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April 2004

World

  • Madrid Bombing Suspect Kills Himself (April 3): Three others die in blast in Madrid during a police raid.
  • U.S. Troops Under Attack (April 4): Eight Americans die in coordinated attacks ordered by radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr. (April 5): U.S. troops raid Falluja in response to killing and mutilation on March 31 of four U.S. civilian contractors. (April 6): About a dozen U.S. Marines killed in Ramadi in battle with Sunni insurgents. (April 7): U.S. reports evidence that Shiites and Sunnis, former enemies, are uniting against the U.S.-led occupation. (April 11): U.S. orders cease-fire in Falluja. Two members of Iraqi Governing Council resign in protest of American offensive in Falluja. (April 19): U.S. officials say they will end the offensive in Falluja if insurgents agree to surrender their weapons.
  • Forces Loyal to Afghan Warlord Take Over Province (April 8): Governor of Faryab Province steps down and flees when armed faction loyal to Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostrum takes control of several districts.
  • Hostages Taken in Iraq (April 8): Iraqi militants say they will kill the hostages, three Japanese civilians, unless Japan withdraws troops from Iraq. Militants have also kidnapped nine other foreigners. (April 9): American contract worker Thomas Hamill taken hostage. (April 17): Number of hostages reaches about 40.
  • Sharon Announces Settlement Plan (April 12): Israeli prime minister says that as part of his proposal to unilaterally separate from Palestinians in the Gaza Strip he plans to keep five West Bank settlements under Israeli control. (April 14): In a move that outrages Arab world, President Bush endorses Sharon's unilateral strategy.
  • Pakistani Scientist Reports North Korea Possesses Nuclear Weapons (April 13): Abdul Qadeer Khan, who admitted giving nuclear weapon technology to other countries, says North Korea has shown him three such devices.
  • Bin Laden Offers Truce to Europe (April 14): In a broadcast of an audiotape, a man believed to be Osama bin Laden says that terrorists will no longer target those nations that withdraw troops from Muslim nations.
  • U.S. Accepts UN Proposal for Iraq (April 15): Bush administration agrees to a plan to replace the Iraqi Governing Council with a caretaker government when the U.S. returns sovereignty to Iraqis.
  • ANC Sweeps Election (April 15): As expected, the African National Congress wins South Africa's general election, taking about 70% of the vote. Thabo Mbeki retains presidency.
  • Hamas Leader Killed in Gaza (April 17): Israelis kill Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi.
  • U.S. Troops Close Highways in Iraq (April 17): In an attempt to prevent ambushes by insurgents, soldiers block off two main roads leading to Baghdad.
  • New Spanish Prime Minister Recalls Troops (April 18): One day after being sworn in as premier, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero orders soldiers back from Iraq as soon as possible. Leaders of Honduras and Dominican Republic later announce plans to withdraw troops.
  • Car Bombs Kill Dozens in Iraq (April 21): Five coordinated suicide attacks in Basra kill 68 people.
  • U.S. Rethinks Policy on Iraq Baath Party Officials (April 22): U.S. says that some Iraqi officials who were forced out of their jobs after the fall of Saddam Hussein will be allowed to resume their positions.
  • Train Ignites Massive Explosion in North Korea (April 22): Hundreds feared dead in Ryongchon blast.
  • Bush Ends Trade Ban with Libya (April 23): Citing Libya's decision to end pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, Bush lifts trade restrictions.
  • Greek Cypriots Reject Reunification Plan (April 24): About 75% vote against UN peace plan to reunify island. However, 65% of Turkish Cypriots approve referendum.
  • Gunmen Detonate Bomb in Damascus (April 27): Officials say terrorists set off explosives near the British embassy and a former UN building. At least four people killed.
  • UN Envoy to Iraq Announces Plan for New Government (April 27): Lakhdar Brahimi reports to the UN Security Council that by the end of May he will select a transitional government to run Iraq until elections are held in 2005. Proposed government will include a president, two vice presidents, a prime minister, and a consultative conference made up of about 1,500 Iraqis. Government will have limited control over Iraq. It would not be authorized to enact news laws and would have only partial command over Iraq's military.
  • Violence Erupts in Southern Thailand (April 28): Gang attacks police stations and security stations in the Muslim-dominated south. About 110 killed.
  • Abuse Reported at Iraqi Prison (April 30): CBS's 60 Minutes II broadcasts graphic photos, taken in late 2003, of American soldiers grinning as they abuse Iraqis in the Abu Ghraib prison. Images spark outrage around the world, especially in the Middle East.
  • Iraqi Force Takes Over Falluja (April 30): In an attempt to restore peace, U.S. Marines transfer security of volatile city to Iraqis. Jasim Muhammad Saleh, former general and member of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard, takes command.

Nation

  • White House Admits to Withholding Documents (April 1): Bush administration admits that it failed to give the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks thousands of pages of national security papers from the Clinton administration. (April 2): White House says it will allow the commission to review the documents.
  • Rice Testifies Before 9/11 Commission (April 8): National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice tells the committee that President Bush was warned of suspicious activity by terrorists in the U.S. before the attacks.
  • Bush Administration Releases Top-Secret Document (April 10): The President's Daily Briefing from Aug. 6, 2001, titled “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States,” says that members of al-Qaeda had been in the U.S. for several years and were thought to have been conducting surveillance of federal buildings in New York.
  • Bush Vows to Continue Fight in Iraq (April 13): In a televised press conference, Bush says that to abandon Iraq during the violent insurgency, which has claimed more than 85 Americans in two weeks, would fuel anti-American sentiment around the world.
  • U.S. Intelligence Agencies Harshly Criticized (April 13): Thomas Kean, chairman of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, says the FBI “is an agency that does not work.” Former acting director of the FBI Thomas Pickard testifies that Attorney General John Ashcroft failed to make counterterrorism a priority for the FBI and that Ashcroft told Pickard that he did not want to hear briefings about terrorist threats. Ashcroft denies he made such statements. (April 14): In its preliminary report, commission says CIA failed to follow up on several important leads.
  • Air Pollution Violates Federal Standards (April 15): The Environmental Protection Agency tells 31 governors that the air pollution in their states does not meet federal health standards.
  • Bush Administration Allows States to Pool Resources to Buy Drugs (April 22): Five states will collectively negotiate prescription-drugs prices for Medicaid recipients.
  • Hundreds of Thousands Rally for Abortion Rights (April 25): Demonstrators in Washington, DC, protest Bush administration's policy on reproductive rights.
  • Bush and Cheney Appear Before Commission (April 29): In a closed-door meeting, president and vice president are interviewed by members of the committee investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
  • California Bans New Voting Machines (April 30): Citing security issues, state officials prohibit use in the November election of about 14,000 electronic voting machines manufactured by Diebold Inc.

Business/Science/Society

  • Economy Posts Big Gain in Job Creation (April 2): Labor Department reports addition of 308,000 jobs in March.
  • Newspaper Editor Steps Down (April 20): Karen Jurgensen resigns as editor of USA Today, saying she failed to detect fabrications in articles by Jack Kelley, one of the paper's top reporters.
  • Tornadoes Tear Through Midwest (April 21): At least 8 people die when 14 twisters hit Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Illinois hit hardest.
  • World War II Memorial Opens (April 29): Memorial to 16 million Americans who served in the war opens in Washington, DC.
  • Google to Go Public (April 29): Popular search engine announces it will offer shares to the public in late 2004. Company will sell stock in an auction that is expected to bring in nearly $3 billion.

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