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Timeline: 2004

Jan 1  More than 71 percent of South Korean households subscribe to broadband internet services, up from fewer than one percent in 1995. South Korea is the most Internet wired nation in the world.

Jan 3  An exploration rover from the United States successfully lands on Mars.

Jan 3  China's Securities Regulatory Commission seizes a brokerage firm for illegal and disorderly management.

Jan 9 Turkey abolishes the death penalty.

Jan 20  In his state of the Union Message, President Bush describes the US in Iraq as "having broken the Baathist regime." He adds, "Our forces are on the offensive, leading over 1,600 patrols a day and conducting an average of 180 raids a week. We are dealing with these thugs in Iraq, just as surely as we dealt with Saddam Hussein's evil regime."

Feb 2  Pakistan's leading nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, recently fired by the government, confesses to sneaking nuclear hardware out of the country and briefing nuclear scientists from Iran, North Korea and Libya. He says he believed that nuclear proliferation would distract Western attention from Pakistan and "help the Muslim cause."

Feb 2  Prime Minister Sharon of Israel announces his plan to dismantle 17 Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and foresees the time when there will no Jews in Gaza.

Feb 6  In a military effort across Iraq, US military forces round up more than 100 they suspect of participating in violent attacks against their occupation.

Feb 25  The Pakistani and Indian governments are taking steps toward peace. Pakistan pressures Muslim militants in Kashmir to declare a ceasefire, and India's Prime Minister Atal Behan Vaipayee, referring to the potential for peace with Pakistan, appeals to Muslims for votes for his political party.

Feb 28  Among some with connections to the Bush administration has been hostility toward Haiti's president, Jean-Bertrad Aristide. Haiti's wealthy are also hostile toward Aristide. A rightist uprising occurs. US Secretary of State Colin Powell announces that the US government will not allow "thugs" to remove a "democratically elected government." US soldiers land in Haiti, apparently for the purpose of protecting the US embassy and Amercan lives.

Feb 29  Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the elected President of Haiti, is deposed. He and is family are removed from their country aboard an aircraft manned by US personnel, the aircraft with no tail number but with an image of a US flag on the tail.

Mar 2  Aristide and his family are in the Central African Republic. Aristide claims that he was kidnapped, to be denied by US spokepersons.

Mar 2  Suicide bombers attack Shia festival-goers in Karbala and Baghdad, killing 140 people.

Mar 11  In Madrid, tens bombs on a morning commuter trains kill 191 and wound 1,700.

Mar 17  Spanish voters oust a center-right government in favor of a socialist prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who has vowed to remove his country's troops from Iraq.

Mar 19  President Musharraf of Pakistan has sent soldiers into South Waziristan where they surround 400 combatants in various fortifications and al-Qaida men, including, they believe, al-Qaeda's number two man, al-Zawahiri. Pakistan's military suffers heavy casualties and fail to capture al-Zawahiri.

Mar 28  In Iraq, the Americans force the newspaper al-Hawaz to close. The paper has ties to the Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. 

Mar 31  The people of Fallujah are hostile to foreign occupation. There, four military contractors are dragged from their vehicles and killed. A crowd of a thousand or so beat and drag the burnt corpses behind automobiles, then they hang the dismembered remains from the girders of one of city's two bridges. 

Apr 4  In Fallujah, two US Marine battalions launch an offensive. In Baghdad, two Shia Muslims are killed when they throw themselves in front of US tanks during a demonstration. Angry supporters of the Shia cleric Moqtada al Sadr throw rocks at US forces, who claim that they have also fired shots.  

Apr 5  Paul Bremer, head of the US dominated Coalition Provisional Authority, declares al-Sadr an outlaw. A warrant is issued for his arrest. He is accused of having ignited anti-US violence that led to the deaths of eight US soldiers. 

Apr 7 US troops and tanks surround the offices of al-Sadr, intending to arrest or kill him.  Armed supporters of al-Sadr mobilize and fire upon US forces. Al-Sadr is neither killed nor captured.

Apr 8  At a news conference, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says of Iraq: "What is going on now is a huge popular uprising." He calls it a "test of will" that the US will meet.

Apr 8  Bremer, General Abazaid and others decide to end their operation in Fallujah because of appearances. The appearances that concern them are reports by the news organization al-Jazeera read avidly by those who read Arabic. Fighting in Fallujah has left 30 Americans and more than 150 Iraqis dead.

Apr 8  Regarding the conflict in Darfur, the Sudanese government signs a ceasefire with two rebel groups.

Apr 11  Two members of the Iraqi Governing Council resign in protest against the US offensive in Fallujah.

Apr 13  Shia clerics negotiate with their colleague al-Sadr.

Apr 15  The Bush administration agrees to a UN proposal to replace the Iraqi Governing Council with a caretaker government.

Apr 19  US forces in Fallujah have an agreement with local community leaders to diffuse tensions. The agreement includes joint patrolling with coalition and Iraqi security forces.

Apr 22  The US shifts its policy by allowing some of the more than 400,000 members of the Baath Party, including teachers, to return to work. 

Apr 24  In South Waziristan, tribesmen gather to witness an agreement between them and the Pakistani army. The charismatic tribal leader of the region, 27-year-old Nek Mohammed, agrees to lay down arms and to register "foreign militants" living in the area. Brotherhood is proclaimed between the army and Nek Mohammed.

Apr 29  In the US, CBS Television broadcasts photographs taken at Abu Ghraib prison, including men and women in military uniform posing with bound, hooded and naked Iraqi men suspected of having been guerrillas. 

May 1  Ten states become members of the European Union: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia. The European Union will now be China's largest trading partner.

May 5  President Bush, speaking to Arab language television networks, says he is appalled by the conduct of US soldiers at Abu Ghraib. 

May 6  In the US, commentator Rush Limbaugh says of the photographs of prisoners at Abu Ghraib: "This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation."

May 12  Oklahoma's US Senator James Inhoffe says he is more outraged by the outrage over the Abu Ghraib scandal than he is by the treatment of the prisoners. He describes the prisoners as having "blood on their hands."

May 12  Enemies of the United States distribute a video of Nick Berg, a US contractor, having his head cut off.

Mar 15  Amnesty International complains about 75 dissidents imprisoned in Cuba.

May 21  President Vladimir Putin announces that his country will pursue ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, regarding protection of the environment. 

May 24  US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld bans US military personnel using cameras in Iraq. 

May 28  In Iraq, after seven weeks of fighting in Najaf, the US military and forces loyal to al-Sadr agree to stop fighting. The US. agrees to remove most of its forces from the city, and those loyal to al-Sadr agree to stay off the streets as armed units. 

May 30  In Khobar, Saudi Arabia, four armed Islamic militants have seized dozens of foreign hostages. Saudi commandos in helicopters storm the residential complex, freeing most of the hostages. The militants kill 22 people and wound 25 others. One militant is captured and the three others use hostages as cover to escape in a stolen car.

May 30  US Senator Inhoffe of Oklahoma describes global warming as a hoax.

May 31  Aristide and his family are flown to Johannesburg, South Africa, accompanied by members of the US Congressional Black Caucus. South Africa has agreed to allow Aristide to stay following a request received from Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Jun 1  Iraq's Governing Council, which has been under the authority of the Coalition Provisional Authority, dissolves itself. Authority passes to an interim government headed by Iyad Allawi. His cabinet consists of people from Iraq's various ethnicities.

Jun 8  The United Nations Security Council unanimously endorses Iraq's new interim government and authorizes US forces to remain in Iraq until January 2006. 

Jun 16   US Brigadier General Janis Karpinski says that she was "ordered from the top" to treat detainees "like dogs," as they are treated in Guantanamo Bay. 

Jun 17  A poll conducted in May by the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq reveals that 92 percent of those Iraqis questioned see the United States forces as "occupiers."  Only 2 percent describe them as liberators.

Jun 18  Nek Mohammed has reneged on his agreement with the Pakistani army. He is killed by a Hellfire missile fired from an unmanned US Predator airplane. The Pakistan government wants to keep secret US involvement in his death. In South Waziristan an intense hatred rises against the Pakistan Army and the United States.

Jul 9  In the US the Senate Intelligence Committee releases a report describing a "mischaracterization of intelligence" regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction ("WMDs") prior to the war in Iraq, and the report disputes assertions that Iraq was reconstituting a nuclear program prior to the war.

Jul 14  In Britain, the Butler Report criticizes British intelligence about pre-war Iraq.

Jul 22  In Australia, the Flood Report finds the pre-war evidence supporting Iraq's possession of WMDs "thin, ambiguous, and incomplete."    

Jul 28  Senator John Kerry becomes the Democratic Party's candidate to run against President Bush in elections to be held in early November. 

Aug 15  President Bush's National Security Advisor, Condeleezza Rice, describes her view of the origins of what she calls the challenge of "Islamic extremism." She speaks of "replacing the hopelessness and the lack of opportunity in the Middle East that has led to that challenge."

Aug 24  A Pentagon-sponsored report, the Schlesinger report, describes treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib as acts of "brutality and purposeless sadism." The report rejects the idea that the abuse was simply the work of a few aberrant soldiers. It asserts that there were "fundamental failures throughout all levels of command, from the soldiers on the ground to Central Command and to the Pentagon."

Aug 29  The Olympic games at Athens close after sixteen days. US athletes have won the most medals – 102. Mizuki Noguchi of Japan won the women's marathon. Stafano Baldini of Italy won the men's marathon, which was disrupted by a defrocked priest, Neil Horan, who had a sign on his back about the Second Coming.

Aug 31 Two suicide bombers in Beersheba, Israel, kill at least 16 and injure at least 60. Hamas claims responsibility.

Aug 31  In Moscow, near a subway station, a woman suicide bomber, believed to be associated with Chechen rebels, kills at least ten and injures at least 50.

Sep 2  In accepting his Party's nomination to run again as president, George Bush says that in Iraq "50 million people have been liberated."

Sep 2  The UN Security Council calls for the removal of all foreign (Syrian) troops from Lebanon.

Sep 8  On a speaking tour, rightwing commentator Michelle Malkin tells a U.C. Berkeley student audience that internment of US citizens of Japanese descent was correct on the grounds that they posed a security threat to the nation. Research that journalist Malkin did not consider indicates that they were not a security threat. And the question remains why West Coast Japanese were rounded up and not those in the Hawaiian Islands, a more crucial location and blessed with an abundance of Japanese? Imprisoning individuals without specific charges based on evidence of specific crimes is not supposed to happen in the United States.

Sep 9  A bomb outside Australia's embassy in Jakarta kills 11 and injures 100.

Sep 10-13  Hurricane Ivan, a Category 5 storm, hits the western tip of Cuba. Between 1.5 and 1.9 million residents are evacuated to shelters at higher ground. Animals are also evacuated. 20,000 homes are destroyed and not one death is reported.

Sep 14  The UN International Secretariat for Disaster Reduction cites Cuba as a model for hurricane preparation.

Sep 15  In a BBC interview, United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan describes the war in Iraq by the Coalition Provisional Authority as a violation of the UN Charter. The US, Britain and Australia object.

Sep 17 Japan and Mexico sign a free trade agreement.

Oct 8  Suicide bombers kill 34, mainly Israeli tourists, at the Red Sea resort of Taba, Egypt.

Oct 17  In Belarus, a referendum passes by 79 percent, eliminating term limits for the country's president, Aleksandr Lukashenko, who otherwise would have to leave office after his term in office expires in 2006. Lukashenko's campaign included harassment of opponents and one-sided promotion on state media. There are reports of ballot stuffing, and Lukashenko is described as Europe's last dictator.

Oct 24  Brazil launches its first rocket into space.

Nov 2  In Amsterdam, film director Theo van Gogh is murdered by a 26-year-old, Mohammed Bouyeri. 

Nov 2   President Bush wins re-election. The Republican Party extends its majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Nov11  Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian National Authority, dies.

Nov 13  After six days of fighting, the US Marines fully occupy Fallujah. They have killed an estimated 1,600 labeled as "hostiles" and have uncovered caches of weapons. The city has been severely damaged by artillery, air and tank bombardments, and 300,000 residents have fled.

Nov 14  Burma's army begins a new series of attacks against Karen villagers. The army burns over 30 homes, destroys over 2,000 baskets of rice, loots homes and livestock and drives more than 800 people into the tropical forest.

Nov 16  China agrees to invest $20 billion dollars in Argentina.

Nov 21  In Ukraine a run-off election for president between Viktor Yushchenko and Victor Yanukovych is won by the latter. The election is considered rigged in favor of the latter, and protests begin that will be called the Orange Revolution.

Nov 27  Across Turkey people protest the US military offensive in the Iraqi city of Fallujah. Anti-Americanism is reported rising in what has been a close ally of the United States.

Nov 28  The center-left President of Chile, Ricardo Lagos, promises economic compensation to 28,000 victims of torture during the 1973 to 1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

Dec 2  In Burma, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's detention has been extended. The United States calls on the military rulers of Burma to release her from house arrest.

Dec 6  An attack on the US Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, kills several people. 

Dec 26  The Ukraine Supreme Court annuls the elections of November 21. Another election is ordered.  

Dec 26  An earthquake of 9.3 magnitude generates a tsunami that crashes into coastal areas of Thailand, India, Sri-Lanka, the Malives, Malasion, Burma, Bangladesh and Indonesia. The deaths are to be tolled at 186,983 and 40,000 are to remain missing. An old story among the seafaring Moken people warned them to run to high ground when the tide went out far and fast. They did and survived.

Dec 31  The tallest building in the world, at 509 meters (1,670 feet) opens in the city of Taipei.

to 2003 | to 2005

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