March 2002

Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff


  • Hundreds in India Die in Rioting (March 2): Hindu-Muslim clashes in western India claim almost 400, highest losses in nearly a decade.
  • U.S. and Afghan Troops Launch Attack (March 2): Target remaining al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters in eastern Afghanistan in mission dubbed Operation Anaconda. (March 4): At least seven Americans die in the mission, the first U.S.-led assault by ground troops. (March 6): More troops and helicopters brought in to thwart attempts by Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters to maintain their redoubts in the mountains of Shah-i-Kot.
  • Switzerland Votes to Join UN (March 3): Voters decide to end decades-old policy of isolation and become the group's 190th member.
  • Drug Kingpin Reported in Custody (March 9): Drug Enforcement Administration announces Mexican police have arrested Benjamin Arellano-Felix, leader of Mexico's biggest drug cartel.
  • British Police to Stop and Search (March 11): Directed to increase street investigations.
  • Afghan Allies Seize Mountain Stronghold (March 12): U.S. troops and Afghan forces attack Shah-i-Kot Valley from three sides and gain control of the fortress.
  • Lockerbie Bomber Loses Appeal (March 14): Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, Libyan intelligence official, flown to Scotland to begin life sentence for plane crash that killed 270 in Dec. 1988.
  • Mugabe Reelected President of Zimbabwe (March 13): With 1.685 million votes, wins another six-year term, beating Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change, who tallies 1.258 million votes.
  • UN Human Rights Chief to Quit Post (March 18): In Geneva, Mary Robinson says she will not seek another term when appointment ends in September.
  • Afghan Battle Termed Success (March 18): U.S. commandant says operations in the Shah-i-Kot Valley are near end. British sending ground troops to flush out Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in other areas.
  • Rules for War Tribunal Set (March 20): Bush administration outlines procedures for trials of prisoners from the Afghan war. Way opened for U.S. to try, and possibly execute, foreigners.
  • Suharto Trial Opens in Indonesia (March 20): Hutomo Mandala Putra, known as Tommy Suharto, faces one count of murder, two counts of illegal possession of arms, and one count of fleeing justice in the murder of a supreme court judge. He's the youngest son of former president Suharto.
  • Pope Speaks Out on Church Scandals (March 21): John Paul II calls wave of pedophile cases “a dark shadow of suspicion” cast over all clergy.
  • U.S.-Mexico Security Pact Announced (March 21): Border accord intended to weed out terrorists and smugglers.
  • U.S. Won't Deploy Troops in Indonesia (March 21): Officials decide antiterrorist training would be counterproductive. Such a program is already in force in Philippines, Yemen, and Georgia.
  • Bomb Kills at Least 19 in Israel (March 27): More than 100 wounded as Palestinian blows himself up in a Netanya hotel during a Passover seder.
  • Arab League Approves Saudi Peace Plan (March 28): At summit, Arab nations adopt Crown Prince Abdullah's proposal to offer Israel normal relations in return for withdrawal from occupied territories, the creation of a Palestinian state, and the return of refugees.
  • Israel Raids West Bank Towns (March 29): Troops and tanks enter Jenin, Nablus, Bethlehem, and other areas in response to a string of Palestinian suicide attacks.
  • Terrorists Seized in Pakistan Raid (March 29): U.S. law agents and intelligence officials raid homes and capture five Taliban fighters and 25 Arabs believed to be connected to al-Qaeda. Pakistan government approved operation.
  • Dutch Legalize Euthanasia (March 31): Netherlands becomes first nation to legalize mercy killing for terminally ill persons wishing to die.
  • Sharon Declares Israel in a War (March 31): Israeli prime minister calls Yasir Arafat the enemy of the entire free world. Speech follows a suicide attack in a Haifa restaurant that killed 15, including bomber.


  • Bush Imposes Tariffs on Steel Imports (March 5): In a broad move to protect a major industry, president sets import tariffs as high as 30%. Higher consumer prices expected for autos, homes, and appliances.
  • Case Against Clinton Dropped (March 6): Independent Counsel Robert Ray closes the Whitewater probe, ending the threat of criminal liability for the former president.
  • U.S. Aids Countries Fighting Terrorism (March 11): Bush says nation is willing to train and provide military aid to “governments everywhere” for what he made clear would be battles beyond Afghanistan.
  • Four Immigration Officials Replaced (March 15): Top aides ousted over recent embarrassment of mailing visa extensions to two dead Sept. 11 hijackers.
  • Congress Passes Campaign Reform Bill (March 20): Bush agrees to sign measure after 60–40 Senate approval of bill already voted by House.


  • Fed Chief Declares Recession Over (March 7): Alan Greenspan speaks on basis of recent economic news.
  • Arthur Andersen Indicted in Enron Inquiry (March 14): Becomes the first major firm to face criminal charge. Charged with a single count of obstruction of justice in the destruction of documents relating to case.
  • Mother Escapes Death Penalty (March 15): Texas jury recommends life sentence for Andrea Pia Yates, who was convicted of drowning her five children in a bathtub.
  • Attorney Convicted in Fatal Dog Attack (March 21): Marjorie Knoller guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Diane Whipple, 33, who was mauled to death in 2001 by a 120-pound Presa Canario dog.
  • Rise in Postal Rates Approved (March 22): Independent Postal Rate Commission approves 3-cent increase in price of mailing first-class letter to 37 cents. Part of a broad increase in most postal rates.
  • Black Actors Win Top Oscars (March 24): Denzel Washington and Halle Berry honored for Training Day and Monster's Ball, respectively.
  • Letterman to Stay at CBS (March 25): After considering an offer from ABC late-night talk-show host opts to remain with CBS. ABC had mulled replacing venerable Nightline with Late Show with David Letterman.
  • Milton Berle Dies at Age 93 (March 27): The Emmy Award-winning, inimitable comic actor helped to spark the popularity of television.
  • Billy Wilder Dead at 95 (March 28): The German-born director and producer known for his scathing satires of American mores. Wilder, who won six Oscars, shifted seamlessly from drama to comedy to film noir.
  • Elizabeth, Queen Mother of Britain, Dead at 101 (March 30): Popular royal dies in her sleep. A symbol of self sacrifice, she presided over era of turbulence.
  • Medicare to Cover Alzheimer's (March 30): Authorized by administration to pay for treatments of disease that afflicts nearly 4 million annually.

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