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October 2003

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A timeline of events in the news for October, 2003.

See also:

October 31, 2003

October 30, 2003

October 29, 2003

  • Medicine: The US FDA approves Risperdal Consta (Risperidone long-acting injection) for the treatment of schizophrenia. Although already approved in several other countries, it is the first long-acting, [[at}pical antipsychotic|atypical]] antipsychotic medication to be approved by the FDA.
  • Republic of Ireland: The Garda Síochána, the Irish police force, opens a criminal investigation following a hoax telephone call on 27 October from a woman claiming that she had abandoned her newborn baby in a derelict flat in Dublin. Hundreds of Gardaí had mounted a round the clock search of thousands of derelict sites in the working class suburb of Ballymun to find the child, as fears grew for its safety amid plummeting temperatures. Police later concluded that no such child existed and that the series of phone calls made to them and to childcare charities had been a deliberate hoax.
  • United Kingdom: British Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith loses a vote of confidence in his parliamentary party by 90 votes to 75 and, in accordance with party rules, resigns from the leadership. A new leadership election is called. Shadow Deputy Prime Minister David Davis, previously tipped as a future leader, surprises Westminster by announcing that he will not seek the leadership and endorses former Home Secretary Michael Howard, who is now seen as the frontrunner to assume the leadership. Other leading politicians endorse Howard, once famously described by a colleague as having "something of the night about him." [15] [16]
  • Occupation of Iraq: The International Red Cross announces that it is to scale back its commitments to Iraq. [17] Two more GIs are killed, bringing the total killed since May 1 to 115. [18]
  • Mining: After six days trapped underground, eleven of the last thirteen remaining Russian coal miners have been rescued by underground rescuers from the mine where they were trapped underground. One more miner was found dead, and another is still missing. 33 miners had already been rescued on Sunday.
  • Earth's magnetic field: The Earth's magnetosphere is hit by the recent solar flare causing a brief but intense geomagnetic storm, provoking unusual displays of northern lights. [19]

October 28, 2003

October 27, 2003

October 26, 2003

October 25, 2003

October 24, 2003

October 23, 2003

October 22, 2003

October 21, 2003


October 20, 2003

October 19, 2003

October 18, 2003

October 17, 2003

October 16, 2003

October 15, 2003

October 14, 2003

  • Religion: RTÉ's Prime Time current affairs programme reports that Cahal Cardinal Daly , then Bishop of Down and Conor, refused to accept allegations passed on to him by students of improper sexual conduct by Monsignor Micheal Ledwith , then head of St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Ireland's major seminary. According to the programme Daly became aggressive, telling students "go back and say your prayers". The TV programme confirms that Daly, and his predecessor, Tómas Cardinal Ó Fiaich , were centrally involved in efforts to silence critics of Ledwith, including forcing the resignation of one dean of students who informed them of allegations that Ledwith was making sexual advances against student priests. Ledwith subsequently left the college after paying damages to an under-age teenager to whom he allegedly made sexual advances. Ledwith, once an internationally famous Catholic theologian tipped to become Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, is now associated with an American New Age cult. Having been tracked down by the programme, Ledwith refuses to comment 'for legal reasons'.
  • Liberia: The Inauguration of a new government takes place. The rebels are expected to disarm.
  • Sniper - Terrorism: Trial of John Allen Muhammad, who is suspected of being the Washington DC serial sniper, begins. He pleads not guilty.[132]
  • Weapons: The BBC reports that dissident IRA groups are supplying the weapons that have led to a recent surge in UK gun crime. [133]
  • Instant Messaging: Microsoft chatrooms are closing down today. Free unmoderated chatrooms outside the US are being closed in what Microsoft claim is an attempt to safeguard children. [134]
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Israel orders the expulsion of 15 Palestinian detainees from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip. [135]
  • British Politics: Conservative Party leader, Iain Duncan Smith, is being investigated by Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Sir Philip Mawer over allegations that he paid a secretarial salary to his wife without her doing sufficient work to warrant the payments. [136]
  • Law - A British HIV carrier is found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm after infecting two lovers. [137]

October 13, 2003

October 12, 2003

October 11, 2003

October 10, 2003

October 9, 2003

  • Palestinians: Time magazine reports that Yassir Arafat, whose health has led to confused reporting over the past days, with him variously reported as having had flu and having had a heart attack, in actuality has stomach cancer. [169]
  • Nuclear Weapons: Pakistan successfully test fires a medium-range, nuclear-capable missile, the second such test in less than a week, the Pakistan army states. The Hatf-4 missile , also known as the Shaheen 1 , was fired off, according to the army. The missile has a range of 435 miles, meaning it can hit most major targets in India. The test followed a similar launching on Friday of the short-range Hatf-2 Ghaznavi after which Pakistan said it was in the middle of a series of such tests. Pakistani army spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan said India had been told of each of the launches beforehand and he states the tests should not affect the international relations between the two neighbors. [170]
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz ordered dispatches of Israeli troop reinforcements to the Palestinian Areas , West Bank and Gaza Strip, and weighed a call-up of reserves, citing new warnings about planned attacks by Palestinian militants. The Israeli military also extended a two-week lockdown on Palestinians' travel within the West Bank and Gaza in what it states as a bid to prevent further attacks. [171] Meanwhile, prime minister Ahmed Qurei is reported to have declined to form a government and told President Yasser Arafat he wants to quit his post.[172]
  • Occupation of Iraq: Twin attacks in Baghdad killed a Spanish diplomat (by gunshot) and, in the other, at least ten people following an attack on a police station in Baghdad's main Shi'ite neighbourhood, exactly half a year since Coalition troops occupied the Iraqi city. [173] [174]
  • Safe sex: A BBC report claims that the Roman Catholic Church is incorrectly claiming that condoms are ineffective to prevent the spread of AIDS for ideological reasons, and hence putting lives at risk in high-risk countries. [175] [176]
  • Stereotyping: Ghettopoly board game upsets black leaders and clergymen in Philadelphia and they are outraged by this new unofficial version of Monopoly. The board game has "playas" acting like pimps, cards reading "You got yo whole neighbourhood addicted to crack. Collect $50" and squares labelled "Smitty's XXX Peep Show " and "Tyron's Gun Shop". Opponents state the game should be banned and have called for a boycott of Pennsylvania company, Urban Outfitters, unless they stop selling it. [177]
  • Cell phones: A Dutch teenager suffers burns to his leg when his Nokia mobile phone explodes in his pants pocket. Nokia previously stated that such incidents could result from use of non-Nokia replacement batteries. [178]

October 8, 2003

October 7, 2003

  • California recall: The state of California held a special election to decide whether to recall Governor Gray Davis, and, if so, who to replace him with. Also on the ballot: Proposition 53, the "California Twenty-First Century Infrastructure Investment Fund," and Proposition 54, the "Racial Privacy Initiative."
  • Nobel Prize: The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded jointly to Alexei Abrikosov, Vitaly Ginzburg and Anthony Leggett for their work on the theory of superconductors and superfluids. [186]
  • Middle East: United Nations envoy and Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process , Terje Roed-Larsen , condemns attack from Lebanese territory that killed an Israeli soldier across the southern withdrawal line and urges Beirut to control the use of force everywhere in its jurisdiction. Roed-Larsen, states the attack "constitutes a clear violation of the Blue Line and Security Council resolutions and could escalate tension between Israel and its northern neighbours" and he calls on all sides to use diplomacy and take no action that "could increase the already high level of tension in the region". [187]
  • Congo: UN spokesman states that a United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has discovered 65 bodies, mostly children, apparently massacred. [188]
  • Occupation of Iraq: The Turkish Parliament votes (358-to-183) to approve the dispatch of peacekeepers to Iraq, in a major victory for United States efforts to broaden foreign involvement in Iraq. In Baghdad, Iraqi Governing Council officials state that they would oppose any new foreign troop deployment to Iraq. No formal decision had been made by the Council and leaders of the council have stated they would support this if the United States requested this. [189]
  • Death Penalty: Some legal and medical professionals are stating warnings about the apparent tranquillity of a lethal injection, declaring this may be deceptive. According to these professional the standard chemical combination used to execute people may lead to paralysis that masks intense distress, leaving a wide-awake inmate unable to speak or cry out as he slowly suffocates. [190]
  • Genetic engineering: Small group of protesters brave chilly winds and strip off outside New Zealand Parliament to lobby against lifting the Genetically modified food moratorium. [191]
  • Surveillance: Vancouver bar patrons will soon have to produce identification and have their photograph taken every time they enter clubs or bars connected to an electronic network, the Barwatch system , designed to red-flag troublesome individuals. Once the system is in place, patrons will be asked to stand in front of a camera to have their picture taken and will then swipe their drivers licence, or possibly show some other form of identification, that will automatically give the establishment the patron's information. Some are likening the system to Big Brother [192] [193]
  • Africa: The South African government announce they would not prosecute the five policemen accused of killing Steve Biko in 1977, citing insufficient evidence to support a murder charge. [194]
  • Asia: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) announces its intention to form a single-market "Asian Community" by 2020.

October 6, 2003

  • Attempts by the Republic of Ireland's government to ban smoking in pubs, restaurants and hotels run into more trouble as a government minister who will have responsibility for enforcing the ban, Frank Fahey, refuses to deny that he is critical of the plan and wants a compromise that would allow smoking in some areas to continue. A former Mayor of Galway and Fianna Fáil councillor who has links with the pub industry resigns from a health authority in protest at the refusal of the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrat government to compromise on the proposed ban. This follows an earlier announcement that publicans in County Kerry will refuse to obey the new law and indications of growing popular opposition to the ban. [206]
  • Former Sky News correspondent James Furlong , who resigned over allegations that he had faked a report during the Iraq War, is found dead. Furlong, aged 44, had served as Sky News' Defence and Royal Correspondent. He had previously worked for ITN. [207]
  • A United Nations report says that almost 1 billion people worldwide are living in slums. By 2050 3 billion, out of a world urban population of 6 billion, may be living in slums, unless radical policies are implemented, according to the UN. Dr Anna Tibaijuka of the UN says the persistence of the slums should shame the whole world. [208]

October 5, 2003

  • Maher Arar is reported to have been freed from a Syrian jail. The Canadian engineer was deported to Syria by the United States as he changed planes in New York, over a year ago. [209] He will arrive in Montreal the following afternoon. [210]
  • Israeli warplanes attack an alleged Islamic Jihad training base deep in Syria in retaliation for a suicide bombing at a Haifa restaurant that killed 19 people, the army said Sunday. Israeli media state this is the first Israeli attack on Syrian soil in more than two decades. An emergency session of the UN Security Council is scheduled to debate the action. France and Germany condemn the attack. The international community calls for restraint by all parties involved. [211]
  • Pope John Paul II canonizes Daniele Comboni (1831-1881), Arnold Janssen (1837-1909) and Josef Freinademetz (1852-1908).
  • Ireland on Sunday claims that Pope John Paul II is suffering from terminal stomach cancer which has spread to his colon. The newspaper reports that the Pope has dictated a living will which gives instructions as to how the Catholic Church is to be administered when the medical treatment he is receiving makes it impossible for him to function as pope. According to the paper, Cardinals have been told to be ready at a moment's notice to fly to Rome for a Papal funeral and Papal conclave.
  • The band Hell on Earth reports that an Internet broadcast of a concert that was to feature a suicide of a terminally ill person did not happen on Saturday evening, because the Web site was attacked. Band members state that the concert still went on, but they are unsure whether the suicide took place.

October 4, 2003

October 3, 2003

  • Near-Earth asteroid: Confirmation on the closest near-miss of a natural object ever recorded. The asteroid (designated 2003 SQ222), about the size of a small house, flew past Earth at a distance of around 88,000 kilometres. It would have made a fireball had it entered the atmosphere. [214]
  • Iraq and weapons of mass destruction: The world continues to digest David Kay's report that finds very little evidence of WMD in Iraq, although the regime did intend to develop more weapons with additional capabilities. Such plans and programs appear to have been dormant, the existence of these were also concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in 2002. Weapons inspectors in Iraq do find clandestine "network of biological laboratories" and a deadly strain of botulinum. The US-sponsored search for WMD has so far cost $300 million and is projected to cost around $600 million more. [215] [216]
  • California recall: Arnold Schwarzenegger denies admiring Hitler. Arnold Schwarzenegger's denial comes days before the vote for the next governor of California. [217]
  • Politics: General Wesley Clark has made a bold political move and arguably a risky one by suggesting that members of the Bush administration may be liable to criminal charges in connection with the Iraq war. Mr. Clark alleges that the plans for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and other interventions in the Middle East (possibly including Lebanon and Syria), pre-dated the inauguration of the President and that the reasons for the war were misleadingly presented to the US people.
  • Evo Morales has said that Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, president of Bolivia, may be preparing a coup. [218] (in Spanish)
  • Missiles: Polish soldiers of the United States-led Coalition have discovered four advanced missiles around central Iraq in the Hilla region near a highway. The Roland-type French-made missiles (which are fired from a mobile launcher vehicle against low flying aircraft) are believed to have been manufactured earlier this year. Arms exports to Iraq had been barred by the United Nations after the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. France says it last shipped Roland missiles to Iraq in 1986. The Polish soldiers are later found to have misinterpreted markings that read 07-01-KND 2003 as a date on the missiles. [219] [220] [221]

October 2, 2003

October 1, 2003

Last updated: 08-31-2005 13:30:05
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