October 2002

Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff


  • Bosnian Serb Leader Pleads Guilty (Oct. 2): Biljana Plavsic admits to committing crimes against humanity during the 1992–1995 Bosnian war against Croats and Muslims. In exchange, the war crimes tribunal at The Hague drops other charges, including genocide.
  • Shoe Bomber Enters Guilty Plea (Oct. 2): Richard Reid files motion indicating he plans to plead guilty to eight charges, including attempted murder. He was arrested in Dec. 2001 after he was caught trying to ignite his shoes, which contained explosives, on a trans-Atlantic flight.
  • Weapons Inspector Endorses U.S. Resolution (Oct. 4): Hans Blix recommends that inspections should not begin until Iraq releases a full inventory of its weapons.
  • Suspected Terrorists Arrested (Oct. 4): Four U.S. citizens charged in Portland, Ore., with collaborating with al-Qaeda and the Taliban in a jihad against the U.S.
  • Police Raid Sinn Fein Offices (Oct. 4): Seize papers and computer discs in intelligence operation. Denis Donaldson, party's chief of administration, arrested on terrorism-related charges.
  • Israel Attacks Gaza Town (Oct. 7): Targets members of militant group Hamas. Missile and gun fire kills 16 people in crowded Khan Yunis.
  • U.S. Marine Killed in Kuwait (Oct. 8): Another wounded when two Kuwaitis open fire on a training exercise on Failaka Island. Officials call it a terrorist act.
  • European Union Announces New Members (Oct. 9): Ten countries—Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, and Cyprus—expected to join in 2004. (Oct. 20): Irish vote to support expansion.
  • Islamic Charity Leader Indicted (Oct. 9): Enaam Arnaout charged in Chicago with seven counts of conspiracy and racketeering. Officials allege Benevolence International financed Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
  • Ruling Party in Kashmir Ousted (Oct. 10): National Conference takes only 28 out of 87 seats. Indian National Congress, which won 20 seats, People's Democratic Party, which earned 16 seats, and other smaller parties likely to form coalition to gain a majority. More than 450 people died during the violent three-week election period in Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Musharraf Suffers Setback in Elections (Oct. 11): Islamic fundamentalists and other parties, led by exiled former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, fare well. Vote indicates dissatisfaction with the president.
  • Blast in Bali Kills Hundreds (Oct. 12): About 200 people die when car bomb explodes in front of crowded club in a resort area. Three Americans among the victims. (Oct. 14): President Bush links bombing to al-Qaeda.
  • Government Suspended in Northern Ireland (Oct. 14): Move follows threat by Unionists to quit Assembly in protest of suspected military activity by Irish Republican Army.
  • Dutch Prime Minister Resigns (Oct. 16): Jan Peter Balkenende steps down amid infighting by members of the Pim Fortuyn party. New elections called.
  • North Korea Admits to Developing Nuclear Arms (Oct. 16): Bush administration announces that North Korean official recently acknowledged the country has been working on system for several years.
  • Chechen Rebels Take Hostages (Oct. 23): Seize crowded Moscow theater and detain 763 people, including 3 Americans. Guerrillas, armed and wired with explosives, demand Russian government end war in Chechnya. (Oct. 24): Rebels kill one hostage. (Oct. 26): Government forces storm the theater after rebels begin to kill other hostages. Russian troops also release a gas into the theater, which kills 116 hostages.
  • Brazilian Leftist Wins Presidential Race (Oct. 27): Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the Workers Party tallies 61.4%, ahead of Social Democrat José Serra, who earns 38.6%.
  • U.S. Diplomat Killed in Jordan (Oct. 28): Laurence Foley, a senior administrator of America's development aid program, gunned down outside his home in Amman.
  • Parliament Approves Arafat's Cabinet (Oct. 29): Palestinian Legislative Council votes, 56–18, in favor of 19–member cabinet, which will serve until elections on Jan. 20, 2003.
  • Israel's Governing Coalition Collapses (Oct. 30): Labor Party walks out in a dispute with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon over budget. Sharon indicates he will try to form a majority coalition with right-wing parties.


  • Sniper Preys upon DC Suburbs (Oct. 2): First victim dies in Wheaton, Md. (Oct. 3): Five people killed when a highly skilled gunman shoots randomly at civilians outside Washington, DC. (Oct. 4): Woman survives gunshot wound. (Oct. 7): Thirteen-year-old student shot and wounded outside his Bowie, Md., school. Eighth attack. (Oct. 9): Sniper kills seventh victim, at a gas station in Manassas, Va. (Oct. 11): Eighth killed while pumping gas in Fourmile Fork, Va. (Oct. 14): FBI analyst shot down in a parking garage after shopping at Home Depot in Falls Church, Va. (Oct. 19): A 37-year-old man survives attack in Ashland, Va. (Oct. 22): Bus driver killed in Silver Spring, Md. Tenth victim. (Oct. 24): Police arrest two suspects, John Allen Muhammad, 41, and John Lee Malvo, 17, in Rockville, Md. (Oct. 25): Muhammad and Malvo charged in Maryland with six counts of first-degree murder.
  • American Taliban Member Sentenced (Oct. 4): John Walker Lindh given 20 years to life in prison for aiding the Taliban and carrying explosives.
  • Bush Argues for Action Against Iraq (Oct. 7): In national address, president outlines threat posed by Saddam Hussein and argues for confrontation.
  • Bush Intervenes in Strike (Oct. 8): Invokes Taft-Hartley Act to halt lockout of longshoremen and open West Coast Ports. First time act used since 1971, when Nixon used it to end a longshoremen's strike.
  • House and Senate Back Force in Iraq (Oct. 10): House votes, 296–133, to give President Bush authorization to defend against the “continuing threat posed by Iraq.” Senate approves resolution, 77–23.
  • Congress Approves Election Bill (Oct. 16): Senate votes, 92–2, to set federal election standards and to give nearly $4 billion to states to update voting systems. House previously passed measure 357–48.
  • U.S. Senator Killed in Plane Crash (Oct. 25): Minnesota Democrat Paul Wellstone; his wife, Sheila; daughter, Marcia Markuson; and five others die when their turboprop goes down near Eveleth, Minn.
  • Mondale Agrees to Run for Senate (Oct. 30): Announces he will replace late Sen. Paul Wellstone on ballot in race against Republican Norm Coleman.
  • Three Probes of SEC Appointment Begin (Oct. 31): General Accounting Office, the SEC's own inspector general, and Congress to investigate selection of William Webster, former director of the CIA, as head of a new board that will police the accounting industry. SEC chairman Harvey Pitt under fire for not telling other commission members that Webster led the audit committee of a company accused of fraud.


  • Former Enron Official Charged (Oct. 2): Andrew Fastow, former CFO, accused of fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy in using complicated off-the-books partnerships to cover up the company's dismal finances.
  • Public Health Officials Endorse Smallpox Vaccine (Oct. 4): Recommend offering immunization to general public after 10 million health-care workers receive it. Vaccination won't be licensed for wide use until 2004.
  • Pope Canonizes Opus Dei Founder (Oct. 6): Spanish priest, Josemaria Escrivá de Balaguer, who established the conservative Catholic lay organization, becomes a saint.
  • French Oil Tanker Aflame in Yemen (Oct. 6): Explosion aboard vessel suspected to be an act of terrorism.
  • Turkey and Chicken Meat Recalled (Oct. 13): Pilgrim's Pride of Pittsburgh, Tex., pulls 27.4 million pounds of cooked meat from shelves, fearing it may be contaminated with listeria bacteria. Had earlier recalled nearly 300,000 pounds of meat.
  • Former ImClone Executive Pleads Guilty (Oct. 15): Sam Waksal faces nine years in prison for admitting to six charges, including securities fraud, perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, and bank fraud.
  • Vatican Rejects Abuse Policy (Oct. 18): Demands that U.S. bishops rewrite segments of zero-tolerance policy to bring it into line with Roman Catholic Church laws.
  • Rapper Gunned Down in Studio (Oct. 30): Run-D.M.C. DJ Jason Mizell, known as Jam Master Jay, shot by a masked gunman in Queens, New York.
  • Earthquake Kills Italian Children (Oct. 31): Twenty-six elementary school students and three adults die when a school in San Giuliano di Puglia collapses during an earthquake.

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