October 2003

Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff


  • Israel To Expand Barrier and Settlements (Oct. 1) Government approves expansion of barrier miles into parts of Palestinian-controlled West Bank to protect Jewish settlements. (Oct. 2) Israel says it plans to build more than 600 homes in three West Bank settlements. Move further undercuts peace process.
  • According to Report, No WMDs Found in Iraq (Oct. 2) The lead weapons hunter in Iraq tells Congress that weapons of mass destruction (WMD) have not been found in Iraq. David Kay, lead investigator of the Iraq Survey Group, reports that his team had found equipment and evidence of weapons-related activities which violated UN resolutions.
  • Suicide Bomb Attacks Haifa Restaurant (Oct. 4) On the eve of Yom Kippur, female bomber kills 19 people and wounds about 50.
  • Israel Attacks Syria (Oct. 5) In a shift in tactic, bombs what it calls a Palestinian terrorist training camp outside Damascus. First time Israel strikes inside Syria in 30 years.
  • Arafat Installs New Government (Oct. 5) Declares state of emergency and names new cabinet, with Ahmed Qurei as prime minister.
  • White House Reorganizes Reconstruction Efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan (Oct. 5) National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to oversee new group, which is also charged with ending violence in both countries.
  • Car Bombs Explode in Baghdad (Oct. 9) Car blows up inside police compound, killing eight people. (Oct. 12) Bomb detonates outside the Baghdad Hotel, where Americans and members of the Iraqi Governing Council frequently stay. Six people killed; dozens wounded.
  • Bolivia Rocked by Protests (Oct. 12) President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada calls in the military to stem rising tide of anti-government protests in La Paz. Demonstrators, who oppose plans to export natural gas, calling for president's resignation. Five people die in the violence. (Oct. 13) Vice president Carlos Mesa breaks with government over continued violence, which has claimed more than 50 people. (Oct. 17) President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada resigns. Vice president Carlos Mesa succeeds him.
  • Americans Targeted in Gaza (Oct. 15) Remote-controlled bomb explodes under a convoy of U.S. diplomatic vehicles, killing three people. First time Americans targeted during the recent Palestinian uprising.
  • New President Pledges to Reunite Liberia (Oct. 15) Charles Gyude Bryant sworn in as interim president of Liberia. Bryant pledged to root out corruption and unite a country destroyed by civil war.
  • Security Council Approves Multinational Force for Iraq (Oct. 16) UN body unanimously endorses American and British resolution supporting an international force under U.S. authority. Resolution also calls on Iraqi Governing Council to set dates for drafting a constitution and electing a democratic government.
  • New Agency to Oversee Aid Spending in Iraq (Oct. 19) Group headed by World Bank and United Nations to determine how international donations for reconstruction are spent.
  • Bush Outlines Security Plan for North Korea (Oct. 20) President proposes vague security guarantee for North Korea if it destroys its nuclear weapons programs.
  • Israeli Warplanes Target Gaza (Oct. 20) Helicopters fire strike 5 times, killing at least 11 and wounding dozens.
  • Iran to Admit Inspectors (Oct. 21) Facing international pressure, Iran says it will give inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency access to its nuclear sites and will cease production of enriched uranium.
  • IRA Says It Has Dismantled Weapons (Oct. 21) After Irish Republican Army announces it has destroyed arms and will continue to do so, British prime minister Tony Blair sets elections for the Northern Ireland Assembly. However, progress is thwarted when Protestant leader David Trimble says move by IRA is inadequate.
  • UN Votes to Stop Construction of Barrier (Oct. 22)United Nations General Assembly votes in favor of a resolution ordering Israel to end construction of a barrier that divides Israeli and Palestinian areas and juts into Palestinian-controlled land in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. 144 countries vote in favor of the resolution, and 4 vote against it, including the U.S. and Israel. Twelve countries abstained. (Oct. 24) Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announces plan to extend barrier into Jordan Valley.
  • Nations Pledge Billions for Iraq (Oct. 24) At donor conference in Madrid, countries and groups, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, commit to donate about $13 billion over 5 years for reconstruction of Iraq.
  • Bombs Rock Baghdad (Oct. 26) Bombs strike the Al-Rashid Hotel, which housed high-level American officials and others working with coalition forces. (Oct. 27) Four car bombs go off in Baghdad, severely damaging Red Crescent headquarters, the Islamic branch of the Red Cross, and three Baghdad-area police stations. Forty people, including one American soldier, believed dead and hundreds are injured. A fifth bombing averted when a suspect seized from a car laden with explosives outside another Baghdad police station. Yesterday also marked the start of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting observed by Muslims.


  • Davis Out, Schwarzenegger In (Oct. 7) California governor Gray Davis ousted in recall vote. Austrian-born actor Arnold Schwarzenegger overwhelmingly elected.
  • Texas Legislature Approves Redistricting Proposal (Oct. 12) After a six-month battle that had Democrats fleeing the state to avoid a vote on the, the Senate approves new redistricting map that will likely give Republicans seven additional seats—and a majority—in 2004. (Oct. 13) Gov. Rick Perry signs the bill into law.
  • Staten Island Ferry Crashes into Pier (Oct. 15) Rapidly moving boat careens into a pier, killing 10 people and wounding dozens.
  • Congress Approves Aid for Iraq (Oct. 17) House votes, 303–125, and Senate, 87–12, to give Bush administration billions for the military and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each chamber approved a slightly different spending package, and will work out difference in conferences.
  • Sniper Trial Opens in Virginia (Oct. 20) John A. Muhammad, accused in the 2002 Washington, DC, area shootings, allowed to defend himself in first trial. (Oct. 22) Muhammad reinstates his legal team.
  • Senate Approves Federal Ban on Abortion Procedure (Oct. 21) Votes, 64–34, to outlaw intact dilation and extraction, also called partial-birth abortion, a procedure to end pregnancies in the second and third trimesters. Opponents vow to fight bill in court, calling it unconstitutional.
  • Senate Moves to Fight Spam (Oct. 22) Votes, 97–0, to outlaw false or deceptive description lines on messages, require advertising messages to indicate they are such, call on the senders of the emails to include a return address, and require messages with sexual content to include a warning.
  • Rumsfeld Gives Mixed Review to War on Terror (Oct. 22) In a memo he wrote on Oct. 16 that was leaked to the news media, secretary of defense says, “We are having mixed results with Al Qaeda” and “It is pretty clear that the coalition can win in Afghanistan and Iraq in one way or another, but it will be a long, hard slog.”
  • Senate Votes to Ease Travel Restrictions to Cuba (Oct. 23) Votes, 59–38, to loosen restrictions that prevent Americans from traveling directly to Cuba from the U.S.
  • Bush Declares California Wildfires a Disaster (Oct. 27) The wildfire outbreak, one of the largest in the state's history, has destroyed more than 500,000 acres and more than 1,000 homes. Fires have killed at least 17 people, 15in California and 2 in Mexico. The wildfire outbreak comprises 8 large blazes located along an arc from Los Angeles to Mexico. Some of the fires, fueled by Santa Ana winds, high temperatures, and dry brush, are believed to have been set by arsonists.
  • Senate Confirms EPA Administrator (Oct. 28)After a boycott on the vote by Democrats, Utah governor Mike Leavitt wins approval, 88–8, to take over Environmental Protection Agency.
  • September 11 Casualty List Reduced (Oct. 29) New York officials reduce the number of people killed at the World Trade Center in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States by 40 names. The list of casualties dropped to 2,752 from 2,792. The total number to die on September 11 from terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in rural Pennsylvania is 2,995.
  • House Approves Spending Bill for War and Reconstruction (Oct. 31) Votes, 298–121, in favor of $87.5 billion package for Iraq and Afghanistan.


  • Employment Increases for the First Time Since January (Oct. 5) Labor Department reports that 57,000 new jobs added in September.
  • China Sends First Astronaut into Orbit (Oct. 15) Lt. Col. Yang Liwei successfully orbits Earth several times in the Shenzhou V, and returns home after 21-hour flight. China is the third country to send a man in space, after the U.S. and Russia.
  • Pope Celebrates Silver Jubilee (Oct. 17) Thousands of worshipers and dignitaries celebrate with Pope John Paul II in Rome, marking his 25 years as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. He is only the fourth pope in history to hold the position for that long and, as a Pole, the first non-Italian pope elected in more than four hundred years.
  • Pope Beatifies Mother Teresa (Oct. 19) Frail pontiff calls Mother Teresa an “icon of the Good Samaritan.”
  • Last Flight of the Concorde (Oct. 24)Three Concorde jets touch down for the last time at London's Heathrow Airport, marking an end to the world's only commercial supersonic flights.
  • Economy Rebounds in Third Quarter (Oct. 31) Figures released by Bush administration show 7.2% growth in third quarter. Fastest rate of expansion since 1984.

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