundreds, car bombings have devestated neighborhoods, and insurgents continue to attack seemingly at will. [....] 'Many Iraqi's thought that the Americans would bring democracy and freedom, so at first, most Iraqi's did not support the resistance,' said Salman al Jumaili, a political analyst at Baghdad University who has written extensively about the growth of the insurgency. 'But they discovered the Americans are an occupational force, and a bad one at that - if there was some serious plan to end the occupation it would lead to the end of the resistance, because most Iraqi's want to live in peace.' As long as there are 140,000-plus U.S. soldiers and Marines in Iraq, Jumaili said, the violence will continue. [....]" [Knight Ridder Newspapers, 12/13/04]

*Trivia: "The revelation that Israel plotted to kill Saddam Hussein at the funeral of a beloved uncle resolved an enduring mystery and infuriated current military chiefs who worry loose talk is harming Israel's security. Operation Bramble Bush, the plot to assassinate Saddam with a missle attack, was shelved in 1992 after five elite commandos were killed training for the mission. [....] On Nov. 5, 1992, the commandos staged a dress rehearsal in the Negrev Desert. 'It was basically a show for the generals,' Zeevi said. [....] As part of the exercise, commandos were to fire a dummy missle at soldiers playing the roles of Saddam and his bodyguards. A live missle was used by mistake, and five soldiers were killed. Six were wounded." [By Karen Laub, A.P., 12/17/03]

2003 - Stalled Constitution / European Union - December 15th, 2003: "BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Union hoped a new constitution would bring it closer together when it adds ten members next year and strengthen Europe's voice in the world. But bitter debate sank the document at a weekend summit, and the union is more divided than ever." [By Raf Casert, A.P.]

2003 - Assassination Attempt / Pervez Musharraf - December 15th, 2003: "RAWALPINDI, Pakistan - Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf narrowly escaped an assassination attempt on Sunday [12/14/03] when a bomb exploded at a bridge just seconds after his motorcade had passed." [Reuters News Service]

2003 - Bankruptcy / Solutia - December 17th, 2003: "Solutia Inc. filed for bankruptcy early today to gain relief from some of the financial liabilities that have weighed it down since it was spun off from Monsanto Co. in 1997." [Post-Dispatch]

2003 - Cyclone / Southern India - "Cyclone date(s): December 17th, 2003. Number of recorded deaths: 50." [Based on: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005, p. 207]

2003 - 3rd Hottest Year on Record - December 17th, 2003: "GENEVA - This year, marked by a sweltering summer and drought across large swaths of the planet, was the third hottest in nearly 150 years, the United Nations weather agency said Tuesday [12/16/03]." [A.P.]

2003 - Conviction / Lee Malvo - December 19th, 2003: "Chesapeake, Va. - A jury convicted Lee Malvo on Thursday [12/18/03] for his role in last year's sniper shootings." [Washington Post]

2003 - Flooding / Central Philippines - "Flood date(s): December 19th, 2003-January 7th, 2004. Number of recorded deaths: 200." [Based on: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005, p. 207]

2003 - Mars Deployment / Beagle 2 Lander - "Beagle 2 was released on 19 December on a course towards the Red Planet by Mars Express, which was the mothership for the 400 million kilometre interplanetary cruise. Six days later it entered the Martian atmosphere and should have landed on the near-equatorial site of Isidis Planitia. Since then, attempts to communicate with the lander through NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter and radio telescopes on Earth have been unsuccessful. The Mars Express orbiter successfully entered Mars orbit at about the same time as Beagle 2’s landing. Then, in early January, it made a series of planned manoeuvres to change its equatorial orbit to a polar one, to prepare for its scientific mission and to make contact with Beagle 2." [Link: 1]

2003 - 1st Publisized Views / U.S. Infrared Telescope - December 19th, 2003: "WASHINGTON - NASA has publicized the first views from its space infrared telescope - a super-cooled orbiting observatory that can look through dust to capture images never seen before." [A.P.]

2003 - Unentitled to Geneva Convention Protections? / Iraqi Prisoners - December 24th, 2003: "WASHINGTON - Presented last fall [2003] with a detailed list of abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, the U.S. military responded on Dec. 24 [2003] with a confidential letter asserting that many Iraqi prisoners were not entitled to the full protections of the Geneva Conventions. The letter to the International Committee of the Red Cross was drafted by military lawyers and signed by Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade, whose soldiers guarded the prisoners. The letter emphasized the 'military necessity' of isolating some inmates at the prison for interrogation because of their 'significant intelligence value' and said that prisoners held as security risks could legally be treated differently from prisoners of war or ordinary criminals. [....] The Red Cross report said that at the time of the October [2003] visits to Abu Ghraib, 'a total of 601 detainees were held as security detainees.' 'many were unaware of any charges against them or what legal process might be ahead of them,' the undated report said." [New York Times, 05/23/04]

2003 - Mars Orbit Entry / Mars Express Orbiter - "The Mars Express orbiter was successfully inserted into orbit around Mars on 25 December 2003. [....] The early orbits of Mars Express, until about mid-February 2004, represent the best opportunity for optimised observing conditions (illumination, targets of interest, distance to the Sun, lack of eclipses) and, therefore, maximum science return." [Link: 1]

2003 - Earthquake / Iran - December 27th, 2003: "KERMAN, Iran - An earthquake leveled nearly three-quarters of the Iranian city of Bam on Friday [12/26/03], killing at least 5,000 people and injuring 30,000. [....] The quake struck at 5:28 a.m., while many were asleep. IRNA put the magnitude at 6.3; the U.S. Geological Survey measured it at 6.5." [A.P.]

*Trivia: "Earthquake date: December 26th, 2003: "Earthquake location: Bam, SE Iran. Earthquake magnitude: 6.6. Number of recorded fatalities: 26,271."  [Based on: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005, p. 208]

2003 - Terrorist Attacks / Iraq - December 27th, 2003: "Attacks on government buildings and foreign troops' bases in the southern city of Karbala, consisted of suicide car bombs, machine guns and mortars that killed 19 people and wound about 120 others."

2003 - Mad Cow / United States - December 27th, 2003: "WASHINGTON - U.S. agriculture officials said Friday [12/26/03] they had quarantined the offspring of the slaughtered Holstein that tested positive for mad cow disease. The government was trying to reassure the public about the saftey of the U.S. food supply as it faces a wide ban on U.S. beef by countries that account for 90 percent of American beef exports. The recall of more than 10,000 pounds of meat from the cow and others slaughtered Dec. 9th at the same Washington state company was also continuing." [By Mark Sherman, A.P.]

2003 - Fatality / Papal Ambassador - "Gunmen killed the pope's ambassador in Burundi on Monday [12/29/03], firing on his car as he was returning from a funeral for a priest. Archbishop Michael Courtney, 58, was shot in the head, shoulder and a limb and died during surgery at a hospital in Bujumbura, a hospital official said." [News Services]

2003 - Boeing Contracts / St. Louis, Mo. - December 30th, 2003: "WASHINGTON - The Navy has awarded Boeing Co. two contracts for military work to be based in St. Louis, worth a total of almost $10 billion." [Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau]

2003 - Serbian Radical Party - December 30th, 2003: "Jailed former President Slobodan Milosevic and another U.N. war crimes suspect won seats in Serbia's parliament as an extreme nationalist party swept weekend elections, according to results released Monday [12/29/03]. Vojislav Seselj's Serbian Radical Party, which supported Milosevic's Balkan war campaigns in the 1990's, won 81 seats in Sunday's ballot for the 250-seat parliament, the state electoral commission said." [News Services] 

2003 - Status / Foreign Air Marshals - December 30th, 2003: "WASHINGTON - "President George W. Bush's administration, increasingly concerned about the threat of terrorists' hijacking an international flight, issued an emergency order Monday [12/29/03] demanding that foreign airlines place armed air marshals on flights that travel into, out of or over the United States if American officials determine there is a threat." [New York Times]

2003 - Financial Distress / Pittsburgh - December 30th, 2003: "The state declared Monday [12/29/03] that Pittsburgh was financially distressed, opening the way for the appointment of an outside overseer who will draw up a recovery plan for the Steel City. [....] Pittsburgh is projecting a $42 million deficit for next year, and its credit rating hit junk-bond status in October. The city has laid off hundreds of employees in the past few months and closed swimming pools and police stations." [News Services]

2003 - Letter Bombs / European Union - December 30th, 2003: "FRANKFURT, Germany - The head of a top European Union institution and the EU's criminal investigation body were sent suspected letter bombs Monday [12/29/03], with few clues as to who is responsible for the potentially lethal packages. They arrived two days after a parcel exploded in the hands of European Commission President Romano Prodi at his home in the Italian city of Bologna. In Frankfurt, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet was sent a suspected letter bomb, police said Monday. Annother suspected letter bomb surfaced later Monday at the headquarters of the EU's police agency, Europol, in the Netherlands, but was intercepted by the staff and diffused by bomb squad officers before it caused any damage." [Reuters News Service]

2003 - Named Special Counsel / Patrick Fitzgerald - December 30th, 2003: "Patrick Fitzgerald named special counsel to investigate if a crime was committed by Novak's sources in disclosing Plame's [Valerie Plame's] name." [Based on: Article, p. A5 S.L.P.D., 10/28/05]

2003 - Fallen Chandelier / Missouri Senate - "An antique chandelier that crashed to the floor of the Missouri senate had been hanging by a chain with several weak links and lacked a safety cable that could have prevented the accident, state officials say. The 600-pound brass and glass fixture smashed an antique mahogany bench Tuesday [12/30/03] when it plunged nearly 50 feet while maintenance workers were checking its light bulbs in advance of the start of the legislative session next week." [A.P., 01/04/04]

2003 - Car Bomb / Iraq - December 31st, 2003: "A car bomb wrecked a Baghdad restaurant, killing up to eight people and wounding more than 30 people, inlcluding three Western journalists."

2003 - Ephedra Ban / U.S.A. - December 31st, 2003: "WASHINGTON - The federal government announced Tuesday [12/30/03] that it will ban the diet and body-building supplement ephedra and urged atheletes and others to stop taking it immediately because of the serious health risks it poses." [Washington Post]

2003 - Trivia / U.S. Population - December 31st, 2003: "The U.S. population will be 292,287,454 on Thursday [01/01/04], up 1 percent over the year, the Census Bureau estimated Tuesday [12/30/03]. The new total is an increase of 2,816,586 from the same date this year." [News Services]

2003 - Trivia / Oil Imports, Iraq - "WASHINGTON - The Defense Department is removing the Army Corps of Engineers from overseeing oil imports into Iraq, acting just weeks after Pentagon auditors said Halliburton - Vice President Dick Cheney's former firm - may have overcharged taxpayers under the corps' supervision. [....] This month [December 2003], the Defense Department's auditing agency supported the Democrats' allegations, finding the company may have charged up to $61 million too much for delivering gasoline to Iraqi citizens." [A.P.]

2003 - Banned Cattle / United States - December 31st, 2003: "WASHINGTON - To bolster confidence in U.S. beef, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman has banned sick and injured cattle - those at the highest risk to have mad cow disease - from the nation's food supply." [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2003 - Genocide Admission / Khmer Rouge - December 31st, 2003: "PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - A former Khmer Rouge leader acknowledged Tuesday that there is 'no more doubt left' that his regime committed genocide, the first admission of the communist group's collective guilt. Khieu Samphan's surprising statement was made in an interview with The Associated Press. It is a major step in the long overdue effort to bring justice to those responsible for the deaths of 1.7 million Cambodians during the ultra-leftist group's 1975-1979 rule. [....] Until Tuesday [12/30/03] none of the Khmer Rouge's top leaders had publicly accepted that the government committed genocide." [A.P.]

2003 - U.S. War Dead / Iraq - "Total amount of identified hostile and non-hostile U.S. troops killed in Iraq this month [December 2003] amounts to 40." [A.P., 05/01/04]

2003 - Trivia / U.S. Prison Population - "U.S. prisons held 101,179 women last year [2003], 3.6 percent more than in 2002, the Justice department said. That marks the first time the women's prison population has topped 100,000. [....] At the close of last year [2003], U.S. prisons held 1,368,866 men, the Bureau of of Justice Statistics reported. The total was 2 percent more than in 2002." [News Services, 11/08/04]

2003 - Civilan Casualties / Afghanistan - December, 2003: "Two botched airstrikes on Afghan villiges in December reportedly killed 15 children."

2003 - Worldwide Terrorism Decline? / NOT! - "WASHINGTON - The State Department acknowledged Thursday [06/10/04] that it was wrong in reporting that terrorism declined worldwide last year [2003], a finding used to boost one of President George W. Bush's chief foreign policy claims - success in countering terrorism. Instead both the number of incidents and the toll in victims increased sharply, the department said. Statements by senior administration officials claiming success were based 'on the facts as we had them at the time. The facts that we had were wrong,' department spokesman Richard Boucher said. The April [2004] report said attacks had declined last year [2003] to 190, the lowest level in 34 years, and dropped 45 percent since 2001, Bush's first year as president. The department is now working to determine the correct figures." [By Barry Schweid, A.P., 06/11/04]

*Trivia: "Significant acts of terrorism worldwide reached a 21-year high last year [2003], the State Department announced Tuesday [06/22/04] as it corrected a mistaken report that had been cited to boost President George W. Bush's war on terrorism. [....] In all, the department recorded 208 incidents of terrorism last year [2003], compared with 205 in 2002. There were 175 'significant events' in 2003, which Black [J. Cofer Black] said was the highest number since 1982. [....] Thirty-five U.S. citizens died in international terrorist attacks last year [2003]. [....] The report did not include U.S. troops killed or wounded in Iraq, or attacks by resistance fighters against American troops, 'because they were directed at combatants.' Attacks in Iraq against civilians and unarmed military personnel were included. In all, 3,646 people were wounded worldwide in terror attacks last year [2003], the report said. This represented a sharp increase from the 2,013 wounded in 2002. In April [2004], the department had said that 1,593 people were wounded in 2003, a sharp decline from the previous year. The initial report was issued April 29 [2004]. On June 10 [2004], in response to inquiries by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and several analysts, the State Department acknowledged the findings were inaccurate. Powell attributed the errors partly to a new data system and said there was no attempt to manipulate the figures to buttress Bush's stature." [By Barry Schweid, A.P., 06/23/04]

2003 - Trivia / U.S. Marriage Statistics - "In 1970, only six percent of women 30 to 34 had never been married; the figure was 23 percent in 2003. The rate for never-married men in the same age group rose to 33 percent from 9 percent. [....] In 2003, nearly 35 percent of all births [U.S.A.] were to unmarried women, according to the national Center for Health Statistics. That's up from 11 percent in 1970, though the rate of increase has slowed since 1995, when 32 percent of births were out-of-wedlock. Births to unmarried teens have declined since the mid-1990s. [....] Compared with 1970, Blankenhorn [David Blankenhorn] said, 'There is a sense that marriage has a less dominant role in our society and is less influential as a social institution.' " [A.P., 12/02/04]

2003 -  Getting Dirtier / American Waterways - "In 2003 the Environmental Protection Agency announced that for the first time since the Clean Water Act was passed 30 years ago, American waterways are getting dirtier." [Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Crimes Against Nature, pp. 5-6]

2003 - Trivia / Social Security Trust Fund, U.S.A. - "For now, Social Security is taking in more through the payroll tax than it is paying out in the form of benefits. Lots more. In 2003, income to the Social Security trust fund, including interest earned on the accumulated surplus, totaled $632 billion. Outlays, including administrative expenses, were $479 billion. That left an annual surplus of $153 billion, or about four months worth of benefits. At the end of the year, the trust fund was chock-a-block  with more than $1.5 trillion - more than three years' worth of benefits. [....] So even if Congress did not touch Social Security's benefit problem through 2042, a 25 percent benefit cut when the surplus ran out would still leave benefits slightly higher than they are now - even after adjusting for price inflation. That, according to opponents of private accounts, is not exactly a formula for disaster. On the revenue side of the of the ledger, the Social Security payroll tax rate - 6.2 percent, matched by an equal tax on the employer -has not changed since 1990. But the maximum wage on which the tax is levied, $87,900 in 2004, rises annually with wage inflation. The estimates of Social Security's financial health are extremely sensitive to assumptions about future economic growth, birth rates and other imponderables. [....]" [Los Angeles Times, 12/16/04]

2003 - Syphilis Update - "A fast-spreading mutant strain of syphilis is proving resistant to the antibiotic pills [azithromycin] that are offered to some patients as an alternative to painful penicillin shots. [....] The percentage of samples from San Francisco with the mutant strain jumped to 37 percent last year [2003] from 4 percent in 1999-2002. Most of the increase was among gay or bisexual men with multiple partners. The study was reported in today's [07/08/04] issue of the New England Journal of Medicine." [News Services]

2003 - Status / AIDS Epidemic - "LONDON - The world is losing the race against the AIDS virus, which last year [2003] infected a record 4.8 million people and killed an unprecedented 2.9 million, the United nations reported Tuesday [07/06/04]." [By Emma Ross, A.P., 07/07/04]]

2003 - Trivia / U.S. Health Insurance - "President George W. Bush's Medicare drug bill also creates tax-advantaged health savings accounts." [Source: Institute of Medicine, 10/04/04]

2003 - Revelation? / Human Hybrids - "Scientists have begun blurring the line between human and animal by producing chimeras—a hybrid creature that's part human, part animal. Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University in 2003 successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs. The embryos were reportedly the first human-animal chimeras successfully created. They were allowed to develop for several days in a laboratory dish before the scientists destroyed the embryos to harvest their stem cells. In Minnesota last year [2004] researchers at the Mayo Clinic created pigs with human blood flowing through their bodies. And at Stanford University in California an experiment might be done later this year [2005] to create mice with human brains. Scientists feel that, the more humanlike the animal, the better research model it makes for testing drugs or possibly growing 'spare parts,' such as livers, to transplant into humans. [....] There are currently no U.S. federal laws that address these issues. [....] A chimera is a mixture of two or more species in one body. Not all are considered troubling, though. For example, faulty human heart valves are routinely replaced with ones taken from cows and pigs. The surgery—which makes the recipient a human-animal chimera—is widely accepted. And for years scientists have added human genes to bacteria and farm animals. What's caused the uproar is the mixing of human stem cells with embryonic animals to create new species." [....]  [based on article by, Maryann Mott, National Geographic News, 01/25/05 - paragraph indents removed by E.M. - see link  ]

2003 - Lost Secrets of the Sacred Ark - "First published in Great Britain in 2003 by Element Books: Lost Secrets of the Sacred Ark, by Laurence Gardner."

2003 - "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" - 2003: "870 pages, 8.5 million first printing, 16 million in print." [Based on: article in S.L.P.D., p. A10, 07/13/05]

2003 - Notable Albums of 2003 - "Get Rich or Die Tryin" (50 Cent); "Speakerboxxxlove Below" (Outkast)

2003 - Flood Trivia / 2003 - "Number of notable floods this year: at least 5. Number of flood deaths: at least 863." [E.M.]

2003 - Cyclone Trivia / 2003 - "Number of notable cyclones this year: at least 1. Number of cyclone deaths: 50." [E.M.]

2003 - Blizzard Trivia / 2003 - "Number of notable blizzards this year: at least 1. Number of blizzard deaths: 59." [E.M.]

2003 - Volcano Trivia / 2003 - "Number of volcanic eruptions [and, or] notable volcanic events this year: at least 1." [E.M.]

2003 - Hurricane Trivia / 2003 - "Number of notable hurricanes this year: at least 3. Number of hurricane deaths: at least 40." [E.M.]

2003 - Earthquake Trivia / 2003 - "Number of notable earthquakes this year: at least 19. Number of earthquake deaths: 29,353." [E.M.]

2003 - "Natural Disaster" Deaths / 2003 - "Estimated number of people who died from natural disasters this year: at least 30,365." [E.M.]

2004 A.D

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