August 2004


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August 31, 2004

* The WTO authorizes the imposition of sanctions against the United States for persistent violation of global trade laws. [ (NYT)]
* A female suicide bomber kills ten and injures 51 others near a subway station in Moscow. [ (CNN)] [ (Reuters)] [ (BBC)]
* Despite demands from Iraqi resistance Islamist militant elements threatening to kill two French hostages, France upholds its law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools, specifically its ban on Muslim hijabs. [ (ABC News)] [ (Reuters)]
*In Iraq, the radical Islamist group, Army of Ansar al-Sunna, kill 12 Nepali civilians employed as cooks and cleaners, stating "We have carried out the sentence of God against 12 Nepalis who came from their country to fight the Muslims and to serve the Jews and the Christians ... believing in Buddha as their God" [ (Reuters)]
* Repeated attacks on pipelines linked to southern oil fields have significantly hampered oil exports from Iraq. [ (Washington Post)] [ (Moscow Times)]
* Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević, a University of Belgrade Faculty of Law graduate, opens his defence at the trial which accuses him of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for his alleged role in the conflicts in which tens of thousands were killed. He maintains the charges are 'unscrupulous lies'. [ (BBC News)] [ (Reuters)]
* Palestinian suicide bombers kill at least 16 Israelis and wound more than 91 others aboard two city buses in Beer Sheva, Israel in the first successful Palestinian suicide bombings since , 2004, with Hamas claiming responsibility. [ (BBC)] [ (Haaretz)]
* Afghan police say a United States bombing raid killed at least six civilians in the eastern province of Kunar. [ (Reuters)] [ (BBC)]
* 2004 Atlantic hurricane season: Hurricane Frances affects the British Virgin Islands, the United States Virgin Islands and the northern-east part of Puerto Rico. [ (AP/The Star Tribune)]
* California Governor and former Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger extols the United States as a greater source of good in the world than the UN: "If you believe this country, not the United Nations, is the best hope of democracy in the world, then you are a Republican," he shouts, at the Republican National Convention. [ (Washington Times)] [ (BBC)]
* Following a dramatic intra-party campaign, Betty Castor and Mel Martinez win primary elections in Florida for the U.S. Senate election, 2004. The seat is the most heavily contested in the U.S. Congress, with over $30 million budgeted among twelve candidates' campaigns. [ (AP/Bradenton Herald)]
* The two smallest extrasolar planets ever discovered are announced: one orbiting 55 Cancri in the constellation Cancer, and another orbiting Gliese 436 in the constellation Leo. They are both around the size of Neptune. [ (Globe and Mail)]

August 30, 2004

* Election dispute in Chechnya: After leading rival Malik Saidullayev was disqualified on a technicality. Putin-supported Alu Alkhanov wins in a landslide. US and EU dispute results. [ (Reuters)] [ (Reuters)] [ (NYT)]
* U.S. presidential campaign: The Republican National Convention begins in New York City. Massive protests are expected. [ (CNN)]
* Two amateur French Egyptologists claim to have discovered, using radar, a previously unknown corridor inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu. They believe the corridor would lead directly to Khufu's burial chamber, a room which – if it exists – is unlikely to have been accessed since the burial and may still contain the king's remains. [,3604,1293377,00.html (The Guardian)] [ (AustBC)]
* The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) confirms that two Russian "airplanes were blown up as a result of a terrorist attack" that killed 90 people on August 24, 2004. [ (Reuters)]
* 2004 Atlantic hurricane season:
** Tropical Storm Gaston douses Richmond, Virginia with up to 14 inches of rain, causing widespread flooding. Governor Mark Warner declares a state of emergency in Central Virginia. [ (ABCNEWS)]
** Category 3 Hurricane Frances looms over Puerto Rico. [ (USA Today)]
* President Chen Shui-bian cancels the annual Han Kuang live-fire exercises previously schedule for September 9 as a goodwill gesture to the mainland after the People's Republic of China reportedly halted its military drills at Dongshan island on the Taiwan Strait. [ (VOA)] [ (CNN)]

August 29, 2004

* 2004 Atlantic hurricane season: Tropical Storm Gaston makes landfall at Bulls Bay, South Carolina with near hurricane strength 70 mph winds. [ (CNN)]
* An explosion at a school in southern Afghanistan has killed at least 10 people, many of them children, the US military has said. [ (BBC)]
* Australian Prime Minister John Howard announces that the 2004 Australian federal election will take place on October 9, 2004. [ (ABC Au)]
* The 2004 Summer Olympics are closed by IOC President Jacques Rogge. [ (Reuters)]
* More than 400,000 demonstrators march in New York City, protesting U.S. President George W. Bush and the policies of the Republican Party on the eve of the 2004 Republican National Convention. Republican delegates and politicians, including Vice President Dick Cheney, also begin to arrive in the city. [ (The Scotsman)] [ (Houston Chronicle)] [ (Reuters)] [ (BBC)]
* The Lebanese Cabinet, under Syrian pressure and despite widespread opposition, votes to modify the constitution to allow President Émile Lahoud a second term in office. Patriarch Sfeir states "we have completely lost sovereignty of our territory and our independence and freedom in choosing our rulers and deciding our own affairs." [ (NYT)]
* The British Royal Society, with 68 other organizations, urges the UN to ban reproductive but not therapeutic use of the technology in response to a US bid to ban human cloning altogether. [ (BBC)]

August 28, 2004

* In a video circulating on the Internet, former Texas lieutenant governor Ben F. Barnes apologizes for his role in getting current United States President George W. Bush into the Texas Air National Guard in 1968. [ (Chicago Sun-Times)]
* Free and Open Source Software advocacy: TheOpenCD, the Free Software Foundation and the Open Source Initiative celebrate the first annual Software Freedom Day.
*A precious icon is returned to the Kremlin's Cathedral of the Assumption by a Roman Catholic Cardinal as a goodwill gesture from the Pope to the Russian Orthodox Church. The image is an 18th century copy of the "Virgin of Kazan", one of Russia's most sacred images. [ (BBC)]

August 27, 2004

* Between 5,000 and 6,000 participants take part in the Critical Mass bicyclist ride as part of the 2004 Republican National Convention protest activity. The monthly NYC Critical Mass ride usually attracts about 1500 riders. Police eventually arrested 264 people for deliberately blockading roads during the event. This is the first time the NYPD made any significant arrests of Critical Mass participants. [ (NYC-IMC)]
* Interbrew completes its merger with Ambev. Both were among the top five largest breweries in the world, and together they will become the largest, when measured by volume. The merged company will be called InBev [ (Bloomberg)]
* The FBI has launched a full espionage investigation into Larry Franklin after obtaining evidence pointing to a high-ranking spy in the Pentagon. According to [ CBS News] , the spy has been giving classified secrets to Israel which could compromise U.S. national security. Israel denies the charges.
* Following the intervention of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, an agreement is found to end the standoff in Najaf. Although the terms are not clear, the deal requires both the al-Sadr militia and U.S. troops to leave the city, to be replaced by the police interim government. Responsibility for the Imam Ali Mosque goes to Sistani. [ (BBC)] This resolution occurs two days before the one year anniversary of the assassination of Sayed Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, a prominent Shi'ite cleric from Najaf.
* The Russian Federal Security Service announces that traces of the explosive hexogen have been found in the wreckage of the two Russia airliners which crashed on August 24, 2004. The Islamic group "the Islambouli Brigades" claims responsibility. [ (AP)]
* Enzo Baldoni, an Italian journalist kidnapped by Islamic militants in Iraq, is killed by his kidnappers. [ (Reuters)]
* The Interior Minister of France announces that the number of anti-Semitic attacks in France this year is more than double that of the same period last year. [ (Reuters)]

August 26, 2004

* Chile's Supreme Court strips former military ruler Augusto Pinochet of his immunity from prosecution, allowing him to be prosecuted for alleged crimes including involvement in murder and torture. [ (BBC)]
* Najaf standoff
** Twenty-five people are killed and 100 wounded during a mortar attack on the main mosque in the Iraqi city of Kufa. 20 Shiite marchers in Kufa are killed and 70 wounded by gunfire. The identity of the attackers is unknown, reportedly though a source of gunfire was near an Iraqi National Guard base. [ (BBC)] [ (Reuters)] [ (CNN)] [ (Albawaba)]
** Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani begins negotiations with Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in a bid to end the fighting in Najaf for three weeks. Sistani tells thousands of Iraqis heading to the holy city to wait on the outskirts of Najaf. [ (khaleejtimes)] Ayatollah Sistani calls a pause in fighting, telling protesters to stay home, and urging all forces to withdraw. US and Iraqi troops suspend attacks for 24 hours. [ (CSMonitor)] [ (Reuters)]
*Abu Hamza al-Masri, a well known Muslim cleric currently residing in the United Kingdom, is arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 which covers the "commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism". [ (Reuters)]

August 25, 2004

*Astronomers announce the discovery of a third extrasolar planet orbiting Mu Arae. The planet may be the first rocky world detected orbiting a star other than the Sun.
*The Bank of Canada rolls out a new $20 bill, the latest piece of paper money to be given new anti-counterfeiting technology and a facelift. [ (CBC)]
*Sir Mark Thatcher, son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, is arrested at his home in Cape Town, South Africa, on charges related to his alleged involvement in an attempted coup in Equatorial Guinea. He is later released on bail, and is to return to court on November 25. [ (BBC)] Meanwhile, his "distressed" mother returns from holiday in the US. [,9174,1292342,00.html (Guardian/Reuters)] [ (AP)]
*Welsh nationalist MP Adam Price announces his intention to impeach Prime Minister Tony Blair, with the support of other Welsh and Scottish nationalist MPs. [ (BBC)] [ (icWales)]
*Police in Toronto shoot and kill a man holding a woman hostage outside Union Station. [ (CBC)] [ Timeline (Toronto Star)]
*Machine guns and explosives are found in a van in Montreal. Police look for links to organized crime. [ (Toronto Star)]

August 24, 2004

* The Trans-Atlantic Exoplanet Survey (TrES) announces its first discovery of an extrasolar planet using an array of small amateur-astronomy-sized telescopes. [ (ArXiv paper)] [ (Press release)]
* Two Russian jets, Volga-AviaExpress Flight 1303 and Siberia Airlines Flight 1047, crash south of Moscow within minutes of each other. Eyewitnesses report the flight 1303 exploded in mid-air. Both airliners took off from Domodedovo International Airport. The planes were carrying 78 passengers and 16 crew in total. [ (CNN)] [ (Reuters)] [ (AOL NEWS)]
*Japan issues a deportation order against former world chess champion Bobby Fischer. [ (Reuters)]
*Iran has reiterated that it will retaliate if Israel carries out a preemptive strike against its nuclear program. [ (Radio Free Europe)]
*The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issues a warning to physicians regarding dangerous adverse reactions to the drug Remicade, which is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's Disease. Doctors are warned to screen patients for blood irregularities and to closely monitor blood cell counts. [,1280,-4448660,00.html (The Guardian)]
*High-level American military leaders are said to be at least partly responsible for abuses of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in a report written by an investigative panel headed by James Schlesinger. [ (Toronto Star)]
*French police launch a manhunt as Cesare Battisti, a wanted left-wing extremist who was facing extradition from France to Italy, goes missing. [ (BBC)]
*Two Iraqi interim government ministers escape suicide attacks in Baghdad. At least four bodyguards are killed. [ (BBC)]
*Two new justices of the Supreme Court of Canada are named by Justice Minister Irwin Cotler: Louise Charron and Rosalie Abella. They will undergo a new parliamentary screening process, though their appointment cannot be blocked. [ (CBC)]

August 23, 2004

* Politics of Taiwan: The Legislative Yuan proposes a package of amendments by 217-1 that includes halving the number of legislators and abolishing the National Assembly. [ (Taiwan News)] [ (BBC)]
* Mexican officials announce the arrest in Mexicali of Gilberto Higuera Guerrero, a suspected drug kingpin with ties to the Arellano Félix gang. Higuera is accused of smuggling narcotics into the U.S. from Mexico, and the U.S. State Department has offered a $2m reward for Higuera's capture. [ (CNN)]
* U.S. marines and Shi'ite militiamen fight several fierce battles around the Imam Ali Mosque, a shrine in Najaf, Iraq in some of the heaviest fighting since the 20-day-old rebellion erupted. [;jsessionid=F4JU1ZDM4US2WCRBAEKSFEY?type=topNews&storyID=6046370 (Reuters)]
* A Ukrainian-Canadian soldier's Victoria Cross, which vanished from the Canadian War Museum about 30 years ago, will be back on public display Monday. Cpl. Filip Konowal received the Commonwealth's highest decoration for valour for his bravery in the battle for Hill 70 in France in 1917. [ (CBC)] [ (National Post)] [ (Toronto Star)]
* El Vocero reports that 50 out of 129 illegal immigrants travelling by boat from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico have been massacred by the ship's captains. [ (El Vocero, in Spanish)]

August 22, 2004

*US journalist Micah Garen, who was kidnapped in Iraq more than a week ago, is released in the southern city of Nasiriyah. [ (Comcast)]
*Singapore's new Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, hoping to quell Beijing's fury over his July 10-12 visit to Taiwan, says that he will not support the island if the People's Republic of China attacks it in retaliation for any push for Taiwan independence. [ (Yahoo! India)]
*A Venezuelan military plane crashes as it approaches its base in the central industrial state of Aragua, killing all 25 on board. [ (Bloomberg)]
*Arsonists raze a Jewish community centre in Paris, leaving behind menacing graffiti including swastikas and the words "Jews get out." [ (CTV)]
*A Bangladeshi mob torches a passenger train, a day after a grenade attack on a political rally killed 19 people and injured hundreds. [ (CBC News)]
*Armed robbers steal the Edvard Munch paintings "The Scream" and "Madonna" from the Munch Museum in Oslo. [ (BBC)] [ (Aftenposten)]

August 21, 2004

* The West Nile virus is now responsible for six deaths in California, with the number of people infected with the virus at 249. [ (]
* Mexico, Honduras and Panama, among many other countries, are put on high alert about a possible Al-Qaida attack in Latin America. [ (Columbia Daily Tribune)] [ (Tucson Citizen)]
*Grenade attack on Bangladesh Awamee League, the biggest political party in this country. Party precedent Sheikh Hasina was injured. Total 22 were Died, more than were 1000 injured. This is the 2nd Black day for Bangladesh after 15 August 1975.

August 20, 2004

* US Airways, struggling to avoid a second bankruptcy, asks pilots to accept a 16.5% pay cut. [ (CNN)]
* Three individuals in the United States are arrested and charged with supporting the Palestinian militant group Hamas over a 15-year period. [ (Washington Times)]
* Homeland Security official Asa Hutchinson apologizes for a database mixup that causes US senator Ted Kennedy to be held up at airline gates three times, on suspicion that he is a terrorist. [ (Information Week)]
* Maoist rebels shoot a police officer and detonate two bombs in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. [ (Toronto Star)]
* Refugee camps in Darfur are hit by hepatitis E, a deadly virus. [ (]

August 19, 2004

* An on-going battle, apparently between a combination of U.S. and Iraqi forces, and the al-Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr, damages two of minarets of the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, Iraq, which al-Sadr's forces occupied. [ (CNN)]
* Artillery and mortar fire again rock Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia, scuppering efforts to enforce a ceasefire. [ (BBC)]
* At the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Durban, South African President Thabo Mbeki calls for reform of the UN and other international institutions, saying that developing countries should not allow powerful nations to dictate the world on their own terms. [ (BBC)]
* A jury including U.S. talk show host Oprah Winfrey convicts Dion Coleman of murder after two hours of deliberation. [ (BBC)]
* Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, vows to press on with his disengagement plan, despite it receiving another rejection from his Likud party. [ (BBC)]
*"Nature" magazine reveals that five new satellites and a further candidate moon have been discovered orbiting Neptune, bringing its tally to 13. [ (BBC)]
* Shares of stock in Google, Inc. begin trading on the NASDAQ stock exchange at around $100 per share in one of the most highly anticipated initial public offerings of the year. It is estimated that the IPO raised a total of $1.66 billion, the third highest ever for an IPO. [ (Reuters)] [ (CBS MarketWatch)]
*Hungarian prime minister Péter Medgyessy resigns following a row with his Socialist party's liberal coalition partner, the Free Democrats. [ (BBC)]

August 18, 2004

* In a statement issued from his Baghdad office, Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr agrees to order his militia to leave the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, Iraq, after threats by Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's government to "liberate" it. Al-Sadr further agrees to disband his Jaish-i-Mahdi militia, and enter the "mainstream political process". It remains unclear when the withdrawal will actually take place. [ (CNN)] [ (Reuters)]
* The government of Colombia announces that it offered, in July, to trade 50 imprisoned guerrillas in return for hostages being held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. [ (BBC)]
* In Dublin, Ireland the Dublin Port Tunnel excavation works were completed and the final tunnel boring machine breakthrough ceremony took place.

August 17, 2004

* The National Assembly of Serbia unanimously adopts new state symbols for Serbia: Boze Pravde becomes the new anthem and the coat of arms is adopted for the whole country. ( [ BBC] )

August 16, 2004

* After 60 mm (2.4 in) of rain in two hours, severe flash flooding at Boscastle in Cornwall, UK, results in buildings, roads, and over 50 cars swept away. Flood waters race through town at speeds up to 65 km/h (40 mph). Many have to leave their homes; helicopters airlift 150 people to safety. [ (BBC)] [ (Reuters)]
* NASA/ESA Spacecraft Cassini-Huygens discovers two new natural satellites of Saturn. They are provisionally named "S/2004 S 1" (later named "Methone") and "S/2004 S 2" (later named "Pallene"). [ (NASA)]
* In the standoff between the Jaish-i-Mahdi militia and Iraqi and US forces, fears of a major assault on Najaf mount. The city is closed to journalists and some Iraqi government soldiers are reported to desert. Some delegates at the national conference call on Iraqi interim Prime Minister Allawi to end military operations against Muqtada al-Sadr. [ (BBC)] [ (Knight Ridder)]
* At the 100th anniversary ceremony of the Herero uprising, Germany apologises for the genocide in Namibia, but rules out reparations. [,2763,1283864,00.html (Guardian)]
* Same-sex marriage in Canada: Federal justice minister Irwin Cotler announces that the federal government will no longer resist court proceedings aiming to require provincial governments to issue same-sex marriage licences. [ (Toronto Star)]

August 15, 2004

* Chávez recall: Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez defeats a recall vote with 58% support. Some opposition members claim election fraud, but monitors from the OAS and the Carter Center endorse the official result. [ (BBC)] [ (AP)]
* 1,300 Iraqi delegates begin a three-day conference in Baghdad to select an interim national assembly. The area of the conference is attacked by mortars, which kill one person and wound 17. [ (Reuters)]
* 1,600 Palestinians in Israeli jails begin a liquids-only diet, which they are describing as a hunger strike to protest against their prison conditions. Israeli Internal Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi comments: "As far as I'm concerned, they can strike for a day, a month, until death." [ (BBC)]
*India's Independence Day celebrations are marred by a bomb blast that kills some 18 people at a parade in Dhemaji, Assam. Immediate suspicion falls on ULFA separatists. [ (BBC)]
*Same-sex marriage in Canada: Three Nova Scotia couples have filed suit requesting that the provincial government be ordered to issue them marriage licences. Such a ruling would make Nova Scotia the fifth province or territory to recognize same-sex marriages. [ (]

August 14, 2004

* Gunmen kill at least 156 people – mainly women and children – in an overnight raid on the Gatumba camp for Congolese Tutsi refugees in Burundi, the UN says. [ (BBC)]
* An ailing Pope John Paul II visits the grotto of Lourdes on a two-day pilgrimage to one of the Roman Catholic world's most revered shrines. [ (BBC)]
* US planes bomb the city of Samarra, north-west of Baghdad. In Najaf, a fragile ceasefire holds, with Muqtada al-Sadr making defiant statements but continuing negotiations. The Allawi government decides to withdraw from the negotiations in the afternoon. [ (BBC)] [ (BBC)] [ (BBC)]
* Hurricane Charley becomes Florida's most destructive hurricane in 12 years, passing directly over the town of Punta Gorda. Tropical Storm Bonnie spawns tornadoes in North Carolina and moves north to cause flooding in New Brunswick. [ (CBC)]
* India hangs convicted rapist and murderer Dhananjoy Chatterjee at dawn in Alipore jail, Kolkata – the country's first execution in nine years. [ (BBC)]

August 13, 2004

* Aides to rebel Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al Sadr report that he has been wounded in fighting in the holy city of Najaf; the government denies the reports. The Najaf offensive triggers pro-Sadr protests in cities all over Iraq. [ (BBC)] [ (protest pictures - BBC)]
* In Basra, Iraq, masked militants kidnap and threaten to kill James Brandon, 23, a freelance British journalist, working for the "Sunday Telegraph", unless US troops withdraw from Najaf within 24 hours. He is released after intervention by al-Sadr. [ (BBC)]
* Hurricane Charley makes landfall just north of Fort Myers, Florida, USA, around 16:00 EDT (2000 UTC). At landfall, Charley has a windspeed of 145 mi/h (230 km/h), Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. There are multiple fatalites. [ (CNN)]
* A spectacular opening ceremony marks the start of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. [ (Athens 2004)] [ (BBC)]
* A group of women kill an alleged rapist during his trial in Nagpur, India. [ (BBC)]

August 12, 2004

* Lee Hsien Loong is sworn in as the 3rd Prime Minister of Singapore. [ (Taipei Times)] [ (VOA)]
* New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey resigns his post effective November 15, saying that his extramarital homosexual affair would leave the governor's office "vulnerable to rumors, false allegations and threats of disclosure.". [ (CNN)]
* Unanimously determining that San Francisco's same-sex marriages are illegal, the California Supreme Court votes 5-2 to annul all 4,000 such marriages performed in San Francisco this year. [ (San Francisco Chronicle)] [ (CNN)] [ (BBC)]
* EU Commission President-designate José M. Durão Barroso announces the portfolios assigned to the members of his new European Commission. [ (EU Press Release)]
* A Roman Catholic seminary at St Poelten in Austria is shut down following allegations of sexual impropriety. [ (BBC)]
* In Najaf, US forces besiege the Imam Ali Mosque, where followers of the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al Sadr are barricaded. [ (BBC)]

August 11, 2004

* The Olympic flame arrives in Greece after a relay through 26 countries. [,,2-1652-1655_1571477,00.html (News24)]
* British scientists (at University of Newcastle upon Tyne) become the first in Europe to be granted permission to clone human embryos. [,,1280916,00.html (The Guardian)]
* Pakistan announces that it will soon release 449 Indian prisoners, a majority of them fishermen who were detained for allegedly entering the country's territorial waters. [ (Navhind Times)]

August 10, 2004

* The South Korean government announces that the country's capital is to be moved from Seoul to a new site at Gongju in South Chungcheong province. [ (BBC)]
* Bombs explode at two small hotels and a gas plant in the Turkish city of Istanbul, killing two people and injuring at least nine. [ (BBC)]
* The U.S. deals a major blow to German prosecutors at the re-trial of Moroccan Mounir al-Motassadek, one of the only 9/11 suspects to face justice to date, by refusing to allow an alleged al-Qaeda member to testify via videolink, citing security concerns and the need to protect secret information. [ (BBC)]
*Libya agrees to pay USD 35 million to some victims of the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing. [ (BBC)]
* U.S. President George W. Bush announces his intention to have Porter J. Goss confirmed as the new director of the CIA. [ (WashPost)]
* A trove of 250 pages of previously unknown poetry by British poet Philip Larkin is found in Hull University library. [ (BBC)] [ (Scotsman)]

August 9, 2004

* Microsoft issues Service Pack 2 for its Windows XP operating system. [ (BBC)]
* Pakistan protests to the U.S. over an FBI sting operation involving a fake plot to kill Pakistan's UN envoy. [ (BBC)]
* At least 15,000 people are left homeless after several days of storms and heavy rains around the South African city of Cape Town. [ (BBC)]
* A non-radioactive steam leak at the nuclear power plant in Mihama, Fukui Prefecture, Japan, kills 4 and scalds 8 others. [ (AP)]
* Richard Butler, the controversial governor of the Australian state of Tasmania, resigns. [ (ABCnews)]
* Fierce fighting continues between U.S. forces and backers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Sadr threatens that he "will defend Najaf until my last drop of blood." According to the U.S. military, U.S forces have killed 300 supporters of Sadr in some of the most violent clashes since the fall of Baghdad. [ (democracy now!)]
* Scientists speaking at a news conference on natural disasters raise the alarm that the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma, Canary Islands, could erupt at any time, sending a 250 rock crashing into the Atlantic Ocean and producing a tsunami that could devastate the Atlantic's coastline, within hours. Very little seismological monitoring of the volcano is being carried out. [ (BBC)]

August 8, 2004

* U.S. intelligence officials and non-government experts conclude that diplomatic efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons to Iran and North Korea have failed to slow their weapons development programs.
* Sudan seeks support from states attending the Arab League summit in Cairo, Egypt to forestall possible United Nations sanctions against their country regarding its support for the Arab Janjaweed accused of ethnic cleansing in Darfur. Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa states that the Arab League states are inclined to help Sudan avoid sanctions. [ (Reuters)]
* Militants in Iraq kidnap the Iranian Consul assigned to Karbala, stating that the consul has been acting in ways incompatible with his diplomatic status. [ (Reuters)]
* Palestinian Authority Justice Nahed Arreyes resigns, stating that he has been stripped of much of his authority over the legal system. [ (AP)]
*An Iraqi judge issues an arrest warrant for Ahmed Chalabi on the charge of counterfeiting. Chalabi denies the charge. [ (Voice of America)]

August 7, 2004

* In the Asian Cup 2004 soccer final, Japan defeats China 3–1, prompting clashes between Chinese fans and police in Beijing. A Japanese diplomat's car is attacked and the Japanese players and fans are bussed out from Workers' Stadium, under guard. [ (Asian Cup Official Website)] [ (BBC)]
* The Iraqi Interim Government bans Al Jazeera from operating in Iraq for 30 days; police order staff from their Baghdad newsroom.
* U.S.-led occupation of Iraq: It is reported that, on July 29, members of the Oregon National Guard witnessed detainees being beaten and tortured in the grounds of the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior in Baghdad, and immediately intervened -- only to subsequently receive orders from their superior officers to "stand down" and leave the grounds. [ (Portland Oregonian)]

August 6, 2004

*Pacific Islands Forum leaders call for assistance for Nauru to prevent the emergence of another "failed state". [ (The Age)]
*U.S. Senate election, 2004: Alan Keyes, a resident of Maryland, indicates he will seek the Republican nomination for the Illinois seat, to run against Barack Obama. [ (CNN)]
* Mohammed M. Hossain and Yassin M. Aref, leaders of the Masjid as-Salam mosque in Albany, New York, are arrested for their part in an alleged plot (actually an FBI sting operation) to use an RPG-7 to assassinate a Pakistani diplomat in New York City.
* A Kuwaiti transport company says it is willing to pay millions of dollars ransom to secure hostages' release. [ (Times of India)]
* In Derry, Northern Ireland, police are attacked by people carrying petrol bombs. [ (Reuters)]
* Saudi police arrest terror suspect Faris Ahmed Jamaan al-Showeel al-Zahrani. [ (ABC)]
* Israel reopens the Gaza-Egypt border crossing after a three-weeks shutdown, allowing 1,500 Palestinians on the Egyptian side to return home. [ (AP)]
* Two Afghan men deny being enemy fighters, in appearances before U.S. military tribunals reviewing the status of Guantanamo Bay detainees. For the first time, the US allows journalists to attend the hearings. [ (BBC)]
* Radical Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr calls for a truce to be restored after a day of heavy fighting between his militia and U.S. troops in Najaf. [ (BBC)]
** The U.S. claims that over 300 of Sadr's fighters have been killed in two days of clashes. [ (Reuters)]
* Chess master Bobby Fischer, apparently seeking to avoid deportation to, and trial in the U.S., says he is renouncing his U.S. citizenship. [ (AFP)]

August 7, 2004

* At least seven Iraqis and a U.S. soldier die in clashes; and a U.S. helicopter is shot down, injuring two. [ (BBC)]
* The U.S. FCC issues a preliminary ruling that providers of broadband communications (including cable modem, DSL, broadband over power line, and wireless) and VoIP communications are subject to the 1994 CALEA statutes which require providers to assist law enforcement authorities in wiretapping. [ (The Register)]
* Assembly demo party was held in Helsinki for the 13th time.

August 4, 2004

*The National Institutes of Health decides not to override drug patents to allow generic production of anti-AIDS drug Norvir in the United States, despite claims of price gouging by patients' groups and some members of Congress. [ (ABC)]
* U.S. aviation regulators threaten to cap commercial flights at Chicago's O'Hare airport to reduce delays that are affecting the nation's aviation system. [;jsessionid=CTC3NHOQHC5DOCRBAEKSFFA?type=topNews&storyID=5873771 (Reuters)]
* Saddam Hussein wants to be transferred to a Swedish jail to await his trial. [ (Khaleej Times)]
* The death toll from monsoon flooding in India exceeds 1,000. [ (MSNBC)]
*NASA dedicates its new supercomputer 'KC' to the memory of India-born astronaut Kalpana Chawla, one of the seven crew members who died when the space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated in mid-air in 2003. [ (NDTV)]
* A bomb explodes near an electrical substation outside Athens, 9 days prior to the beginning of the Olympic Games. [,5478,10349157%255E1702,00.html (Melbourne Herald Sun)]
* The FBI warns that Mumbai, Delhi, or Bangalore could be the target of terrorist attacks. [ (Times Of India)]
* A ceremony is held at London's Cenotaph to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the United Kingdom's entry into the First World War. Four of the 23 surviving British veterans of the war, aged between 103 and 108, are well enough to attend. [ (BBC)]
* Mary Kay Letourneau is released from a Washington prison after serving a sentence of over seven years for statutory rape. The former elementary school teacher became notorious for her sexual involvement with one of her male students, who was 12 years old when the illicit relationship began. She bore two children by the boy, who is now 21 years old. [,2933,127974,00.html (FOX News)]

August 3, 2004

* Saddam Hussein's daughter Raghad reveals her willingness to hire an American lawyer as long as her father gets a fair trial. [ (Times Of India)]
* Two 'high-value' al-Qaida targets are arrested in Pakistan. [ (Tampa Bay Online)]
* A U.S. court martial hears allegations by the lead criminal investigator that Iraqi prisoners were abused 'for fun' at Abu Ghraib. [ (Reuters)]
* The truce between Muqtada al-Sadr's militia and occupation troops ends as US troops surround his house in Najaf to arrest him. [ (BBC)]
* Reports state that information that led the US to raise the terror alert for five financial centers in New York city, northern New Jersey and Washington D.C. was mainly three or four years old but had been updated as recently as January. Administration officials note, too, that al Qaeda is known for its advance planning, and that this information became available following the [,5478,10341570%255E1702,00.html apprehension] of a Pakistani member of the organization. [ (CNN)] [ (Xinhuanet)]
* NASA launches its MESSENGER spacecraft. It is due to reach the planet Mercury in 2011. [ (JHUAPL)]
* The Statue of Liberty opens to the public for the first time since the September 11, 2001 attacks. [ (BBC)]
* Missouri votes to ban same-sex marriage through a state constitutional amendment. The amendment passes with 72% of the vote. Louisiana will vote on the same issue September 18, followed by Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah on November 2. [ (CBS)] Meanwhile, in Washington, a state judge rules that its recently-enacted ban on same-sex marriage violates the state constitution. [ (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)]
* Tropical Storm Alex strengthens into the first hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season, and skirts North Carolina's Outer Banks without making landfall. [ (CNN)]
* The People's Republic of China says it may delay talks on a free trade agreement with Singapore following a recent visit to Taiwan by Singapore's deputy prime minister Lee Hsien Loong. [ (AtOL)] [,4386,264986,00.html (StraitsTimes)]
*The death toll in the market fire in Asunción, Paraguay rises to 464. Six people, including the co-owner, are arrested for manslaughter on charges that they locked the doors after the fire started, in order to prevent looting. [ (The Scotsman)] [ (ABC News)]

August 2, 2004

* U.S. President George W. Bush urges Congress to create a national intelligence director and a national counterterrorism center. [ (Centre Daily)]
* Jorge Hank Rhon, candidate of the left-conservative PRI party—which had held power in Mexico for more than 70 years—wins the Tijuana mayoral election by just 1.09%, on a platform of solving organized crime by omnipresent public surveillance. [ (El Universal Online)]
* A poll shows that U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry gained limited support after the Democratic Convention. [ (ABC News)]
* The U.S. plans to shift 3,600 soldiers to Iraq from South Korea. [;jsessionid=QDNXAKVLWYIGECRBAE0CFEY?type=topNews&storyID=5844506 (Reuters)]
*Turkey's truckers' association says it will stop delivering goods to U.S. forces in Iraq, in what appears to be a direct response to insurgents' videotaped killing of a Turkish hostage. [ (Herald Sun)]
* Doom 3, the long-awaited second follow-up to the 1993 first-person shooting classic, is leaked online. [ (BBC)]
*A Philippine lawyer who helped recover millions of dollars stashed by late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and a doctor who exposed China's SARS outbreak are among this year's winners of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, a prestigious prize in Asia. [ (AP)]
* Five Moroccans detained at the U.S. military camp in Guantanamo Bay are turned over to authorities in their home country. [,5744,10326760%255E1702,00.html (The Australian)]
* The Indian Army claims to be confronting teenaged militants, some as young as 13 or 14, wielding sophisticated arms, along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. [ (Times Of India)]
* The Iraqi government blames Al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi for a series of church bombings that killed at least 11 people, saying the aim was to spark religious strife and drive Christians out of the country. [ (Khaleej Times)]
* Sudan's army says the UN resolution on the conflict in Darfur is "a declaration of war" and threatens to fight any foreign intervention. [ (BBC)]
* India's junior Foreign Minister, Edappakath Ahamed, declares that the Indian government has no confirmation of the release of 3 truck drivers who were taken hostage in Iraq in late July. [ (Reuters)]
* The government of Paraguay confirms that at least 275 people died in a supermarket fire in Asunción. The death toll is still expected to rise as a more thorough search is completed. [ (Seattle Post)] [ (CNN)]
* Police make arrests following the assassination attempt on Pakistan's prime minister-designate. [,5478,10319140%255E1702,00.html (Herald Sun)]
* U.S. General Tommy Franks discloses that, through a double agent codenamed "April Fool", he tricked Saddam Hussein into bungling the defense of his country. [,5744,10313657%255E601,00.html (The Australian)]

August 1, 2004

* Lawyers reveal that African American workers are to sue Eastman Kodak Co., charging that the firm paid them less and promoted them less often than white colleagues. [ (Reuters)]
* The U.S. raises the security alert level to high for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC, the New York Stock Exchange and companies in the New York City area on Sunday after intelligence signals a possible al Qaeda attack. [ (Reuters)]
* Kuwait bans Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" because it deems the movie insulting to the Saudi Arabian royal family and critical of America's invasion of Iraq. [ (AP)]
* Four car bombs explode just minutes apart outside four nearby churches in central Baghdad and one car bomb explodes at a church in Mosul during Sunday evening services, killing 5 and injuring at least 46 people, witnesses say. The attacks appeared to be the first targeting churches during the 15-months of violent insurgency. [ (AP)] [ CNN]
* Chinese authorities say they have shut down nearly 700 websites and arrested 224 people in a new campaign against internet pornography. [ (BBC)]
* The French Ambassador to Chad, Jean Pierre Bercot, says that France will deploy 200 soldiers to help secure Chad's eastern border with Sudan's conflict-torn Darfur region. The troops will also bring humanitarian aid to tens of thousands of Darfur refugees in Chad. [ (BBC)]
* World Trade Organization members agree on a revised draft deal that aims to revive stalled talks on freeing up trade between rich and poor nations. Key WTO members accept proposals to cut the subsidies wealthy countries give their farmers for exports. International non-governmental organizations (NGOs) denounced the results as a sell-out of poor countries and the environment. [ (BBC)] [ (]
* Over 311 people are killed and 276 injured in a fire which swept a market in Asunción, Paraguay. [ (AP)] [ (CNN)]

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