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April 2006

World

  • Shiite Bloc Urges Prime Minister to Resign (April 2): Leaders of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq call on Ibrahim al-Jaafari to resign, citing his failure to form a government.
  • Chirac Signs Controversial Labor Legislation (April 2): Protests continue when French president Jacques Chirac signs into law an amended bill that allows employers to fire workers under age 26 within a year with a reason for termination. The original bill said employers could let employees go within two years without a reason. (April 10): Facing intense pressure as student-led protests continue, Chirac announces that he will repeal the controversial labor law.
  • Hussein Is Charged with Genocide (April 4): Iraqi court says former Iraqi president and six other defendants tried to wipe out Iraq's Kurdish population in 1988. More than 50,000 people were killed in the military campaign that destroyed about 2,000 villages.
  • General Strike Begins in Nepal (April 6): In defiance of a new ban on political rallies, a loose alliance of seven opposition parties begins pro-democracy demonstrations against King Gyanendra. (April 15): About 8,000 protestors march into the capital city, Katmandu. Police officers break up the protest using canes and tear gas. (April 21): More than 100,000 protesters defy a curfew and pour into Katmandu's main street. King Gyanendra offers to hand over executive power to a prime minister. (April 22): Ignoring pleas from the U.S., India, and other countries, the opposition groups reject the king's offer, saying he failed to address their main demands: the restoration of Parliament and a referendum to redraft the Constitution. (April 24): In a major concession, King Gyanendra agrees to reinstate Parliament. (April 28): Parliament meets for the first time in four years.
  • Dozens Killed at Shiite Mosque (April 7): Three suicide bombers blow themselves up at Baratha Mosque, killing more than 70 people.
  • Prodi Declared Winner in Italian Elections (April 11): The center-left Union coalition, led by Romano Prodi, wins 49.8% of the vote and incumbent Silvio Berlusconi's House of Liberties coalition takes 49.7%—a difference of just 25,000 votes. Berlusconi refuses to concede and calls for a recount. (April 20): Italy's highest court declares Prodi the winner.
  • Iran Announces Progress in Nuclear Program (April 11): President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declares that Iran has successfully enriched uranium and will continue to produce nuclear fuel. (April 28): The International Atomic Energy Agency confirms that Iran has enriched uranium. It also reports that Iran has not cooperated with inspectors.
  • Suicide Bomber Attacks Tel Aviv Restaurant (April 17): Islamic Jihad claims responsibility for the bombing that kills nine people. Hamas calls it a legitimate response to Israeli aggression. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, however, condemns the attack.
  • Germany to Allow Access to Holocaust Archives (April 18): In a policy reversal, the German government announces that it will allow historians and researchers to access up to 50 million documents containing information on Holocaust victims.
  • Chinese President Visits the U.S. (April 20): President Hu Jintao and President Bush vow to cooperate on reducing the trade deficit between the two countries and on stemming nuclear proliferation, but no deals are announced. Hu's visit is marred by U.S. gaffes in protocol.
  • Iraq Sees Progress in Formation of a Government (April 20): Facing pressure from the U.S. and the leaders of Iraq's political groups, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari ends his fight to remain in power. (April 21): Leaders of the Shiite alliance select Nuri al-Maliki to be prime minister. (April 22): Parliament votes to retain President Jalal Talabani.
  • Dozens Killed in Egypt Bomb Attack (April 25): Three bombs kill about 30 people and wound about 115 in the resort town Dahab. Attack coincides with Sinai Liberation Day.
  • European Investigation Reports Secret CIA Flights (April 26): Inquiry ordered by the European Parliament finds that since 2001, the CIA has conducted about 1,000 undeclared flights over Europe, transporting terrorism suspects to countries that allow torture.
  • Peace Agreement Reached in Sudan (April 30): The Sudan government accepts terms of peace agreement to end the violence in Darfur, but two of the three rebel groups reject the plan. All parties, however, agree to extend the deadline for a resolution.
  • Olmert Secures Enough Seats to Form Government (April 30): Israeli prime minister gains support of Shas party, giving him a majority in Parliament.

Nation

  • DeLay Will Step Down (April 4): Rep. Tom DeLay, Republican from Texas, announces he will leave Congress. He has been involved with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was sentenced to six years in jail for corruption, and himself was indicted by a Texas grand jury in 2005 for allegedly violating the state's election laws.
  • Senate Compromises on Immigration (April 5): Bipartisan deal says illegal immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for five or more years could eventually become citizens if they paid back taxes, learned English, and continued to work. Process is more difficult for those who have lived in the country for two to five years. Those living in the U.S. for less than two years would have to leave the country. (April 7): The immigration deal falls apart when Senators cannot agree on amendments to the bill. (April 10): Throughout the country, hundreds of thousands of people, mostly immigrants, rally for immigration reform.
  • Libby Testified That President Authorized Leak (April 6): Court documents from Lewis “Scooter” Libby's testimony before a grand jury indicate that President Bush, through Vice President Dick Cheney, authorized Libby to speak to reporters in July 2003 about a classified National Intelligence Estimate.
  • FEMA Issues New Orleans Rebuilding Guidelines (April 12): Levees and flood walls are to be reconstructed. Many homes will have to rebuilt at least three feet off the ground to qualify for federal aid or insurance.
  • Massachusetts Enacts Universal Health Coverage (April 12): Legislation signed by Gov. Mitt Romney requires all residents who can afford health insurance to obtain it by July 1, 2007. Those who cannot afford insurance will have it subsidized by the state.
  • Ryan Convicted of Corruption (April 17): Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan is found guilty of racketeering, conspiracy, and other charges by a federal jury. Ryan was accused of accepting gifts for himself and his family in return for political favors and state business.
  • Bush's Cabinet Undergoes Change (April 19): Press secretary Scott McClellan announces his resignation. Deputy chief of staff Karl Rove gives up management of domestic policy to focus on the upcoming midterm elections; his policy duties will be taken up by Joel D. Kaplan. (April 25): President Bush announces that Fox News commentator Tony Snow will replace McClellan as White House press secretary.
  • CIA Fires Official for Disclosing Information (April 20): Mary O. McCarthy is dismissed for leaking information to reporters allegedly about the agency's secret overseas prisons. She denies leaking the material, however.
  • Rove Testifies Again (April 26): Karl Rove, a senior aide to President Bush, testifies for the fifth time before a federal grand jury in the investigation into the illegal disclosure of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson.

Business/Society/Science

  • Scientists Discover Important Fossil (April 6): A group of scientists report finding the fossil of a 375-million-year-old fish that has early signs of limbs. The fossil suggests the missing link between fish and land animals.
  • FDA Rejects Medical Use of Marijuana (April 20): Contradicting an earlier government report, the Food and Drug Administration issues a statement that says “no sound scientific studies” support the benefit of using marijuana for medical purposes.

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