May 2003

May 2003

May 2003: January – February – March – April – May – June – July – August – September – October – November – December –


See also:

May 1, 2003

May 2, 2003

  • U.S. economic indicators: The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics announces that the unemployment rate rose to 6% in April as employers cut 48,000 jobs, smaller than the consensus estimate of 75,000. This followed a revised decline of 124,000 jobs in March.

May 3, 2003

May 4, 2003

May 5, 2003

  • Boeing unveils a drawing of a proposed airplane of the future and launches a public contest to name the aircraft.
  • Professional social networking site LinkedIn launches.

May 6, 2003

May 7, 2003

  • Nearly 40,000 manuscripts and 700 artifacts belonging to the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad are recovered by U.S. Customs agents working with museum experts in Iraq. Some looters had returned items after promises of rewards and amnesty, and many items previously reported missing had actually been hidden in secret storage vaults at the museum prior to the outbreak of war.
  • A five-hour transit of Mercury takes place, an event that occurs only 13 times per century on average.

May 8, 2003

  • 30 German passengers and the driver of a tourist bus are killed by a train collision at a railroad crossing near Siofok, Hungary. 12 people are injured. Most of the passengers came from Lower Saxony or Schleswig-Holstein.
  • A vulnerability in the Microsoft Passport Internet authentication system is announced which allows an attacker to change a victim's password and thereby hijack their account. This affects Hotmail and other Passport-enabled systems, allowing an attacker to use a victim's email account and obtain other personal data such as credit card numbers.,[4][5]
  • The Russian mathematician Dr Grigori Perelman claims to have resolved the Poincaré conjecture.[6]
  • In New York City, the World Boxing Council declares itself bankrupt, to avoid paying a former world champion 30 million dollars after the former boxer wins a lawsuit against the organization.
  • King Mohammed VI of Morocco releases 9459 prisoners from Morocco's prisons in celebration of the birth of his first son and heir, who was named Prince Hassan.
  • An F4 tornado hits metro area of Oklahoma City, and became the 10th costliest tornado in United States history. No one was killed but many were injured. The tornado followed a path similar to that of the F5 tornado of May 3, 1999.

May 9, 2003

  • As many as 129 are feared dead after a door opens on a plane flying from Kinshasa to Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The victims were sucked from the plane, which returned to Kinshasa after the incident. Although the airline to which the plane belongs to is unknown, the plane involved in the tragedy has a logo of Ukrainian Cargo Airlines.
  • The United States Senate Armed Services Committee votes to lift a 10-year-old ban on the research and development of low-yield nuclear weapons as part of its 2004 defense-spending bill. The majority of the committee and the Bush administration argue that such weapons may in the future become necessary to deal with terrorist threats, and to effectively incinerate biological or chemical weapons installations. The move is criticized by Democrats who fear that it will increase the risks of nuclear proliferation and nuclear escalation in warfare.,[7][8]
  • The National Association of Evangelicals, a group of evangelical Christians, condemns Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jerry Vines, Pat Robertson and other evangelical ministers for anti-Islamic statements.
  • The United States House of Representatives approves a tax-cut measure for $550 billion over 10 years. This is $176 billion less than President George W. Bush originally proposed, but $200 billion more than the Senate's version of the same measure. One highly controversial aspect of the President's initial proposal that the House removed is the repeal of the tax on dividends paid by corporations to shareholders. There are also important differences between the House and Senate bills, and great difficulty is foreseen in reconciling them before they may be sent to the President for approval.

May 10, 2003

  • The first confirmed SARS case is reported in Finland. A man who had been visiting Toronto is now being treated at Turku University Hospital.

May 11, 2003

  • Ponds on the north side of Catoctin Mountain, near Gambrill Park Road and Tower Road in Frederick, Maryland, are under investigation by the FBI, in connection with the 2001 anthrax attacks. FBI investigators found anthrax spores and other evidence in their search of ponds in the area during December and January 2002. Divers retrieved a "clear box" with holes that could accommodate protective biological safety gloves, as well as vials wrapped in plastic from a pond in the Frederick Municipal Forest. A new theory has been developed suggesting how a criminal could have packed anthrax spores into envelopes without harming (him/her) self. Officials from Fort Detrick have stated that the water is safe because once in water anthrax spores cluster together and descend to the bottom. The water in the pond has been tested several times over the course of the investigation, and all indications are that the water is safe.
  • A number of newspapers have published the alleged identity of the British Force Research Unit's most senior informer within the Provisional IRA, code-named Stakeknife, who is thought to have been head of the Provisional IRA's internal security force, charged with routing out informers like himself. The person named has fled.
  • The Governor-General of Australia Peter Hollingworth has stood down from his post whilst investigations into his past are proceeding. Tasmanian Governor Sir Guy Green is appointed as Commonwealth Administrator.
  • Filip Vujanovic, a former Prime Minister who favors independence, was elected President of Montenegro. This was the third attempt at electing a President in five months; the first two votes did not attract enough voters to make the vote valid. This time the legislature had eliminated the turnout requirement.
  • Voters in Lithuania vote to join the European Union.
  • Manchester City FC close the curtains, at their stadium, Maine Road after 80 years.

May 12, 2003

  • Riyadh Compound Bombings: Four simultaneous car bombs detonate in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at various Western enclaves there, killing at least 35 people. U.S. and Saudi officials speculate that the bombs are the work of al Qaeda.
  • A truck bomb explodes at FSB headquarters in Znamenskoye, Chechnya, killing 59 and wounding some 200 more, in an apparent suicide attack. Official Russian sources blame the incident on Chechen separatist rebels.,[9][10]
  • Rihab Rashid Taha, the alleged Iraqi biological weapons chief known as "Dr Germ", is taken into custody. She is not on the U.S. list of most-wanted Iraqis because she has been out of power for several years.[11]
  • Clare Short resigns from the UK cabinet, saying that Tony Blair had reneged on promises about the role of the United Nations in the future of Iraq. Her successor as International Development Secretary, the Baroness Amos, is the UK's first black woman cabinet minister.
  • The Today Show co-host Katie Couric replaces Jay Leno as a substitute host on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Leno replaced Couric on The Today Show, hosting alongside Matt Lauer.

May 13, 2003

  • The Bureau of Engraving and Printing of the Treasury Department of the United States releases a new 20 dollar note, aimed at defeating the technological advances of counterfeiters. The note is expected to begin circulating in the fall of 2003; which is five years since the last $20 note was released in 1998. New designs for the $50 and $100 notes will follow in 2004 and 2005. The most distinctive change in the new currency design is in color. It is the first U.S. currency since 1905 to include colors other than green and black. Different colors for different denominations will make it easier to tell one note from another, and more difficult to counterfeit. The New Color of Money Web site (includes images)
  • Much of France comes to a standstill in a general strike of the public and private sectors.[12]
  • Russian officials identify Arab militant Abu Walib as the mastermind behind the May 12 bombing in Znamenskoye, Chechnya, and claim links between that incident and the bombings in Riyadh 14 hours later.[13]
  • A suicide bombing occurs at a religious festival in the town of Iliskhan-Yurt, in southeastern Chechnya. At least 14 people are killed by the bombing. The attack is apparently an attempt to assassinate Akhmad Kadyrov, the Moscow-appointed chief administrator of Chechnya. Kadryov escaped injury.,[14][15]

May 14, 2003

  • DARPA's Information Processing Technology Office solicits bids for the LifeLog project, an extremely ambitious effort to create a massive searchable computer database, "an ontology-based (sub)system that captures, stores, and makes accessible the flow of one person's experience in and interactions with the world ... The objective ... is to be able to trace the 'threads' of an individual's life in terms of events, states, and relationships".,[16][17]
  • SCO v. IBM Linux lawsuit: Apparently noticing the incongruity of their selling a Linux distribution while suing IBM for stealing their intellectual property and giving it to the developers of that operating system, the SCO Group (formerly Caldera) announces they will no longer distribute Linux. According to their press release, "SCO will continue to support existing SCO Linux and Caldera OpenLinux customers and hold them harmless from any SCO intellectual property issues regarding SCO Linux and Caldera OpenLinux products."
  • Carlos Menem quits the Argentinian presidential race; fellow Peronist Néstor Kirchner is consequently expected to win.
  • The bodies of 17 Hispanics, suspected Mexican illegal immigrants, were found by police in Victoria, Texas. One more person, a man, died in a hospital, raising the death total to 18. 13 of the bodies were found inside a locked truck, and four of them outside it. A man was later arrested in Houston on suspicion of being the smuggler who led the 18 persons to their deaths.

May 15, 2003

  • The journal Nature reports that all species of large fish in the world's oceans have been so thoroughly overfished that just 10% of the population that there was in 1950 remains. The scientists who authored the report conclude that the world's oceans are no longer even close to their natural state. Sharks, Atlantic cod, and Pacific sardines are tapped as particularly imperilled with extinction. The scientists recommend drastic measures to reduce ocean fishing. Nature, Environment News, BBC
  • The United States Senate approves a tax-cut bill designed to cut revenues by a total of $350 billion over ten years. The Senate takes a compromise position on the controversial issue of taxing stock dividends; the dividend tax is temporarily reduced, then eliminated, and reinstated for 2007. The bill will now go to a conference committee to resolve differences with a $550 billion tax cut passed by the House on May 10.
  • China announces a new series of measures to combat SARS. Foreign adoptions of Chinese babies are now suspended. The penalties for knowingly spreading the disease have been increased, and now include execution.
  • United States federal prosecutors indict Jamal Ahmed Ali al-Badawi and Fahd al-Quso, in absentia, in connection with the USS Cole bombing in Yemen on October 12, 2000.

May 16, 2003

May 17, 2003

May 18, 2003

  • The Guardian reporter Andrew Meldrum, the last foreign journalist in Zimbabwe, is forcibly deported after covering the country for the last 23 years.
  • In Belgium federal elections take place. The main winners are the social-democratic cartel Different Socialist Party–Spirit and the extreme right wing Vlaams Blok. The biggest losses are for the green party Agalev.
  • A nationwide referendum on record nine issues takes place in Switzerland. Abolishment of nuclear power is rejected. Reduction and modernization of army is approved. It ends requirement of nuclear bunker in every home and famous bicycle brigade.[20][21][22]
  • Indonesian president Megawati Sukarnoputri declares martial law in the breakaway republic of Aceh.
  • In Slovakia, voters approve a referendum on joining the European Union. The referendum is only advisory, the decision is in the hands of the national legislature, but it is expected to be approved.

May 19, 2003

  • White House spokesman Ari Fleischer announces he will resign from his job in the summer, citing his desire to see his new wife more and to work in the private sector as reasons for his decision.
  • Boobs! The Musical, the World According to Ruth Wallis, by Ruth Wallis, opens at the Triad Theater in New York City. Gennifer Flowers is an eventual understudy in this play.

May 20, 2003

  • Christine Todd-Whitman announces that on June 27 she will resign her position as Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency[23]
  • The Chelsea Flower Show opens
  • A case of BSE ("mad cow disease") in a single cow in Alberta is confirmed by Canadian federal and provincial officials. The animal had been destroyed and declared unfit for consumption prior to being diagnosed. The US issues a temporary ban on all Canadian beef. This is the first North American case of BSE since one in 1993 involving an animal born in Britain.
  • DARPA's Congressional report announces that the controversial Total Information Awareness program will be known as the Terrorist Information Awareness program from now on, to emphasize that its purpose is to compile data on terrorists, and not to compile dossiers on US citizens.[24]
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer aired its series finale, concluding the seven year series.

May 21, 2003

May 22, 2003

May 23, 2003

  • US Congress passes a $350 billion tax cut plan. The plan is less than half the size of President Bush's original proposal. Vice President Dick Cheney casts the deciding vote, breaking the 50–50 tie in the Senate [25]
  • The Euro breaks through its 1999 launch exchange rate of USD 1.1747 for the first time.[26]

May 24, 2003

May 25, 2003

May 26, 2003

  • A Ukrainian YAk-42 plane crashes in northeast Turkey, near the city of Trabzon, killing all aboard. The plane carried 12 crew-members and 62 Spanish soldiers returning from a six-month peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan.[28]
  • A draft of the proposed European constitution is unveiled.[29]
  • In the city of Munich (Germany), the SPD and Greens, who have a city hall majority, decide in separate meetings to migrate 14,000 city-owned Windows NT PC workstations to the SUSE Linux operating system. In spite of personal meetings with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and substantial rebates offered on a Microsoft solution, Munich now becomes the largest German city to migrate all of its client PCs to Linux. As an office suite, will be used.[30]
  • Peter Hollingworth resigns as Governor-General of Australia.

May 27, 2003

  • Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon states that the "occupation" of Palestinian territories is "a terrible thing for Israel and for the Palestinians" and "can't continue endlessly." Sharon's phraseology prompts shock from many in Israel, leading to a clarification that by "occupation," Sharon meant control of millions of Palestinian lives rather than actual physical occupation of land.[31]
  • SCO v. IBM Linux lawsuit: Novell enters the lawsuit between the SCO Group and IBM with a press release concerning the SCO Group's ownership of UNIX. "To Novell's knowledge, the 1995 agreement governing SCO's purchase of UNIX from Novell does not convey to SCO the associated copyrights," a letter to the SCO Group's CEO Darl McBride said in part. "We believe it unlikely that SCO can demonstrate that it has any ownership interest whatsoever in those copyrights. Apparently you share this view, since over the last few months you have repeatedly asked Novell to transfer the copyrights to SCO, requests that Novell has rejected."

May 28, 2003

  • Belgian researchers report a link between trichloramine and rising numbers of childhood asthma cases. Trichloramine is a byproduct of reactions between several organic substances and chlorine, a chemical used in large quantities to disinfect swimming pools.[32]
  • CBS Evening News reports that the bunker the United States bombed in Baghdad on March 20 never existed.[33]
  • In an interview held in Miami, Mike Tyson tells interviewer Greta Van Susteren that, because of his being labeled as a rapist, nowadays, he would like to rape Desiree Washington.[34]
  • A.C. Milan win the 2002/2003 final of the UEFA Champions League by beating Juventus 3:2 (penalty shootout) at Old Trafford in Manchester. The game had ended 0–0 before the shootout.
  • EU countries will get more financial power. A convent which thinks about the future of EU is giving member countries more authority to decide of their own finance politics. Countries not belonging to EMU couldn't take part in these decisions.

May 29, 2003

  • Space Shuttle Columbia disaster: NASA officials release experimental findings proving that the insulation known to have hit the leading edge of Columbia's left wing could have created a gap in between protective heat panels.[35]
  • A Russian nuclear energy company founded a branch to promote its bid for Finland's new nuclear power plant. Competing bids have been submitted by French-German company Framatome and General Electric. Finnish power company TVO will make its selection in the autumn at the earliest, but by the end of the year at the latest.
  • The Indian Ministry of Defence announced its purchase of Phalcon early warning radar systems from Israel. The contract is worth U.S. $1.2 billion.
  • Legendary entertainer Bob Hope celebrates his 100th birthday, quipping "I'm so old, they've canceled my blood type." [36]

May 30, 2003

  • The election for leader of Britain's largest general trade union, the Transport and General Workers Union (T&G), is won convincingly by Tony Woodley, a left-winger.
  • Iraqi Airways' management announces the airline plans to resume international services soon.
  • Finding Nemo was released into theaters.

May 31, 2003


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Great maths puzzle 'solved'". BBC News. May 7, 2003. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ . [dead link]
  9. ^ The Washington Post. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Many killed in Chechen blast". BBC News. May 12, 2003. 
  11. ^ "US forces arrest Iraq's 'Dr Germ'". The Guardian (London). May 12, 2003.,2763,954510,00.html. 
  12. ^ . [dead link]
  13. ^ The Washington Post. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Chechnya hit by new suicide attack". BBC News. May 14, 2003. 
  15. ^ The Washington Post. [dead link]
  16. ^,1367,58909,00.html
  17. ^
  18. ^ Reuters. [dead link]
  19. ^ Burkeman, Oliver (May 16, 2003). "Republicans 'used anti-terror agency' to find political foes". The Guardian (London).,12271,957143,00.html. 
  20. ^ Foulkes, Imogen (May 18, 2003). "Switzerland's marathon vote". BBC News. 
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Whitman, E.P.A. Administrator, Resigns. New York Times. May 21, 2003. Retrieved May 12, 2010 [dead link]
  24. ^ "EFF Review of May 20 Report on Total Information Awareness". 
  25. ^
  26. ^ Reuters. [dead link]
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Spain minister to visit crash site". CNN. May 26, 2003. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Excerpts: Europe's draft constitution". BBC News. June 21, 2004. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  30. ^ heise online – Münchener Rathaus-SPD entscheidet sich für Linux [Update]
  31. ^ "Bush to meet with Arab leaders before Sharon, Abbas summit". CNN. May 27, 2003. 
  32. ^
  33. ^ The Star (Toronto). 
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^

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