Monday, September 3, 2007

January 2005 : - January - February - March - April - May - June - July - August - September - October - November - December -
Deaths in January
29 Ephraim Kishon25 Philip Johnson23 Johnny Carson22 Parveen Babi20 Jan Nowak-Jeziorański17 Virginia Mayo • 17 Zhao Ziyang15 Ruth Warrick14 Rudolph Moshammer Ongoing events
Tsunami relief Ongoing armed conflicts
Arab-Israeli conflictConflict in ChechnyaSecond Congo WarConflict in Iraq (Occupation of Iraq)Darfur conflict in SudanCivil war in Côte d'Ivoire
Election results in January
2: Croatian presidential, first round 9: Palestinian presidential Ongoing trials
Chile: Augusto Pinochet ICTY: Slobodan Milošević Iraq: Iraqi Special TribunalSaddam Hussein, among others India: Best Bakery case India: Jayendra Saraswathi Netherlands: Volkert van der Graaf Netherlands: Mohammed Bouyeri United States: Robert Blake United States: Zacarias Moussaoui United States: Charles Graner Related pages
Year 2005 in ...

January 1, 2005

The world rings in 2005. Some nations observe a moment of silence with candles and white roses for the at least 150,000 dead and 5,000,000 left homeless after the 26 December tsunamis. In many countries flags are flown at half staff. (Reuters)
A group of Peruvian army reservists from the Movimiento Etnocacerista seize a police station in Andahuaylas, Apurímac Region, demanding the resignation of President Alejandro Toledo. Four police officers die in a shootout, another dozen police are taken as hostages, and a state of emergency is declared in the region. (BBC)
The Turkish currency is revalued at a rate of 1,000,000 "old" lira for 1 New Turkish Lira. (BBC)
Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

  • Israeli troops allegedly misfire a tank shell and kill a 9-year-old Palestinian girl; her 11-year-old sister was also injured. (Al Bawaba)
    Palestinian militants allegedly misfire a Qassam rocket and kill a Palestinian girl in Jabalia. (Haaretz)
    IDF soldiers kill 11 Palestinians, 9 of whom are alleged to have been militants and 2 said to have been civilians in Khan Yunis. (Haaretz)
    IDF soldiers kill 3 suspected Palestinian militants who were allegedly planting explosives near the border with Egypt in Rafah. (Haaretz)

    • Palestinian sources say the 3 men killed by the IDF near the border with Egypt in Rafah were unarmed. (Haaretz)
      Palestinian militants fire four Qassam rockets at the Negev and 3 at Sderot, Israel causing damage but no casualties. (Haaretz)
      Luxembourg takes over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. (AP) January 2, 2005

      Aníbal Acevedo Vilá officially becomes governor of Puerto Rico. He is the eighth popularly elected governor of the Commonwealth. (El Vocero, in Spanish)
      Global tsunami aid donations exceed USD 2 billion (EUR 1.5 billion). (Xinhua)
      The Washington Post and Reuters report that the US government is preparing to keep suspected terrorists in detention without charge for life. (Reuters) January 3, 2005

      In Iraq, a spate of suicide bombings (including one near Iraqi National Accord headquarters) kills 27. Interim defence minister Hazim al-Shaalan hints that the assembly elections scheduled for 30 January could be delayed to allow for Sunni Muslim participation. (Oman Times) (Al Jazeera)
      2004 Indian Ocean earthquake:

      • The United Nations accepts Singapore's offer to set up a UN Regional Coordination Centre to coordinate relief efforts to stricken areas. This centre will see an influx of UN staff and it is likely to be a long-term infrastructure to help reconstruction efforts. John Budd, UNICEF head of communications in Indonesia, said, "The Singapore government's military (SAF) response to the emergency in Aceh has been nothing less than outstanding. It has done a phenomenal job; all the aid agencies and the UN are very grateful for the enormous and fast response the military in Singapore brought to bear on this disaster." (CNA)
        Three U.S. PresidentsGeorge W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George H. W. Bush – make a joint appeal urging Americans to aid the tsunamis' victims. (BBC) Bush makes a presidential proclamation to fly the U.S. flag at half staff from 3-7 Jan in honor of the tsunami victims. (
        The United Kingdom's Metropolitan Police announces that they have arrested a suspect in a hoax case where Britons missing relatives or friends in the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake received e-mail messages informing them that the person had died. The messages came from the improbably fake address (Telegraph) (BBC) (London Free Press)
        In Peru, 200 men from the ultranationalist Movimiento Etnocacerista who took over the town of Andahuaylas and its police station first say they intend to give up their weapons, then retract, saying the government had reneged on a surrender deal. (BBC) (Bloomberg) (New York Times)
        In the Croatian election, incumbent President Stipe Mesic receives 49% of the vote. He will face Deputy Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor in a second round commencing on January 16. (Reuters) (BBC)
        In Uganda, a seven-week ceasefire between the government and the Lord's Resistance Army ends with the rebel ambush of government troops near the town of Gulu. President Yoweri Museveni promises to increase military action against the rebels. (BBC)
        Ethiopian opposition groups demonstrate against the government's plan to reopen border talks with Eritrea. (IOL) (BBC) January 4, 2005

        2004 Indian Ocean earthquake: Three Free Aceh Movement (GAM) rebels are killed in a clash with the Indonesian military in the northern Aceh province. Fighting broke out apparently when Indonesian troops attempted to escort aid trucks. Both sides claim the other are taking advantage of the devastation left from the tsunamis. (ABC Australia) (
        Conflict in Iraq: Governor of Baghdad Ali al-Haidri is assassinated in a roadside ambush in the Iraqi capital. (BBC)
        Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Seven Palestinians are killed when an Israeli tank opens fire on farmland in the northern Gaza Strip. Palestinian presidential candidate and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas responds to the deaths with a strong verbal attack on the "Zionist enemy" Israel. Six of the dead were from the same family, including an 11-year-old boy. All the dead were civilians younger than 18. (The Guardian) (BBC) (BBC)
        In Peru, Antauro Humala, the leader of the Movimiento Etnocacerista, turns himself in, thereby ending the hostage crisis. (Reuters) (BBC)
        The Algerian government announces a crackdown on the GIA rebel organization. Its leader Nourredine Boudiafi was arrested and his deputy Chaabane Younes killed in operation two months ago. (Afrol) (Reuters) (BBC)
        In Burundi, government forces and members of various armed groups begin to join to form a national army. (BBC)
        In Malawi, three members of the ruling United Democratic Front party are arrested for carrying guns to a meeting with the president Bingu wa Mutharika. They are later released on bail. (Reuters Alertnet) (Nation Onliune, Malawi) (BBC) January 5, 2005

        According to The 2005 Index of Economic Freedom, the USA has for the first time dropped from the top 10 free nations of the world, Hong Kong continues its number one ranking for the 11th consecutive year, released by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal. (The Heritage Foundation | 2005 Index) (Financial Times)
        Venezuela promises to investigate claims that Rodrigo Granda, a prominent member of the Colombian rebel group FARC, was captured from Caracas instead of from inside Colombia. Granda was arrested December 13, 2004. (BBC)
        Serbian Justice Minister Zoran Stojkovic rejects the U.N. ICTY war crimes tribunal's demands that Serbia arrest four generals accused of committing atrocities in Kosovo. (B92) (BBC)
        The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accuses Mexican broadcaster TV Azteca of involvement in a massive debt fraud; TV Azteca stock on the New York and Mexico City exchanges drops 9% on the news. (BBC) January 2005 January 6, 2005

        Former South African President Nelson Mandela breaks a strong taboo when he announces that the death at age 54 of his sole surviving son, Makgatho Mandela, was caused by AIDS, which kills about 600 people daily in South Africa. His action is viewed as being critical of his successor, Thabo Mbeki, who has denied a link between HIV and AIDS. (ABC), (BBC).
        2004 U.S. presidential election controversy:

        • U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary Democratic Staff releases a 100 page report on the Ohio election. [1]
          For the first time since 1877 the Electoral vote certification in Congress was interrupted by a formal challenge to an entire state's Electoral votes. The challenge of Ohio's Electoral votes, brought by U.S. Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones and U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, lead to a 2-hour debate. The challenge was rejected by a vote of 1-74 (Yea-Nay) by the Senate and by a vote of 31-267 in the House; the electoral vote for the United States Presidency is officially certified as 286 for Republican George W. Bush, 251 for Democrat John Kerry, and 1 for Democrat John Edwards, leading to Bush's reelection. (CNN)
          Camp X-Ray: The United States Department of Defense announces a new investigation into allegations of prisoner abuse at the Camp X-Ray detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (BBC)
          Conflict in Iraq: An Iraqi civilian testifies that U.S soldiers, including Sergeant Tracy Perkins, forced him and his cousin to jump into the Tigris River and laughed as his relative was swept to his death. (BBC)
          2004 Indian Ocean earthquake: World leaders gather in Jakarta, Indonesia, for an emergency summit with the United Nations. Aid pledges since the Asian Tsunami disaster are near USD 4 billion ( 3 billion). Nearly 150,000 people have been confirmed dead in the four hardest hit nations - Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. (CNA) January 7, 2005

          2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake:

          • Japan sends its largest military deployment since World War II to tsunami-hit countries, with around 1,000 troops on standby. (CNA)
            The Group of Seven Industrialised Nations (G7) agrees to a moratorium on the debt repayments of countries worst affected by the tsunamis in Asia, sources at the HM Treasury said. (CNA)
            FBI warn of fake disaster appeal scams (CNN)
            Ten gang members are sentenced to prison terms of 25 to 40 years for the murders of 12 women in Juárez, Mexico; however, many hundreds of the deaths in Ciudad Juárez remain unsolved. (BBC)
            Northern Ireland police Chief Constable Hugh Orde publicly accuses the Provisional IRA of the largest bank robbery in U.K. history, now assessed at £26.5 million. The money was taken from the Northern Bank in Belfast on December 20. (BBC) (RTÉ)
            Conflict in Iraq:

            • Seven U.S. soldiers are killed in a bomb attack in Baghdad. (BBC)
              The French newspaper Libération reports that its journalist Florence Aubenas is missing in Iraq. (Libération) (Reuters) (BBC)
              Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:

              • Palestinian presidential candidate Mustafa Barghouti is arrested by Israeli police on the last day of the campaign as he tried to enter the Al-Aqsa mosque. (BBC)
                One Israeli is killed and four are wounded in a Palestinian shooting attack in the north West Bank. The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claim responsibility. (Haaretz)
                The People's Republic of China jails five people for eight years for selling fake infant formula, which has caused the deaths of at least 13 infants and illness in 189. (Reuters Alertnet)
                The Ukrainian Supreme Court rejects Viktor Yanukovych's appeal against the electoral commission's decision that he lost the presidential election. (BBC) (Reuters)
                Chilean officials search the offices of Augusto Pinochet and investigate his U.S. bank accounts. (BBC)
                80-year-old Edgar Ray Killen is arrested for the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers that inspired the American Civil Rights Movement and the film Mississippi Burning. (CNN) January 8, 2005

                A U.S. Navy nuclear submarine, USS San Francisco, runs aground south of the Pacific island of Guam. (USA Today|AP) (BBC)
                2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake:

                • The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reveals a detailed minute-to-minute Indian Ocean tsunami timeline. (CNN) (NOAA Press Release)
                  An Islamist group with alleged al Qaeda links has set up a relief camp on Indonesia's Sumatra island, raising concerns in the U.S. and Australia that it could stir up sentiment against their troops who are also assisting the aid effort. The Laskar Mujahidin group has posted a sign at its camp that reads (in English) "Islamic Law Enforcement". (CNN)
                  Conflict in Iraq:

                  • U.S. Army sergeant Tracy Perkins is acquitted of manslaughter but found guilty of aggravated assault for forcing two Iraqi civilians to leap from a bridge into the River Tigris on 3 January 2004. (BBC)
                    The U.S. Army promises an investigation into an incident in Mosul in which an F-16 jet dropped a 500 pound "precision-guided" bomb on the wrong target. The army claims five civilians were killed; 14 died, say locals. (BBC)
                    September 11, 2001, attacks: About 8,000 photographs recovered from the ruins of the World Trade Center after the terrorist attacks have been restored and will be posted on a restricted-access website for people to identify and claim by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on January 18. (CNN) January 9, 2005

                    Conflict in Iraq:

                    • Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr joins Sunnis in calling for a delay in the assembly election, saying that it cannot happen if Sunnis cannot fairly participate. President of Iran Mohammad Khatami says his country opposes a postponement because the elections will facilitate "the exit of occupation forces". (Boston Globe) (BBC)
                      The Iraqi interior ministry reports that U.S. soldiers mistakenly shot and killed two Iraqi policemen and two civilians after an attack on their convoy.
                      Gunmen kill the deputy police chief of the city of Samarra, Major Muhammad Muzaffar. (BBC)
                      The U.S. military frees about 230 prisoners it was holding at Abu Ghraib. Around 7,400 remain in custody. (BBC)
                      Arab-Israeli Conflict: A French officer, working for the United Nations, is killed by shelling in the disputed Shebaa Farms area of Southern Lebanon. Israeli planes and artillery had been firing on suspected Hezbollah positions in the area in retaliation for Hezbollah's attack which killed an Israeli officer. (BBC)
                      After a 66% turnout and extended hours, an exit poll shows Mahmoud Abbas winning the Palestinian presidential election with two-thirds of the vote and challenger Mustafa Barghouti getting 19.7%. (AP) (BBC)
                      Storm winds sweep across northern Europe, leaving at least 13 people dead and millions without electricity. (CNN) (BBC)
                      In Nairobi, Kenya, a peace treaty is signed between warring factions in the Sudanese civil war, which has claimed over 1.5 million lives in more than 20 years. (BBC)
                      After convincing the authorities that he was shooting a documentary, Borat managed to infuriate a crowd at a rodeo in Salem, Virginia, USA: first by saying that "I hope you kill every man, woman and child in Iraq, down to the lizards...and may George W. Bush drink the blood of every man, woman and child in Iraq" (which received a fair amount of applause); and then, by rendering a mangled version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" that was misreported as ending with the words "your home in the grave" by the Roanoke Times (Borat had actually sung "home of the gays"). He was then escorted off of the premesis. January 10, 2005

                      Four CBS News staffers are fired following the release of an independent investigation of a 60 Minutes story about U.S. President George W. Bush's military service that relied on forged documents. (CNN)
                      Mahmoud Abbas is officially declared winner of the Palestinian presidential election, with 62.3% of the votes cast. (BBC)
                      Darfur conflict: United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan warns that the security situation in Darfur is deteriorating. (BBC)
                      Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez says he is convinced that Colombian police captured FARC leader Rodrigo Granda in Venezuela, contrary to their claims that he was arrested in the Colombian border town of Cúcuta. (Reuters Alertnet) (BBC)
                      A smoking ban comes into effect in Italy, prohibiting tobacco smoking in public places. It has been reported that some businesses and smokers intend to defy the ban. (Boston Globe) (BBC)
                      In India, more than 55 people are killed when a bus falls into the Almatti canal in Bijapur district, Karnataka. (BBC)
                      In the Philippines, the truce between the army and Islamist rebels collapses. Government forces exchange fire with the MILF rebels in Mindanao. The peace talks are still ongoing. (Reuters Alertnet)
                      Tides of over 2 meters inundate Port Blair, Andaman Islands, India, raising fears that the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake has changed tidal patterns. BBC January 11, 2005

                      Purged Chinese Communist leader Zhao Ziyang is hospitalized, but in stable condition, according to the People's Republic of China government. The announcement came after rumors spread that he had died. (BBC)
                      Italian motorcyclist Fabrizio Meoni is the second competitor to die in as many days in the 2005 Paris Dakar Rally. (TSN)
                      In Nigeria, Audu Ogbeh, chairman of the ruling People's Democratic Party, resigns over disagreements with President Olusegun Obasanjo. (Vanguard) (NigeriaWorld) (Reuters Alertnet) (BBC)
                      Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez signs a land reform decree aimed at reducing unused and absentee-owned agricultural properties. (Bloomberg) (BBC)
                      In Australia, 9 people are dead and 15 others are unaccounted for, in a bushfire in Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. ( (The Australian) (Reuters)
                      4 die, 11 are injured, and 13 are missing after a mudslide in La Conchita, California, in the U.S. (Reuters) (San Francisco Chronicle)
                      Dozens of mostly elderly Asian pilgrims have died thus far on Hajj, including over 30 Pakistanis and 29 Indians. Some have been critical of the Health provisions on site. The Saudi authorities' work on the Jamrat Bridge, where many pilgrims died last year, is almost complete. (Daily Times) (Islam Online)(Times of India)
                      Intense flooding hits the Caribbean coasts of southern Central America; Costa Rican President Abel Pacheco declares a state of emergency. (BBC)
                      Dr. Albert Hofmann celebrated his 99th birthday. Dr. Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 while working at Sandoz Laboratories in Basle, Switzerland. He became the first person to discover its psychedelic effects on April 16, 1943. (MAPS) January 12, 2005

                      Conflict in Iraq: Iyad Allawi, the interim Prime Minister of Iraq has admitted parts of the country will not be voting in this month's election. (BBC)
                      British Airways flight 175 from London to New York is turned back by the U.S. TSA, who claim a passenger's name matches a suspected Moroccan terrorist. The passenger is questioned for two hours by British police and then released. The other 239 passengers resume their journeys nine hours late. (Sky News)
                      Reports are emerging, from Channel 4 news and other sources, that Sir Mark Thatcher is to plead guilty over his part in an alleged coup plot in Equatorial Guinea. (BBC)
                      United States intelligence officials confirm that its search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq ended last month. The claim that Iraq had an active WMD program was the White House's key justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. (CNN) (BBC) (Reuters) (Link dead as of 03:06, 15 January 2007 (UTC))
                      Camp X-Ray: Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called for the release of the remaining inmates at Guantanamo Bay and terror suspects detained without trial in the UK referring to the detentions without trial as "unacceptable" and "distressing". (BBC)
                      Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Israel has carried out a series of raids into the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Two armed men were shot and killed in Ramallah, while four men were arrested in Gaza City. An Israeli civilian was also killed, and three Israeli soldiers were wounded following an Islamic Jihad attack on Morag, in the southern Gaza Strip. (BBC)
                      In China, fire in a fireworks factory in Shanxi province leads to 25 deaths (Reuters) (Link dead as of 03:06, 15 January 2007 (UTC))
                      In Côte d'Ivoire, former rebels warn that controversy over a disputed nationality law could restart the civil war (BBC). South African president Thabo Mbeki is in the country to mediate but ex-rebels refuse to meet him (SABC) (Reuters Alertnet)
                      In Senegal, there is a growing opposition to a recent bill that grants amnesty to political crimes since 1983 (BBC)
                      Indonesian army tightens its control over foreigners in the Aceh province (BBC)Yahoo! News (Link dead as of 03:06, 15 January 2007 (UTC))
                      In Abkhazia, breakway province of Georgia, government re-runs disputed presidential election of last October. Sergei Bagapsh and Raul Khadzhimba run as a team. Most countries do not recognize Abkhazian independence. (ITAR-TASS) (Interfax) (BBC)
                      In the USA, Lithuanian-born Vladas Zajanckauskas is charged with killing Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War Two. If sentenced, he may lose his US citizenship (Boston Herald) (Link dead as of 03:06, 15 January 2007 (UTC))
                      Spies that worked for CIA during the Cold War sue for promised life-long support (Reuters) (Link dead as of 03:06, 15 January 2007 (UTC)), (NPR audio) (Washington Times) (Link dead as of 03:06, 15 January 2007 (UTC))
                      The People's Republic of China forcibly shuts down a press conference about North Korean refugees held by South Korean legislators. (Reuters) (Link dead as of 03:06, 15 January 2007 (UTC))
                      Deep Impact was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral at 1:47 p.m. EST (1847 UTC) by a Delta 2 rocket. (NASA) January 13, 2005

                      Conflict in Iraq: Sheikh Al-Madaini, a senior aide to the Ayatollah Sistani, 4 bodyguards and his son have been killed in an attack in the Baghdad's suburb Salman Pak. (BBC)
                      Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:

                      • Palestinian militants explode a truck laden with explosives in the Karni crossing in the eastern Gaza Strip. At least 6 Israelis were killed, as well as three of the attackers, and about 10-20 were wounded in the attack. The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the Popular Resistance Committees and Hamas claimed joint responsibility. (Haaretz) (Reuters)(BBC)
                        Israeli troops kill two Palestinians in the Gaza strip, one of whom was driving a pregnant neighbour to hospital. (BBC)
                        Record temperatures across Europe make many animals awake early from hibernation. Avalanche alerts are raised to the highest level in Romania and Austria. (CBC)
                        Paleontologists of the American Museum of Natural History have unveiled a fossil of a mammal that has apparently eaten a baby dinosaur. (Reuters)
                        Paris Club has offered a debt freeze to nations affected by 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake (Reuters) (BBC)
                        In Indonesia, rebels of the Free Aceh Movement called for ceasefire (Jakarta Post) (BBC)
                        A Colombian minister states that the government hired bounty hunters to capture rebel Rodrigo Fanda from Venezuela. (New York Times) (BBC) Colombia has also invited more bounty hunters to capture FARC rebels. (Reuters Alertnet)
                        Prince Harry of the United Kingdom apologizes for wearing a uniform-like costume with a Nazi swastika at a friend's costume party. (BBC) January 14, 2005

                        Saudi Arabia's supreme judicial council announced that the ritual of the day of Arafat would take place Wednesday rather than Thursday as expected. This means that Eid ul-Adha will begin a day earlier than thought. (The Guardian), (
                        Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Gaza Strip has been completely sealed off by Israel, following yesterday's events which saw the first major attacks by Palestinians on Israeli civilians since Mahmoud Abbas was elected, and followed several Israeli raids in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. (BBC) (Al Jazeera)
                        Embattled Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Judy Sgro resigns in order to clear her name. She is replaced by Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Joe Volpe who in turn is replaced in that ministry by Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Lucienne Robillard. [2]
                        In what is expected to be one of the major scientific events of this decade, the Huygens probe successfully lands on Saturn's largest moon Titan. Data sent back from the probe via the Cassini orbiter is now being analysed. Three low-resolution pictures have been released, including one from an altitude of 16 km that appears to show channels cut by liquid, and another from the surface of Titan showing rocks or ice. (New Scientist) (Reuters) (Wired) (BBC) (ABC News) (ESA)
                        The World Health Organization reports that worldwide polio cases rose by more than one-third in 2004, from 784 in 2003 to 1,185 last year. The increase is attributed to a boycott on vaccines in Kano, Nigeria led by a group of hard-line Islamic clerics who claim that vaccines are part of an American conspiracy. (CNN)
                        An Argentinean ex-naval officer Adolfo Scilingo goes to trial in Spain accused of killing political prisoners during Argentina's "Dirty War". He was declared fit for trial despite a hunger strike. (Reuters Alertnet) (BBC)
                        Somalian transitional parliament in Kenya has approved the second suggested cabinet of prime minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi. They rejected his earlier suggested cabinet four weeks ago (AllAfrica) (Reuters Alertnet) (BBC)
                        Venezuela recalls its ambassador to Colombia because of the disagreement over capture of FARC member Rodrigo Granda (BBC)
                        Malaysia and Singapore have agreed to a truce on the disagreement over land reclamation project in Johor Straits (Malaysian Star) (CNA) (Reuters) January 15, 2005

                        The Straits Aviation Exchange Commission and Taipei Airlines Association announce that the first direct flights between mainland China and Taiwan since 1949 will be allowed to occur during the Chinese New Year holidays. (BBC)
                        Zhao Ziyang, former Premier of the People's Republic of China and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, is in a coma after multiple strokes. (CNN), (BBC), (Reuters)
                        Conflict in Iraq: U.S.-led forces in Iraq have destroyed and contaminated precious ancient Babylonian archaeological evidence and sites according to a report by the British Museum. (AFP) (AP)
                        Palestinian presidential election:

                        • Mahmoud Abbas (a.k.a. Abu Mazen) is sworn in as president of the Palestinian Authority in a ceremony in the West Bank town of Ramallah, six days after winning the Palestinian presidential election. (BBC)
                          Dozens of Palestinian election officials resigned, alleging irregularities and intimidation in Sunday's Presidential election. (BBC)
                          Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

                          • Mahmoud Abbas, the new Palestinian President, has called for an end to the violence, and a mutual ceasefire between the Israelis and the Palestinian Militant factions. (BBC)
                            Qassam rocket fire hits Sderot, wounding 6 people, a 17 year old Israeli woman suffered critical wounds. (Haaretz)
                            Eight Palestinians have been killed in two separate clashes in the Gaza strip. An Israeli child living on a settlement was also injured. (BBC), (Haaretz)
                            The fictional character Jára da Cimrman is reported in a big surprise to lead the scores of The Biggest Czech person competition organized by Czech television. January 16, 2005

                            Adriana Iliescu becomes the world's oldest woman to give birth, at age 66.
                            Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:

                            • An Israeli tank shell has killed a Palestinian woman and her son in Khan Younis refugee camp in southern Gaza. (BBC)
                              Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon instructs the army to take action against terrorism and Palestinian rocket attacks stating it was to be "without restrictions, I emphasize, without restrictions" following an attack by militants at a Gaza crossing that killed 6 Israelis, which followed several Israeli raids into the West Bank and Gaza which killed dozens of Palestinians. (AP) (The Guardian)
                              The PLO has called for an end to attacks by Palestinian militant groups against Israelis. (BBC)
                              Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has called on Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to resume contacts with Mahmoud Abbas, the new President (Ra'ees) of the Palestinian Authority. Sharon had cut off all contact with the new Palestinian leader before he was inaugurated supposedly because Israel believes Palestinian officials aided the Militants attacks of the Karni checkpoint. (BBC) (The Guardian) January 17, 2005

                              State television and radio in the People's Republic of China make no announcement of Zhao Ziyang's death. Newspapers carry a short five-line announcement. Zhao's secretary Bao Tong and other dissidents and activists call for democratic reforms. Messages of condolence posted on the People's Daily and message boards are promptly deleted. (BBC) (BBC)
                              An Indian train fire that killed up to 60 Hindus and sparked deadly religious riots in 2002 was started by accident - not firebombs thrown by Muslims as had been reported, an Indian Railways inquiry headed by a retired Judge Bannerjee has said. Justice Banerjee said that according to eyewitness accounts people had been cooking in the carriage at the time it caught fire. (BBC)
                              Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh writes in The New Yorker [3] that sources inside the military and the intelligence communities say the United States administration has indicated its resolve to attack Iran and to conduct broad covert action in many countries. The Pentagon released an official statement saying "Mr. Hersh's article is so riddled with errors of fundamental fact that the credibility of his entire piece is destroyed." (BBC) (DOD)
                              Zhao Ziyang, former Premier of the People's Republic of China and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, dies at age 85. (XinhuaNet), (Reuters), (CNN), (BBC).
                              Croatian president Stipe Mesic is elected for a second term. (Reuters)
                              A subway crash in Bangkok, Thailand, injures over 100. (Malaysia Star) (BBC)
                              Scandinavian prime ministers Göran Persson, Kjell Magne Bondevik and Matti Vanhanen visit Thailand in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake. (ScandAsia) (Bangkok Post) (BBC)
                              James Morris, the head of the United Nations World Food Program, visits Tamil Tigers over the objections of the Sri Lankan government (Bloomberg) (BBC)
                              Venezuela has rejected the suggestion of Colombia to hold a regional summit to resolve the dispute over the capture of FARC leader Rodrigo Granda. Hugo Chávez states that he is willing to discuss the matter personally with Álvaro Uribe. (MercoPress) (BBC)
                              Two people sue the Metropolitan Police in London, which detained them after the May Day riots in 2001. (BBC) (Guardian) (
                              In Kobe, Japan, people remember the victims of the 1995 Kobe earthquake. At the same time, there is a large disaster conference in the city. (Asahi Shimbun) (Bloomberg) (Channel News Asia) January 18, 2005

                              Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

                              • Palestinian suicide bomber killed one and wounded six Israelis in Gush Katif junction in the Gaza Strip. Hamas claimed responsibility. (Haaretz)
                                Bao Tong, Zhao Ziyang's former secretary and the highest ranking official to be jailed after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 is blocked from paying his respects at a mourning hall set up in Zhao's Beijing home. Bao's wife, Jiang Zongcao, was injured in the scuffle with plain-clothes police and had to be hospitalized.(Reuters)
                                Conflict in Iraq:

                                • Iraq is to close all its land borders for three days around the 30 January elections in an attempt to enhance security, election officials have said. (BBC)
                                  Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul Basile Georges Casmoussa is kidnapped in Iraq. The Vatican condemns the act and demands his release; Casmoussa is later freed. (Catholic World News) (Reuters) (BBC)
                                  A U.N. World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe, Japan begins. About 3,000 government officials, non-governmental experts and other specialists from around the world will discuss the growing trend of people affected by natural disasters. (BBC) (WCDR Official Site)
                                  The government of Sudan signs a preliminary peace treaty with the National Democratic Alliance, an opposition umbrella group of rebels in the north and east of the country. (Sudan Tribune) (IslamOnline) (BBC)
                                  In France, labour unions are threatening to begin a succession of strikes to protest against the government of president Jacques Chirac. (Expatica) (BBC)
                                  The Airbus A380 is officially launched at a ceremony in the main French Airbus factory in Toulouse. Carrying between 550 and 840 passengers (depending on configuration), the double decker A380 is now the largest passenger airliner in the world. (Reuters) (BBC)
                                  Mark Latham, leader of Australia's opposition Labor Party, resigns from his position and from parliament due to ill health. Possible replacements include former deputy prime minister Kim Beazley, shadow foreign minister Kevin Rudd and shadow health minister Julia Gillard. (Melbourne Herald Sun) (ABC) (BBC)
                                  The United Nations World Food Program appeals for aid to Mauritania, after drought and large locust swarms destroy the harvest. (AllAfrica) (Planet Ark) (Reuters Alertnet)
                                  Two former Bosnian Serb officers, Vidoje Blagojevic and Dragan Jokic, have been convicted and imprisoned for their complicity in the Srebrenica massacre in 1995. (BBC) January 19, 2005

                                  2004 Indian Ocean earthquake: The number of people known to have died in last month's Asian tsunami has reached 226,000, following an announcement by Indonesian officials that more than 166,000 had been confirmed dead in their country alone. (BBC)
                                  Hajj: Around two million Muslims from around the world are converging on Mount Arafat for the most important day of the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. (BBC)
                                  Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:

                                  • Following negotiations with President Abu Mazen, Zachariya Zubaidi, the leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, has announced that his militant group are to halt attacks inside Israel but said it would continue to strike at Israelis in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (Al Jazeera)
                                    Israel has lifted a ban on contacts with new Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. (BBC)
                                    The top Palestinian security commander, Abdul Razeq Majaydeh, has promised swift action to stop terrorist attacks against Israel and has deployed Security forces along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel "to prevent violations". (Pravda)(BBC)
                                    IDF forces killed two Palestinian terrorists who threw grenades at Israeli soldiers near the Israeli Gaza Strip barrier. (Haaretz)
                                    In Nablus, IDF Shayetet-13 forces arrest 13 suspected Hamas members and demolished two buildings. (Haaretz)
                                    Hamas has said that its meeting with President Abu Mazen was "positive", but has not indicated if an agreement on a cease-fire, or Hudna, has been made. (China View)
                                    Japan Meteorological Agency issues tsunami warnings near the Izu island chain south of Tokyo after a strong undersea earthquake (6.8 on the Richter scale). (Bloomberg), (BBC), (Xinhua)
                                    In Peru, prime minister Carlos Ferrero and defence minister Roberto Chiabra survive a censure motion in parliament connected to earlier nationalist uprising in January. (BBC)
                                    The Indian Army says that Pakistan has violated ceasefire after a mortar fire over the military line that divides Kashmir. Pakistan denies the charge. (ExpressIndia) (Reuters Alertnet) (BBC)
                                    Indonesian foreign minister Hassan Wirayuda says that he wishes to start formal peace talks with Free Aceh Movement. (Jakarta Post) (Reuters) (BBC)
                                    Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge has began to restore a hut of Sir Ernest Shackleton on the South Pole. (BBC) January 20, 2005

                                    Grenada switches recognition from the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the People's Republic of China following a million dollar aid deal from the PRC. This brings the number of countries that officially recognize the ROC to 25. (BBC)
                                    In Belize, unrest over the government's new taxes boils over as people burn the government offices and union workers strike, closing ports and shutting down water services. There are reports that the United Kingdom says it will send in 1500 soldiers to maintain peace. Belizetimes Belize channel 5 Belize channel 7 (Amandala) (Belizean)
                                    Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Israeli soldiers shoot dead a 13 or 14 year old Palestinian boy, after he points a toy rifle at them, and kill another 13 year old boy walking with his parents near Rafah. (BBC)
                                    United States:

                                    • U.S. President George W. Bush is sworn in for his second term, with a pledge to seek "freedom in all the world". (AP)
                                      U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney blames Saddam Hussein for the slow pace of the Iraqi reconstruction: "I think the hundreds of thousands of people who were slaughtered at the time, including anybody who had the gumption to stand up and challenge him, made the situation tougher than I would have thought." (AP)
                                      A series of anti-war protests and rallies occur in Washington DC and other cities during the inauguration of George W. Bush. Police engage some snowball throwing protesters with pepper spray and batons. (Reuters) (NewStandard) (Democracy Now!)

                                      • Pilgrims on Hajj celebrate Eid ul-Adha in Saudi Arabia, and prepare to stone the pillars that represent satan, and eat meat of a newly killed animal, while giving meat to those less fortunate as qurbani. Hajj Celebrations will also be held around the world, but some will wait until Friday. (BBC)
                                        The most senior Islamic cleric in Saudi Arabia, Sheik Abdul-Aziz al-Sheik, again uses his Hajj sermon to speak out against terrorism, saying that the militants "were lured by the devil", and also states, "Faith does not mean killing Muslims or non-Muslims who live among us, it does not mean shedding blood, terrorising or sending body parts flying." (Chicago Sun-Times) (The Guardian)
                                        The Republic of Ireland, one of the last countries to use non-metric speed limits, officially changes all road signage and regulations to use kilometres per hour (km/h). Speed limits in Northern Ireland remain in miles per hour (mph). (RTÉ) (BBC)
                                        In Ukraine, the Supreme Court dismisses prime minister Viktor Yanukovych's appeal and confirms that Viktor Yushchenko has won the presidential election. (Bloomberg) (ITAR-TASS) (Reuters) (BBC)
                                        President of Guinea Lansana Conté survives an apparent assassination attempt. (IAfrica) (Reuters)
                                        Brazil offers to mediate between Colombia and Venezuela in a disagreement about the capture of Rodrigo Granda. (BBC)
                                        In Peru, after vice president David Waisman faints during a TV interview, President Alejandro Toledo demands that criticism of his government be toned down. (BBC)
                                        Cuba announces a ban of smoking in public places that is due to begin next month. Cigars are one of Cuba's main exports. (Reuters Alertnet) (Jamaica Observer)
                                        The trial of Bernie Ebbers, former CEO of WorldCom, begins in New York with the jury selection. ( (Newsday)
                                        Mars rover Opportunity uses its spectrometers to prove that Heat Shield Rock is a meteorite, the first to be found on another planet. (BBC) (
                                        The Walt Disney Company announces that the water park River Country will be closed permanently. January 21, 2005

                                        In Belize, the unrest continues for a second day. Water has been cut and government buildings have been torched. (Belize channel 5) (Belize channel 7)
                                        Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:

                                        • The Palestinian Authority redeploys paramilitary police in Gaza for the first time since the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada. (Reuters)
                                          Hamas publishes a document in which it recognizes the 1967 borders. (Haaretz)
                                          B15A, the world's largest iceberg with 160 km length, seems to have run aground in Antarctica, threatening to cut off supply ships for a number of scientific research stations and to starve tens of thousands of penguins. (CBC)
                                          Conflict in Iraq:

                                          • 5 Danish troops, including an army intelligence officer, have been charged with mistreating Iraqi prisoners in southern Iraq last year. (BBC)
                                            At least 14 people die in a car bombing at a Shi'a mosque in Iraq's capital, amid threats of a long war from a key militant. (BBC)
                                            In Lucerne, Switzerland, a trial opens against a nurse accused of killing 24 patients. (SwissInfo)
                                            The Italian government condemns the destruction of an Italian cemetery in Mogadishu, Somalia. Local militia wanted to clear the area for a base. (BBC)
                                            Italian police have arrested number of people connected to smuggling of illegal immigrants from Libya. (AGI) (BBC)
                                            Chilean judge Sergio Munoz intends to launch an international investigation for secret bank accounts of Augusto Pinochet. (Reuters) (BBC)
                                            In France, teachers and civil servants join the growing numbers of strikers to protest over job cuts in the public sector. (BBC) (Reuters)
                                            The relatives of victims of Kursk submarine disaster appeal to the European Court of Human Rights for an additional investigation into the catastrophe. (Mosnews) (St.Petersburg Times)
                                            France extradites Holger Pfahls, former German deputy defence minister suspected of corruption. (Deutsche Welle) (Bloomberg) (PolitInfo) January 22, 2005

                                            The Washington Post alleges that the Pentagon is running a clandestine military organization known as the Strategic Support Branch which is under the direct control of U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Allegedly it is used to bypass the limitations of working with the Central Intelligence Agency. The Pentagon stated "There is no unit that is directly reportable to the secretary of defense for clandestine operations" and the department "is not attempting to 'bend' statutes to fit desired activities". (Washington Post/MSNBC) (Yahoo News)
                                            The Tsunami relief concert is held at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, in aid of the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, raising over £1.25 million (€1.8 million or $2.4 million), making it the biggest charity concert in the United Kingdom since Live Aid in 1985. (BBC)
                                            U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld cancels his attendance at the Munich Security Conference in February due to a war crimes investigation filed against him in Germany by the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights in connection with detainee abuses at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. (Expatica) (DW)
                                            Song Xiuyan is confirmed by the 3rd Plenum of the 10th Qinghai People's Congress as Governor of Qinghai, making her the only female Provincial Governor in the People's Republic of China at the time. (ChineseNewsNet)
                                            Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades agrees to a ceasefire if Israel will promise to fully halt military operations inside the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including arrest raids and assassinations and releases Palestinian prisoners from its jails. The militant group rejects Israel's offer to ease operations. (BBC) (Reuters) (Link dead as of 02:35, 15 January 2007 (UTC)), (Haaretz) (Link dead as of 02:35, 15 January 2007 (UTC))
                                            Conflict in Iraq:

                                            • The Association of Muslim Scholars negotiates the release of 8 Chinese hostages kidnapped by the Islamic Resistance Movement. (BBC) (Reuters) (Link dead as of 02:35, 15 January 2007 (UTC))
                                              The International Organization for Migration extends voter registration for 2 days for Iraqis living abroad due to low turnout. Ansar al-Sunna announces it has executed 15 kidnapped Iraqi National Guard. (BBC) (Reuters) (Link dead as of 02:35, 15 January 2007 (UTC))
                                              Eid ul-Adha the second in the series of Eid festivals that Muslims celebrate.
                                              In the basement of a hotel in the New York City borough of Queens, people hold a memorial service for the late Chinese leader Zhao Ziyang. This memorial follows the one held in the Shangri-la hotel yesterday. (NYT) (registration required) January 23, 2005
                                              I met the women that changed my life forever.

                                              The Philadelphia Eagles win the 2004 NFC Championship game
                                              The police chief in the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu, is shot dead. The new Somali government is slated to begin relocating from Kenya on February 1. (BBC)
                                              Conflict in Iraq:

                                              • U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte confirms there is an investigation into the alleged loss or transfer of $300 million USD to a Beirut bank by Iraqi interim Defence Minister, Hazim al-Shaalan to purchase arms. (ABC AU)
                                                The U.S. military is planning to deploy remote-controlled robots armed with machine guns and night vision to combat insurgents in Iraq. (BBC)
                                                Viktor Yushchenko is invested as president of Ukraine at a ceremony in Kiev before a large crowd of supporters and attended by numerous heads of state and other dignitaries from around the world. (BBC) (AP) January 24, 2005

                                                Conflict in Iraq: A suicide car bomb is detonated near interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's Iraqi National Accord party office. Officials say Allawi was not in the area at the time and that seven policemen and three civilians were wounded. U.S. military officials confirm the death of one soldier in Mosul and state four of Iraq's 18 provinces, a quarter of the total population and predominantly Sunni, will be unsafe to vote in Sunday's elections. (Reuters)
                                                Yulia Tymoshenko is appointed Prime Minister of Ukraine as one of President Viktor Yushchenko's first official acts, before a state visit in Moscow. Her post still requires ratification by the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament. (Kyiv Post) (Guardian)
                                                New "Wall of Names" holocaust memorial is unveiled in Paris. The site will be officially opened on Thursday. (Reuters) (Haaretz) (BBC)
                                                In Sudan, leader of Sudan People's Liberation Army John Garang says that the northern government would have to say why the country should stay united. SPLM leadership is to ratify the peace deal with the Khartoum government later. (BBC)
                                                JP Morgan Chase bank apologizes for its predecessors Canal Bank and Citizens' Bank which accepted slaves as collateral. (CBS2) (Vanguard) (BBC)
                                                In Kenya, attorney general Amos Wako gives an order to drop charges against journalist Kamau Ngotho. Ngotho was charged with libel after he wrote about government corruption. (Legalbrief) (BBC)
                                                In South Africa, 40 members of the country's parliament will be charged with fraud for using parliamentary travel vouchers worth 17.5 million rand illegally. (IAfrica) (IOL) (Guardian)
                                                In India, priest Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, his deputy Vijayendra Saraswathi and various other people have been charged for murder. Saraswathi has been released on bail after two months in prison and denies involvement. (NDTV) (BBC)
                                                In the United Kingdom, Alan Roy Williams, a doctor who gave evidence against Sally Clark who was wrongfully convicted of the murder of her two sons, is charged with serious professional misconduct. (BBC)
                                                North Korea has cut its food rations to half the amount that the United Nations World Food Program recommends. U.N. officials say the cut appears temporary and is not unprecedented in a country where fluctuations in public food distribution are regular. (Reuters Alertnet)
                                                According to Finland-based Crisis Management Initiative group, Free Aceh Movement and the Indonesian government have agreed to negotiate for ceasefire in Helsinki. (Bloomberg) (London Free Press) (Reuters Alertnet)
                                                A 6.2 Richter scale earthquake in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, results in one reported death. (ChannelNewsAsia) (Malaysia Star) January 25, 2005

                                                2004 Indian Ocean earthquake: Indonesia has again raised its estimate of the number of people killed by December's earthquake and tsunami to 220,000; the total known to have been killed in the region is now 280,000. (BBC)
                                                Camp X-Ray: The US has confirmed that 23 prisoners held in the Guantanamo Bay military base attempted a mass suicide two years ago. (BBC) (BBC video) (CNN)
                                                Conflict in Iraq: The U.S. army expects to keep 120,000 soldiers for at least two more years in Iraq, according to the Army's top operations officer, Lt. Gen. James J. Lovelace Jr. (MSNBC)
                                                Up to 300 Hindus are feared to have died in a stampede, reaction to a fire caused by a short circuit, near a temple in Wai in the Satara district of western Maharashtra, India. Scores of others are crushed or burned. An estimated 300,000 people had gathered at the temple. (Rediff, india) (New Kerala) (Reuters Alertnet) (BBC)
                                                Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Israel resumes construction of one of the most controversial parts of the Israeli West Bank barrier, around the Ariel settlement, 20km into the West Bank. (BBC)
                                                The nominees for the 77 Academy Awards are announced, with The Aviator and Finding Neverland leading with 11 and 7 nominations respectively. (BBC) (MTV) (MSNBC)
                                                After being incarcerated without trial for almost three years, the four remaining British detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Moazzam Begg, Feroz Abbasi, Martin Mubanga and Richard Belmar, are released and flown back to the United Kingdom, where they are immediately arrested by British police. (BBC) (Guardian)
                                                Bill Gates donates $750 million through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, to provide vaccines to children in poor countries. This is one of the largest philanthropic donations ever made by a living donor. (Guardian)
                                                The Bush administration is requesting an additional $80 billion from Congress for Iraq and Afghanistan, bringing the total cost of both operations over $280 billion. (Reuters) (CNN)
                                                In Kenya, clashes between Kikuyu and Maasai in the Rift Valley have led to at least 14 deaths. The fight is over water rights of Ewaso Kedong River. (Standard, Kenya) (AllAfrica) (Reuters Alertnet)
                                                In the Republic of China/Taiwan, President Chen Shui-bian names fellow Democratic Progressive Party member Frank Hsieh, as the new premier. He calls for a reconciliation with the political opposition, which maintained its legislative majority in last month's elections. (Channel News Asia) (Bloomberg)
                                                Large scale strikes begin in Andhra Pradesh, India, in protest of the killing of Paritala Ravi, a senior leader of Telugu Desam Party assassinated two days ago. (New Kerala) (Hindustan Times) (BBC)
                                                Marcial Maciel, Mexican founder of Roman Catholic order of Legion of Christ resigns due to his age. The stepping down coincides with the Vatican investigation about claims that he had sexually abused former members. (Reuters) (Newsday) January 27, 2005

                                                President of the Royal Society warns of oil companies' funding of lobbies in the UK to cast skepticism over the debate on climate change. (Guardian)
                                                Conflict in Darfur: Around 100 people have been killed following an Air Raid into the Darfur region of Sudan according to the African Union. Jean Baptiste Natama, the A.U's spokesperson has described it as a "major ceasefire violation". (BBC)
                                                Conflict in Iraq: At least 11 people are known to have died in Iraq today, including at least one United States Marine. (Bloomberg)
                                                Holocaust survivors, former Red Army soldiers, leaders of more than 40 countries, and other people gather in Oświęcim, Poland for the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp where more than 1 million people were killed. Reuters (Jerusalem Post) (Deutsche Welle) (BBC) (CBC) (Bloomberg) (Reuters Alertnet)
                                                French national railways SNCF are severely disrupted by a 24-hour walkout by staff to protest the rape of a ticket inspector on a Toulouse - Cahors train on Tuesday. The inspector had been attempting to charge a man for not having a ticket. A 24 year old man was later arrested. The strike is due to end at 1500 UTC. (BBC)
                                                Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: In an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth, Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, has said he is "very satisfied" with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's efforts to restore calm. Sharon pledged to further peace process efforts with Abbas, with a meeting possible within two weeks. (Swiss Info) (Kerala Next)
                                                New York radio station Hot 97 has suspended the staff of the show Miss Jones in the Morning. The show came under criticism for broadcasting a parody song that ridicules the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake. (BBC) (Reuters) (MTV.COM)
                                                The fifth World Social Forum begins in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The event is accompanied by tens of thousands of activists (Forbes) (BBC)
                                                In Burundi, South African mediator, deputy president Jacob Zuma has warned the president of the transitional government, Domitien Ndayizeye, not to try to change the draft constitution to let himself run in the forthcoming elections (Reuters Alertnet) (IOL) (BBC)
                                                According to family members, funeral of the purged Chinese communist leader Zhao Ziyang will be held on next Saturday (Reuters) (BBC) (Epoch Times)
                                                In a conference hosted by the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council, several scientists state that the ecology of Prince William Sound in Alaska still has not recovered from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill (Reuters Alertnet) January 28, 2005

                                                Riggs Bank agrees to pay a $16 million fine after pleading guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act by hiding transfers of millions of dollars in accounts controlled by Chilean despot Augusto Pinochet and top officials of Equatorial Guinea. (The Seattle Times)
                                                Michael McManus, author of the U.S.-wide syndicated newspaper column "Ethics & Religion", was paid $10,000 by the DHHS for writing articles promoting a marriage initiative. (Salon)
                                                An Australian recently freed from Guantanamo Bay claims U.S. agents told him they killed his whole family and strung the interrogation room with faked photos of his wife and children with animals' heads. He also says he was sexually assaulted and menstrual blood had been put all over him before being left alone in a cell with no water. ( (yahoo/AP)
                                                Asia's richest woman, Nina Wang, is formally charged with forgery of her kidnapped husband's will. (BBC)
                                                Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Hamas, contesting their first election, have swept to power in local elections in Gaza. (BBC)
                                                Kim Beazley is re-elected to the leadership of the Australian Labor Party unopposed, succeeding Mark Latham, in the fourth leadership change since losing government in 1996. (ABC News).
                                                A month after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunamis, more than 1000 bodies a day are still being recovered in Aceh. (Melbourne Herald Sun)
                                                Latest investigation into the career of UK serial killer Dr. Harold Shipman increases the count of his victims to 284, the first having been killed just after he left medical school. (Reuters) (Telegraph) (BBC)
                                                70 Nobel Prize laureates have released a statement that supports United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan in the face of US Republican calls for him to resign (Reuters) (BBC)
                                                Thailand's prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra demands that Malaysia extradite separatist leader of Gerakan Mujahideen Islam Pattani party known as Jehkumir Kuteh or Abdul Rahman Ahmad (in addition to other names). Malaysian government refuses because he is Malaysian but they would cooperate the best they can (Malaysia Star)(Bangkok Post) (Reuter AlertNet) (Channel News Asia)
                                                In Russia, special forces have killed seven people in a fight against what they described as islamic militants. The fight happened in an apartment block in Nalchik near Chechnya border (Reuters) (MosNews) (BBC)
                                                President of Ireland Mary McAleese causes an uproar when she says that Nazis taught their children to hate Jews like Northern Ireland Protestants taught theirs to hate Irish Catholics (Ireland Online) (RTE) (BBC)
                                                A heavy blizzard in Algeria causes death of at least 13 people and paralyzes traffic in the capital Algiers (Reuters) (BBC)
                                                In Bangladesh, a grenade attack kills former finance minister Shah AMS Kibria of Awami League and four others (Reuters Alertnet) (Channel News Asia) January 30, 2005

                                                Conflict in Iraq:

                                                • Polls close in Iraq marking the first multi-party election in 50 years. Electoral officials estimate about a 50–70% turnout. A series of election day attacks across the country killed at least 44 people, mainly in Baghdad. The 275-member National Assembly will create a new constitution, choose a new president and two new vice presidents. Most candidate names on the various party lists remained anonymous. (BBC) Reuters News24
                                                  Between nine and fifteen British soldiers die as a C-130 Hercules transport plane crashes about 40km north west of Baghdad. The cause of the crash is under investigation. (BBC), (CNN)
                                                  A firefight leaves 3 suspected militants and one Kuwaiti police officer dead after security forces raid an alleged hideout in Kuwait City. (BBC)
                                                  In eastern Sudan, demonstrators on their way to a meeting with tribal leaders clash with police leaving up to 17 protestors dead. A Sudanese general states that the protestors were looting and inciting violence against his men. Members of eastern tribes, mainly Beja, presented a list of demands which included better representation to the provincial governor three days ago. (BBC)
                                                  Former UK Labour Culture Secretary, Chris Smith, states he has been HIV positive for 17 years. (BBC)
                                                  In Spain, a bomb explodes at a hotel in the southwest town Denia injuring one. Police officials say the detonation occurred after a telephone warning from the Basque ETA group. Spanish parliament is scheduled to debate and vote on a Basque plan for independence from Spain in two days. (BBC)
                                                  Talks between the Indonesian government and Free Aceh Movement leaders in Helsinki end a day early, possibly signaling a breakdown in negotiations. (IHT)
                                                  The deadline passes for the finalization of constituencies for Afghanistan's May 21 parliamentary elections, UN officials say. Though the constituencies were supposed to be set up 120 days before the election, officials have not yet announced an election delay. Violence continues, particularly in the south of the country where the Taliban still remains active. (Pakistan Daily Times) (Reuters)

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