January 2004

Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff


  • British and Mexican Airlines Cancel Flights to U.S. (Jan. 1): Act at request of U.S., which warned of possible terrorist attacks. (Jan. 2) U.K. grounds another flight to the United States and one to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
  • Georgia Elects New President (Jan. 4): Mikhail Saakashvili, a 36-year-old lawyer, wins in a landslide.
  • Afghan Leaders Approve New Constitution (Jan. 4): Delegates to grand council agree to charter that will rename country the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, establish a presidential system and a national assembly, and grant equal rights to women. (Jan. 26): President Hamid Karzai signs the new constitution
  • Pakistan Cited as Supplier of Bomb Design (Jan. 5): Bush administration officials say they believe Pakistani scientists gave Libya the technology to build nuclear weapons. Pakistan also suspected of providing weapons design to Iran and North Korea. (Jan. 23) President Pervez Musharraf admits that Pakistani scientists probably sold nuclear-weapons designs to other countries for personal profit.
  • Leaders of Pakistan and India Meet (Jan. 5): Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf and Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee agree to restart peace talks.
  • U.S. Helicopter Crashes in Iraq (Jan. 8): Black Hawk helicopter goes down in Nuaymiya, near Falluja, killing nine soldiers.
  • Hussein Given Prisoner-of-War Status (Jan. 9): Designation, given by department of defense, will give the Red Cross access to Saddam Hussein.
  • Iran's Religious Council Disqualifies Candidates (Jan. 11): Council bars more than 3,600 reformist candidates from running in parliamentary elections. (Jan. 30): Council reinstates more than 1,160 candidates.
  • Iraqi Cleric Calls for Direct Elections (Jan. 11): Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, most influential Shiite cleric in Iraq, says members of country's interim assembly must be selected by direct vote and asserts country will be prepared to manage the elections within months.
  • Bush Allows Canada to Bid on Iraq Contracts (Jan. 13): At conference of western leaders, Bush, reversing earlier statement, says Canada will be permitted to bid on reconstruction projects in Iraq.
  • Palestinian Suicide Bomber Strikes in Gaza Strip (Jan. 14): Member of the militant group Hamas kills herself and four Israelis. First time Hamas has used a woman suicide bomber.
  • U.S. Office Attacked in Iraq (Jan. 18): Suicide bomber attacks American occupation headquarters in Baghdad, killing at least 20 people, mostly Iraqi citizens.
  • U.S., British, and UN Officials Discuss Future of Iraqi Government (Jan. 19): Kofi Annan, secretary general of the UN, tells U.S. and British diplomats that the UN will consider sending election experts to Iraq to assess if the country is prepared to hold direct elections, as demanded by the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. In Iraq, about 100,000 Iraqis march to show support for al-Sistani.
  • Iraq Weapons Investigator Steps Down (Jan. 23): CIA chief weapons inspector David Kay says his 1,400-member team failed to find any evidence of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons in Iraq. (Jan. 28): Kay calls for an independent investigation into the intelligence gathered before the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
  • Israel Agrees on Deal with Hezbollah (Jan. 27): Frees about 400 Arab prisoners in exchange for a kidnapped Israeli businessman and the bodies of three soldiers.
  • Report Exonerates Blair (Jan. 28): British judge Lord Hutton says Prime Minister Tony Blair did not intentionally exaggerate intelligence on Iraq's weapons.


  • U.S. Begins Fingerprinting Foreign Visitors (Jan. 5): New security system, U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, or US-VISIT, requires international travelers to be fingerprinted and photographed.
  • Bush Proposes New Immigration Laws (Jan. 6): President's plan would allow illegal immigrants working in the United States to apply for temporary guest worker status and increase the number of green cards granted each year.
  • Former Cabinet Member Speaks Out (Jan. 11): Paul O'Neill, former treasury secretary, says on 60 Minutes that the Bush administration had been planning an attack against Iraq since the first days of Bush's presidency.
  • Bush Proposes Journey to the Moon (Jan. 14): President sets sights on another flight to the Moon by 2020 and a launching base there for a trip to Mars and beyond.
  • Bush Appoints Controversial Judge (Jan. 16): During the Congressional recess, Bush gives Charles Pickering, Sr., a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals.
  • Kerry Takes Iowa (Jan. 19): Massachusetts senator John Kerry stages surprise win in Iowa caucuses, taking 38% of the vote. Former Vermont governor and recent Democratic front-runner Howard Dean takes third, behind Sen. John Edwards.
  • Bush Delivers State of the Union (Jan. 20): President defends action in Iraq and tax cuts and highlights the urgency to continue fighting terrorism.
  • FDA Moves to Prevent Mad Cow Disease (Jan. 26): Food and Drug Administration issues new rules that prohibit feeding chicken waste and cow blood to cattle. Also bans the use of dead or injured cows in the manufacture of cosmetics, soups, and dietary supplements.
  • Kerry Prevails in First Primary (Jan. 27): Massachusetts senator John Kerry places first in New Hampshire primary, taking 39% of the vote.
  • Bush Administration Revises Cost of Drug Plan (Jan. 29): Reports Medicare prescription drug benefit will cost $534 billion, up from initial pricetag of $395 billion.


  • Rover Lands on Mars (Jan. 3): Spirit sends back images of the planet. The images show a flat but rocky surface. (Jan. 25): Second rover, Opportunity, lands on Mars and sends pictures back to Earth.
  • Job Growth Stalled in December (Jan. 9): Labor Department announces thousands of unemployed people stopped looking for employment in December 2003. Department had forecast creation of 150,000 jobs, but reported only 1,000 for December.
  • Former Enron CFO Pleads Guilty (Jan. 13): Andrew Fastow admits to covering up Enron's financial woes and defrauding the company. His wife, Lea, pleads guilty to a tax felony.
  • Jackson Appears in Court (Jan. 16): Pop star Michael Jackson pleads not guilty to nine felony counts—seven for allegedly engaging in lewd acts with a child under age 14 and two of giving an intoxicant to a child.
  • Salvation Army Announces Enormous Gift (Jan. 20): Charity reports that Joan Kroc, who died in 2003, had left the nonprofit $1.5 billion.
  • Virus Affects Millions of Computers (Jan. 26): Worm, called MyDoom or Novarg, spreads through Internet servers. About 1 in 12 email messages are infected.

Sources +
See also: