A suicide bomber walking through Tel Aviv’s crowded open air Carmel Market detonates some 11 pounds (5 kilograms) of explosives strapped to his person. The explosion kills 4 people, including the bomber, and wounds at least 30 others. The attack is the first suicide bombing in Israel’s largest city in nearly a year. An organization named the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an armed group with in Yasir Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization, claims responsibility. Arafat is in Paris being treated for an undiagnosed illness.
The deputy governor of Baghdad is assassinated in his car on the streets of the city.
American voters turn out in record numbers for the presidential election, which is, like the voting in 2000, too close to call on election night. With approximately 120 million people, 60 percent of eligible voters, casting ballots, turnout is the highest since 1968.
In congressional elections, Republicans enlarge their majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives. The Republicans pick up Senate seats held by Democrats in Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and South Dakota. Democrats take seats previously held by Republicans in Illinois and Colorado. Republicans in the House pick up at least four seats, with races in Louisiana and Georgia still undecided.
At least 8 people are killed and nearly 30 others are wounded when a car bomb explodes outside the Iraqi education ministry in a busy commercial areas of Baghdad. The explosion of a second car bomb kills at least four Iraqi civilians and leaves seven Iraqi soldiers wounded in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. West of Baghdad, the U.S. military targets insurgents in Al Fallujah and Ar Ramadi with artillery and airstrikes.
The U.S. Department of Defense extends the tours of duty of 6,500 U.S. troops in Iraq. The extension is to boost troop numbers in Iraq in anticipation of Iraqi elections in January. According to Defense Department figures, there are about 134,000 U.S. troops currently stationed in Iraq. Coalition partners, primarily the United Kingdom, have about 25,000 troops in Iraq.
George W. Bush wins re-election as president of the United States with 51 percent of the popular vote. His opponent, Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts concedes defeat in a telephone call made to the president. President Bush led Kerry by more than 3.7 million votes nationally at the time of the concession. With 270 votes needed for victory in the electoral college, the president had 254 electoral votes to Kerry’s 242. Ohio’s 20 electoral votes had yet to be declared for either candidate, but President Bush had a lead of 140,000 votes in Ohio, with at least 175,000 provisional ballots waiting to be counted.
Afghanistan’s electoral board declares Hamid Karzai the winner of the presidential election, which took place on October 9. Karzai took 55.4 percent of the vote.
Gunmen assassinate a senior Iraqi oil official as he is being driven to his office in Baghdad. The attack comes two days after the deputy governor of Baghdad was similarly assassinated in his moving car. In Northern Iraq, saboteurs blew up an oil pipeline near the city of Kirkuk late on November 2, shutting off crude oil experts to a port in Turkey. Economists note that similar attacks have sharply reduced the steady flow of oil, which supplies profits earmarked for the revival of Iraq’s stagnant economy.
The prime minister of Hungary announces that his country will withdraw its 300 noncombat troops from the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq before March 31, 2005. Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, who was elected in September, notes, “We are obliged to stay there [Iraq] until the elections [scheduled for January 31]. To stay longer is an impossibility.” Gyurcsany recently stated that he did not believe in pre-emptive war.
The international aid agency Doctors Without Borders is pulling out of Iraq. According to an angency spokesperson, Iraq has become too dangerous “to guarantee an acceptable level of security for our staff, be they foreign or Iraqi.” The agency, which was founded by French physicians in 1971 and is headquartered in Brussels, has offices in 18 countries and operates in more than 80 countries.
Three British soldiers are killed in a suicide bomb attack on the Black Watch infantry regiment that recently moved from southern Iraq to a base just south of Baghdad. An Iraqi interpreter is also killed, and eight British soldiers are wounded in the attack. The Black Watch regiment redeployed north to reinforce U.S. troops massing for a possible attack on Al Fallujah, center of the insurgency in the so-called Sunni Triangle. Two additional car bombings leave six Iraqis dead in towns north and south of Baghdad.
The Cote d’Ivoire government launched airstrikes on November 4 on the cities of Bouake and Korhogo, rebel strongholds in the north, announces a United Nations spokesperson stationed in Cote d’Ivoire. News of the bombings spark demonstrations in Abidjan, the economic capital, where armed youths torch buildings housing opposition parties accused of colluding with the rebels. The violence is blamed on the Young Patriots, a group supporting President Laurent Gbagbo. The rebels, known as the New Forces, recently withdrew from Gbagbo’s unity government on the grounds that the army was preparing to resume the civil war that raged in 2002 and 2003. The United Nations and France has 10,000 troops stationed in Cote d’Ivoire to monitor the cease-fire brokered in 2003.
The U.S. economy generated 337,000 new jobs in October, announces the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the overall unemployment rate rose from 5.4 percent to 5.5 percent.
A series of suicide car bombings and motor and rocket attacks across central Iraq leave at least 33 people dead and more than 60 others wounded, including 24 U.S. soldiers. Two suicide bombings outside the office of the mayor of Samarra draw a U.S. convoy to the scene, which in turn is hit by a bomb attack. Additional bombings at police stations in Samarra kill 17 policemen and leave several others wounded. U.S. and Iraqi forces retook Samarra from insurgent control in early October. Samarra, which is 60 miles (95 kilometers) north of Baghdad, has been cited as an example of how the interim Iraqi government is successfully restoring order to areas formerly controlled by rebels. West of Samarra in Ar Ramadi, more than 20 U.S. Marines are wounded in an ambush on a convoy during stepped up security operations in the Sunni Triangle. In nearby Al Fallujah, U.S. bombers pound rebel targets with 500-pound (225-kilogram) bombs, as some 10,000 U.S. troops are massing for a major assault in the rebel stronghold. Three additional U.S. soldiers are wounded in a car bombing near the entrance to the Baghdad International Airport.
The Iraqi interim government declares a 60-day state of emergency in response to escalating insurgent violence. As the announcement is made, Baghdad is hit by massive explosions as rebels toss grenades into police cars. Multiple car bomb attacks on U.S. convoys in the capital leave two American soldiers dead and five others injured. Another car bombing outside the Baghdad residence of the Iraqi finance minister leaves a bodyguard dead. In the towns of Al Hadithah and Al Haqlaniyah, approximately 120 miles (200 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, insurgents storm police stations and disarm and execute at least 21 policemen. A suicide bomb attack on the temporary headquarters of the Black Watch unit, 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Baghdad, leaves two British soldiers severely injured. Also south of Baghdad, assassins gun down three provincial government employees who were on their way to An Najaf for the funeral of a murdered colleague. Near An Najaf, insurgents dressed as policemen ambush and murder 12 Iraqi national guards.
U.S. forces backed by newly trained Iraqi troops are engaged in a major assault on Al Fallujah, with thousands of Marines and members of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division driving tanks and armored carriers into what is considered the center of the Iraqi insurgency. Amid heavy gunfire and a series of explosions, troops took control of the city’s main hospital late on November 7 and secured two bridges over the Euphrates River. One of the bridges is the place where rebels attacked and killed four American contractors in April. That incident sparked the first U.S. attempt to retake control of the city. Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian terrorist connected to the al-Qa’ida network, is urging his followers to resist the offensive, and suicide bombers are reported to be attacking U.S. troops in the streets of nearby Ar Ramadi. American forces also are engaged in heavy gunfire with insurgents in eastern Baghdad.
The Arctic is undergoing some of the most rapid and severe warming on the planet, announce the authors of a report commissioned by the governments of eight northern nations. The report, which involved hundreds of scientists over a four-year period, is the most comprehensive assessment to date of climate change in the Arctic and northerly regions of Earth. It describes vast areas of melting ice, a condition that already has triggered the decline of indigenous cultures and many animal and bird species. Robert Corell, the American oceanographer who led the project, notes “It’s affecting people up there now. And there are very serious consequences for people on the rest of the planet.” The authors of the report state that accelerating climate change is spurred by human generated greenhouse gases, which have increased in the atmosphere by nearly 30 percent since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-19th century.
U.S. and Iraqi forces remain locked in fierce fighting with insurgents as Marines reach the center of Al Fallujah. Battling the insurgents street by street, the soldiers have wrenched approximately the northern half of the city from rebel control. The attack has been met by an unknown number of insurgents, who have sometimes contested every inch of the advance and at other times melted back into rubble-strewn streets and alleys. According to some accounts, the insurgents have been joined by Iraqis from other parts of the country, and many guerrilla fighters have slipped out of the city to neighboring Ar Ramadi, where they have taken up defensive positions. Military experts describe the push into Al Fallujah as a calculated risk for the U.S. military. In April, Army officials were forced to shut down an initial attempt to retake the city after unconfirmed reports of heavy civilian casualties sparked outrage among both Sunni and Shiite Iraqis.
Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, whose controversial policies on fighting terrorism placed him at the center of a national debate over civil liberties, has resigned, announces a spokesperson for President George W. Bush. The secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Donald L. Evans, also has resigned. The resignations are the first departures from the Bush Cabinet since the president’s reelection on November 2.
France begins evacuating French nationals from Cote d’Ivoire in the face of four days of attacks on French residents and widespread looting. Anti-French demonstrations in Abidjan, the country’s largest city and main port, have left at least 1,000 people injured. The disturbances were triggered by France’s decision to destroy the Ivorian airforce after a government airstrike on rebel-held territory in the north resulted in the deaths of nine French soldiers on November 6. The United Nations (UN) and France have about 10,000 peacekeeping troops in Cote d’Ivoire to monitor the cease-fire in 2003 of a protracted civil war. According to the UN, as many as 5,000 Ivorian citizens have fled Cote d’Ivoire for Liberia since government troops began attacking rebel-controlled territories on November 4.
U.S. Marines are in control of about 70 percent of Al Fallujah, including a compound that includes the mayor’s office and the central police station. Nevertheless, a fierce battle between insurgents and U.S. and Iraqi forces continues in the city center, with American troops in control of the perimeter. In Baghdad, insurgents abduct relatives of interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. The kidnappers threaten to kill the three hostages unless Allawi orders an end to the incursion into Al Fallujah. To the north, in the city of Mosul, the governor orders an indefinite curfew after militants attacked and killed four members of the Iraqi security forces and a foreign contractor.
U.S. President George W. Bush nominates Alberto R. Gonzales, his legal counsel in the White House, to head the U.S. Department of Justice. If confirmed by the Senate, Gonzales would be the first attorney general of Hispanic ancestry in U.S. history.
Yasir Arafat dies at age 75 in a hospital in Paris. After a state funeral in Cairo, the body of the Palestinian leader is to buried in Ramallah in the West Bank. His organization, the Palestinian Authority, declares 40 days of mourning to honor the passing of the man who for some 40 years dominated the Palestinian struggle for an independent state. In the Gaza Strip and West Bank, thousands of Palestinians crowd the streets, wailing and firing off volleys of gunfire to express their grief. A controversial figure, Arafat was regarded by some as the “teacher and father” of the Palestinian people. Others saw him as a terrorist who presided over an organization more interested in maintaining power than achieving independence. Arafat’s power is to be divided between various Palestinian leaders. The speaker of the parliament, Rawhi Fattuh, is to become acting president of the Palestinian Authority. Former Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas is head the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and is expected to take over Fatah, the shadowy PLO political and military organization. Ahmed Qurei will continue as Palestinian prime minister but is expected to exercise more authority over day-to-day governance.
Insurgent violence escalates dramatically in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and in Baghdad in what military experts suggest is a guerrilla campaign to divert troops from the fighting in Al Fallujah. Masked gunmen roam the streets of Mosul, setting fire to police cars and storming several police stations to loot weapons and ammunition. At least two stations are set on fire. The violence pulls U.S. and Iraqi soldiers into a series of defensive strikes and raids on suspected rebel targets. In Baghdad, a car bomb explodes in the center of a crowded commercial street, killing 17 people. A similar bombing killed 10 people in the capital on November 10, one of several insurgent attacks outside Al Fallujah that left a total of 28 people dead in a single day.
A Philippine National Railways train en route from Naga City to Manila, the Philippine capital, jumps the rails, and five of the eight coaches plunge into a deep ravine. At least 10 of the 400 some passengers are killed, and more than 115 others are injured. The crash takes place near the town of Padre Burgos, which is approximately 210 miles (340 kilometers) southeast of Manila.
Violence escalates across the Sunni triangle west and north of Baghdad, with insurgents carrying out ambushes, bombings, and mortar attacks in the cities of Ar Ramadi, Baghdad, Baqubah, Hawijah, Kirkuk, Mosul, Samarra, and Tikrit. In Mosul, the U.S. military launches airstrikes against insurgents holed up in a cemetery. Just north of Baghdad, insurgents, armed with anti-aircraft guns, shoot down a U.S. Army helicopter, wounding the three-man crew. The UH-60 Black Hawk is the third U.S. helicopter to be shot down in Iraq in the last 24 hours. An insurgent ambush on an Army convoy in south Baghdad leaves one U.S. soldier dead and three others wounded. According to U.S. military officials, a counter offensive in the Sunni Triangle and the northern city of Mosul is being mounted by insurgents who fled Al Fallujah before the U.S. assault on that city began on November 7.
At least 101 journalists have been killed around the world so far in 2004, announces the International Federation of Journalists, a media rights group. According to Aidan White, the federation’s general secretary, “2004 is turning out to be one of the most bloody years on record.” The organization verified that 83 journalists died on the job in 2003.
Iran agrees to immediately suspend its nuclear programs in exchange for guarantees made by France, Germany, and the United Kingdom that Iran will not face United Nations Security Council sanctions as long as the agreement remains in effect. Iran suspended uranium enrichment in 2003 but has repeatedly refused to stop related activities, for example, reprocessing uranium or building centrifuges.
Palestinian militants fire shots at Mahmoud Abbas in the Gaza Strip. The former Palestinian premier is unhurt, but two of this bodyguards are killed in the attack. On Yasir Arafat’s death, Abbas took over leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Fatah—a faction within the PLO and Arafat’s personal political organization. The attack was made shortly after Abbas arrived at a mourning tent in Gaza City to pay his respects to Arafat, who died on November 11. Outside the tent, armed gunmen, standing among a huge crowd, chanted slogans against Abbas and his close ally, Mohammed Dahlan, including “Abbas and Dahlan are agents for the Americans.” Experts on the Middle east describe Abbas as a moderate pragmatist who has been critical of the four-year violent uprising known as the second intifada.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell submitted his resignation to President George W. Bush on November 12, announces a Bush administration spokesperson. The administration also confirms that Spencer Abraham, secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, Ann Veneman, secretary of the Department of Agriculture, and Rod Paige, secretary of the Department of Education, have also resigned. John Ashcroft, attorney general, and Don Evans, secretary of the Department of Commerce, resigned on November 10.
U.S. forces in Iraq engage in a prolonged gun battle with insurgents in Baqubah while U.S. war planes drop 500 pound (225-kilogram) bombs on rebel targets in the mixed Sunni and Shiah city 40 miles (65 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad. The assault on Baqubah begins as a major offensive in Al Fallujah winds down after a week of heavy fighting. According to a military spokesperson, U.S. and Iraqi troops control Al Fallujah with the exception of small pockets of resistance, primarily in the southern districts of the city. Rebel violence continues for a fifth day in the northern city of Mosul, with gunmen in control of some districts of the city. Outside the northern city of Kirkuk, saboteurs bomb and ignite oil wells, a pumping station, and an oil pipeline.
The U.S. military in Iraq launches a major offensive in the northern city of Mosul, where insurgent attacks, particularly on police stations, flared during the week-long, U.S.-Iraqi incursion in Al Fallujah. More than 1,000 soldiers, both U.S. and Iraqi, are to be deployed in the Mosul offensive. According to U.S. commanders, the rebel leaders fled Al Fallujah before the invasion of that city and are probably behind the current counteroffensive in Mosul, Kirkuk, Baqubah, and other cities that left at least 35 people dead on November 15.
U.S. President George W. Bush nominates Condoleezza Rice, currently the president’s national security adviser, to replace Colin Powell as secretary of state. Rice’s position as national security adviser will be filled by her current assistant, Stephen J. Hadley.
Democrats in the U.S. Senate elect Harry Reid of Nevada as their minority leader. Reid replaces Tom Daschle of South Dakota, who was defeated in the South Dakota senate race on November 2. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois is elected the Democratic whip.
Sears, Roebuck and Co., the giant Chicago area based retail company, and Kmart, the discount retail chain based in Troy, Michigan, are to merge, announce the two corporations. The new company, to be called Sears Holding Corporation, will the third largest U.S. retailer with approximately 3,450 stores and $55 billion in annual revenue.
President George W. Bush nominates Margaret Spellings, his top domestic policy adviser, to be secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. If confirmed by the Senate, Spellings will replace Roderick R. Paige, who resigned on November 15.
The insurgent counteroffensive in Iraq unleashes a wave of violence in cities across the Sunni Triangle, from Ar Ramadi and Baiji to Kirkuk. At least 21 Iraqis are killed and dozens of others are wounded in the series of attacks. The most violent incident takes place in the Baiji, site of Iraq’s largest oil refinery, which is 155 miles (250 kilometers) north of Baghdad. A suicide bomber in the city rams his vehicle into a passing convoy of U.S. soldiers, three of whom are wounded. The explosion kills at least 10 passers by and wounds 20 others.
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives vote to abandon an 11-year-old rule that requires House leaders—speaker of the House, majority and minority leaders, and others—to step aside temporarily if indicted on criminal charges. According to House Democrats, the rule is rescinded to protect the majority leader, Tom DeLay of Texas, who may be prosecuted in Texas on charges that he used corporate funds to help Republicans win state legislative races in 2002. According to House Republicans, the rule is changed to prevent “crackpot” prosecutors from leading politically inspired criminal investigations of top Republicans. The district attorney of Travis County, Texas, Ronnie Earle, recently won grand jury indictments against three political associates of Tom DeLay. They were indicted in connection with alleged campaign finance violations that supposedly helped Republicans win several Texas legislative races in 2002. The increased strength of Republicans in the Texas legislature helped DeLay execute a congressional redistricting that added five additional seats to the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The U.S. dollar falls to a record low of $1.3059 against the euro on the London exchange. The value of the dollar also slides against the Chinese yen and the South Korean won. Economists note that international investors are showing concern about U.S. economic problems, including record government deficits and record high trade imbalances.
Afghanistan is on the verge of becoming a “narco-state,” warns the United Nations (UN) in a report that urges U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan to fight drugs as well as the Taliban. According to the 2004 UN Afghanistan Opium Survey, opium cultivation in Afghanistan increased by 66 percent in 2004. At least 87 percent of the world’s opium is now produced in Afghanistan, with 2.3 million Afghans—10 percent of the entire work force—engaged in some aspect of the trade.
U.S. forces, hunting through the largely pacified city of Al Fallujah for holdout insurgents, engage in occasional skirmishes with snipers. About 50 U.S servicemen have been killed and 425 others wounded in the assault, which began on November 8. Military authorities believe about 1,200 insurgents appear to have been killed. According to a U.S. military commander, the offensive to retake control of Al Fallujah has “broken the back of the insurgency.” However, the wave of rebel assaults across central and northern Iraq continue in what is being called a counteroffensive to the Al Fallujah incursion. Rebels continue to attack police stations in the northern city of Mosul, where 63 freshly trained police reportedly have been abducted. In Baghdad, U.S. soldiers raid a major Sunni Muslim mosque and arrest about 40 people in a crackdown on militant clerics. The Iraqi interim government recently warned Sunni clerics that inciting violence from the pulpit was “participating in terrorism.” Elsewhere in Baghdad, a suicide car bombing kills 5 policeman and injures at least 10 other people. Similar bombings in Ar Ramadi, Baiji, Kirkuk left 21 Iraqis dead on November 18.
Persistent huge U.S. trade deficits pose a risk to the U.S. economy, warns Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. In the second quarter of 2004, the U.S. trade deficit soared to an all-time high of $166.2 billion, that is, the United States imported $166.2 billion more in foreign goods than it exported. The imbalance is largely equalized by foreign investors through the purchase of U.S. stocks and bonds. However, economists are warning that the sliding value of the dollar is making dollar-denominated investments less attractive.
Sudan’s vice president, Ali Osman Taha, and main rebel leader, John Garang, sign an accord to complete peace talks to end Sudan’s civil war by December 31. The accord is signed in Nairobi, Kenya, with representatives of all 15 member nations of the United Nations Security Council acting as witnesses. The Security Council simultaneously adopts a resolution to provide political and economic aid to Sudan. A peace agreement—between Sudan’s Islamic national government and rebels seeking a greater share of power and wealth for the largely Christian and animist people of the south—would end 21 years of conflict that has cost the lives of some 2 million people.
Myanmar’s military junta releases 4,000 detainees, including Min Ko Naing, one of the country’s most revered dissidents, as well as other political prisoners. Min Ko Naing has been held in prison since 1989 for leading students in prodemocracy protests. Human rights organizations believe that as many as 1,300 political prisoners remain in prison in Myanmar.
U.S. troops set up roadblocks into Ar Ramadi and issue warnings to residents to stay indoors in preparation for an assault on that Sunni Triangle city 30 miles (45 kilometers) west of Al Fallujah. In Baghdad, Iraqi insurgents attack a police station with rocket-propelled grenades, killing at least three policemen. The bodies of nine Iraqi soldiers, seven of whom were beheaded, are discovered in the northern city of Mosul, a focus of recent rebel violence, including multiple recent assaults on police stations. The U.S. military reports finding four additional decapitated bodies in two locations in Mosul. U.S. military commanders are reported to be considering boosting troop levels in Iraq by 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers before the election scheduled for January. The United States currently has about 138,000 troops in Iraq.
The world’s leading industrial countries agree to cancel 80 percent of the nearly $39 billion debt that Iraq owes 19 creditor nations. According to international affairs experts, the agreement puts pressure on Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries to also forgive Iraqi debts, including billions of dollars in reparations owed to Kuwait from the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The debt agreement is announced as Iraq’s independent election commission schedules national and provincial elections for January 30, 2005. According to the commission, nearly 200 political parties have applied to run candidates for the 275-seat National Assembly. The assembly is to appoint a prime minister and a Cabinet from its membership and draft a national constitution. United Nations officials note, however, that violence or the threat of violence have forced Iraqi officials to shut down about 90 voter registration centers in northern and western Iraq, threatening the election process. The balloting is also imperiled by the ongoing insurgency and calls for a Sunni Muslim boycott.
At least 60 miners died in a massive blaze in a complex of iron mines in northern China, confirms the government in Beijing. A faulty electrical cable ignited the fire, which began on November 20, and spread quickly through six connected mines. The mine managers are in police custody in Shahe, in northern Hebei province, according to the State Administration for Work Safety.
More than 200,000 Ukrainians rally outside the parliament building in Kiev, the capital, to protest the results of the presidential runoff election on November 21, while inside, the parliament debates a no-confidence vote on the Central Elections Commission. Unofficially, the commission is calling Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych the winner, with 49.42 percent of the vote, though exit polls indicated his challenger, Viktor Yushchenko, won by a large margin. The pro-Western Yushchenko claims the election was massively rigged, and international observers, including representatives from the European Union and NATO, allege systemic voting abuse. The municipal councils of Kiev and the cities of Lviv, Khmelnitsky, and Lutsk have announced that they refuse to accept the results and will only take direction from Yushchenko. Viktor Yanukovych, who favors closer ties with Russia, rather than the West, is strongly backed by the current president, Leonid Kuchma, and by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A force of more than 5,000 U.S., British, and Iraqi troops launch an offensive to retake control of an area south of Baghdad that has been dubbed the “Triangle of Death.” The region has become one of the most dangerous in Iraq, where dozens of Iraqi police and national guard members have been taken into the desert and executed. Residents in the region, a mixture of Sunni and Shiah Muslims, claim that extremist Sunni insurgents have imposed a strict brand of Islamic law and are abducting and killing Shiah pilgrims, traveling through the region on their way to the holy cities of An Najaf and Karbala.
The U.S. dollar slides to yet another new low against the euro, which climbs to $1.31 in trading on European markets.
President George W. Bush orders a major expansion of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The new CIA director, Porter Goss, is to add thousands of new analysts and spies as part of the ongoing war on terrorism. However, the president’s directive does not set deadlines nor specify how enlarging the CIA is to be funded. A Bush administration spokesperson states that the directive represents an effort by the president to “take additional steps under his own authority responding to recommendations made by the 9/11 commission,” that is, the commission that investigated security failures surrounding the terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. Political experts suggest that the directive was made in response to the fact that Republicans in the House of Representatives, before adjourning on November 20, killed legislation reforming various U.S. intelligence gathering organizations, including the CIA and Department of Defense. The bill, which the Senate had passed, was based on the recommendations of the 9/11 commission.
Ukraine’s prime minister, Viktor Yanukovych, is declared the official winner in a presidential election that has been marred by accusations of widespread fraud. A Central Elections Commission spokesperson announces that Yanukovych won 49.5 percent of the vote, compared with the 46.6 percent received by his challenger, Viktor Yushchenko. Independence Square in Kiev, the capital, remains occupied by hundreds of thousands of Yushchenko supporters who claim that the runoff election on November 21 was rigged by the government of President Leonid Kuchma, who picked Yanukovych as his successor.
Hundreds of Mexican police enter San Juan Ixtayopan, a town on the outskirts of Mexico City, the capital, and arrest 33 men suspected of being involved in the murder of two federal police officers. Three members of the Federal Preventive Police were attacked and beaten by a mob in San Juan Ixtayopan on November 23 while the officers, dressed in civilian clothes, videotaped children outside an elementary school. Two of the officers were set on fire and burned to death, while the third officer escaped alive, though severely wounded. Many residents of the town believe the officers were kidnappers stalking new victims. Officials for the federal police contend that the officers were investigating alleged drug sales and child kidnappings. Frustrated by widespread crime that generally goes unpunished and by a police force generally regarded as corrupt, many Mexicans in recent years have taken justice into their own hands on a number of occasions.
U.S. forces in Mosul discover the bodies of 32 Iraqis over the last 24 hours, bringing to 65 the total number found in this northern Iraqi city in the last eight days. All were men, between the ages of 25 and 35 years old, who were bound and executed. At least 20 of the corpses have been identified as police or soldiers. Many of the bodies were dumped in conspicuous public places, including traffic circles at busy intersections. A rocket attack on Baghdad’s heavily guarded Green Zone kills 4 Nepalese employees of a British security firm and leaves 11 others wounded. In Al Fallujah, American troops uncover what is suspected to be a weapons factory that includes a laboratory with the necessary equipment and instructions to make poisons, including anthrax. U.S. Marines also discover an enormous cache of weapons—“big enough to fuel a nationwide rebellion”—in a mosque complex in a residential neighborhood in Al Fallujah. Repeated clashes with insurgents in the largely Sunni city leave two U.S. Marines dead, bringing to more than 50 the number of Marines killed in Al Fallujah since the assault on the city began in mid-November.
Ukraine’s parliament, meeting in an emergency session in the capital, Kiev, declares the November 21 presidential election invalid and passes a vote of no-confidence in Ukraine’s Central Elections Commission. The commission officially declared Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych the winner on November 24. The parliamentary resolution denounces the commission’s results as “at odds with the will of the people.” The resolution does not overturn the official results, but political experts note that it applies pressure on the supreme court to examine more than 11,000 charges of fraud. Yanukovych’s challenger, Viktor Yushchenko, refuses to concede defeat and calls on his supporters, who number in the tens of thousands, to remain camped in the streets of central Kiev.
Marxist rebels in Colombia plotted to assassinate U.S. President George W. Bush during his visit last week to the Colombian port of Cartagena, discloses a Colombian official. Defense Minister Jorge Alberto Uribe announces that Colombian government forces crushed a plot by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to kill Bush. During his visit to Colombia on November 22, President Bush vowed to increase funding of Plan Colombia, a U.S. government program of military assistance to Colombia in its decades-long fight against FARC and the various drug cartels that control sections of the country.
King Abdullah II of Syria strips the title of crown prince from his half brother and heir apparent, Prince Hamzah. Political experts suggest Abdullah’s move informs the world that he is firmly in control in Syria .
At least 10 Iraqi security officers and 2 U.S. soldiers are killed in bombings in central Iraq. An explosion outside a police station in Ar Ramadi, west of Baghdad, the capital, leaves 6 Iraqi policemen dead. In Baghdadi, a town near Ar Ramadi, four members of the Iraqi National Guard are killed in a car bombing at a highway checkpoint. The two Americans are killed and three others wounded in a roadside bomb blast in Baghdad.
Carlos M. Gutierrez, a Cuban-American who rose from breakfast cereal salesman to chairman and chief executive of the Kellogg Company, is nominated by President George W. Bush to be secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce in the next Bush administration. If confirmed by the Senate, Gutierrez will replaced Donald L. Evans, who resigned earlier in November.
A violent storm in the Philippines triggers flash floods and landslides in Quezon province that leaves more than 1,000 people dead and thousands homeless. Similar storms during the week of November 21 killed at least 160 people in the Philippines. Conservationists point out that heavily deforested hills and mountainsides are no longer capable of absorbing runoff from heavy rains.
Italian workers stage a nation-wide strike that cripples the country. The strike is called to protest the economic policies of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. To reduce its public debt, as the Economic Union demands, Berlusconi has cut $8 billion in public sector spending from his 2005 budget.
U.S. President George W. Bush pays his first official visit to Canada. Upon arriving in Ottawa, the capital, President Bush meets with Prime Minister Paul Martin as protesters demonstrate against the U.S.-led war in Iraq. International affairs experts suggest that the visit is an attempt to improve relations with the Canadian government, which strongly opposed the Iraq war, which began in March 2003.
A passenger plane carrying more than 150 people skids off a runway in central Indonesia during a heavy rain and splits into two pieces, killing at least 31 people.