September 2004

September 2004


September 2004 : January - February - March - April - May - June - July - August - September - October - November - December See also: September 2004 in sports


September 1, 2004

* Alu Alkhanov is confirmed as the winner of the presidential election in Chechnya, with 73.67 percent of the vote. [ (BBC)]
* Conflict in Iraq:
** The number of U.S. military personnel wounded since the invasion of Iraq now stands at 6,916, an increase of almost 1,500 since the transfer of power on June 28, and a nearly two-fold increase since mid-April. The number of military dead is now 975, an increase of about 300 since sovereignty was restored. [ (MSNBC)]
** Seven truck drivers who were being held hostage by Iraqi militants are released after nearly six weeks in captivity. The three Kenyans, three Indians, and one Egyptian were abducted July 21 and had been threatened with death unless Gulf Link Transport, a Kuwaiti trucking company, stopped doing work in Iraq. All seven drivers are heading back to Kuwait. [,2933,131067,00.html (Fox News)]
* Iran has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency that it plans to convert 37 tons (33,600 kg) of yellowcake uranium into uranium hexafluoride — estimated to be enough for 5 nuclear weapons. [ (Reuters)]
* Beslan hostage crisis: Approximately 30 armed men and women seize a school in Beslan, North Ossetia, a Russian city close to Chechnya, taking over 1,300 adults and children hostage. Russian police and army units quickly surround the school, beginning a three day standoff. [ (Reuters)] [ (BBC)]
* A group of 29 persons, thought to be North Korean defectors seeking asylum, storm a Japanese school in Beijing, China. [ (BBC)]
* The Nepalese police impose an indefinite curfew on the nation's capital, Kathmandu. The curfew follows a series of violent protests that have targeted random Muslims and a mosque in retaliation for the killing of 12 Nepali hostages in Iraq. [ (BBC)] [ (Reuters)]
*2004 Republican National Convention: U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney accepts re-nomination and harshly criticizes Democratic candidate John Kerry. [ (BBC)] [,13918,1295626,00.html (The Guardian)] [,,11069-1243706,00.html (The Times)]
*The rape prosecution brought against U.S. basketball star Kobe Bryant is dismissed, with prejudice, when it becomes clear that his accuser will refuse to testify. The civil suit filed by his accuser proceeds. [ (BBC)]
* Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher posts a 2 million rand (USD 300,000) bond for her son, Sir Mark Thatcher, who was under house arrest in Cape Town, South Africa for allegedly funding a coup plot in Equatorial Guinea. [ (CNN)]

September 2, 2004

* A night-time fire breaks out in the Duchess Anna Amalia Library (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) in Weimar, Thuringia, Germany. Damage is estimated in the millions of dollars and 40,000 to 50,000 books were destroyed. An authentic Lutheran Bible from 1534 was saved. The library contains more than 1,000,000 volumes, including the Duchess' 13,000-volume music collection, the world's largest collection of materials relating to Goethe's masterpiece "Faust," and an important collection of Shakespeariana. [ (BBC)] [ (Jerusalem Post)]
*U.S. presidential election: George W. Bush accepts the Republican nomination for a second term in office as the party's National Convention concludes, signaling the beginning of all-out campaigning by Bush and Senator John Kerry.
* Two security guards at MI5's headquarters in London are attacked by a man carrying a machete. [ (BBC)]
* Alex Salmond is re-elected as leader of the Scottish National Party. [ (BBC)]
* Beslan school hostage crisis: Armed men and women continue to hold over 1,300 adults and children hostage in Beslan, North Ossetia, Russia. Russian authorities announce that they have, for the moment, ruled out the use of force to end the standoff, while Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov denies that his forces are responsible. Late in the day, 26 women and children are released by the hostage-takers. (BBC: [ 1] , [ 2] )
* Conflict in Iraq: The U.S. military bombs a site in Fallujah, in what the U.S. describes as a "precision" attack on a militant safe house. Hospital officials say that at least seventeen civilians, including up to three children, were killed. [ (BBC)]
* Former Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is freed from jail after his sodomy conviction is overturned by the country's highest court. [ (Bloomberg)] [ (BBC)]
* The UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague declares former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević unfit to represent himself in his trial, and appoints two lawyers to his defense. [ (BBC News)]
* South Korea admits that, in 2000, its scientists secretly enriched uranium to near nuclear-weapon level. [ (BBC)]

September 3, 2004

*The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China criticizes Chen Shui-bian's recent suggestion that "Taiwan" is the best abbreviation for the Republic of China, characterizing it as an attempt to promote Taiwan independence. [ (Taiwan News)] [ (People's Daily)] [ (Reuters)]
*At the request of Syria, and in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559, Lebanon amends its constitution to allow President Émile Lahoud to serve an additional term. [ (NYT)]
* Former United States President Bill Clinton is to receive urgent heart bypass surgery as early as Monday. He was admitted to New York Presbyterian Hospital on Friday after an angiogram showed lesions in multiple coronary arteries. [ (AP)] [ (CNN)]
* Beslan school hostage crisis:
** The hostage crisis in Beslan, North Ossetia, Russia ends violently as fighting erupts in the early afternoon between the hostage-takers and Russian special forces. Special forces teams storm the school, in attempt to save the remaining hostages, after two explosions are heard and the hostage-takers fire on a medical team attempting to remove dead bodies. Several hundred people die in the ensuing battle; the hostage-takers shoot some hostages are shot in the back as the hostages attempt to flee.
** Official reports list 335 confirmed dead, including 156 children, and more than 700 wounded; 176 remain missing. Some of the hostage-takers briefly escape, but eventually all are reported killed or captured by Russian authorities. (BBC: [ 1] , [ 2] , [ 3] ) (Interfax: [ 1] , [ 2] )

September 4, 2004

* 2.5 million Florida residents are ordered to evacuate their homes in preparation for Hurricane Frances, which has already hit the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands. Frances is currently a strong Category Two Hurricane, and will be very near the east coast of Florida by late tonight or early next morning. [ (BBC)] [ (NOAA/NHC)]

September 5, 2004

* Two large earthquakes strike western Japan, the first measuring 6.9 and the second 7.3 on the Richter scale. Tsunamis 1–2m (3–7 ft) are expected to hit the Pacific coast. [ (Reuters)]
* Women on Waves, a group that provides abortions in international waters for women in countries where the procedure is outlawed, is denied access to Portuguese territorial waters. The Portuguese government has placed warships in the vicinity to enforce the decision. [ (Indymedia)]
* Iraqi officials now say that contrary to earlier reports, Izzat Ibrahim ad-Douri, the deputy commander of Iraq's armed forces during the rule of Saddam Hussein, has not been captured. Medical tests now show that the man who had been identified as Izzat Ibrahim is actually one of his relatives. Seventy of Izzat Ibrahim's supporters are now dead and 80 have been captured. Izzat Ibrahim ad-Douri is number six on the U.S.'s list of the 55 most wanted Iraqis. [ (CNN)] [ (Reuters)]
* Hurricane Frances, a Category Two Hurricane, moves across Florida. Insurance claims for damages are estimated to be between USD 2 and 10 billion. At least two deaths are attributed to Frances in the Bahamas, and one in Gainesville, Florida. [ (NOAA/NHC)] [ (MSNBC)]

September 6, 2004

*Conflict in Iraq: Near the Sunni city of Fallujah, seven U.S. Marines and three Iraqi soldiers are killed in an ambush. Elsewhere, U.S. troops, backed by U.S. planes and Iraqi forces, raid the city of Najaf. The U.S. military tells residents to flee, mounts a pincer movement to trap the Mahdi army in the city center, and raids Moqtada al-Sadr's house again. [,4057,10681861%255E401,00.html (News Interactive [Australia] )] [ (BBC)]
* The heart bypass surgery being performed on former United States President Bill Clinton is successfully completed. Clinton will spend the night in the intensive care unit of New York-Presbyterian Hospital before being moved to the general care unit tomorrow. Full recovery from the surgery could take a month. [ (CNN)]

September 7, 2004

* The United States Congress returns from its summer vacation. Several new pieces of legislation, including a major intelligence reform bill, are in the works in response to the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. [,1282,-4479502,00.html (The Guardian)]
* Fighting between U.S. forces and Shia insurgents across Baghdad's Sadr City suburb has left at least 34 dead, including one American. The Associated Press reports that this death marks the 1,000th U.S. combat fatality in Iraq. [ (MSNBC)] [ (BBC)]
* 2004 Atlantic hurricane season:
**Hurricane Frances, now downgraded to a tropical depression, dumps up to 5 inches (127 mm) of rain on Georgia. At least nine deaths in Florida, two deaths in the Bahamas, and one death in Georgia are blamed on the storm. Damage estimates range widely from US$2 to US$15 billion. NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building was heavily damaged by the storm. [ (CNN)] [ (MSNBC)]
**Hurricane Ivan strikes Grenada, then strengthens back to Category Four strength. [ (CNN)]
* Conflict in Iraq:
** The British Royal Institute of International Affairs issues a [ report (pdf)] saying that if current conditions continue unabated in Iraq, the most likely outcome would be a major civil war which could destabilize the entire Middle East. [ (Christian Science Monitor)] [ (Reuters)]
** Two Italian NGO employees, Simona Torretta and Simona Pari, and two Iraqi citizens of undisclosed identity, are kidnapped from their office in central Baghdad by a 20 man commando team. They worked for the humanitarian organization "Un ponte per Baghdad". [ (La Repubblica)] [ (NYT)]
* Israeli-Palestinian conflict: An Israeli attack on a Hamas training camp kills 14 members of the military wing of Hamas. [ (Reuters)]

September 8, 2004

* Conflict in Russia (Chechnya): Russian President Vladimir Putin's government offers 300 million rubles (USD 10m) for information leading to the arrest of Chechen rebel leaders Shamil Basayev and Aslan Maskhadov. Maskhadov was the last democratically elected leader of Chechnya. [ (BBC)] [,2763,1299663,00.html (Guardian)]
*U.N. officials say a ten-year-old Palestinian girl is in critical condition after being hit by "indiscriminate" gunfire from Israeli forces while sitting in school. Israel alleges that it exchanged fire with militants in the area but says it did not fire at buildings. [ (UN)] [ (AP)] [ (AFP)] [ (The Scotsman)]
* 2004 U.S. presidential election:
** The National Board of the Log Cabin Republicans votes 22-2 against endorsing George W. Bush, citing his support for a constitutional amendment to define marriage in the U.S. The LCR is the largest group of gay men and lesbians in the Republican Party. This is the first time in the group's ten-year history that it has not endorsed the Republican candidate for president. [ (MSNBC)]
** US Democrats and Republicans wrangle over Vice President Dick Cheney's remarks about Democratic candidate John Kerry and terrorism. Cheney originally said, "It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States." The Kerry campaign interpreted this remark as a claim that, if John Kerry was elected, America would be hit by a devastating terrorist attack. The next day, Cheney told the "Cincinnati Enquirer," "I did not say if Kerry is elected, we will be hit by a terrorist attack." Democrats contend that Cheney's original statement reveals that Republicans "have consciously adopted a strategy of using Americans' justifiable fear of a future terrorist attack as a political tool." Democratic VP candidate John Edwards says that Cheney's remark shows that he and Bush "will do anything and say anything to save their jobs". [ (BBC)] ( [ The Daily Misleader] )
** CBS News announces the discovery of newly uncovered records of United States President George W. Bush's service in the Air National Guard. These documents are known as the "Killian memos". The Democratic campaign concludes (1) that the records show then Lieutenant Bush disobeyed orders, and (2) that the Bush campaign lied about having made all such records public. [ (Nashville Tennessean/AP)] Within hours, several bloggers question the authenticity of the memos, which prove to be modern forgeries produced with Microsoft Word rather than historic documents made on a typewriter; nevertheless, the documents heightened awareness of facts related tangentially to the memo, including that President Bush avoided duty in Vietnam at a time in which avoidance of such service was both highly in demand and difficult to obtain.
* A federal judge in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, strikes down the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, citing a lack of an exception to protect the health of the mother. This is the third time the controversial law has been declared unconstitutional by a federal judge within the last month. It is almost assured that the government will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. [ (]
* Italians outraged by the latest kidnapping in Iraq — of two Italian aid workers — gather to protest outside Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's offices in Rome. [ (New Zealand Herald)]
* The NASA unmanned spacecraft Genesis crash-lands as its parachute fails to open. The damage to the science instruments and collected samples on board is not yet known. [ (BBC)]

September 9, 2004

* United States Secretary of State Colin Powell declares that the actions of the Janjaweed Arab militia in Darfur constitute genocide. Powell holds the government of Sudan responsible. Up to 50,000 ethnic Africans have been killed and 2.2 million displaced into refugee camps in neighboring Chad by ethnic Arab militias. [ (BBC)] [ (CNN)]
* A car bomb explodes outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, killing 9 people (according to the BBC) and wounding 180. Jemaah Islamiyah, the Southeast Asian terrorist group connected with Al Qaeda, is believed responsible. [ (BBC)] [ (Reuters)] [,4057,10714565%255E2,00.html (]
* Four (or possibly five) Palestinians, including a 9 year old boy, a Hamas militant, and two young Palestinian men, are killed as Israeli tanks force their way into the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza while receiving gunfire from scores of gunmen opposed to the invasion. [ (Reuters)] [ (BBC)]
* U.S. and Iraqi forces have launched an offensive to drive insurgents out of the northern Iraqi town of Talafar. Hospital sources say at least 17 people have been killed including several women and children. [ (BBC)]
* Seventy suspected Taliban or Al Qaida terrorists are said to have been killed in a Pakistani air raid close to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Several civilians are also believed to have been killed. [ (BBC)]
* Sander Bersi famous violin player and succesfull businessmen died 88 years old
* Costa Rica asks the U.S. to remove it from the list of Iraq coalition partners. [ (NYT)]
* Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah of Brunei marries Pengiran Anak Sarah. [ (BBC)]
* 2004 Atlantic hurricane season: Hurricane Ivan strengthens to the first Category 5 hurricane of the season, with sustained wind speeds of 160 mi/h (260 km/h). It is currently forecast to strike Jamaica, Cuba and possibly Florida. The storm has the potential to cause catastrophic damage. [ (NOAA/NHC)]
* An event suspected to be a large explosion occurred in North Korea's second northernmost province of Ryanggang. The nature and cause of the suspected explosion is the subject of speculation. There are many political implications surrounding potential causes and the secrecy of the North Korean government about it.

September 10, 2004

* An air strike in Iraq reportedly kills Habib Akdas, a man thought to be the leader of a terrorist cell responsible for the November 2003 bombings of two synagogues, a bank, and an embassy in Istanbul. Akdas was thought to have fled from Turkey to neighboring Iraq after the 2003 bombings to escape authorities. [ (MSNBC)]
* A train crash in Sweden kills two and injures 30. The accident happened when a passenger train collided with a lorry on a railway crossing in Kristianstad. [ (BBC)]
* Zimbabwe sentences British mercenary and former SAS officer Simon Mann to seven years in prison for his role in attempting the violent overthrow of the government of Equatorial Guinea. [,3604,1301856,00.html (The Guardian)]
* Questions are raised about the authenticity of memos obtained by the CBS television network and broadcast on its September 7 issue of 60 Minutes. The memos were purportedly written by Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, one of George W. Bush's commanding officers in the Texas Air National Guard. One of the memos which was supposed to have been written in 1973, uses a proportional font, kerning, and superscripts which were unlikely to have been available in typewriters of the period. See Killian memos. [ (CNN)]
* Abdel Aziz Ashkar, 34, a Hamas chief from the Jabaliya refugee camp, is killed while attempting to fire an anti-tank rocket at invading Israeli forces in the northern Gaza Strip. [ (BBC)] [ (Reuters)]
* Hindu hardliners, the VHP, announce plans to pull down the controversial tomb of Afzalkhan on Sunday, in a grim echo of the 1992 razing of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya that sparked some of India's worst religious riots. [ (Times of India)]
* A United States air strike on the Iraqi city of Fallujah kills one and wounds two others. [ (Reuters)]
* A team of astronomers working on the Yepun telescope in Chile believe they have made the first direct image of a planetary system beyond the solar system. The star, called 2M1207, is 230 light-years away and is much smaller and fainter than the Sun. [ (BBC)]
*Three men possessing homemade bullets at an illegal arms workshop are arrested in connection with the March 19, 2004 assassination attempt in Taiwan. [ (BBC)] [ (Channel News Asia)]

September 11, 2004

* Americans commemorate the third anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. U.S. President George Bush and First Lady Laura Bush observe a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House to officially begin the day of remembrance. [ (CNN)]
* Peter VII, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, dies along with 15 others, including three other bishops, in a helicopter crash en route to Mount Athos. [ (BBC)]
* In Afghanistan, Major General Eric Olson, the operational commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, says senior leaders of Al Qaeda, probably including Osama bin Laden, are still in command. [ (AP)]
* A United States court martial in Baghdad, Iraq sentences Specialist Armin J. Cruz to eight months in jail for maltreating and conspiring to maltreat Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison. [ (BBC News)]
*Charles Robert Jenkins reports to United States authorities in Japan after living 39 years in North Korea. [ (BBC News)]
* 2004 Atlantic hurricane season: Twenty-five foot waves and high winds from Hurricane Ivan hit the southern coast of Jamaica early Saturday morning, destroying homes and causing five deaths. There are also reports of looters roaming the streets of Jamaica's capital city, Kingston, some of whom are reportedly robbing emergency workers at gunpoint. As of 17:00 local time (21:00 UTC), Ivan has regained Category Five strength, and is now located about 234 km (134 miles) west of Jamaica and is headed toward the Cayman Islands and western Cuba. Hurricane warnings have been issued for the Cayman Islands, western Cuba, and the Florida Keys. The death toll from Ivan now stands at 50. [ (Reuters)] [ (ABC)] [ (NOAA/NHC)]
* At the sixty first Venice Film Festival, British director Mike Leigh is awarded several prizes, including the prestigious Golden Lion ("Leone d'Oro") award, for his movie "Vera Drake," about a working-class mother arrested for performing illegal abortions in 1950s Britain. The star of the movie, Imelda Staunton, receives the award for best actress. [ (Reuters)]

September 12, 2004

* The Hong Kong Legislative Council election, 2004 achieves record turnout. In the direct election, the pro-democracy parties gain one seat and receive 60 percent of the vote while the pro-government parties unexpectedly gain seven seats. [ (BBC)]
* At least 110 Iraqis are killed in a day of widespread violence, as the U.S. engages in new offensives to retake insurgent-held areas before the January elections. An al-Arabiya journalist is killed during a live broadcast when attack helicopters fire at a crowd gathered around a burning Bradley vehicle in Baghdad. Helicopters and tanks fire on residential areas in rebel-occupied Ramadi. More fighting takes place in Tal Afar and Hilla. [ (Reuters)] [ (BBC)]
* 40,000 demonstrators protest in Jerusalem against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plans to force all Israeli Jews to leave the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank. [ (Haaretz)]
* Vojislav Koštunica, Prime Minister of Serbia, reverses the earlier decision by Serbian Minister of Education Ljiljana Čolić to suspend the teaching of Darwin's theory of evolution in Serbian schools for the current school year. Čolić had declared that the suspension would continue until schools could give equal weight to the ideas of Creationism. [ (Reuters)] [ (news.telegraph)]
* Ryanggang explosion:
** The South Korean news agency Yonhap reports that on September 9th (or possibly 8th) there was an explosion in the North Korean province of Ryanggang massive enough to produce a mushroom cloud 3.5–4.0 km (2.0–2.5 miles) in diameter. National security officials worldwide are hesitant to classify it as a nuclear explosion [ (Yonhap)] [ (AP)] [ (CNN)]
** U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says specifically that the explosion "does not appear to be a nuclear event." [ (VOA)]
* The government of Saudi Arabia announces that the first nationwide elections in the kingdom's history will occur early next year. This is the biggest step toward reform the Gulf state has ever taken, although the government has been promising to hold elections since [ October] of 2003. The first ballots will be cast on February 10, 2005, for council seats in the Riyadh capital district. It is not known if women will be allowed to vote in the elections. [ (]

September 13, 2004

* Following Time Warner's withdrawal, the management of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer accepts a take-over offer from Sony worth just under US$3 billion. [ (National Post)]
* A Fathers 4 Justice protester dressed as Batman breaches security at Buckingham Palace and scales a wall. He remains on a balcony for five hours before being arrested by police. [ (CNN)]
* United States Secretary of State Colin Powell says that he saw no direct connection between Saddam Hussein's former regime in Iraq and the September 11, 2001 attacks. During an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," Powell also said he believes that if John Kerry were president at the time of a terrorist attack he would respond in a "robust" way. [ (Washington Post)]
* The "pre-election offensive" against the Iraqi resistance continues in the rebel-held city of Fallujah, with air-strikes killing at least 16, including women and children. Joint U.S.-Iraqi forces say that they are targeting Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is linked to al-Qaeda. The U.S. military says it is investigating an incident that occurred September 12th in Baghdad in which five people, including an "al-Arabiya" journalist broadcasting live, were killed in a helicopter attack. [ (Reuters)] [ (BBC)]
* In Afghanistan, 22 insurgents believed to be members of the Taliban and al-Qaeda are killed in the province of Zabul. Zabul Province is widely regarded as a Taleban stronghold. [ (BBC)]
* Former UDA member Ken Barrett pleads guilty to the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane in 1989 — one of the most controversial murders of Northern Ireland's Troubles. [ (Reuters)] [ (BBC)]
* 2004 Atlantic hurricane season:
** Hurricane Ivan, still at Category Five strength, continues to travel northward, causing damage throughout the western Caribbean. As of 23:00 local time (0300 UTC September 13), it is located about 285 km (175 miles) southeast of the western tip of Cuba, and it is predicted that the eye of Ivan will pass over that part of the island Monday afternoon or evening. [ (Reuters)] [ (NOAA/NHC)]
** The Cuban government evacuates between 800,000 and 1.3 million people from coastal cities and developed areas. Cubans have begun calling the hurricane "Ivan the Terrible". [ (Reuters)] [ (New York Times)] [ (NOAA/NHC)]
** A storm surge from Hurricane Ivan travels at least 1 km (0.6 mile) inland on Grand Cayman, the largest of the three islands of the Cayman Islands, forcing residents to seek shelter on their house roofs.

September 14, 2004

*The "China Times" reports that the People's Republic of China has deployed heavily armed troops to guard the Three Gorges Dam from a possible terrorist attack. [ (BBC)]
* An advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), by a vote of 15-8, recommends that warnings be added to antidepressants, stating that the medications can be linked to suicidal behavior in some children. The FDA is not required to follow the recommendations of its advisory panels, but usually does so. [,2933,132338,00.html (FOX News)] [ (Reuters)]
* In the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person yet tried in the U.S. in relation to the 9/11 attacks, the court refuses to allow Moussaoui to call Camp X-Ray detainees as witnesses, but does allow him to use written evidence from some of the detainees. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Moussaoui, who admits to being a member of al-Qaeda but denies involvement in the 9/11 plot. [ (BBC)]
* At least 45 people are killed and over 100 others are injured when a car bomb explodes in central Baghdad, Iraq. The blast leaves a three-meter (10 ft) crater in the road in a busy shopping area; many of the dead are Iraqi job-seekers who were queuing up outside a nearby police station. [ (BBC)]
* The United States lifts its siege of the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar after Turkey threatens to end all cooperation with the U.S. in Iraq if the attacks, which had killed many civilians in the largely Turkmen city, continue. [ (Xinhua)]
* The Ontario Superior Court permits the first divorce of a same-sex couple in Canada (and perhaps the first in the world), declaring that the portion of Canada's Divorce Act that excludes same-sex marriages from the act's effects is unconstitutional. [ (Globe and Mail)] [ (Reuters)]
* 2004 Atlantic hurricane season:
** Hurricane warnings are issued for Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands in anticipation of Tropical Storm Jeanne, which is expected to become a hurricane by tomorrow. [ (NOAA/NHC)]
** As of 13:00 local time (1800 UTC September 14), Hurricane Ivan is located about 650 km (405 miles) south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and is moving along a north-northwest path at about 9 mph (14.5 km/h). The hurricane is now projected to make landfall along the Gulf Coast of the United States on Thursday morning. [ (NOAA/NHC)]
** As of 23:00 local time (0300 UTC September 14), Ivan is located about 60 km (40 miles) west-northwest of the western tip of Cuba. Forecasters are predicting landfall somewhere between eastern Louisiana and the panhandle of Florida late Wednesday. [ (NOAA/NHC)]
** The center of Hurricane Ivan passes over the Guanahacabibes peninsula on the western tip of Cuba, flooding coastal areas, ripping roofs off houses, and knocking down trees and power lines, but sparing Cuba its worst effects. [;jsessionid=CIC5MLMQSRTC2CRBAELCFFA?type=topNews&storyID=6225759 (Reuters)]

September 15, 2004

* China and the United Nations: For the 12th consecutive year, the General Assembly of the United Nations rejects a request for the Republic of China (Taiwan) to be represented in the United Nations. This reiterates the Assembly's position that Resolution 2758, which recognized the People's Republic of China rather than the Republic of China as the sole legitimate representative of "China", prevents Taiwan from being separately represented. The ROC's supporters argue that the resolution did not give the People's Republic the exclusive right to represent the people of Taiwan. [,4390,272941,00.html (Straits Times)] [ (Reuters)] [ (Resolution requesting representation [PDF] )]
* Canada's federal government and its provincial and territorial leaders reach an accord to increase funding for the country's national health care system. In exchange for an increase in federal funding of CAD 18 billion over the next six years, provincial and territorial leaders agree to reforms intended to reduce patient waiting times. [ (Toronto Star)]
* In a report released today, the U.S. State Department for the first time places the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on its list of "countries of particular concern" (CPCs) that engage in "particularly severe violations" of religious freedom. A designation as a CPC requires the State Department to take whatever steps are necessary — up to the level of sanctions — to increase religious tolerance in the designated country. [ (] [ (State Department report)]
* Six Palestinian gunmen and four others are killed by Israeli troops. [ (Reuters)] [ (BBC)]
* In Afghanistan, three Americans are sentenced to up to 10 years imprisonment for illegally detaining and torturing Afghans, and for running an illegal private jail in Kabul. The defiant Americans — Jonathan Idema, Brent Bennett, and Edward Caraballo — say they intend to appeal the decision. [ (CNN)]
* A Countryside Alliance rally outside Britain's Parliament buildings, in opposition to a bill that would ban fox-hunting, descends into violence as protesters and police clash. Some protesters successfully breach security and enter the floor of the House of Commons. The bill later passes 339–155. (BBC: [ 1] , [ 2] )
* Five crew members of an Irish yacht, who had been adrift in a liferaft for seven days after abandoning their ship, are rescued by helicopter off the Cornwall coast of Britain. The crew members ran out of water on Monday and were running low on food when rescued. [ (BBC)] [ (RTÉ)]
* Both the European Union and the government of the United States express concern about Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement that, as a means of responding to terrorism, he would significantly alter Russia's political system. The Russian government rejects the United States' concerns as inappropriate interference in Russia's internal affairs. (Reuters: [ 1] , [;jsessionid=PK1I2MCEA22IUCRBAE0CFEY?type=worldNews&storyID=583654&section=news 2] )
* In Southern California, the radio system linking air traffic controllers to high-altitude planes breaks down at 17:00 local time, Tuesday (0000 UTC September 15), prompting the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to halt outgoing flights for three hours at Los Angeles International and several other airports. [ (CNN)]
* 2004 Atlantic hurricane season:
** As of 13:00 local time (1800 UTC September 15), the center of Hurricane Ivan is located about 275 km (170 miles) south of the coast of Alabama and is moving northward at about 23 km/h (14 mph). The hurricane is now projected to make landfall along the Gulf Coast of the United States very early on Thursday. Forecasters now predict that there is little risk that the hurricane will pass over New Orleans. A hurricane warning is in effect for the Gulf Coast from New Orleans to the Florida Panhandle. [ (NOAA/NHC)] [ (Washington Post)]
** As Hurricane Ivan approaches the Gulf Coast of the United States, an estimated 1.9 million people, including 1.2 million residents of metropolitan New Orleans, are advised to evacuate. The situation is particularly dangerous for New Orleans, since a direct or close hit by the hurricane could breach the levees around the city, causing its streets to fill with a mixture of floodwater, raw sewage, gasoline, and chemicals. [ (CNN)]

September 16, 2004

* Prominent Saudis reject yesterday's declaration by the U.S. State Department that Saudi Arabia severely restricts religious freedom, arguing that the report that made the declaration was politically motivated. [ (Reuters)]
* Manitoba becomes the fourth province, and the fifth jurisdiction, in Canada to legalize same-sex marriage. [ (CBC)]
* Afghan President Hamid Karzai survives an assassination attempt when a rocket misses his helicopter, bound for the city of Gardez, by some 300 yards (275 m). The helicopter returned to Kabul. [ (ABC News)]
* Indonesia sentences Islamic militant "Ismail", also known as Ricky Putranto, to 12 years in prison for his role in the bombing of a Marriott hotel in Jakarta last year. [ (Jakarta Post)]
* "The New York Times," citing unnamed U.S. government officials, reports that, in late July, the National Intelligence Council prepared a pessimistic classified report for President George W. Bush that predicted three likely outcomes for Iraq by the end of 2005, the best of which is "tenuous stability", and the worst of which is a descent into civil war. [ (New York Times)] [ (Reuters)]
* United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan reluctantly describes the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq as an "illegal" violation of the UN Charter, in response to repeated questions on the subject during a press conference. [ (BBC)] [ (Reuters)] [ (Boston Globe)] [ (ITN)]
* The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China convenes in Beijing for four days with speculation over whether Jiang Zemin will resign from his remaining post as Chairman of the Central Military Commission. [ (BBC)]
* HRH Prince Joachim of Denmark and Alexandra Christina Manley announce their separation and eventual divorce. [ (The Scotsman)]
* 2004 Atlantic hurricane season:
** The eye of Hurricane Ivan makes landfall near Mobile, Alabama in the early morning, killing at least 33 and causing an estimated USD 4–10 billion in flood, wind, and other storm damage across the Gulf Coast of the United States. By late afternoon, Ivan is downgraded to a tropical storm. [ (CNN)] [ (NOAA/NHC)] [ (AP)]
** Tropical Storm Jeanne briefly becomes a hurricane, but is downgraded back to tropical storm strength as it passes over the Dominican Republic, where it brings heavy rains and high winds. Forecasters warn that the storm could strengthen again once it reaches the open sea. [ (Reuters)]

September 17, 2004

* The government of India announces that Tamil will be the first language recognized as a "classical language" in India. Government ministers add that Sanskrit and other languages could be granted the status, depending on their "heritage and legacy". The Indian government plans to create a center for the study of languages so designated. [ (Times of India)] [ (The Hindu)]
* Three men are arrested in New Delhi, India for attempting to sell an 800 year old Tibetan Buddhist manuscript, which had been reported stolen from a monastery at Kalimpong, West Bengal several months earlier. The thieves attempted to sell the manuscript for 30 million rupees (535,000 euros), although experts say that it could be worth three times that much on the international market. [,000600010001.htm (Hindustan Times)] [ (India News via New Kerala)]
* Researchers at the University of Central Florida publish an article in the "Lancet" documenting a strong link between Crohn's disease and the bacterium "Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis." This is the latest in a series of studies that strongly suggest a link between the bacterium and the disease. [ (BBC)]
* Darfur conflict: Peace talks between the Sudanese government and Darfurian rebels, which began three weeks ago, collapse. Sudan accuses the United States of prolonging the conflict by describing the actions of Arab militias in Darfur as genocide. Rebels will meet with Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo Friday evening to give their version of the story. [ (]
* U.S. presidential election: At a firehouse campaign rally in Hamilton Township, Mercer County, New Jersey, Sue Niederer, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, is arrested after disrupting a speech by First Lady Laura Bush. [] [ CBS News]
* U.S. air raids in the city of Fallujah, allegedly aimed at militants loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, kill an estimated 60 fighters, according to claims from the U.S. military. A spokesman for Iraq's health ministry says at least two women and 17 children were among the wounded. Meanwhile in central Baghdad, a suicide car bomb leaves at least 13 dead. [,2763,1306807,00.html (The Guardian)]
* Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev claims responsibility for the Beslan school massacre, saying that it was carried out by a "martyr battalion" from Riyadus-Salikhin, the group that he heads. [ (ABC Au)] [ (BBC)]
* In an interview with the Saudi-owned "Al-Arabiyya" satellite television network, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell plays down the importance of Wednesday's report by the State Department — which listed Saudi Arabia as a country that severely restricts religious freedom — saying that he hopes that he will be able to use dialogue to remove Saudi Arabia from the list.

September 18, 2004

* In Kirkuk, Iraq, a suicide car bomb attack on the Iraqi National Guard headquarters in Kirkuk kills 23, and prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Kadhim al-Hany is ambushed and killed. [ (BBC)]
* Darfur Conflict: The United Nations Security Council passes a resolution threatening Sudan with sanctions if it does not act to control the Arab militias accused of genocide in Darfur. The resolution passes 11–0, with the People's Republic of China, Russia, Pakistan, and Algeria abstaining. [ (MSNBC)]
* Nader ballot access disputes: The Florida Supreme Court orders that Reform Party candidate Ralph Nader be included on the ballot in Florida for the upcoming U.S. presidential election. [ (Reuters)] [ (BBC)] [ (CNN)]

September 19, 2004

* The former president of the People's Republic of China, Jiang Zemin, resigns from his last official post, the Chairmanship of the Central Military Commission, and is replaced by Hu Jintao . [ (CNN)] [ (IOL)] [,5744,10818957%255E31477,00.html (The Australian)]
* Two Palestinian women, who the Israeli government alleges intended to carry out suicide bomb attacks, voluntarily surrender to Israeli authorities. [ (INN)] [,5478,10786372%255E1702,00.html (Melbourne Herald Sun)]
* Iran rejects a unanimous United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency resolution calling on Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment activities. Iran threatens to prevent UN inspections of its nuclear program. [ (Reuters)]
* The George E. Trelease Memorial Baseball Park at Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts, is dedicated. [ (Western New England College Athletics)]
* Turkey's parliament adjourns without passing an important reform of its penal code — intended to prepare the country for membership in the European Union — due to a dispute over a controversial proposal (opposed by the EU) to criminalize adultery. [ (ABC News)] [ (Bloomberg)]

September 20, 2004

* 2004 Atlantic hurricane season: Massive flooding in Haiti resulting from this weekend's passage of Hurricane Jeanne over the island of Hispaniola leaves large areas submerged and at least 556 people dead, with that number expected to increase. [ (Reuters)] [ (BBC)]
* Conflict in Iraq: Tawhid and Jihad, a militant group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, beheads American hostage Eugene Armstrong. The group threatens to behead two additional hostages, American Jack Hensley and Briton Kenneth Bigley, within 24 hours unless the United States meets its demands. [ (Reuters)]
* United States presidential campaign:
**The political campaigns of Republican incumbent George W. Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry agree to a tentative schedule of three televised debates, the first of which will take place on September 30 in Florida. [ (Washington Post)]
**CBS News announces that it now doubts the authenticity of the "Killian memos", after defending their authenticity for more than a week in the face of widespread expert opinion to the contrary. The network acknowledges that it was a mistake to use the memos as part of the supporting evidence in a "60 Minutes" story by Dan Rather alleging deficiencies in U.S. President George W. Bush's Vietnam-era service in the Texas Air National Guard. [ (USA Today)]
* Indonesian presidential election: Early returns in today's election favor former general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono over incumbent President Megawati Sukarnoputri 61 to 39 percent. [ (KPU)]

September 21, 2004

* Three members of Texans for a Republican Majority, a political action committee founded by Tom DeLay, Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, are indicted by a grand jury in Travis County, Texas on charges of money laundering and accepting illegal campaign contributions. [ (Reuters)]
* U.S. President George W. Bush addresses a skeptical United Nations audience to discuss his plans regarding Iraq. [ (Boston Globe)]
* 2004 Atlantic hurricane season: The number of people confirmed dead in Haiti from the effects of Hurricane Jeanne rises to at least 691, with the number of missing at more than 1,000. The city of Gonaïves remains flooded, and thousands are homeless. [ (ABC News)]
* The U.S. Department of Homeland Security intercepts a United Airlines flight from London, so that Yusuf Islam, the musician formerly known as Cat Stevens, can be arrested and deported for allegedly financially supporting groups linked to terrorism. [ (MSNBC)]
* Syria begins a "phased redeployment" of its forces in Lebanon (currently estimated at 20,000 troops), moving about 1,000 troops out of bases south of Beirut; it is not clear whether they will be redeployed in Lebanon or Syria. Earlier this month, UN Security Council Resolution 1559, drafted by the United States and France, called for all foreign troops to leave Lebanon. [ (]
* Defying a recent United Nations resolution, Iran announces that it will continue converting 37 tons (33,600 kg) of yellowcake uranium into uranium hexafluoride, a requirement for producing nuclear power plant fuel, but which some fear might be used to build nuclear weapons. [ (Reuters)]
* Conflict in Iraq: Tawhid and Jihad, a militant group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, beheads American hostage Jack Hensley. The group threatens to behead the remaining hostage, Briton Kenneth Bigley, within 24 hours unless the United States meets its demands. Eugene Armstrong was beheaded yesterday. [ (Reuters)]
* An earthquake swarm is currently in progress in the Adobe Hills about 18 miles (29 km) east of California's Mono Lake. Over 600 earthquakes have been recorded since September 18, including events of moment magnitude 4.8, 5,4, and 5.5. [ (California Integrated Seismic Network)] [ (U.S. Geological Survey)] [ (CNN/AP)]
* The United States formally lifts its general trade and aviation sanctions against Libya today, in response to Libya's decision last year to permit the removal of many of its weapons of mass destruction. [ (Reuters)]
* Green Day's quadruple platinum "Punk Rock Opera" American Idiot is released.

September 22, 2004

* Experts and officials from Interpol and 19 countries met Tuesday in Burkina Faso to elaborate a strategy to combat terrorism and crime in Africa. Countries participating included France, the United States, Britain, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Turkey, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Chad, Sudan, Côte d'Ivoire, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, Benin, Burundi, Togo and Mauritania. [ (Independent Online)]
* Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan announce in a joint statement that have agreed work together on a plan for reforming the United Nations, including securing a permanent seat or seats on the UN Security Council for at least one of the four nations. [ (ABC News)]
* The United States Senate, by a vote of 77–17, confirms the nomination of Porter Goss as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Some Democratic senators had charged that Goss is too partisan to deliver unbiased reports to the White House. [ (Reuters)]
* The Republic of Ireland's telecommunications regulator, ComReg, announces that, starting on October 4, it will suspend direct-dial telephone services to thirteen island nations and dependencies, in order to counter telephone dialer scams which have cost some customers thousands of euros. [ (Reuters)]
* The United States military drops espionage charges against Syrian-American airman Ahmad al Halabi after he pleads guilty to four lesser charges. The judge criticizes the prosecution for improperly handling key evidence and for failing to correct the mistranslation of a crucial document. [ (Reuters)]
* The American Broadcasting Company runs its pilot episode of the hit series "Lost". In the "Lost" timeline, this is also the date Oceanic Flight 815 crashed on an island in the Pacific Ocean.

September 23, 2004

* The current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, continuing a tour of Latin America, arrives in Puerto Rico for a two-day visit. He is scheduled to make several addresses on the subjects of human rights and demilitarization and to be awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Puerto Rico. [ (AP/El Nuevo Día)]
* Court officials arrive on the remote British territory of Pitcairn Island, which has only 47 inhabitants, to begin the trial of seven islanders, on charges of sexual abuse that date back more than 40 years. [ (BBC)]
* The United States agrees to release Yaser Esam Hamdi, who was born in the United States and raised in Saudi Arabia, after having held him for almost three years, without charges, as an "illegal enemy combatant". In exchange, Hamdi agrees to relinquish his American citizenship and to never return to the United States. [ (Reuters)]
* Conflict in Iraq: The governments of the United Kingdom and Iraq announce that they will not comply with the demands of the militant group Tawhid and Jihad, which has threatened to behead its hostage, British citizen Kenneth Bigley. [ (Reuters)]
* 2004 Atlantic hurricane season: The death toll in Haiti from flooding caused by this weekend's passage of Hurricane Jeanne is now at 1,080 persons, and government officials say the final number is likely to be around 2,000. At least 175,000 Haitians have been affected by the flooding. [ (Reuters)]

September 24, 2004

* Scientists announce that they have deciphered the complete DNA sequence of "Legionella pneumophila," one of the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' Disease. [ (BBC)]
* Conflict in Iraq: The Muslim Council of Britain sends a delegation to Baghdad in the hopes of securing the release of Kenneth Bigley. [ (BBC)]
* Same-sex marriage in Canada: The Nova Scotia Supreme Court strikes down the province's law forbidding same-sex marriages, making it the sixth of Canada's provinces and territories to legalize same-sex marriage. Neither the federal nor the Nova Scotia government had opposed the court challenge. [ (CBC)]
* 2004 Atlantic hurricane season: The storm formerly known as Hurricane Ivan, now a tropical depression, makes landfall near the Texas-Louisiana border late Thursday night, with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. [ (CNN)]

September 25, 2004

* 2004 Atlantic hurricane season: Hurricane Jeanne strengthens slightly as it passes over the northern Bahamas and makes landfall at 11:50 p.m. local time at Hutchison Island, just east of Stuart, Florida, as a Category Three storm with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph (195 km/h). About 3 million people are ordered to evacuate vulnerable areas in Florida. [ (Reuters)]
* Israeli army bulldozers tear down buildings in the Gaza refugee camp of Khan Yunis, one day after mortars fired from the camp killed an Israeli settler. UNRWA officials say over 200 Palestinians lost their homes or shelters. [ (BBC)]
* Conflict in Iraq:
** U.S. air strikes on the Iraqi city of Fallujah destroy several buildings. The U.S. military says no civilians were reported in the area, but a hospital official says at least eight civilians were killed, and television broadcasts show civilian survivors, including an infant, being pulled out of a destroyed building. [ (BBC)]
** U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage insists that January elections in Iraq will be held in all areas of the country, apparently contradicting earlier statements by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that elections might be limited to secure areas. [ (BBC)]

September 26, 2004

* Conflict in Iraq: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says, in an interview on the ABC television interview program "This Week," that the insurgency in Iraq is worsening, and that the aim of the insurgents is to disrupt the upcoming elections. [ (BBC)] [ (Reuters)]
* Pakistani security forces kill al-Qaeda member Amjad Farooqi, who is suspected of involvement in the murder of U.S. reporter Daniel Pearl. [ (Reuters)] [ (BBC)]
* Several earthquakes over the weekend centered below Mount St. Helens in the U.S. state of Washington prompt scientists to issue a rare warning that the volcano could erupt soon. [ (USGS/CVO)]
*The relaunch of Doctor Who is officially announced by the BBC.
* British Royal Air Force fighter planes escort a Greek Olympic Airlines plane to Stansted Airport in London after an anonymous caller warns of a bomb on board. [ (AFP)] [ (news.telegraph)]

September 27, 2004

* Arab-Israeli conflict:
** Jewish settlers in Gaza line a bridge and pelt passing Palestinian cars with rocks, forcing the Israeli army to close the only road from the north into the Gaza Strip. [,2763,1314384,00.html (The Guardian)]
** In the Gaza Strip, four Palestinians kidnap Riad Abu Ali, an Israeli citizen working for CNN. Two other CNN employees were beaten and their equipment stolen. [ (Reuters)] [ (Haaretz)]
** The Israeli army raids the West Bank city of Jenin, taking over a hospital and several other buildings, making a number of arrests, and reportedly wounding three Palestinians. Several other violent incidents occurred in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. [,5744,10896625%255E1702,00.html (The Australian)] [ (BBC)]
** A 'senior' Israeli security source has told several news organizations (Including the BBC, Haaretz and the AP) that it was Israel who killed a senior figure of Hamas, Izz El-Deen Sheikh Khalil, who died in a car bomb yesterday, September 26 in Damascus. [ (BBC)] [ (Dispatch)] [ (Haaretz)] [ (Gulf Daily News)]
*** Hamas states that an unnamed Arab state may have aided Israel in the assassination of Hamas leader Izz El-Deen Sheikh Khalil. [ (Haaretz)] [ (Reuters)]
* Conflict in Iraq:
** Fereidoun Jahani, an Iranian diplomat who was kidnapped in Iraq in early August, is freed; he was held by a militant group that also claims to be holding two French journalists, Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot. [ (BBC)] [ (Reuters)]
** The U.S. military carries out air strikes on several suspected militant positions in the Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, killing at least five people and wounding 46, according to a local hospital official. The U.S. military disputes that total. [ (AP)] [ (BBC)]
** Two separate car bombs kill at least seven Iraqi national guardsmen in Mosul and Fallujah, while mortars are fired at a police academy in Baghdad, with no reported casualties. ( 1] , [ 2] )
* The Virgin Group announces that it will create the world's first commercial space-flight company, to be called Virgin Galactic, using SpaceShipOne technology licensed from Mojave Aerospace Ventures. Virgin hopes to begin commercial space flight within five years. [ (BBC)]
* The Université de Montréal announces that a Quebec researcher has discovered a lost play by Alexandre Dumas, père, titled "Les voleurs d'or" ("The Gold Thieves"), in the archives of the "Bibliothèque nationale de France" (National Library of France). [,5478,10904968%255E1702,00.html (Herald Sun)]

September 28, 2004

* The 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, Greece closes. China, Great Britain and Canada have won the most gold medals. [ (]
*North Korea nuclear weapons program: North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Su-hon announces at the UN General Assembly that it has turned plutonium from 8,000 spent fuel rods into nuclear weapons as a deterrent against the U.S. nuclear threat. Six-nation talks on the nuclear issue, which were due to have resumed before October, have been suspended. Analysts believe North Korea has ruled out further talks until after the U.S. presidential election in November. [ (BBC)]
* Republic of China foreign minister Mark Chen calls Singapore "the size of a piece of snot" after Singaporean foreign minister George Yeo declared opposition to Taiwan independence. He later apologized for his "improper wording". [ (BBC)] [ (China Post)]
* U.S. President George W. Bush's hometown newspaper, the Crawford, Texas "Lone Star Iconoclast", endorses Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. The editorial column asked Texan voters "not to rate the candidate by his hometown . . . but instead by where he intends to take the country." In the last election, the paper endorsed Bush. [ (Reuters)] [ (Lone Star Iconoclast)]
* Giovanni di Stefano, the lawyer of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, tells the Danish newspaper "B.T." that Hussein plans to run as a candidate in the Iraqi elections scheduled for January 2005. A recent Gallup poll indicated that 42 percent of the Iraqi people want their former leader back. [ (Zaman, Turkey)]
* Health officials in Thailand report that they have identified a likely case of human to human transmission of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza, although the World Health Organization says the transmission occurred only after prolonged contact between individuals. A more easily transmitted virus could potentially cause a worldwide flu pandemic on the level of the 1918 Spanish flu. [ (Reuters)]
* Conflict in Iraq:
** In Baghdad, two Italian aid workers, Simona Pari and Simona Torretta are released, three weeks after they were taken hostage, along with two Iraqis who had been captured with them. In a separate incident, four Egyptian workers are also released. [ (The Scotsman)] .
** Two British soldiers are killed in an ambush near the southern Iraqi city of Basra. [ (BBC)]
** The administration of U.S. President George W. Bush says that it had considered secretly supporting pro-U.S. candidates in the upcoming elections in Iraq, but has now decided against the plan. [,9171,1101041004-702122,00.html (TIME)] [ (Houston Chronicle)]
** U.S. military planes bomb a building in the insurgent-held city of Fallujah, in what the U.S. describes as a raid against terrorists linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Local doctors say at least three civilians were killed, but the U.S. says only "Zarqawi operatives" died. [ (BBC)]
* Arab-Israeli conflict:
** In the Gaza Strip, CNN producer Riad Abu Ali, an Israeli citizen, is released by his captors one day after he was abducted from his car by Palestinian militants. [ (Reuters)]
** Israeli soldiers kill a mentally ill Palestinian man in the West Bank city of Jenin, under disputed circumstances. [ (BBC)]
* The price of U.S. light crude briefly exceeds the price of USD 50/barrel, the highest since 1983. Analysts attribute the increase largely to concerns over the disruption of oil production in Nigeria; conflicts in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and the effects of Hurricane Ivan are also cited. [ (BBC)]
* A Nigerian militant group threatens "all-out war" against foreign companies in the Niger River delta region if they do not leave by October. The European oil company Royal Dutch/Shell has already evacuated 254 non-essential workers from the area. (BBC: [ 1] , [ 2] )
* A strong earthquake, with an estimated magnitude of 6.0 on the Richter scale, strikes central California, near Parkfield. The effects are felt as far away as Sacramento and Santa Ana. [ (CNN)]

September 29, 2004

* The People's Republic of China accuses Taiwanese Premier Yu Shyi-kun of "clamoring for war" after he said Taiwan would defend itself by firing missiles at Shanghai in the event of an attack of Taipei or Kaohsiung by the PRC. [ (BBC)] [ (VOA)]
* Forty-three North Koreans, reportedly seeking asylum, use MFI ladders to scale the walls of the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, China. [ (Globe and Mail)]
* U.S. presidential campaign: Former Republican President Dwight Eisenhower's son John Eisenhower endorses Democrat John Kerry's presidential bid. [ (The Union Leader)]
* Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne, an experimental spaceplane, makes the first competitive flight for the Ansari X Prize. Although a roll problem caused the mission to be aborted early, SpaceShipOne nonetheless reached an estimated 109.1 km (358,000 feet), which qualifies as a spaceflight. [ (] [ (New Scientist)]
* Conflict in Iraq
** Kenneth Bigley, a British hostage held in Iraq, appeared alive in a video broadcast by Al Jazeera. Seen in a cage wearing an orange jumpsuit, Bigley said "Tony Blair is lying. He doesn't care about me". [ (BBC)]
** Reports that ransom was paid to secure yesterday's release of two Italian aid workers raise fears that the burgeoning hostage crises will worsen. Gustavo Selva, an Italian lawmaker, states that "The sum ($1 million) is probably correct". To date about 130 foreigners have been taken hostage. About 30 of these have been killed. [ (Reuters)]
* Arab-Israeli conflict
**Five masked men armed with bats and chains attack Chris Brown and Kim Lamberty, members of Christian Peacemaker Teams outside the Israeli settlement of Ma'on in Hebron while the volunteers were escorting Palestinian children to school. CPT alleges the assaults are part of an ongoing pattern of intimidation by Israeli Settlers. [ (BBC)] [ (Haaretz)] [ (Al Jazeera)]
** Five Palestinians, including Hamas member Tawfik Ali Charafi, are killed during Israeli raids in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip and Nablus in the West Bank. The Israeli government claims the troops entered in retaliation for at least four rockets being fired at the Israeli town of Sderot on September 28. [ (BBC)] [ (Reuters)] [ (Al Jazeera)] [ (Haaretz)]
** Two Israeli children, aged 3 and 5, are killed after a Qassam rocket attack from Palestinian terrorists on the town of Sderot. Hamas claimed the attack was launched in retaliation for the Israeli raid of the Jabaliya refugee camp, which left four Palestinians dead. [ (BBC)] [ (Haaretz)]
** Two Palestinian teenagers are killed and power supplies are knocked out after an Israeli raid on the Jabaliya refugee camp. The raid was launched in retaliation for the rocket attacks on the town of Sderot which left two children dead. [ (BBC)]
* Two men, Rahim al-Nashiri and Jamal Mohammed al-Bedawi, who were found guilty of organizing the October 12, 2000 bombing of the USS "Cole", are sentenced to death by a court in Yemen. [ (BBC)]
* The asteroid 4179 Toutatis passes within 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers, or about four times the distance from Earth to the Moon) of Earth. Toutatis is the largest known asteroid to pass this close to Earth. [ (]
* The Montréal Expos play their last game at the Olympic Stadium in Montréal against the Florida Marlins in front of over 30,000 fans

September 30, 2004

* Typhoon Meari batters the town of Miyagawa, Mie Prefecture, Japan killing 27 and causing widespread flooding and significant damage. [,4057,10935358%255E1702,00.html (] [ (BBC)] [ (NASA)]
* A by-election for the Hartlepool constituency of the UK parliament, to fill the seat of Peter Mandelson, who resigned to take up a role in the European Union, results in a win for Labour (12,752), with the Liberal Democrats second (10,719). The Conservative Party (3,044) is pushed into fourth place by the UK Independence Party (3,193). [ (BBC)]
* Incumbent president George W. Bush and challenger Senator John F. Kerry meet at the University of Miami, Florida in the first of three presidential debates in the run-up to the 2004 U.S. presidential election. Nielsen Media Research later reports 62.5 million people watched the debate. () [ (CNN)] [ (MSNBC)] [ (BBC)]
* Same-sex marriage in the United States: The proposed Federal Marriage Amendment (HJR 106) is rejected by the United States House of Representatives by a vote of 227–186. [ (Reuters)]
* The office of British Prime Minister Tony Blair announces he will undergo "routine heart surgery" tomorrow to correct an irregular heartbeat. [ (Bloomberg)]
* Conflict in Iraq
** At least three people are killed by U.S. air raids on the insurgent held city of Fallujah. Locals say civilians are among the dead, but the U.S. maintains they struck a safe house of the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Just outside Baghdad, a rocket fired at a US military support base killed one coalition soldier. [ (BBC)]
** At least 41 people are killed in a multiple bomb attack on a US military convoy traveling through Baghdad, close to a water treatment plant. At least 34 of them were children. [ (BBC)]
** Three southern provinces (Basra, Missan and Dhiqar), which together control 80 percent of Iraq's proven oil reserves, are considering plans to set up an autonomous region. [ (Financial Times)]
* The Russian cabinet recommends ratification of the Kyoto Treaty against global warming, which would bring the accord into force; the measure will be debated in Parliament, which has final say. [ (CBS)] [ (Reuters)] [ (Itar-Tass)]
* Arab-Israeli Conflict
** Israel launches a major offensive into the Jabaliya refugee camp killing at least 23 gunmen and civilians. Earlier this morning, a column of Israeli tanks moved into the center of the camp, followed by bulldozers. At least three Palestinian civilians have been killed thus far. Homes are being demolished, forcing people to flee. 72 Palestinians are known to have been wounded, some losing limbs. [ (BBC)] [ (Reuters)]
** Two Palestinians are killed by Israeli troops returning fire after an Israeli soldier was killed at an observation post in the northern Gaza strip. The troops have been engaged in that part of the northern Gaza Strip since yesterday, September 29. [ (AP)]
** Two Israelis, including a civilian, are killed in an ambush close to Gaza. The Palestinian gunman was also killed. [ (BBC)]
* Ahmed Zaoui, Algerian MP, refugee, wins another court case but remains in New Zealand prison. (Court of Appeal of New Zealand, CA20/04)
* The J2SE 5.0 version of the Java platform (codename "Tiger") is released.

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