Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
- Sudan Leader Killed in Crash (Aug. 1): Government confirms that John Garang, leader of the opposition Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) who was recently named vice president, had been killed in a helicopter crash. Fragile peace agreement, signed in January, is jeopardized. Dozens die in street demonstrations that follow. Salva Kiir Mayardit assumes role as chairman of the SPLA. (Aug. 5): Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni suggests that the helicopter crash may not have been an accident.
- Saudi King Dies (Aug. 1): King Fahd bin Abdel Aziz al-Saud, 82, dies after a bout with pneumonia. Prince Abdullah, 81, assumes the throne. Abdullah had been Saudi Arabia's leader since King Fahd suffered a stroke in 1995.
- U.S. Revises Estimate on Iran's Nuclear Arsenal (Aug. 2): Intelligence agencies find that while Iran plans to build nuclear weapons, the country will not have the ability to do so for about 10 years. Earlier estimates put the time frame at five years.
- Several Marines Killed in Iraq (Aug. 3): More than a dozen troops killed in western Iraq when their troop carrier was hit by a roadside bomb. Nearly two dozen U.S. troops are killed in two days in Haditha.
- Europe Presents Nuclear Program Plan to Iran (Aug. 4): Britain, France, and Germany offer to allow Iran to acquire nuclear reactors and fuel if it promises to end conversion and enrichment of uranium. (Aug. 6): Iran says it will reject the proposal. (Aug. 10): Iran removes UN seals at a nuclear production site and begins uranium conversion. (Aug. 11): UN issues resolution calling on Iran to “reestablish full suspension of all enrichment activities.”
- Terror Suspects Charged in London (Aug. 6): Yassin Hassan Omar indicted on charges of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and possession of explosives. (Aug. 7): Ibrahim Muktar Said and Ramzi Mohamed indicted on the same charges.
- Talks on North Korea Weapons Suspended (Aug. 7): Officials put on hold six-nation negotiations when they deadlock on North Korea's insistence on operating a light-water nuclear reactor.
- Israeli Cabinet Approves Gaza Withdrawal (Aug. 7): Finance minister and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu quits in protest.
- Crew of Russian Sub Rescued (Aug. 7): British and American rescuers save seven sailors who were trapped in a submarine more than 600 feet deep in the Pacific Ocean.
- UN Aide Accused of Taking Bribes (Aug. 8): Panel investigating the UN's oil-for-food program in Iraq reports that Benon Sevan, the former director of the program, received kickbacks from oil sales. Another official, Aleksandr Yakovlev, pleads guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering in connection to the program.
- Mayor of Baghdad Ousted (Aug. 9): Alaa al-Tamimi removed from office by members of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution, a Shiite militia. He's replaced by Hussein al-Tahaan, a member of the militia.
- Aceh Peace Accord Signed (Aug. 15): Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) agree to end their nearly 30-year-long civil war.
- Iraq Delays Final Draft of Constitution (Aug. 15): Parliament votes to extend deadline so Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish delegates can compromise on disputed issues, such as the distribution of oil revenues, the rights of women, and the role of Islam in government. (Aug. 22): Iraqi leaders give National Assembly a partially complete constitution and promise to complete the document within days. (Aug. 27): Frustrated with demands by Sunni Arabs, Shiite and Kurdish leaders end negotiations with Sunnis. (Aug. 28): Iraqi National Assembly receives the new constitution, which will be voted on by Iraqi citizens on Oct. 15. Sunni negotiators denounce the document.
- Settlement Withdrawal Begins (Aug. 15): Israeli police officers and soldiers start process of evacuating about 8,700 residents from the Gaza Strip and 675 from the West Bank. Palestinians will assume control of the areas. (Aug. 17): Soldiers begin removing those settlers who refuse to leave Gaza. (Aug. 18): Troops storm synagogues in the Kfar Darom and Neve Dekalim settlements to remove protesters. (Aug. 22): The last settlers leave the Gaza Strip. (Aug. 23): Israeli troops and police evacuate the remaining settlers in the four affected settlements in the West Bank.
- Bombs Explode at Baghdad Bus Station (Aug. 17): Three car bombs kill about 45 people and injure dozens during morning rush hour.
- U.S. Ships Attacked in Jordan (Aug. 19): Rockets fired at two U.S. Navy ships, the Kearsarge and the Ashland, docked in Aqaba. No U.S. casualties, but a Jordanian soldier is killed. (Aug. 22): Jordanian officials arrest Muhammad Hassan al-Sihli in connection with the bombing and acknowledge that Iraqi insurgents were involved in the attack.
- Pakistan Says North Korea Received Nuclear Machines (Aug. 24): Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf admits that nuclear scientist A. Q. Khan sent North Korea centrifuge machines, which can be used to make fuel for a nuclear bomb.
- Hundreds of Shiite Pilgrims Killed in Baghdad (Aug. 31): Nearly 1,000 people die and hundreds are wounded in a stampede on a bridge over the Tigris River. Rumors that a suicide bomber was in the crowd caused a panic.
- President Appoints Bolton (Aug. 1): Bush installs controversial figure John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the UN during congressional recess. Democratic senators had refused to put his confirmation to a vote.
- Bush Signs Bills (Aug. 8): New energy law calls for increased domestic oil and gas production, as well as the construction of new nuclear power plants. It also encourages research into alternative sources of energy. Bill is criticized for failing to increase the fuel efficiency of vehicles. (Aug. 10): President signs $286.4 billion transportation legislation that includes 6,000 special projects.
- Southwestern States Make Emergency Declarations (Aug. 12): Citing a lack of funds from the federal government to stem illegal immigration, drug smuggling, and violence along the border with Mexico, New Mexico governor Bill Richardson declares a state of emergency in four counties. (Aug. 16): Arizona governor Janet Napolitano makes similar declarations. Moves free up more than $1.5 million for additional policing.
- Bush Makes Reference to Casualties (Aug. 22): As opposition to the war in Iraq intensifies, president says the U.S. will complete its mission in Iraq. Citing the 2,000 American casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, “We owe them something. We will finish the task that they gave their lives for.”
- Administration Releases Plan for Fuel Efficiency (Aug. 23): Proposal calls for increasing average mileage per gallon of light trucks to 24 mpg from 21.2. Environmentalists say plan does not go far enough.
- Panel Spares New England Naval Sites (Aug. 24): Base Closure and Realignment Commission agrees with Pentagon plan to close about 800 installations nationwide, but it overturns closure of the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, Conn., and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine. (Aug. 26): Group also votes to keep open the Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.
- Hurricane Causes Catastrophic Damage (Aug. 29): Hurricane Katrina, a category 4 storm, pounds Gulf Coast. Harrison County, Miss., hit particularly hard. More than 80 people are killed and millions lose power. (Aug. 30): New Orleans, which was spared the full force of the hurricane when the storm moved east, suffers calamitous damage as levees break, submerging about 80% of the city. The Pentagon sends six U.S. Navy ships and eight rescue teams to the Gulf Coast to help in the relief effort. Looting is rampant. (Aug. 31): Death toll in New Orleans is feared to be in the thousands. Officials call the devastation the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.
- Poverty Increased in 2004 (Aug. 30): Overall poverty rate in the United States rose to 12.7% from 12.5%, and 37 million people lived in poverty. Median income of full-time males dropped 2%, to $40,800. Women's median income decreased 1%, to $31,200.
- Energy Department Releases Energy Reserves (Aug. 31): Announces it will release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Crude oil prices immediately drop 49 cents a barrel, to $69.32; gas prices, however, increase. Hurricane Katrina had shut down most oil and natural gas refineries in the Gulf Coast.
- China Withdraws Bid for Oil Company (Aug. 2): The China National Oil Corporation rescinds $18.5 billion bid for Unocal.
- South Korean Scientists Clone a Dog (Aug. 3): After a three-year effort and 1,095 eggs, researchers clone the first dog, a male Afghan hound.
- Shuttle Lands Safely (Aug. 9): Discovery returns to Earth after a 14-day mission. Landing moved to Edwards Air Force Base in California because of bad weather in Florida. Mission included the first-ever spacewalk to remove a piece of material sticking out of the shuttle's skin.
- Five Planes Crash During Month (Aug. 2): All passengers and crew of an Air France flight survive when a jetliner overruns the runway in Toronto, lands in a gully, and bursts into flames. (Aug. 6): Plane crashes off Sicily, killing 13 people. (Aug. 14): Everyone on board a Helios Airways dies when the Boeing 737 crashes into mountains north of Athens, Greece. (Aug. 16): West Caribbean Airways plane dives to the ground in Machiques, Venezuela, killing all 160 people on board. (Aug. 23): About 40 people die when plane crashes in Peru's northern jungle.
- Jury Finds Drug Maker at Fault in Death (Aug. 19): Texas jury finds Merck, maker of pain medication Vioxx, liable in death of Robert Ernst and awards his widow $253.5 million.