Timeline: 2005

Jan 9  Dr. Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, wins a landslide election to succeed Yasser Arafat as Palestinian Authority President.

Jan 11  In the US the demand for homes and the price of homes are surging. The housing market is swollen with opportunists buying homes and selling them for a quick profit. David Lereah, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, announces that "home sales will stay well above what was considered to be a healthy level in the late 1990s. The population has grown, household formation is strong and demographics tell us this trend will continue."

Jan 12  The White House announces that the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is officially over.

Jan13  Armed militants enter Israel from Gaza, kiling six and wounding five others. Hamas and Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claim joint responsibility for the attack.

Jan 21  Hundreds of Palestinian Authority police deploy across the Gaza Strip. Israel hopes that Dr. Abbas will put an end to the kind of violence that he has renounced and that happened on January 13.

Jan 25  In India, a stampede at Mandher Devi Temple kills at least 215, mostly women and small children.

Colin L. Powell

Colin L. Powell

Jan 26  Colin Powell has been asked by President Bush to step down from his position as Secretary of State. Powell's resignation becomes effective. Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld are not unhappy about his departure. Condoleezza Rice becomes Secretary of State.

Jan 30  About 58 percent of Iraqis eligible to vote choose representatives to a 275-seat National Assembly, whose job it will be to create the country's constitution.

Jan 31  In Russia, the public no longer elects regional governors. Central authority in Moscow has grown in power. President Putin nominates the first Russian regional governor under a new law.

Feb 8  In Denmark a center-right coalition government wins a second term as voters support a plan to keep immigration in check and taxes from rising.

Feb10  Saudi Arabia holds its first municipal elections. Only males are allowed to vote.

Feb 14  A suicide bomber assassinates Lebanon's former Prime Minister Hariari. Syria denies any involvement.

Feb 16  The Kyoto Protocol goes into effect, without the support of the United States and Australia.

Feb 25  Terrorists kill five and wound fifty in Tel Aviv. Islamic Jihad claims responsibility for the attack.

Feb 28  Abbas says that the Palestinian Authority is making a "100 percent effort" to prevent attacks such as occurred on the 25th.

Mar 5  In Iraq, US soldiers shoot at a car carrying an Italian journalist, Giuliana Sgrena, wounding her and killing one of the Italian security agents who is freeing her from captivity.

Mar 8  The US military announces that US soldiers are operating road check points using strict rules of engagement but that these rules are not readily available to the public.

Mar 24  In Krgyzstan people are inspired by peaceful revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine, and they are upset over poverty and accusations of fraud in recent parliamentary elections. They overthrow President Askar Alayev, who has ruled Kyrgyzstan since the breakup of the Soviet Union and Kyrgyzstan's independence in 1990.  Under President Alayev, critics were harassed and imprisoned and opposition newspapers closed. A spirit of liberty sweeps Kyrgyzstan. It is called the Tulip Revolution.

Apr 1  Popular Science publishes an article that describes the Army Corps of Engineers as considering a new levee system for New Orleans capable of holding back a surge from a Category 5 hurricane but that "it may be decades before the new barriers are completed.

Apr 2  Pope John Paul II dies.

Apr 9  Tens of thousands of demonstrators, many of them supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, march through Baghdad denouncing US occupation of Iraq.

Apr 26  The BBC reports that in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, parks replace roads to the city center, blocking access to government buildings.

Apr 26  Syria withdraws the last of its military garrison from Lebanon, ending 29 years of military occupation.

May 4  In Iraq, at least 60 people are killed and dozens wounded in a suicide bombing at a Kurdish police recruitment center in Irbil, northern Iraq.

May 13  In the city of Andijin, in Uzbekistan, the military shoots at protesters. More than 500 die.  

May 14  In Korazuv, a town In Uzbekistan that borders Kyrgyzstan, people rebel and drive out police and town officials. 

May 18  Uzbek troops take over the town of Korazuv.

May 25  In Cairo, police let young thugs through their lines to attack demonstrators protesting undemocratic elections. The thugs attack only women, groping, beating, ripping off clothing and driving the women half-naked down streets. An middle-class housewife, not ordinarily interested in politics, Gahda Shahbender, is outraged and begins what will become the "Black Wednesday" movement. Its purpose is to observe government behavior regarding elections. It will involve use of the internet.

Jun 10  Fourteen countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Togo, Pakistan and Senegal, sign an agreement to eliminate child labor in mining and quarrying.

Jun 12   In Romania, police move against an Orthodox priest whom they hold responsible for the death of a 23-year-old nun who is said to have had psychic problems that the priest interpreted as possession by the devil. The nun died, it is alleged, as a result of the priest's exorcism ritual.

Jun 17  The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development begins to distribute evacuation maps to the residents of New Orleans.  

Jun 30  Spain joins Belgium and the Netherlands in permitting same-sex marriage.

Jul 7  In London during the morning commute, three suicide bombers attack the subway and one suicide bomber strikes on a double-decker bus. Thirty-eight people are reported killed and hundreds injured. The bombers were four young men and British citizens, three of Pakistani descent and one of Jamaican descent. Two of them were married and fathers. The four were Muslim, one leaving behind a note saying that support for atrocities "against my people the world over" have made the public "directly responsible" and therefore fair targets.

Jul 10  In Kyrgyzstan, Kurmanbek Bakiyev wins a landslide victory and is to become president. He is a leader of the "tulip revolution" which ousted the former president back in March.

Jul 12  Feuding over water and pasture in a semi-arid region of eastern Africa results in an armed raid across the Ethiopian border against the village of Turbi in Kenya. As many as 100 are killed, mainly women and children.

Jul 22  In London, police follow a young electrician from Brazil, Jean Charles de Menezes, to the subway and shoot him dead. It was mistaken identity.

Jul 28  The Provisional Irish Republican Army announces an end to the armed campaign that it has pursued since 1969.

Aug 15  Israel sets the deadline for its citizens to leave the Gaza Strip. 

Aug 23  Israel's eviction of 8,500 or so settlers from Gaza and the West Bank ends.

Aug 26  People in Gaza are joyous over the withdrawal of Israelis. Some are looking forward to peace with Israel. A leader of the military wing of Hamas, Mohammed Deif, is not. He releases a video describing the Israelis as leaving Gaza humiliated, and he credits his suicide bombers with having contributed to the withdrawal. Israel's policy makers have no regrets. In withdrawing from Gaza they are not letting the opinions of their enemies, or their potential enemies, deter them from acting in their own interest.

Aug 26  The US Coast Guard begins pre-positioning resources and it activates more than 400 reservists in preparation for Hurricane Katrina.

Aug 27 Regarding Hurricane Katrina, President Bush declares a national emergency.

Aug 28  The National Weather Service's New Orleans/Baton Rouge office issues a bulletin predicting that Hurricane Katrina will make the area "uninhabitable for weeks." Voluntary and mandatory evacuations are ordered.

Aug 29  Hurricane Katrina strikes the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coasts.

Aug 30  Eighty percent of New Orleans is flooded. Many cars remain in the city, now unusable. People are trapped in their homes. Along the coast, the Coast Guard is rescuing people by the hundreds. Of the 60,000 or so people stranded in New Orleans the Coast Guard begins its rescue of over 33,500. The Superdome shelters 26,000 people and provides them with food and water. The death toll in various states as a result of Katrina is to be 1,836, for Louisiana, 1,577.

Sep 4  The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that, in the West Bank town of Taybeh, relatives of a 23-year-old Muslim woman murder her because they suspect she was romantically involved with a Christian man. Her body is exhumed for an autopsy, and young Muslim men go to Taybeh, where Catholic and Greek Orthodox Christians live, to avenge what they consider dishonor to the woman. They throw Molotov cocktails, set homes on fire, vandalize parked cars, beat residents who come into the street and set a gas station on fire. Palestinian Authority policemen arrive and save the village's beer factory. The Palestinian governor of the area arrives, and he and Christian clerics try to sooth tempers.

Sep 7  Election day in Egypt. The Black Wednesday has recruited many poll watchers, and the movement records numerous election violations. President Hosni Mubarak wins 88 percent of the vote. There have been restrictions on who could run, and many who are cynical have not bothered to vote.

May Chidiac

May Chidiac

Chidiac and Gebran Tueni in 2004

Chidiac with Gebran Tueni in 2004

Sep 19  North Korea agrees to stop building nuclear weapons in exchange for aid.

Sep 25  In Lebanon a car bomb injures television news anchor May Chidiac, said to be a critic of Syria. The blast blew off her leg below the knee and set her hair and clothes on fire. She will lose her left arm.

Sep 27  A US military panel has found Lynndie England guilty of abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib. She is to serve three years at a military prison at Miramar, near San Diego, and given a dishonorable discharge. 

Oct 1  In Bali, a Saturday night bomb blasts kill 26 and injures more than 100, near where a bombing killed 202 in October 2002.

Oct 2  US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says "our political-military strategy has to be to clear, hold, and build: to clear areas from insurgent control, to hold them securely, and to build durable, national Iraqi institutions."

Oct 8  An earthquake in Kashmir kills about 80,000 people.

Oct 19  In Iraq the trial of Saddam Hussein begins.

Oct 19  US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, testifying to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, touts a strategy for Iraq that she describes as "clear, hold and build" – a strategy that will "assure victory." Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld is offended. He wants to continue a "light footprint" strategy. He thinks it is for the Iraqi government to clear, hold and build, that coalition forces should merely back up the Iraqis. Rumsfeld is not looking for a military victory. He wants US forces out of Iraq as quickly as possible.

Oct 25  Iraq's constitution is voted upon. An electoral commission reports that 79 percent of those voting support the constitution, meeting the two-thirds requirement. But in Sunni-dominated provinces less than two-thirds vote for the constitution. 

Oct 26  Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, attends a "World Without Zionism" conference. He calls for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and condemns the "peace process."

Oct 27  The European Union and Russia join in condemning President Ahmadinejad's comments.

Nov 2  Iraq's Defense Ministry begins recruiting former junior officers from Saddam Hussein's army, hoping to bolster army's forces and to siphon fighters away from the insurgency.

Nov 8  Italy's state television network broadcasts a documentary film "Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre," describing US forces in 2004 as having used white phosphorus and napalm and indiscriminately killing civilians.

Nov 9  In Amman Jordan three hotels are bombed, killing 60 and wounding 115. Two of the bombers were an Iraqi couple who saw a wedding party in progress before the bomb blasts. The wife's bomb failed to explode.

Nov 15  Iraq's prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, announces an inquiry into the torture of Sunni prisoners by Shia police officers.

Chancellor Merkel

Chancellor Merkel

May Chidiac

May Chidiac

Nov 18  Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has announced that the bombings in Amman were not means to hit a Muslim wedding. At least 100,000 people march in Amman denouncing Zarqawi, who is from Jordan. His family places half-page advertisements in three newspapers denouncing him and his actions. 

Nov 22  Angela Merkel, 51, becomes Germany's first female chancellor, and its youngest. She has a doctorate in physics, her thesis having been on quantum chemistry. She is fluent in Russian and English. She is leader of the conservative Christian Democratic Union.

Nov 24  USA Today writes of "sizzling" housing sales encouraged by real estate agents making big money without consideration of a growing bubble. Inflating the bubble, speculators are buying houses, adding to the demand, with the idea of selling them fast for the sake of profit. States and the federal government are ignoring any need to curb unhealthy real estate or speculation practices.

Nov 25  In Lebanon, May Chidiac appears on television. Smiling, she promises that she will return to her job.

Nov 30  Speaking at the US Naval Academy, President Bush describes his "plan for victory." He speaks of US troops and commanders in Iraq seeing "the gains that the Iraqis are making." He adds that setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send "a message across the world that America is weak and an unreliable ally. 

Dec 6  Edward Leamer, director of the quarterly UCLA Anderson Forecast, reports that the US housing market will see a sustained decline next year and that the "cooling" is likely to spread over several years.

Dec 12  A leading Lebanese journalist, Gebran Tueni, is assassinated. At a Hezbollah rally in March one of the signs read "We are going to sweep Gebran Tueni from Lebanon." Other signs supported Syria. A statement of responsibility for the assassination speaks of "shutting up" a traitor and warns that the same fate awaits other opponents of "Arabism" in Lebanon.

Dec 12  President Bush speaks of "the progress of freedom and democracy in Iraq."

Dec 15  Iraq holds parliamentary elections. As many as 11 million Iraqis turn out to select their first permanent Parliament since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. More than 7,000 Parliamentary candidates from 300 parties are seeking to fill the 275 seats in Parliament.

Dec 18  Susanne Kristina Osthoff, a German archaeologist kidnapped by terrorists in Iraq on November 25, is released apparently in exchange for Mohammed Ali Hammadi. Hammadi, from Lebanon, was in prison in Germany for participation in the murder of US Seaman Robert Stethem during an airline hijacking in 1985.

Dec 31  This year (2005) according to Matt Ridley, the average person on earth earned nearly three times as much money (corrected for inflation) and ate one-third more calories of food than did the average person in 1955. (Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist, p. 14)

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