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May 2003

2003 : January - February - March - April - May - June - July - August[?] - September[?] - October[?] - November[?] - December[?]

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

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Table of contents

May 31, 2003

May 30, 2003

May 29, 2003

  • Space Shuttle Columbia disaster: NASA officials release experimental findings proving that the insulation known to have hit the leading edge of Columbias left wing could have created a gap in between protective heat panels. [3] (http://www.spacedaily.com/2003/030530165612.o7ugq7o3)
  • 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 1.2 billion US dollars.
  • Legendary entertainer Bob Hope celebrates his 100th birthday, quipping "I'm so old, they've canceled my blood type." [4] (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=765&e=16&u=/nm/people_hope_dc)

May 28, 2003

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. [7] (http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/05/27/mideast/index)
  • 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 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. [8] (http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/05/26/turkey.crash/index)
  • A draft of the proposed European constitution is unveiled. [9] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2938272.stm)
  • 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 Microsoft 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, OpenOffice.org will be used. [10] (http://www.heise.de/newsticker/data/anw-26.05.03-004/)
  • Peter Hollingworth resigns as Governor-General of Australia.

May 25, 2003

May 24, 2003

May 23, 2003

  • U.S. 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 [12] (http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=108&session=1&vote=00196)
  • The Euro breaks through its 1999 launch exchange rate of USD 1.1747 for the first time. [13] (http://reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=businessNews&storyID=2804044)

May 22, 2003

May 21, 2003

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 [14] (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/21/politics/21WIRE-WHIT) [15] (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20030521/pl_afp/us_politics_environment_030521181833)
  • 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. [16] (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A15395-2003May20?nav=hptoc_tn)

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.

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 SP.a[?]-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. [17] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3037503.stm), [18] (http://www.swissinfo.org/sen/swissinfo?siteSect=105&sid=1865118), [19] (http://www.asahi.com/international/update/0518/008)
  • 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 17, 2003

May 16, 2003

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 (http://www.nature.com/nature/links/030515/030515-1), Environment News (http://ens-news.com/ens/may2003/2003-05-14-03.asp), BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3028251.stm)
  • 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 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". [22] (http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,58909,00), [23] (http://www.darpa.mil/ipto/Solicitations/PIP_03-30)
  • 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[?] Nestor 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 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 5 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) (http://www.moneyfactory.com/newmoney/)
  • Much of France comes to a standstill in a general strike of the public and private sectors. [24] (http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2003/05/13/france_strike030513)
  • 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. [25] (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A51709-2003May13)
  • 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 assasinate Akhmad Kadryov[?], the Moscow-appointed chief administrator of Chechnya. Kadryov escaped injury. [26] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3027343.stm), [27] (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A55544-2003May14)

May 12, 2003

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.
  • The first confirmed SARS case is reported in Finland. A man who had been visiting Toronto is now being treated at Turku University Hospital.
  • 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.
  • Rafael Palmeiro of the Texas Rangers hits the 500th home run of his career in a game against the Cleveland Indians.

May 10, 2003

May 9, 2003

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. [33] (http://securitytracker.com/alerts/2003/May/1006728), [34] (http://securityfocus.com/archive/75/320768/2003-05-05/2003-05-11/0)
  • The Russian mathematician Dr Grigori Perelman claims to have resolved the Poincaré conjecture. [35] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3005875.stm)
  • 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.

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.
  • The planet Mercury makes a rare five hour transit of the Sun, an event that occurs roughly 12 times per century.

May 6, 2003

May 5, 2003

  • Boeing unveils a drawing of a proposed airplane of the future and launches a public contest to name the airplane.

May 4, 2003

May 3, 2003

May 2, 2003

May 1, 2003



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