Iraq crisis of 2003: Iraq begins the process of destroying Al Samoud two missiles on March 1. Hans Blix, U.N. chief weapons inspector said "It is a very significant piece of real disarmament". However, the spokesman of the White House, Ari Fleischer declared that the Iraq commitment to destroy these missiles is a fraud that President George W. Bush had predicted, and indicated that the United States wanted a total and complete disarmament of Iraq. He also repeated that if the United Nations did not act to disarm Baghdad, the United States would lead a coalition of voluntary countries to disarm Saddam Hussein.
Canada's prime minister Jean Chrétien indicates that he believes that regime change is a dangerous goal for an invasion of Iraq, and that disarmament only should be the goal of international pressure.  (http://cbc.ca/stories/2003/02/28/chretienmex030228)
It is reported that, citing "national interest" as a reason, the British government under Margaret Thatcher contributed approximately £1bn of taxpayer money to Iraq under Saddam Hussein in the 1980s. Most of this money went into military infrastructure built by British companies such as BAe Systems.  (http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,904493,00.html)
The United States government backtracked on its pledge to send American combat troops to the Philippines in order to track down Islamic terrorists in that nation. Philippine opponents of the plan threatened to impeachPresidentGloria Macapagal-Arroyo, if she had allowed foreign troops on Philippine soil in contradiction to the Philippine constitution.
Career diplomat John Brady Kiesling resigns from the U.S. Foreign Service with a sharp public rebuke for the Bush administration's foreign policy, asking "Has oderint dum metuant really become our motto?" and "Is the Russia of the late Romanovs really our model, a selfish, superstitious empire thrashing toward self-destruction in the name of a doomed status quo?" Full text (http://www.snopes.com/politics/mideast/kiesling.asp)
An internal investigation by the Washington, D.C. police department indicates that hundreds of people arrested for failure to obey a police order to disperse at Pershing Park on September 27, 2002 during protests against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were never actually ordered to disperse before being arrested. Washington police chief Charles Ramsey was unapologetic, indicating that the actions of the police were necessary to protect the city.  (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A8075-2003Feb26.html)
Daniel Libeskind's design is announced as the winner and future occupant of the former World Trade Center site. The design includes an office building and a Wedge of Light which will honor the victims of the terrorist attacks by shutting down its lights between 8:46AM and 10:28AM EST every September 11. It will also use the WTC's foundations. (http://apnews.excite.com/article/20030227/D7PEPU9O0.html)
US plan to invade Iraq: Hans Blix stated that Iraq still had not made a "fundamental decision" to disarm, despite recent signs of increased cooperation. Specifically, Iraq refused to destroy its al-Samoud 2 long range missiles - a weapon system that was in violation of the UN Security Council's resolutions and the US treaty with Iraq. These missiles are deployed and mobile. Also, an R-400 aerial bomb was found that could possibly contain biological agents. Given this find, the UN Inspectors have requested access to the Al-Aziziyah weapons range to verify that all 155 R-400 bombs can be accounted for and proven destroyed.
Gerorge Bush commits publicly to a post-invasion democracy in Iraq, says it will be "an example" to other nations in Arabia
The House of Commons saw the largest rebellion by MPs from any governing party in Britain for at least 100 years. 122 MPs from the ruling Labour party were among 199 from all parties who voted to add the phrase " [This House] finds the case for military action against Iraq as yet unproven" to a government motion. The motion itself endorsed UN Security Council Resolution 1441 and supported " ...the Government's continuing efforts in the UN to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction".
Dr. Sami Al-Arian was terminated from his teaching position at the University of South Florida. USF President Judy Genshaft indicated that Dr. Al-Arian's non-academic activities created a conflict of interest with the University, and also cited items from Al-Arian's 50 count indictment. A representative from the American Association of University Professors indicated that the AAUP does not feel that due process was followed in Al-Arian's case, and that the organization will likely formally censure USF at its June meeting.  (http://www.usforacle.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2003/02/27/3e5e122c96204),  (http://www.usforacle.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2003/02/27/3e5e19844bbcb)
Both major parties of Kurdistan, an autonomous region in Northern Iraq, vow to fight Turkish troops if they enter Kurdistan to capture Mosul or interfere in Kurdish self-rule. Between them the two parties can mobilize up to 80,000 guerillas - most likely no match for the modern Turkish army, but a severe blow to the unity of U.S. allies on the Northern front expected in the U.S. plan to invade Iraq.
A magnitude 6.8 earthquake strikes China's remote western region of Xinjiang at 10:03 AM local time (0203 UTC) near the mountainous border with Kyrgyzstan. At least 266 are killed, more than 4,000 are injured, and over 1,000 buildings, including housing and schools, collapse.
U.S. plan to invade Iraq: General Colin Powell states at a meeting in Beijing that "It is time to take action. The evidence is clear ... We are reaching that point where serious consequences must flow." His speech appears to imply that military action is likely to follow within three weeks, based on previous Pentagon briefings.
Reports of the results of a study of VaxGen's experimental AIDS vaccine show little effect on the spread of AIDS in the overall experimental group. However, there are possible signs of partial resistance to HIV infection in the subgroup of subjects of African and Asianethnic origin.
The major Netherlands-based food concern Ahold announces that financial malversations in a US daughter firm lead to an unanticipated loss of 500 million dollars.
A military plane carrying 302 members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards crashed in the mountains of southeastern Iran killing all on board. The government did not go into the possible cause of the crash. The plane was en route from Zahedan, on the Pakistan border, to Kerman, about 500 miles southeast of Tehran.
An arson attack on an underground train in the Daegu, South Korea claims at least 180 lives with more than 140 injured and dozens missing. Witnesses reportedly saw a man throwing a milk carton filled with a flammable substance into a train.
Canadian finance minister John Manley brings down a budget, the last and one of those with the most expenditures in the career of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. It uses money from the federal surplus to replace a portion of the amount the Liberals cut from a variety of programs during their mandate, partially funds the implementation of the Romanow report on health care, and increases military spending.
Hours before the first ships transporting heavy United States military equipment to Turkey were supposed to reach port, the Turkish government announces that it will withhold approval to dock unless the United States increases a reciprocal $6 billion foreign aid grant to $10 billion. The Bush administration indicated that no substantial changes will be made to the proposed aid package.  (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A27320-2003Feb18.html)
Global protests against war on Iraq: People around the world demonstrated against the planning of war against Iraq. In Rome three million people were on the streets, in London one million. In Berlin there were half a million in the largest demonstration for some decades. There were also protest marches all over France as well as in many other smaller European cities. Protests were also held in South Africa, Syria, India, Russia, Canada and in the USA, in around 600 cities in total.
A very large demonstration was held in Melbourne to protest against the Australian government's support for the USA's policy on Iraq. Organisers estimated that 200,000 people came out on to the streets, while some news sources put the number at "up to 150,000".  (http://au.news.yahoo.com/030214/2/qcxe.html)
United States military officials anonymously confirm to the Washington Post that two Special Forces units have been operating on the ground inside Iraq for over a month, making preliminary preparations for a large-scale invasion.  (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A331-2003Feb12.html)
U.S. SenateDemocrats continue to threaten to filibuster the candidacy of Miguel Estrada for the D.C. Circuit Court. The Democrats argue that Estrada is too conservative and not answering all of their questions. Estrada was first nominated for the position in May2001.
A UN panel reports that Iraq's al-Samoud 2 missiles, disclosed by Iraq to weapons inspectors in December, have a range of 180 km (above the 150 km limit allowed by the UN), splitting opinion over whether they breach UNSCR 1441.
France and Belgium broke the NATO procedure of silent approval concerning the timing of protective measures for Turkey in case of a possible war with Iraq. Germany said it supports this veto. The procedure was put into operation on February 6 by secretary general George Robertson. In response Turkey called upon Article 4 of the NATO Treaty, which stipulates that member states must deliberate when asked to do so by another member state if it feels threatened.
Sections of a 'dossier' issued by the UK government, which purported to present the latest British intelligence about Iraq, and which had been cited by Tony Blair and Colin Powell as evidence for the need for war, were criticized as plagiarisms. They had been copied without permission from a number of sources including Jane's Intelligence Review and a 12-year-old doctoral thesis of a Californian student that had been published in the US journal Middle East Review of International Affairs. Some sentences were copied word-for-word, and spelling mistakes had been reproduced from the original articles. Downing Street responded by saying that the government had never claimed exclusive authorship and that the information was accurate.
The United States said it was ready for any contingency after North Korea issued threats of pre-emptive attack and suggested it was poised to restart an atomic reactor central to its suspected drive for nuclear arms.
Senior citizens groups began a call for a boycott of British-owned pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline, the largest in the world, after the company announced that it would no longer sell drugs to Canadian companies that sell drugs at steep discounts to Americans over the Internet. The boycott would include such brands as Tums antacid, Aquafresh toothpaste, Contac cold remedy, Paxil and Flonase.
The last game is completed in the FIDE Man vs Machine World Chess Championship, in which Garry Kasparov, the highest rated human chess master, competed against the world champion computer program, Deep Junior. The six game match was played to a 3-3 draw.
Record producer Phil Spector was arrested in relation to an investigation into the fatal shooting of a 40-year-old woman in Los Angeles. Press reports identify the woman as the actress Lana Clarkson.
Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri claims Space Shuttle Columbia disaster is a sign from God. He says "It is a punishment from God. Muslims see it that way. It is a trinity of evil because it carried Americans, an Israeli and a Hindu, a trinity of evil against Islam." al-Masri's remarks are widely denounced by many other Muslim clerics. Reported in a BBC News Article: Muslim cleric's shuttle outburst attacked (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2720775.stm).
February 4th and 5th saw mandatory training for all sergeants in Supervising Generation X and Problem Solving in Community Policing.
The night of February 17 was when I first learned of the plane crash, 8 miles East of Tamiami Airport, which took the lives of Dr. Eric Gustinger, his wife Aydel, their four-year-old son Jonah and Ericâs father âDoc.â Like so many members of our community, Eric and Aydel were both doctor and friends.
On February 11th the Brownie Troop from the Upper Keys came to the Islamorada Station for âNational Thanking Dayâ to thank law enforcement and fire fighters for their service, support and protection of the community.
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