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HERES YOUR TOP TEN
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Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released its 2009 list of Washington’s "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians." The list, in alphabetical order, includes:
1. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT): This marks two years in a row for Senator Dodd, who made the 2008 "Ten Most Corrupt" list for his corrupt relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and for accepting preferential treatment and loan terms from Countrywide Financial, a scandal which still dogs him. In 2009, the scandals kept coming for the Connecticut Democrat. In 2009, Judicial Watch filed a Senate ethics complaint against Dodd for undervaluing a property he owns in Ireland on his Senate Financial Disclosure forms. Judicial Watch’s complaint forced Dodd to amend the forms. However, press reports suggest the property to this day remains undervalued. Judicial Watch also alleges in the complaint that Dodd obtained a sweetheart deal for the property in exchange for his assistance in obtaining a presidential pardon (during the Clinton administration) and other favors for a long-time friend and business associate. The false financial disclosure forms were part of the cover-up. Dodd remains the head the Senate Banking Committee.
2. Senator John Ensign (R-NV): A number of scandals popped up in 2009 involving public officials who conducted illicit affairs, and then attempted to cover them up with hush payments and favors, an obvious abuse of power. The year’s worst offender might just be Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign. Ensign admitted in June to an extramarital affair with the wife of one of his staff members, who then allegedly obtained special favors from the Nevada Republican in exchange for his silence. According to The New York Times: "The Justice Department and the Senate Ethics Committee are expected to conduct preliminary inquiries into whether Senator John Ensign violated federal law or ethics rules as part of an effort to conceal an affair with the wife of an aide…" The former staffer, Douglas Hampton, began to lobby Mr. Ensign’s office immediately upon leaving his congressional job, despite the fact that he was subject to a one-year lobbying ban. Ensign seems to have ignored the law and allowed Hampton lobbying access to his office as a payment for his silence about the affair. (These are potentially criminal offenses.) It looks as if Ensign misused his public office (and taxpayer resources) to cover up his sexual shenanigans.
3. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): Judicial Watch is investigating a million TARP cash injection provided to the Boston-based OneUnited Bank at the urging of Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank. As reported in the January 22, 2009, edition of the Wall Street Journal, the Treasury Department indicated it would only provide funds to healthy banks to jump-start lending. Not only was OneUnited Bank in massive financial turmoil, but it was also "under attack from its regulators for allegations of poor lending practices and executive-pay abuses, including owning a Porsche for its executives’ use." Rep. Frank admitted he spoke to a "federal regulator," and Treasury granted the funds. (The bank continues to flounder despite Frank’s intervention for federal dollars.) Moreover, Judicial Watch uncovered documents in 2009 that showed that members of Congress for years were aware that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were playing fast and loose with accounting issues, risk assessment issues and executive compensation issues, even as liberals led by Rep. Frank continued to block attempts to rein in the two Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs). For example, during a hearing on September 10, 2003, before the House Committee on Financial Services considering a Bush administration proposal to further regulate Fannie and Freddie, Rep. Frank stated: "I want to begin by saying that I am glad to consider the legislation, but I do not think we are facing any kind of a crisis. That is, in my view, the two Government Sponsored Enterprises we are talking about here, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not in a crisis. We have recently had an accounting problem with Freddie Mac that has led to people being dismissed, as appears to be appropriate. I do not think at this point there is a problem with a threat to the Treasury." Frank received ,350 in campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 1989 and 2008. Frank also engaged in a relationship with a Fannie Mae Executive while serving on the House Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
4. Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner: In 2009, Obama Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner admitted that he failed to pay ,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes from 2001-2004 on his lucrative salary at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an organization with 185 member countries that oversees the global financial system. (Did we mention Geithner now runs the IRS?) It wasn’t until President Obama tapped Geithner to head the Treasury Department that he paid back most of the money, although the IRS kindly waived the hefty penalties. In March 2009, Geithner also came under fire for his handling of the AIG bonus scandal, where the company used 5 million of its bailout funds to pay out executive bonuses, resulting in a massive public backlash. Of course as head of the New York Federal Reserve, Geithner helped craft the AIG deal in September 2008. However, when the AIG scandal broke, Geithner claimed he knew nothing of the bonuses until March 10, 2009. The timing is important. According to CNN: "Although Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told congressional leaders on Tuesday that he learned of AIG’s impending 0 million bonus payments to members of its troubled financial-products unit on March 10, sources tell TIME that the New York Federal Reserve informed Treasury staff that the payments were imminent on Feb. 28. That is ten days before Treasury staffers say they first learned ‘full details’ of the bonus plan, and three days before the [Obama] Administration launched a new billion infusion of cash for AIG." Throw in another embarrassing disclosure in 2009 that Geithner employed "household help" ineligible to work in the United States, and it becomes clear why the Treasury Secretary has earned a spot on the "Ten Most Corrupt Politicians in Washington" list.
5. Attorney General Eric Holder: Tim Geithner can be sure he won’t be hounded about his tax-dodging by his colleague Eric Holder, US Attorney General. Judicial Watch strongly opposed Holder because of his terrible ethics record, which includes: obstructing an FBI investigation of the theft of nuclear secrets from Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory; rejecting multiple requests for an independent counsel to investigate alleged fundraising abuses by then-Vice President Al Gore in the Clinton White House; undermining the criminal investigation of President Clinton by Kenneth Starr in the midst of the Lewinsky investigation; and planning the violent raid to seize then-six-year-old Elian Gonzalez at gunpoint in order to return him to Castro’s Cuba. Moreover, there is his soft record on terrorism. Holder bypassed Justice Department procedures to push through Bill Clinton’s scandalous presidential pardons and commutations, including for 16 members of FALN, a violent Puerto Rican terrorist group that orchestrated approximately 120 bombings in the United States, killing at least six people and permanently maiming dozens of others, including law enforcement officers. His record in the current administration is no better. As he did during the Clinton administration, Holder continues to ignore serious incidents of corruption that could impact his political bosses at the White House. For example, Holder has refused to investigate charges that the Obama political machine traded VIP access to the White House in exchange for campaign contributions – a scheme eerily similar to one hatched by Holder’s former boss, Bill Clinton in the 1990s. The Holder Justice Department also came under fire for dropping a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party. On Election Day 2008, Black Panthers dressed in paramilitary garb threatened voters as they approached polling stations. Holder has also failed to initiate a comprehensive Justice investigation of the notorious organization ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), which is closely tied to President Obama. There were allegedly more than 400,000 fraudulent ACORN voter registrations in the 2008 campaign. And then there were the journalist videos catching ACORN Housing workers advising undercover reporters on how to evade tax, immigration, and child prostitution laws. Holder’s controversial decisions on new rights for terrorists and his attacks on previous efforts to combat terrorism remind many of the fact that his former law firm has provided and continues to provide pro bono representation to terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. Holder’s politicization of the Justice Department makes one long for the days of Alberto Gonzales.
6. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)/ Senator Roland Burris (D-IL): One of the most serious scandals of 2009 involved a scheme by former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to sell President Obama’s then-vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. Two men caught smack dab in the middle of the scandal: Senator Roland Burris, who ultimately got the job, and Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, emissaries for Jesse Jackson Jr., named "Senate Candidate A" in the Blagojevich indictment, reportedly offered .5 million to Blagojevich during a fundraiser if he named Jackson Jr. to Obama’s seat. Three days later federal authorities arrested Blagojevich. Burris, for his part, apparently lied about his contacts with Blagojevich, who was arrested in December 2008 for trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat. According to Reuters: "Roland Burris came under fresh scrutiny…after disclosing he tried to raise money for the disgraced former Illinois governor who named him to the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama…In the latest of those admissions, Burris said he looked into mounting a fundraiser for Rod Blagojevich — later charged with trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat — at the same time he was expressing interest to the then-governor’s aides about his desire to be appointed." Burris changed his story five times regarding his contacts with Blagojevich prior to the Illinois governor appointing him to the U.S. Senate. Three of those changing explanations came under oath.
7. President Barack Obama: During his presidential campaign, President Obama promised to run an ethical and transparent administration. However, in his first year in office, the President has delivered corruption and secrecy, bringing Chicago-style political corruption to the White House. Consider just a few Obama administration "lowlights" from year one: Even before President Obama was sworn into office, he was interviewed by the FBI for a criminal investigation of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s scheme to sell the President’s former Senate seat to the highest bidder. (Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and slumlord Valerie Jarrett, both from Chicago, are also tangled up in the Blagojevich scandal.) Moreover, the Obama administration made the startling claim that the Privacy Act does not apply to the White House. The Obama White House believes it can violate the privacy rights of American citizens without any legal consequences or accountability. President Obama boldly proclaimed that "transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency," but his administration is addicted to secrecy, stonewalling far too many of Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act requests and is refusing to make public White House visitor logs as federal law requires. The Obama administration turned the National Endowment of the Arts (as well as the agency that runs the AmeriCorps program) into propaganda machines, using tax dollars to persuade "artists" to promote the Obama agenda. According to documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, the idea emerged as a direct result of the Obama campaign and enjoyed White House approval and participation. President Obama has installed a record number of "czars" in positions of power. Too many of these individuals are leftist radicals who answer to no one but the president. And too many of the czars are not subject to Senate confirmation (which raises serious constitutional questions). Under the President’s bailout schemes, the federal government continues to appropriate or control — through fiat and threats — large sectors of the private economy, prompting conservative columnist George Will to write: "The administration’s central activity — the political allocation of wealth and opportunity — is not merely susceptible to corruption, it is corruption." Government-run healthcare and car companies, White House coercion, uninvestigated ACORN corruption, debasing his office to help Chicago cronies, attacks on conservative media and the private sector, unprecedented and dangerous new rights for terrorists, perks for campaign donors — this is Obama’s "ethics" record — and we haven’t even gotten through the first year of his presidency.
8. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): At the heart of the corruption problem in Washington is a sense of entitlement. Politicians believe laws and rules (even the U.S. Constitution) apply to the rest of us but not to them. Case in point: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her excessive and boorish demands for military travel. Judicial Watch obtained documents from the Pentagon in 2009 that suggest Pelosi has been treating the Air Force like her own personal airline. These documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, include internal Pentagon email correspondence detailing attempts by Pentagon staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker’s 11th hour cancellations and changes. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also came under fire in April 2009, when she claimed she was never briefed about the CIA’s use of the waterboarding technique during terrorism investigations. The CIA produced a report documenting a briefing with Pelosi on September 4, 2002, that suggests otherwise. Judicial Watch also obtained documents, including a CIA Inspector General report, which further confirmed that Congress was fully briefed on the enhanced interrogation techniques. Aside from her own personal transgressions, Nancy Pelosi has ignored serious incidents of corruption within her own party, including many of the individuals on this list. (See Rangel, Murtha, Jesse Jackson, Jr., etc.)
9. Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and the rest of the PMA Seven: Rep. John Murtha made headlines in 2009 for all the wrong reasons. The Pennsylvania congressman is under federal investigation for his corrupt relationship with the now-defunct defense lobbyist PMA Group. PMA, founded by a former Murtha associate, has been the congressman’s largest campaign contributor. Since 2002, Murtha has raised .7 million from PMA and its clients. And what did PMA and its clients receive from Murtha in return for their generosity? Earmarks — tens of millions of dollars in earmarks. In fact, even with all of the attention surrounding his alleged influence peddling, Murtha kept at it. Following an FBI raid of PMA’s offices earlier in 2009, Murtha continued to seek congressional earmarks for PMA clients, while also hitting them up for campaign contributions. According to The Hill, in April, "Murtha reported receiving contributions from three former PMA clients for whom he requested earmarks in the pending appropriations bills." When it comes to the PMA scandal, Murtha is not alone. As many as six other Members of Congress are currently under scrutiny according to The Washington Post. They include: Peter J. Visclosky (D-IN.), James P. Moran Jr. (D-VA), Norm Dicks (D-WA.), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), C.W. Bill Young (R-FL.) and Todd Tiahrt (R-KS.). Of course rather than investigate this serious scandal, according to Roll Call House Democrats circled the wagons, "cobbling together a defense to offer political cover to their rank and file." The Washington Post also reported in 2009 that Murtha’s nephew received million in Defense Department no-bid contracts: "Newly obtained documents…show Robert Murtha mentioning his influential family connection as leverage in his business dealings and holding unusual power with the military."
10. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY): Rangel, the man in charge of writing tax policy for the entire country, has yet to adequately explain how he could possibly "forget" to pay taxes on ,000 in rental income he earned from his off-shore rental property. He also faces allegations that he improperly used his influence to maintain ownership of highly coveted rent-controlled apartments in Harlem, and misused his congressional office to fundraise for his private Rangel Center by preserving a tax loophole for an oil drilling company in exchange for funding. On top of all that, Rangel recently amended his financial disclosure reports, which doubled his reported wealth. (He somehow "forgot" about million in assets.) And what did he do when the House Ethics Committee started looking into all of this? He apparently resorted to making "campaign contributions" to dig his way out of trouble. According to WCBS TV, a New York CBS affiliate: "The reigning member of Congress’ top tax committee is apparently ‘wrangling’ other politicos to get him out of his own financial and tax troubles…Since ethics probes began last year the 79-year-old congressman has given campaign donations to 119 members of Congress, including three of the five Democrats on the House Ethics Committee who are charged with investigating him." Charlie Rangel should not be allowed to remain in Congress, let alone serve as Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and he knows it. That’s why he felt the need to disburse campaign contributions to Ethics Committee members and other congressional colleagues.
MAKE YOURSELF AWARE ——— THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO BE WORKING FOR YOU, IT’S YOUR GOVERNMENT AND GOVERNMENT IS TOO IMPORTANT TO BE TRUSTED TO LIFELONG POLITICIANS ——-
That Was the Year That Was – 2004
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The US elections, the insurgency in Iraq, Yasser Arafat’s death, this year had its big news stories. But what else made a splash in 2004?
In 2004, Iraq went badly wrong – except for supporters of the insurgency, in which case it went grimly well.
Holidaymakers could soon be heading for Libya in their droves, thanks to events this year that made the country more accessible to travellers and foreign investors. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s current reconciliation drive with the West reaped rewards. In the first quarter of the year, the US lifted a 23-year travel ban and ended trade sanctions to reward the former international pariah state for giving up weapons of mass destruction and vowing to compensate victims of the Lockerbie bombing. A visit by Tony Blair to Tripoli in March sent a signal that Libya was a safe place to travel, according to some British tour operators.
A “little” site named TheFacebook.com launched and grabbed the attention of college students everywhere.
In 2004, Apple had only just started working on development of its iPhone and no one outside the company knew about it, Samsung was focused on the South Korean market, and the hottest thing in wireless was the success of the I-mode mobile Internet service in Japan.
The year 2004 began with a war of the computer worms and ended with running robots as technology stories continually hit the news. In January, the MyDoom computer worm caused worldwide annoyance. It spread to thousands of computers in just a few hours in the guise of an administrator’s alert. But it also used infected computers to launch a "denial of service" attack on two US companies, Microsoft and SCO. In this kind of attack a target is bombarded with meaningless data so the system overloads and crashes.
The defining tech trend of 2004 probably will be related to the defining trend of 2003 — the laptop’s steady march to overtake the desktop as the face of the PC.
Brando, one of the most influential performers of his generation, died in Los Angeles at the age of 80 in July. His short-lived marriages, bitter divorces, child custody battles and torrid affairs certainly made the headlines, but they never ultimately overshadowed his remarkable talent.
BBC broadcaster John Peel was Britain’s champion of new musical talent for nearly 40 years before he died of a heart attack in October. He led the way in promoting new acts, from David Bowie, through Joy Division to the White Stripes.
Former Blue Peter presenter Caron Keating died aged 41 in April, losing her seven-year battle with breast cancer.
In March broadcaster Alistair Cooke died aged 95, weeks after giving up his 58-year position as host of Radio 4’s weekly Letter From America.
Bafta-winning television writer Jack Rosenthal , responsible for early episodes of Coronation Street and London’s Burning, and TV presenter and steeplejack Fred Dibnah lost their fights against cancer.
Broadcaster and journalist Bernard Levin, Auf Wiedersehen Pet star Pat Roach, US stand-up comic Rodney Dangerfield, Rentaghost star Molly Weir and Guinness Book of Records co-founder and TV presenter Norris McWhirter also passed away in 2004.
Superman star Christopher Reeve, who became paralysed after a riding accident in 1995, died of heart failure in October at the age of 52.
Actor and raconteur Sir Peter Ustinov, who starred in Spartacus and made the role of Agatha Christie sleuth Hercule Poirot his own, died aged 82 in March from heart failure.
Actress Janet Leigh, whose performance as a woman stabbed to death in the shower in Psycho remains a horror archetype, died aged 77 in October, while Hollywood musicals and Dallas star Howard Keel passed away in November aged 85.
Cult film director Russ Meyer, whose hits included 1965’s Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, died aged 82 of pneumonia complications in September. Musical actress Ann Miller and King Kong heroine Fay Wray also passed away.
Singer, pianist and soul pioneer Ray Charles died in June aged 73, barely a year after he played his 10,000th concert.
Blind since the age of six, Charles’ intense renditions of classic songs earned him 12 Grammy awards and the nickname The Genius. He died of acute liver disease.
Singer Sacha Distel, a huge star in his native France who had a worldwide hit with Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head in 1970, died after a long illness aged 71 in July.
US funk star Rick James, best known for his 1981 hit Super Freak, was found dead at the age of 56 following a heart attack in August. American rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard, a founding member of influential hip hop act Wu-Tang Clan, died aged 35 in November after a drug overdose.
Film composers Elmer Bernstein and Jerry Goldsmith, the writers behind scores to The Great Escape and The Omen, died during the summer.
Rock lost one its biggest stars when Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott, guitarist with Damageplan, was killed on stage during a concert in Ohio.
Les Gray, singer with glam rock band Mud, The Ramones guitarist Johnny Ramone, Laura Branigan, who had a 1982 hit with Gloria, and New York Dolls bassist Arthur Kane also died this year.
1 January – Papers released under the Thirty Year Rule reveal that, contrary to what was believed at the time, The Princess Margaret would not have lost her title nor Civil List payments had she married Group Captain Peter Townsend, a divorced War hero, in the 1950s.
3 January – The BBC cancels the appearance of Coca Cola sponsorship credits in the music charts in its BBC One Top of the Pops show, after criticism from politicians and health campaigners that it would be promoting junk food and unhealthy drink products to teenagers.
6 January – The coroner’s inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and her lover Dodi Al-Fayed is officially opened.
The Daily Mirror publishes the blacked out portion of a letter wherein Diana, Princess of Wales alleged that someone was trying to kill her.
7 January – It is announced that a record of nearly 2,600,000 new cars were sold in the United Kingdom during 2003.
8 January – The Queen Mary 2 is christened by Elizabeth II.
13 January – Robin Cook says that the British Museum’s Parthenon Marbles must be returned to Greece.
Serial killer Dr. Harold Shipman is found dead in his cell; suicide is suspected.
The Bichard Inquiry into events preceding the Soham murders formally opens.
14 January – A 45-year old Sudanese man travelling from Washington Dulles International Airport to airport Dubai is arrested en route at London’s Heathrow Airport on suspicion of carrying 5 bullets in his coat pocket.
19 January – The English Court of Appeal calls for an end to the prosecution of parents whose babies may have died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death) in cases where the only evidence is contended expert testimony.
21 January – The Secretary of State for Defence publishes a White paper Delivering Security in a Changing World, detailing wide-ranging reform of the country’s armed forces.
27 January – The vote of Scottish Labour MPs, whose constituents were unaffected by the legislation, help Prime Minister Tony Blair narrowly defeat a rebellion in his own party over the Higher Education Bill – a highly controversial bill to reform higher education funding in England, including the introduction of increased and variable tuition fees – in the House of Commons by 316 votes to 311.
28 January – The Hutton Inquiry into the circumstances of the death of Dr. David Kelly is published. This is taken by most of the press to strongly condemn the BBC’s handling of the David Kelly affair and to exonerate the government; the BBC’s Director-General, Greg Dyke, chairman of the Board of Governors, Gavyn Davies, and the journalist at the centre of the controversy, Andrew Gilligan, resign. The UK media in general condemns the report as a whitewash.
1 February – Media sources and victim support groups across Britain condemn the £11,000 payouts to the families of the two girls who were murdered at Soham in August 2002 as a "pittance". The compensation was paid out by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
3 February – Foreign Secretary Jack Straw announces an independent inquiry, to be chaired by Lord Butler, to examine the reliability of intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
5 February/6 February – A party of Chinese cockle pickers is caught by the tides at night in Morecambe Bay, Lancashire, drowning 23 people. 21 bodies are recovered.
6 February – The Home Office confirms that Maxine Carr, convicted with Ian Huntley concerning the Soham murders of 2001, could be released from prison in the next few days.
11 February – Richard Desmond, the owner of the Daily Express and Daily Star tabloids, confirms that he has made a bid for the troubled Daily Telegraph.
15 February – The government are reported to have drawn up plans to break up the BBC in the wake of the Hutton inquiry.
19 February – Foreign Secretary Jack Straw announces that five of the nine Britons held without trial as terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba, along with a Dane, are to be released.
21 February – Prime Minister Tony Blair comes under pressure from British human rights groups and MPs because of the government’s sweeping powers under the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act, which have allowed the detention of 14 foreign terrorist suspects in the UK at what has been described as ‘Britain’s Guantanamo Bay’.
24 February – The British Olympic Association bans European 100 meter champion Dwain Chambers from competing in the Olympic Games for life for a positive test for the designer steroid THG.
25 February – Katharine Gun, formerly an employee of British spy agency GCHQ, has a charge of breaching the Official Secrets Act dropped after prosecutors offered no evidence, apparently on the advice of the Attorney General for England and Wales. Gun had admitted leaking American plans to bug UN delegates to a newspaper.
26 February – Clare Short, former Cabinet Minister, alleges on the BBC Today radio programme that British spies regularly intercept UN communications, including those of Kofi Annan, its Secretary-General.
29 February – Middlesbrough F.C. win their first trophy in their 128-year history by defeating Bolton Wanderers F.C. in the Football League Cup Final.
Vauxhall launches the fifth generation of its popular Astra family hatchback. It is initially just available as a five-door hatchback, with a three-door "Sporthatch" and a five-door estate due later this year.
11 March – Tory and Labour support is equal on 35% for the second time in nine months, raising the sceptre of a hung parliament at the next general election which is expected within a year.
16 March – Fifteen-year-old Scottish boy Kriss Donald abducted, tortured and murdered by Pakistani gang in racially motivated attack in Glasgow.
21 March – Architect Zaha Hadid becomes the first female recipient of the Pritzker Prize.
19 April – Tony Blair announces a change in government policy: there is to be a referendum on the proposed EU Constitution.
28 April – Landmark office building 30 St Mary Axe ("The Gherkin") in the City of London, designed by Norman Foster, opens.
10 May – Maxine Carr is released from prison with a new identity after serving half of her sentence for perverting the course of justice.
11 May – Stockline Plastics factory explosion: four people die in an explosion at a factory in Glasgow.
14 May – Piers Morgan is dismissed as editor of the Daily Mirror after the newspaper published fake pictures of Iraqi prisoner abuse.
19 May – Fathers 4 Justice stage a protest in the House of Commons at Prime Minister’s Question Time by throwing purple powder at Tony Blair.
22 May – Manchester United beat Millwall 3-0 in the FA Cup final.
27 May – The Member of Parliament for Leicester South, Jim Marshall dies, triggering a by-election.
31 May – Premiere of the children’s animation series Peppa Pig (produced by Astley Baker Davies) on Channel 5 television.
2 June – Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese coach who led FC Porto to European Cup glory on 26 May, is named as the new manager of Chelsea F.C. on a three-year contract.
6 June – Sixtieth anniversary of D-Day. Last minute pressure forces First Minister of Scotland Jack McConnell to attend commemorations. Rhodri Morgan, the First Minister of Wales takes flak for not doing the same.
10 June – European, local and regional elections take place. Labour lose many council seats.
A rebranding of the Football League sees Division One become the Football League Championship, Division Two become League One and Division Three become League Two.
11 June – The incumbent Ken Livingstone is announced as the winner of the election for Mayor of London.
14 June – Results of the European elections are announced. United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) are the main gainers, increasing from 3 to 12 MEPs.
16 June – Liverpool F.C. appoint the Spaniard Rafael Benitez as their new manager.
21 June – The Football League club Wimbledon, who relocated to Milton Keynes from South London last autumn, are renamed Milton Keynes Dons to reflect their new location.
24 June – England are knocked out of Euro 2004 by Portugal, on penalties.
2 July – An openly gay cleric, Jeffrey John is installed as the Dean of St Albans.
A court rules that Humberside Police Authority must suspend the Chief Constable, David Westwood, in accordance with the Home Secretary (David Blunkett)’s demands.
6 July – The Queen unveils a memorial fountain to Diana, Princess of Wales.
8 July – Marks and Spencer overheads turn down a takeover bid by retail tycoon Philip Green.
12 July – Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown announces the massive loss of 100,000 civil service jobs in the UK; the savings to be put into front-line services such as Health and Education.
13 July – The Public Administration Committee of the House of Commons recommends massive changes to the British Honours System including scrapping knighthoods and renaming the Order of the British Empire to the ‘Order of British Excellence’.
The Countryside Agency publicises a new Countryside Code in advance of the ‘Right to Roam’ coming into effect in September across England and Wales.
The House of Lords makes a hostile amendment to the Constitutional Reform Bill that would retain the name of the office of Lord Chancellor.
14 July – The Butler Inquiry releases its report, mildly criticising the government in their use of intelligence relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.
15 July – Leicester South and Birmingham Hodge Hill by-elections held. The Hodge Hill by-election is a Labour hold, but the party loses the Leicester South seat to 37-year-old Liberal Democrat Parmjit Singh Gill, an Indian Sikh who is the party’s first ethnic minority MP.
18 July – North Yorkshire police launch a murder hunt after 27-year-old twin sisters Claire and Diane Sanderson are found dead in a flat in Camblesforth, near Selby.
19 July – The Government announces backing for the Crossrail project.
20 July – Government to publish results of review into Council Tax in England.
23 July – Tony Blair announces that Peter Mandelson is to become Britain’s new European Commissioner.
9 August – West Bromwich Albion terminate the contract of striker Lee Hughes as he is sentenced to six years in prison after being found guilty causing death by dangerous driving, having killed a 56-year-old man in a collision near Coventry on 22 November 2003.
13–29 August – Great Britain participates in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens winning a total of 9 gold, 9 silver and 12 bronze medals.
16 August – Boscastle flood of 2004: flash floods destroy buildings and wash cars out to sea in Cornwall.
28 August – Kelly Holmes wins her second gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
13 September – A Fathers 4 Justice campaigner dressed as Batman breaches security at Buckingham Palace.
15 September – Parliament is suspended after pro-hunt campaigners break into the House of Commons.
1 October – Tony Blair announces his intention to resign as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom if Labour win the next General Election, so he will not have to stand for a possible fourth term in the position.
7 October – British hostage Ken Bigley, of Liverpool, is beheaded by militants in Iraq.
9 October – Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh, designed by Enric Miralles, is opened.
19 October – British aid worker Margaret Hassan is taken hostage in Iraq.
4 November – A referendum is held in North East England on the establishment of elected regional assemblies. The majority of voters said "no" to the plans.
6 November – Ufton Nervet rail crash: Seven people are killed when a train is derailed by a car deliberately left on a level crossing in Berkshire.
15 November – Children Act clarifies most official responsibilities for children, notably bringing all local government functions for children’s welfare and education under the authority of local Directors of Children’s Services.
16 November – The government announces plans to prohibit smoking in most enclosed public places (including workplaces) within the next three years.
It is reported that Margaret Hassan is dead after her family receive a video recording supposedly showing her being killed.
18 November – Parliament passes the Hunting Act 2004 banning fox hunting in England and Wales.
20 November – Launch of the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission, a joint United States, UK and Italian developed spacecraft, designed to study gamma-ray bursts.
28 November – Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff is opened.
Ford launches the second generation of its best-selling Focus family car that was originally launched in September 1998.
2 December – David Bieber, a 38-year-old former United States marine, is found guilty of murdering PC Ian Broadhurst in Leeds on Boxing Day last year. He is sentenced to life imprisonment and the trial judge recommends that he should never be released from prison. After his conviction, it is revealed that Bieber was wanted in connection with a 1995 murder in Florida. It is also revealed that he had entered Britain by using the name Nathan Wayne Coleman – who was really a child who had died in infancy in 1968.
14 December – Millau Viaduct in France, designed by British architect Norman Foster, is opened.
15 December – David Blunkett resigns as Home Secretary after three-and-a-half years in the role.
20 December – Northern Bank robbery in Belfast, £26.5 million is stolen.
26 December – A significant number of Britons are among the thousands of people killed by a tsunami in the Indian Ocean. The victims are killed in countries including Indonesia and Thailand.
4 February – ITV announce the comedian Bradley Walsh is to join Coronation Street as the nephew of factory owner Mike Baldwin (Johnny Briggs). The news comes as it is announced that five actors will leave the soap over the next twelve months—Adam Rickitt (Nick Tilsley), Susie Blake (Bev Unwin), Iain Rogerson (Harry Flagg), Katherine Hunt (Angela Harris) and Thomas Craig (Tommy Harris). Beverley Callard (Liz McDonald) and Jane Danson (Leanne Battersby) are also set to return to the series in the summer.
UKTV announce plans to rebrand all their UK prefix channels as UKTV. UK Horizons will also be replaced by UKTV Documentary and UKTV People from 8 March.
Five confirms that The Terry and Gaby Show will be axed when it finishes its current run on 26 March.
5 February – Five actors from Coronation Street are axed by new producer Tony Wood. Adam Rickitt (Nick Tilsley), Susie Blake (Bev Unwin), Iain Rogerson (Harry Flagg), Katherine Hunt (Angela Harris) and Thomas Craig (Tommy Harris) will all leave when their contracts come to an end.
9 February – Kerry McFadden wins the third series of ITV1’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!.
ITV CHRISTMAS TV 2003
Christmas Eve Wednesday 24th December 2003
5.25am Engie Benjy
5.35am Tractor Tom
5.45am Mopatop’s Shop
5.55am Morning News
9.35am Hey Arnold!
10.05am Sabrina the Teenage Witch
10.35am The Willows in Winter animation
12.00 Love 2 Shop
12.30pm Lunchtime News
12.50pm Regional News, Weather
1.00pm Today with Des and Mel
2.00pm Kings and Queens
3.00pm Santa Claus Brothers
4.00pm Film : Star Wars Episode 1 : the Phantom Menace (1999)
6.20pm Christmas You’ve Been Framed!
6.50pm ITV Evening News, Weather
7.30pm The Bill
8.30pm Coronation Street
9.00pm The Real Beckhams
10.30pm Tarrant on TV Christmas
11.10pm ITV News, Regional News, Weather, Regional Weather
11.25pm Christmas Service from Manchester Cathedral
12.50am Film : The Go-Between (1971) starring Julie Christie, Alan Bates
2.55am Film : Rainbow (1995) starring Bob Hoskins, Dan Aykroyd
Christmas Day Thursday 25th December 2003
4.45am Engie Benjy
4.55am Tractor Tom
5.10am Mopatop’s Shop
5.15am Yoko! Jakamoko!
5.20am Tractor Tom
5.55am Morning News
6.20am Ni Ni’s Treehouse
7.00am Diggin’ It
9.25am A Small Miracle
10.00am Bethlehem Follow the Star
11.00am My Favourite Hymns
11.30am Film : Doug’s 1st Movie (1999) Première
1.10pm ITV News, Weather
1.20pm Film : Turner and Hooch (1989)
3.00pm The Queen
3.10pm Film : Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
5.15pm Celebrity Who Wants to Be a Millionaire ?
6.15pm ITV Evening News, Regional News, Weather
6.25pm Creature Comforts
7.40pm Coronation Street
8.40pm World Idol
10.10pm Creature Comforts
10.25pm ITV News, Regional News, Weather
10.35pm Celebrity Who Wants to Be a Millionaire ?
11.35pm Film : Fierce Creatures (1997)
2.20am Film : The Stars Fell on Henrietta (1995)
4.00am-4.50am CD : UK
Boxing Day Friday 26th December 2003
5.10am Engie Benjy
5.20am Tractor Tom
5.55am Morning News
6.20am Ni Ni’s Treehouse
7.00am Diggin’ It
Meg and Mog
9.30am The Last Polar Bears
9.50am Sabrina the Teenage Witch
10.25am Busted Christmas Special
11.00am World Idol
12.30pm Lunchtime News, Weather
12.45pm On the Ball
1.35pm Rugby World Cup Review
2.45pm Film : Zulu (1964)
5.05pm ITV New, Sport, Weather
5.20pm You’ve Been Framed!
6.40pm Film : The Grinch (2000) starring Jim Carrey Première
8.30pm Coronation Street
9.00pm Agatha Christie’s Poirot : Sad Cypress
11.00pm ITV Weekend News, Regional News, Weather, Regional Weather
11.15pm The Premiership
12.50am Film : The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
2.40am Entertainment Now
3.10-4.50am Film : Little Miss Maker (1980)
The 2004 BRIT Awards winners were:
Best British Male Solo Artist: Daniel Bedingfield
Best British Female Solo Artist: Dido
Best British Group: The Darkness
British Breakthrough: Busted
Best British Single: Dido – "White Flag"
Best British Album: The Darkness – "Permission to Land"
Best British Dance Act: Basement Jaxx
Best Pop Act: Busted
Best British Urban Act: Lemar
Best British Rock Act: The Darkness
Best International Female Solo Artist: Beyoncé
Best International Male Solo Artist: Justin Timberlake
Best International Group: The White Stripes
International Breakthrough Artist: 50 Cent
Best International Album: Justin Timberlake – "Justified"
Outstanding Contribution: Duran Duran