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Monday, 13 December, 2004, 14:00 GMT
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2004: Review of the year
4 January, 2004
Nasas Mars rover lands safely on the red planet.
After a sevenmonth voyage from Earth the US space agency's probe Spirit landed safely on the surface of Mars. Within hours of arriving it sent back its first images of the red planet's barren rockstrewn landscape.
27 January, 2004
The government introduces plans for English universities to charge variable fees.
There was intense wrangling in parliament when the government announced plans for fulltime undergraduates at English universities to pay fees of up to £3000 a year. In what was seen as a test of Tony Blair's authority the controversial bill was won in the House of Commons by just 5 votes after days of intense campaigning by ministers and rebel MPs.
28 January, 2004
Lord Huttons report into the events surrounding Dr David Kellys death is released.
Lord Hutton's report into the circumstances surrounding the death of UK weapons scientist Dr David Kelly was highly critical of the BBC. He said that BBC reports of claims that Downing Street "sexed up" a dossier on Iraq's illegal weapons were "unfounded". In its wake the BBC chairman and director general both resigned.
5 March, 2004
US lifestyle guru Martha Stewart is convicted for lying to investigators over a suspicious shares deal.
Martha Stewart who earned millions from a business empire based on selling domestic items and lifestyle advice was found guilty of lying to federal investigators about a suspicious sale of shares in the drug company ImClone. She was subsequently sentenced to five months' imprisonment.
11 March, 2004
Bomb attacks on four Madrid commuter trains kill 191 and injure hundreds more.
An Islamic group with links to alQaeda carried out a series of near simultaneous bomb attacks on three stations in the Spanish capital Madrid. The powerful explosions occurred just days before the country's elections. The poll went ahead as planned and in a shock result Spaniards voted out incumbent Prime Minister Aznar replacing him with Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
22 March, 2004
Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Yassin is killed in an Israeli air strike.
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin spiritual head of Palestinian militant group Hamas was killed in an Israeli air strike as he returned from a mosque in Gaza City at daybreak. The killing triggered unrest and calls for revenge from Palestinians as tens of thousands took part in a funeral.
31 March, 2004
Four US civilian contractors are killed and mutilated by a mob in Falluja Iraq.
Four contractors working for the US army were ambushed and killed as they drove through Falluja. The city in Iraq's socalled Sunni Triangle had been a hotbed of insurgent activity. However footage of the contractors' bodies being dismembered and strung up on the main bridge in Falluja caused widespread revulsion.
22 April, 2004
160 people die and 1300 are injured when two fuel trains collide in North Korea.
The devastation caused when two fuel trains collided in the town of Ryongchon North Korea caused the secretive Stalinist state make a rare appeal for international aid. Many were burned or blinded in the blast.
29 April, 2004
Photos of US soldiers allegedly abusing Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib prison emerge.
In late April a series of photos emerged showing US forces allegedly abusing Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. The graphic images showed naked prisoners being terrorised with dogs and forced to simulate sex acts. The guards involved with the alleged abuse face prosecution but some have questioned whether personnel further up the chain of command also knew what was happening.
1 May, 2004
10 new countries join the European Union bringing its membership to 25.
At midnight on 1 May the 15 old European Union members welcomed Cyprus the Czech Republic Estonia Hungary Latvia Lithuania Malta Poland Slovakia and Slovenia to the bloc. The historic expansion was marked with celebrations across member states.
6 June, 2004
Heads of state and thousands of war veterans gather in France to mark 60 years since DDay.
Arromanches in Normandy was the focus of international attention once more as it played host to the main ceremony marking the anniversary of DDay. Queen Elizabeth II and 16 other leaders joined surviving veterans in the small seaside town to pay tribute to those who died spearheading the reinvasion of Nazi Europe 60 years before.
11 June, 2004
The funeral of former US President Ronald Reagan takes place in Washington.
After a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease former US President Ronald Reagan died in June. Joining current President George W Bush at the funeral service in Washington's National Cathedral were expresidents and leading figures from abroad including former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
22 June, 2004
Belgian paedophile child killer Marc Dutroux is sentenced to life in prison.
Marc Dutroux dubbed Belgium's "most hated" man was convicted for kidnapping and repeatedly raping six girls in the 1990s and killing four of them. The case centred on the killing of two eightyearolds Melissa Russo and Julie Lejeune who died while held captive in Dutroux's house.
28 June, 2004
The US formally hands back Iraqi sovereignty.
At a lowkey ceremony in Baghdad which took place two days ahead of schedule to wrongfoot any possible insurgency US administrator Paul Bremer transferred sovereignty to an Iraqi judge. Iraq's interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and his cabinet ministers were officially sworn in later that day but even this oathtaking was held in secret.
3 July, 2004
Hollywood screen legend Marlon Brando dies.
Marlon Brando famous for his roles in On the Waterfront and The Godfather died aged 80 in a Los Angeles hospital. Brando was regarded as one of the pivotal actors of the postwar period revolutionising the way actors performed on screen.
8 July, 2004
High street store Marks and Spencer rejects a takeover bid by retail tycoon Philip Green.
In July the board of Marks amp Spencer rejected a £9.1bn 17bn proposed offer from Philip Green the owner of BHS and Arcadia. It was the latest bid from Mr Green to take control of the high street icon.
14 July, 2004
The Butler report on UK intelligence used to justify the war against Iraq is published.
The inquiry chaired by Lord Butler was set up to examine discrepancies between UK intelligence detrmation given ahead of the Iraq war and what has been discovered since the country's occupation. The report said the intelligence used to justify the war was now in doubt. Months later on 7 October 2004 the Iraq Survey Group concluded there had been no stockpiles of WMDs in Iraq.
22 July, 2004
The US commission investigating the 11 September attacks publishes its report.
The US commission investigating the 11 September attacks in Washington and New York in which nearly 3000 people died blamed US leaders for failing to comprehend the gravity of the threat posed by alQaeda. The commission charted how alQaeda was allowed to develop into a real danger to the US and recommended a wideranging overhaul of US intelligence services.
23 July, 2004
Peter Mandelson set to become Britains new European comissioner.
Tony Blair nominated longtime ally Peter Mandelson as Britain's next European commissioner. His appointment as Trade Commissioner represented a remarkable political comeback for Mr Mandelson who has twice resigned from the UK cabinet in controversial circumstances. Mr Mandelson was confirmed in the post in October.
12 August, 2004
Militants loyal to Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr stage an uprising in the Iraqi city Najaf.
In August militants loyal to radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr laid siege to the Iraqi holy city of Najaf. The Mehdi Army as the band of insurgents is known were engaged in fierce fighting with USled coalition forces for three weeks until a truce was finally struck.
13 August, 2004
The Olympics get under way in the city of Athens Greece.
Athens welcomed the world on 13 August 2004 with a spectacular opening ceremony. For Greeks the Games were overshadowed by the drugs controversy surrounding local sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou. But despite this cloud and preGames fears about the Greeks being underprepared the Games proved a huge success.
22 August, 2004
Edvard Munchs iconic painting The Scream is stolen from the Munch Museum in Norway.
Stunned visitors at the Munch Museum in Norway watched as armed robbers pulled The Scream and another painting Madonna off the wall and escaped in a waiting car. The museum said the two stolen paintings were among its most valuable worth an estimated 19m £10.4m together.
2 September, 2004
Malaysias former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is freed from jail after his sodomy conviction is overturned.
Anwar Ibrahim was jailed for six years for corruption in 1999 and in 2000 he received a further nine years for sodomy. But he always argued that the charges against him were politically motivated. He was sacked from his post as deputy in 1998 following a rift with former leader Mahathir Mohammed.
3 September, 2004
Over 300 people more than half of them children die as the Beslan school siege ends in violence.
For three days Chechen militants held more than 1000 parents and children hostage in the gymnasium at School Number One in Beslan. Then suddenly on the morning of 3 September the school was rocked by a series of explosions and gunfire. In the carnage that followed hundreds of people most of them children died.
13 September, 2004
A Fathers 4 Justice campaigner dressed as Batman breaches Buckingham Palace security.
A campaigner for Fathers 4 Justice scaled the fence at Buckingham Palace and climbed up to a ledge near the palace balcony where he staged a fivehour protest. It was the latest in a series of highprofile stunts by the group who are fighting for fathers to be given increased access to their children. The security slip shocked many and provoked a debate on the use of armed response to security breaches.
15 September, 2004
Parliament is suspended as prohunt campaigners invade the House of Commons.
Just two days after the Batman security breach at Buckingham Palace the House of Commons was invaded by five prohunt campaigners. The five included Otis Ferry son of rock star Bryan Ferry. They entered the Commons as MPs debated whether to ban hunting with dogs. The ban was later approved when Parliament resumed.
1 October, 2004
Tony Blair announces that if he wins the next election he will quit before a possible fourth term.
In a BBC interview Tony Blair announced that he intends to serve a full third term in office if elected but that he will not run for a fourth. Commentators described the announcement as extraordinary and clearly designed to curtail the leadership speculation that had gripped Westminster for months.
4 October, 2004
The SpaceShipOne rocket plane claims the 10m Ansari XPrize.
SpaceShipOne rocketed into the history books when it became the first private manned spacecraft to fly to the edge of space and back twice in less than a week. The stubby rocket plane shot to an altitude of more than 100km to claim the 10m Ansari XPrize.
7 October, 2004
UK hostage Ken Bigley is beheaded by militants in Iraq.
After three weeks of captivity British hostage Ken Bigley was beheaded by Islamic militants in Iraq. Mr Bigley had been abducted by the Tawhid and Jihad group led by Abu Musab alZarqawi. The abduction and murder of foreigners became a common terror tactic in Iraq in 2004. However in November the practice took a new twist with the murder of Margaret Hassan an aid worker there for 30 years.
9 October, 2004
Afghanistan holds its firstever presidential election.
Hamid Karzai the man who had been leading Afghanistan since the fall of the Taleban won Afghanistan's first presidential election. Analysts say Mr Karzai will try to use his new mandate to unite a country still riven by ethnic religious regional and tribal rivalries.
11 October, 2004
Film star Christopher Reeve dies.
Superman star Christopher Reeve died at the age of 52. nine years after being paralysed in a fall from his horse. Following the accident in which Reeve broke his neck the actor lobbied hard for more medical research spinal cord injuries.
12 October, 2004
The UK Pensions Commission warns of a future pensions crisis.
A study from the UK pensions commission warned that more than 12 million British workers are not saving enough for their retirement. The report said that without drastic changes many are headed towards poverty in old age.
26 October, 2004
UK broadcaster John Peel dies.
Broadcaster John Peel died suddenly from a heart attack whilst holidaying in Peru. For more than 40 years his latenight Radio 1 show had led the way in promoting new acts from David Bowie to the White Stripes.
27 October, 2004
Scientists discover a new tiny species of human that lived in Indonesia.
Scientists announced the discovery of a new species of human that lived in Indonesia at the same time our own ancestors were colonising the world. The onemetre 3ft tall species dubbed "the Hobbit" lived on Flores Island until at least 12000 years ago. Experts say the finding the remains of LB1 or IHomo floresiensis I will likely alter current thinking about human evolution.
2 November, 2004
US President George W Bush wins a second term in office.
After an election campaign that was too close to call George W Bush defeated challenger John Kerry in US presidential elections to win a second term. Mr Bush secured a strong mandate from the American people by winning not only the Electoral College vote but the popular vote too.
6 November, 2004
Seven die when a train is derailed by a car at a level crossing in Berkshire.
The train from London Paddington to Plymouth was travelling at about 100 mph when it struck a car on the line near the village of Ufton Nervet Berkshire. An offduty police officer who witnessed the crash said the car had been driven onto the track while the level crossing barriers were up and had remained in place as the train approached and the barriers lowered.
8 November, 2004
A fullscale USled assault on the insurgentheld Iraqi city of Falluja begins.
After weeks of preparation up to 15000 US and Iraqi government troops began their assault on the insurgentheld Iraqi city of Falluja. Backed by aircraft tanks and artillery the troops fought their way across the city. The majority of Falluja's 250000 residents had fled but a spokesman from the Iraqi Red Cross said it feared more than 6000 civilians had died in the offensive.
11 November, 2004
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat dies in Paris.
After days of speculation Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died at the age of 75 in the Paris hospital where he had been receiving treatment for a blood disorder. The body of the man who had led the Palestinian people for more than 40 years was flown to Egypt for a funeral service and then returned to his com£ in Ramallah for burial.
14 November, 2004
More than 40 music stars record the Band Aid 20 charity
Twenty years after Bob Geldof and Midge Ure gathered a group of pop stars to make the first Band Aid single a new generation of musicians came together in London to record Band Aid 20. Proceeds from sales of Do They Know It's Christmas will go towards relief for the Darfur region of Sudan and to combat HIV and Aids across Africa.
16 November, 2004
The UK government unveils plans to ban smoking in most enclosed public areas.
Acting on warnings that the nation needs to get fitter to curb NHS costs ministers announced a range of proposals to improve public health. The government's White Paper on Public Health aims to tackle smoking obesity drinking and sexual and mental health. A key recommendation is a ban on smoking in restaurants cafes offices and pubs which serve food.
22 November, 2004
Tens of thousands of Ukrainians protest against the presidential election result saying it was rigged.
Opposition supporters rallied in Ukraine's cities to protest against the result of the country's presidential elections. Officials had handed victory to Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych but many believed that the true winner was his challenger Viktor Yushchenko. After a two week campaign of civil disobedience involving thousands Ukraine's Supreme Court ordered a new round of voting by 26 December 2004.
8 December, 2004
A muchhoped for devolution deal for Northern Ireland is rejected.
Hopes for a return to powersharing in Northern Ireland failed to materialise when Ian Paisley's DUP persisted with a demand for photographic evidence of IRA decommissioning. Sinn Fein's leadership said it had been to see the IRA but that the organisation had refused to comply saying there could be "no humiliation" in the process.
15 December, 2004
UK Home Secretary David Blunkett resigns.
Mr Blunkett resigned as home secretary amid allegations that a visa application for his exlover's nanny had been fasttracked. He decided to go after an inquiry into the allegations established there had been an exchange of emails about the visa application between Mr Blunkett's office and immigration officials.
26 December, 2004
Yushchenko wins Ukraine presidential election rerun.
After weeks of protest against alleged election fraud by Ukraine's opposition supporters a new presidential election was held. This time election officials declared Viktor Yushchenko the winner saying he had beaten Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych by a clear margin. However the country remains deeply divided by the bitter regional divisions created by the sixmonth election saga.
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2004: Audio gallery
A look back at the year's key events in sound and pictures.
The year in issues
What went wrong in Iraq?
Timeline: The year in review
2004: Cheers and tears
Entertainment stars lost in 2004
Pick the best of BBC News 2004
Ups and downs
True or false
Quotes of year
The UK: 2004 in pictures
The World: 2004 in pictures
The showbiz year in pictures
VIDEO AND AUDIO
Review of 2004
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