2006 World History
- Coalition forces battle insurgents on the streets of Iraq, as
secretarian violence intensifies; see Iraq Timeline 2006 for details
(all year long). Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon suffers a
massive stroke; Ehud Olmert
is named acting prime minister (Jan. 5). Iran breaks the seals on three of its
nuclear facilities, after stating that it plans to restart work on its
“peaceful nuclear energy program.” The U.S. and several
European nations condemn the move (Jan. 10). After a year of
silence, Osama bin Laden says al-Qaeda is planning to attack
the United States. (Jan. 19). The Iraqi election results are
released: a coalition of Shiites and Kurds wins 181 out of 275 seats in
parliament, just shy of the two-thirds majority required to form their
own government. Sunnis take 58
seats (Jan. 20). Militant Palestinian group Hamas wins 74 of 132 seats in
legislative elections. Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei of the Fatah party resigns (Jan.
25). The U.S. Senate confirms Samuel Alito as a Supreme Court justice, and Ben Bernanke as chief of the Federal Reserve (Jan. 31). In
fifth State of the Union speech, President Bush denounces Iran, calling it
a country “held hostage by a small clerical elite that is
isolating and repressing its people” (Jan. 31). Republican
Boehner is elected House Majority Leader (Feb. 2). After a
Danish newspaper prints cartoons depicting Muhammad in a negative light
(later reprinted in several European countries), angry demonstrators
throughout the Muslim world smash windows, set fires, and burn flags
(Feb. 4 et seq.). Steven Harper becomes Canada's first Conservative prime minister
in over a dozen years (Feb. 6). President Bush signs a law
renewing the Patriot Act,
including a signing statement stating that he does not consider himself
bound by its requirement to tell Congress how the law is being used
(Mar. 9). The Olympic winter
games open in Turin, Italy (Feb. 10). House releases a report
on the response to Hurricane
Katrina, assigning blame on all levels of government (Feb.
15). The day after the Hamas-led Palestinian paliament opens,
Israeli leaders vote to withhold $50 million per month (Feb. 19).
Former Yugoslavian president Slobadan
Milosevic dies of a heart attack in his cell in the Hague. His four-year
war-crimes trial had been nearing its end (Mar. 11). The U.N. Security Council calls on Iran to suspend
its enrichment of uranium (Mar. 29). Jack Abramoff, a lobbyist
with ties to several members of Congress, is sentenced to six years in
prison by a Florida judge on fraud charges (Mar. 29). Saddam Hussein is charged with genocide by
an Iraqi court for a campaign against Iraq's Kurdish population in 1988
(Apr. 4). Representative Tom
DeLay (R-Tex.) announces he will leave Congress (Apr. 4).
After weeks of crippling student-led protests, French president Jacques Chirac repeals a
new labor law that would have made it easier for employers to fire
workers under the age of 26 (Apr. 10). Nepal's King Gyanendra reinstates
Parliament after more than two weeks of demonstrations involving over
100,000 people. It meets for the first time in four years (Apr.
28). The International Atomic
Energy Agency confirms that Iran has enriched uranium (Apr.
28). A federal jury in Virginia sentences Zacarias Moussaoui to
life in prison without the chance of parole for his role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks
(May 3). Bush administration announces plans to normalize
relations with Libya (May 15).
55.4% of Montenegrins vote for
independence from Serbia (May
21). George Bush and Tony Blair
express regret for the abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison, for
removing all Baathists from positions of power in Iraq, and for other
missteps (May 25). The U.S. Senate rejects a proposed
constitutional amendment to ban same-sex
marriage (June 7). In response to an Israeli shelling of a Gaza beach that killed eight
civilians, Hamas fires Qassam rockets into Israeli territory, ending a
16-month truce with Israel (June 10). Katharine Jefferts
Schori chosen to be the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; she will be the
first woman to lead a church in the Anglican Communion (June
18). Warren Buffett
announces that he will donate 85% of his $44 billion fortune to five
philanthropic organizations, with about $31 billion going to the Gates Foundation (June 24).
Palestinian militants tunnel out of Gaza and into Israel, killing two
Israeli soldiers and kidnapping a third. Israeli troops move into Gaza,
disabling its only power plant, destroying three bridges, and seizing
Hamas political leaders (June 25–29). The Supreme Court
rules that military tribunals cannot be set up to try prisoners in the
absence of Congressional authorization and that prisoners are entitled
to fair trials under the Geneva
Conventions (June 29). India
test-launches a missile with a range of 1,800 miles (July 9).
More than 200 people die and hundreds more are wounded when a series of
bombs explode on commuter trains in Mumbai, India during the evening
rush hour (July 11). Bush administration concedes that terror
suspects are entitled to basic human rights and legal rights under the
Geneva Convention (July 11). Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant
group, fires rockets into Israel. In response, Israel launches a major
military attack, sending thousands of troops into Lebanon. (July 13–Aug. 15).
President Bush uses his veto power for the first time, striking down
legislation that would have expanded the number of stem cell lines available for
embryonic research using federal financing. (July 19). Former
president Viktor Yanukovich is named prime minister of Ukraine (Aug. 4). The International
Astronomical Union reclassifies Pluto
as a dwarf planet (Aug.
24). Under pressure from members of his Labor Party, British prime
minister Tony Blair says he will resign within a year (Sept. 7).
Thai Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin stages
a bloodless coup and declares martial law (Sept. 20). U.S.
Representative Mark Foley
(R-Fla.) steps down from the House of Representatives after reports
emerge that he had sent sexually explicit messages to teenage male
Congressional pages. He had been the head of House Caucus on Missing and
Exploited Children (Sept. 29). International outrage and
condemnation follows the test of a nuclear missile in the mountains of
North Korea (Oct. 9). U.N.
Security Council unanimously passes a resolution banning the sale of
materials to North Korea that could be used to produce weapons and
allowing authorities of other countries to inspect cargo entering and
leaving the country (Oct. 14). The U.S. population officially
reaches 300 million
(Oct. 17). Pakistan military
fires missiles at an Islamic school on the Afghanistan border, killing about 80
people who government officials say were militants. Officials also claim
the school harbored members of al-Qaeda (Oct. 30). An Iraqi court
convicts Saddam Hussein of crimes against humanity and sentences him to
death by hanging (Nov. 5). Democrats gain control of both houses
of Congress in the midterm elections (Nov. 7). South African parliament votes to legalize
same-sex marriage (Nov. 14). Lebanese cabinet minister Pierre
Gemayel, a critic of Syria, is
assassinated. His father, Amin
Gemayel, is a former president of Lebanon (Nov. 21). John Bolton steps down as the
U.S. ambassador to the United Nations when it becomes clear that he does
not have enough votes in the Senate to win confirmation (Dec. 4).
Ban Ki-moon of South Korea is sworn in as the secretary
general of the United Nations. He replaces
Kofi Annan (Dec. 14).
U.N. Security Council resolution bans the Iranian import and export of
materials and technology used to enrich uranium and freezes the assets
of several individuals and companies that are active in nuclear and
ballistic missile programs (Dec. 23). Gerald Ford, the 38th
president, dies at age 93 (Dec. 26). Four days after an appeals
court upholds his death sentence, Saddan Hussein is hanged in Baghdad (Dec. 30). On the
final day of 2006, the number of U.S. soldiers killed since the start of
the Iraq war reaches 3,000. Using the most conservative figures for confirmed
deaths from Iraq
Body Count, the number of Iraqi civilians killed since the start of
the war exceeds 55,000; U.N. estimates are even higher. This summary
omits most of the events in Iraq; those can be found at Iraq Timeline 2006.
More on 2006 World History from Infoplease: