July 2003

Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff


  • Thousands Protest Proposed Law in Hong Kong (July 1): About 500,000 people participate in march against anti-subversion laws that would impose lengthy jail terms for sedition, secession, or treason.
  • Israeli and Palestinian Prime Ministers Meet (July 1): Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas make symbolic public appearance together and hold two-hour meeting to discuss peace plan. Israeli troops continue to withdraw from parts of Gaza and the West Bank.
  • U.S. Withholds Aid to 35 Countries (July 1): Nations that did not give U.S. exemption to prosecution by new International Criminal Court lose military assistance.
  • Israeli Troops Continue Withdrawal (July 2): Soldiers withdraw from parts of Bethlehem and the West Bank. Palestinians forces assume security role.
  • Bush Considers Intervention in Liberia (July 3): Says embattled Liberian president Charles Taylor must step down before U.S. sends peacekeeping force to oversee cease-fire between rebels and government militia.
  • U.S. Offers Bounty for Hussein (July 3): With allied troops under continued attacks by Baath Party loyalists, U.S. announces $25 million reward for Iraqi president's capture or evidence that confirms his death.
  • Suicide Bomber Strikes in Pakistan (July 4): Attack at Shi'ite mosque kills 48 Muslims in Quetta. Islamic militants suspected.
  • Arab Station Broadcasts Tape Reportedly of Hussein (July 4): Man, claiming to be Iraqi president, calls on Iraqis to continue fighting against the “infidel invaders” and asks, “Where are these weapons of mass destruction?”
  • SARS Declared Under Control (July 5): World Health Organization declares illness has been contained. No new cases reported since June 15. Officials warn that it could be a seasonal problem.
  • Israel Votes to Release Palestinian Prisoners (July 6): Cabinet agrees to begin freeing about 300 detainees. Palestinians say many more, up to 5,500, must be freed for cease-fire to hold. (July 27): Israeli cabinet votes to release some members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
  • U.S. Team Arrives in Liberia (July 7): Defense Department officials in capital, Monrovia, to assess requirements for peace-keeping force.
  • Parliamentary Committee Clears Blair on Weapons Evidence (July 8): Foreign affairs committee reports that British prime minister did not tamper with evidence to justify a war in Iraq. It does say, however, that Blair did unknowingly mislead Parliament when he presented it a dossier in February that included unverified information about Iraq's weapons capabilities.
  • Palestinian Prime Minister Threatens to Resign (July 7): In response to attacks from Yasir Arafat and his supporters criticizing his handling of peace negotiations with Israel, Mahmoud Abbas says he will step down. (July 14): Arafat and Abbas agree to a power-sharing deal that calls on Abbas to consider negotiating guidelines put forth by a committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization when dealing with Israel. Both Arafat and Abbas are members of the committee.
  • Bush Travels to Africa (July 8): Begins five-day, five-country trip to sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Estimated Cost of War Increases (July 9): Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld tells Senate committee that price of war in Iraq is about $3.9 billion a month, nearly double the April estimate.
  • Interim Government Established in Iraq (July 13): Governing Council, a diverse group of 25 Iraqi leaders, meets in Baghdad.
  • North Korea Announces Plans for Six Nuclear Bombs (July 14): Bush administration reports that North Korea had informed U.S. that it plans to use weapons-grade plutonium, obtained from spent nuclear fuel rods, to build nuclear weapons. CIA says it cannot confirm the claim. (July 19): The New York Times reports that North Korea has built a second plutonium-processing plant.
  • Military Coup Topples Government in Africa (July 16): Citing poverty and corruption, Maj. Fernando Pereira takes over capital of São Tomé and Príncipe.
  • U.S. Troops May Face Lengthy Tours in Iraq (July 16): Gen. John Abizaid, commander of allied forces in Iraq, calls continued attacks on coalition troops a “guerrilla-type campaign” and says soldiers who will replace current troops may be deployed for yearlong tours.
  • Blair Defends Intelligence (July 17): In Washington, British prime minister tells joint session of Congress that war in Iraq was justified even if no biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons are found.
  • U.S. Combat Deaths in Iraq Match Earlier War (July 17): Toll reaches 147, the same number of soldiers who died from hostile fire in the first Gulf War; 32 of those deaths occurred after May 1, the officially declared end of combat.
  • Rebels Enter Liberian Capital (July 19): Opposition force, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, which seeks to topple President Charles Taylor, lays siege to Monrovia. (July 28): Another rebel group, Movement for Democracy in Liberia, captures Buchanan, Liberia's second-largest city.
  • Hussein's Sons Killed (July 22): Uday and Qusay Hussein die in firefight in a Mosul palace.
  • Palestinian Prime Minister Visits White House (July 25): Mahmoud Abbas meets with President Bush to discuss Middle East peace plan. Bush presses Abbas to move against Palestinian terrorist groups.
  • Bush Orders Marines to Liberian Coast (July 25): Under pressure from UN and international community, president deploys 2,300 marines to waters off Liberia.
  • Argentine President Lifts Immunity of Officers (July 25): Nestor Kirchner revokes decree that banned officials from extradition to countries that have charged them with human rights violations.
  • Mutinous Troops Take Over Manila Housing Complex (July 27): In an attempted coup, about 50 junior officers call for resignation of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Action ends peacefully.
  • Sharon Refuses to Dismantle Barrier (July 29): At White House meeting with President Bush, Israeli prime minister says he plans to continue construction of security barrier that cuts through the West Bank.
  • U.S. Intensifies Hunt for Hussein (July 29): Troops raid dozens of sites in Tikrit and capture about 175 people believed to be Hussein loyalists.
  • Bush to Keep Parts of 9/11 Report Classified (July 29): Refuses to declassify section of congressional report that reportedly accuses the Saudi Arabian government of helping the Sept. 11 hijackers.


  • Pope Appoints Bishop for Boston (July 1): Names Sean P. O'Malley, a Franciscan friar, as leader of the embattled archdiocese. He replaces Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned the post in Dec. 2002 amid outrage in the diocese of his handling of the sexual-abuse scandal.
  • Bush Names Executive to Head AIDS Office (July 2): Nominates Randall Tobias, former CEO of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co., to run new $15 million State Department program to fight AIDS.
  • President Proposes Changes to Head Start (July 7): Seeks to shift focus from health and nutrition to academics. Proposal would also allow some states to assume control of the 38-year-old program.
  • Bush Administration Admits Iraq Weapons Intelligence Was Flawed (July 7): Says evidence that Iraq was pursuing a nuclear weapons program by seeking to buy uranium from Africa, cited in January State of the Union address, was unsubstantiated and should not have been included in speech. President maintains war in Iraq was justified. (July 11): George Tenet, director of the CIA, takes responsibility for allowing sentence about Iraq's pursuit of uranium from Africa to be included in Bush's State of the Union speech. (July 22): Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said he should have insisted sentence about Iraq trying to buy uranium from Africa be omitted from Bush's State of the Union speech.
  • 9/11 Investigators Say Government Delaying Inquiry (July 8): Federal panel charged with looking into the terrorist attacks says Pentagon and Justice Department slowly responding to requests for information.
  • Shuttle Study Critical of NASA Maintenance (July 14): Draft report by Columbia Accident Investigation Board says risk of future accidents is high because agency has not consistently tested shuttle parts for fatigue.
  • White House Predicts Enormous Deficits (July 15): Office of Management and Budget says current year's deficit to reach $455 billion, or 4.2% of the total economy. Figure about $150 billion more than previous estimate.
  • Senate Rejects Proposal for Inquiry into Intelligence on Iraq's Weapons (July 16): Votes, 51–45, against creating 12-member independent panel to investigate how the Bush administration handled intelligence on Iraq's weapons programs as it made the case for war.
  • Justice Department Report Details Allegations of Abuse (July 20): Internal investigation regarding enforcement of 2001's USA Patriot Act, presented earlier to Congress by department's inspector general Glenn Fine, accuses Justice Department, FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency, and INS of widespread civil rights and civil liberties abuses.
  • American POW Returns Home (July 22): Pfc. Jessica Lynch, who was rescued by U.S. troops from a Nasiriya hospital in April, enjoys a hero's welcome in West Virginia. She had spent three months recovering from her injuries in a Washington hospital.
  • House Moves to Block New FCC Rule (July 23): Votes, 400–21, to roll back measure to increase the reach of media companies.
  • Report on 9/11 Critical of FBI and CIA (July 24): Report by a joint panel of the House and Senate intelligence committees says FBI and CIA had failed to take seriously enough warnings that al-Qaeda had planned imminent terrorist attacks against the U.S.
  • California Sets Date for Recall (July 24): Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante sets the recall vote for Oct. 7.
  • Pentagon Market for Betting on Terrorism Shut Down (July 29): Officials from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency close planned terrorism futures market, called Policy Analysis Market, one day after it is publicized and widely criticized. Traders would have been able to bet on future terrorist attacks, assassinations, and coups.


  • Unemployment Rate Up Again (July 3): Labor Department reports jobless rate increased to 6.4% in June, highest rate in nine years. More than 30,000 jobs lost.
  • Factory Worker Kills Five Colleagues (July 8): Doug Williams, assemble-line employee at Meridian, Miss., Lockheed Martin plant, opens fire on co-workers then kills himself.
  • Microsoft to End Options Program (July 8): Software giant announces it will begin giving employees stocks rather than award them options.
  • FDA Announces Labeling Changes (July 9): Beginning in 2006, manufactures must indicate amount of trans fatty acids on food labels. Trans fats are known to clog arteries.
  • Study Reports Increased Resistance to AIDS Drugs (July 16): Researchers in Europe announce about 10% of new patients have drug-resistant strain.
  • Citigroup CEO Announces Resignation (July 16): Sanford Weill, 70, says he will step down by the end of 2003. Charles Prince will replace Weill.
  • Elderly Man Crashes Through Outdoor Market (July 16): Russell Weller, 87, kills at least 10 and injures dozens when he errantly drives through crowded farmer's market in Santa Monica, Calif.
  • U.S. Tourists Killed in Kenyan Plane Crash (July 21): Atlanta pediatrician and researcher, George Brumley, Jr., his wife, and 11 other relatives die when their chartered airplane crashes into Mount Kenya.
  • New York Politician Shot (July 23): James Davis, councilman from Brooklyn, gunned down inside City Hall by a political rival, Othniel Askew, who was shot and killed by a police officer.
  • Investigation Reveals Widespread Abuse by Massachusetts Priests (July 23): Attorney General Thomas Reilly reports that at least 789 children were sexually abused by 250 priests and church employees in Boston's Roman Catholic Archdiocese since 1940.
  • MCI Faces Federal Inquiry (July 26): Prosecutors to investigation allegations that country's second-largest long-distance carrier cheated other telephone companies out of hundreds of millions of dollars in access fees.
  • U.S. Prison Population Increases Again (July 28): Department of Justice reports that the number of people in jail increased by 2.6% in 2002 to nearly 2.2 million.
  • Two Banks Settle in Enron-Related Case (July 28): J. P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup agree to pay nearly $300 million in fines. Banks were accused of helping Enron to report misleading information in its financial reports.

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