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January


3: The rover Spirit lands on Mars. Photos in the coming days provide the most detailed views ever of the Red Planet.


19: Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry wins Iowa primary, officially ending the front-runner status of former New Hampshire Gov. Howard Dean. “Yeaaaaaargh.”


20: Announcement of $1.5 billion donation by the estate of McDonald’s heiress Joan Kroc, who died in 2003. Money will pay to build 25 to 30 Salvation Army community centers in struggling U.S. neighborhoods. Said to be the largest donation ever to a charitable organization.


20: In his State of the Union address, President Bush declares that “because of American leadership and resolve, the world is changing for the better.”


27: Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry wins New Hampshire primary.


28: David Kay, former chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, tells a Senate committee that Saddam Hussein did not possess “large stockpiles” of chemical and biological weapons and had not been actively pursuing nuclear weapons.


February

DAVID PHILLIP / AP

Feb. 1: Justin Timberlake rips off part of Janet Jackson’s top during the Super Bowl halftime show (later calling it a “wardrobe malfunction”), prompting Federal Communication Commission fines, weeks of peeks at a pixilated breast, unprecedented TiVo use and cries for the FCC to protect children.


4: Massachusetts Supreme Court rules that the state constitution requires that marriage be offered to same-sex couples on the same terms as opposite-sex couples; civil union is not an alternative.


5: CIA chief George Tenet says the agency might have overestimated some of Iraq’s weapons programs, especially its quest for nuclear arms.


8: NBC airs interview in which President Bush says he was apparently wrong in stating right before the Iraq war that there was “no doubt” Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Bush adds, though, “I expected to find the weapons.”


12: In San Francisco, the nation’s first same-sex marriage ceremonies begin.


14: At an Iraqi police station, at least 27 people are killed, more than 35 wounded; Fallujah’s streets become battlefields.


15: Alex Rodriguez becomes a New York Yankee.

 

Feb. 24: President Bush calls for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, saying homosexual marriages threaten “the most fundamental institution of civilization.”

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25: “The Passion of the Christ” opens on Ash Wednesday. As producer/director Mel Gibson is called everything from a true believer to an anti-Semite, the movie grosses $370.3 million in the U.S.


29: After a three-week uprising, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide flees Port-au-Prince in a jet provided by U.S. He now lives in South Africa.


29: “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” wins Oscar for best picture, nearly everything else.


March


1: Flush with excitement, Seattle opens its five self-scrubbing public toilets. At an annual cost of more than $600,000, the toilets do almost everything.


3: Multnomah County, Ore., becomes the second large U.S. government entity, after San Francisco, to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Hundreds of couples line up for licenses and wedding ceremonies at a Portland auditorium.

 

March 11: Train bombings in Madrid kill 191 and injure more than 1,400.


5: A jury convicts Martha Stewart of obstruction of justice and lying to the government about a stock sale.


8: Six same-sex couples sue King County after being denied marriage licenses. The suit is the first to challenge Washington’s 1998 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman.


9: Americans’ sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits are poised to overtake cigarette smoking as the nation’s leading cause of preventable deaths, health officials announce.


22: UW regents introduce Louisiana State University Chancellor Mark Emmert as the school’s 30th president.

 

March 27: A Boeing-designed, 12-foot experimental plane becomes the fastest aircraft ever, flying at more than seven times the speed of sound, or about 1.5 miles per second.


April


1: Seattle Symphony performs at Carnegie Hall, opening with Strauss and ending with a standing ovation.


6: In fighting Sunni Muslim insurgents, 12 Marines are killed and about 20 are wounded in Ramadi, Iraq.


8: National-security adviser Condoleezza Rice tells the 9/11 commission “there was no silver bullet” that could have stopped the terrorist plot. Commission discloses that a briefing five weeks before the attacks warned President Bush that Osama bin Laden was intent on striking on U.S. soil.


18: Spain orders immediate withdrawal of its 1,300 troops from Iraq.


21: Explosions hit three police stations in Basra, Iraq, killing more than 45 people, including about 10 schoolchildren, and wounding 236.


26: Boeing announces it will build the 7E7, its first all-new airplane program in more than a decade.

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April 28: Story on prisoner abuse at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison airs on CBS’s “60 Minutes II,” the week Seymour Hersh’s story on the subject appears in The New Yorker.


May


1: More than 20,000 people rally for traditional marriage at Safeco Field. Focus on the Family Chairman James Dobson tells the crowd the fight against same-sex marriage is the toughest issue to face Americans since the Civil War.


5: Calling it a great marketing idea, Major League Baseball announces plans for “Spider-Man 2” logos on bases, pitching mounds and on-deck circles during June’s All-Star weekend.


6: Steroids, maybe. Spiderman, not so much. Baseball cancels plans to put Spidey on the bases. MLB President Bob DuPuy: “We understand that a segment of our fans was uncomfortable … “


13: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visits Abu Ghraib prison, vowing those responsible for abuse of prisoners will be brought to justice.


14: Boeing settles class-action suit brought by 28,000 current and former female workers in the Puget Sound area.


23: Some 28,000 people jam the opening of Seattle’s new Central Library, a $165.5 million glass and steel showcase by architect Rem Koolhaas.


29: Thousands of World War II veterans attend dedication of National World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.


31: Fire erupts on Seattle’s monorail, shutting it down until December.


June


3: George Tenet, CIA director during intelligence lapses over the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and Iraq, resigns.


5: Ronald Reagan, 40th president of the United States, dies at 93, a decade after announcing he suffered from Alzheimer’s.


5: Why not give June a try? Jennifer Lopez marries singer Marc Anthony — her third marriage, his second (with divorce-paper ink just four days dry).


12: Suburban Vancouver, Wash., woman Charlene Dorcy, 38, fatally shoots daughters, Jessica, 4, and Brittney, 2, in remote Skamania County, police say.


23: Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which savages Bush administration policies on Iraq and fighting terror, opens to swoons from the left and outrage from the right. The most popular documentary in history has grossed $119.2 million in the U.S.


28: U.S.-led coalition transfers sovereignty to interim Iraqi government.

 

July 1: Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein stands before an Iraqi judge and is formally accused of ordering mass killings and other atrocities. He refuses to recognize the court and insists he is still the nation’s leader.


30: More than 3,000 people in Seattle and Issaquah let bygones be bygones and stand in line, some overnight, to gush over former President Clinton and have him autograph “My Life.”


July


1: Two-time Oscar winner Marlon Brando dies.


6: With costs mounting in sex-abuse lawsuits, Portland’s archdiocese becomes the country’s first to file for bankruptcy.


14: In Pierce County, Antigone “Mona” Allen, 18, decides to give her estranged boyfriend, Genaro Remigio Garcia, 24, another chance. After she packs their children — Christine, 2½, Kristian, 18 months, and Adam, 6 months — into his car, Garcia pours gasoline over everyone and flicks a lighter. All five are killed.

 

July 25: Lance Armstrong wins sixth straight Tour de France.


August


4: Former Highline teacher Mary K. Letourneau, 42, released after serving nearly 7½ years in prison for raping her student Vili Fualaau, who was 12 when they began a sexual relationship. She was 34. They have two children together.




6:
King County judge lifts the lifetime no-contact order between Letourneau and Fualaau, 21. “He’s as happy as can be,” says Fualaau’s lawyer. The two tell television interviewers they are planning their future together.


8: In Queets, Jefferson County, two young rocketeers — competing for the $10 million X Prize — watch the unmanned spacecraft they worked on for a year explode seconds into its maiden flight.


8: Television ads sponsored by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth begin airing this week, accusing John Kerry of lying about his military service and the circumstances under which he received several of his Vietnam medals.


9: Edgar Martinez, a Seattle Mariner for 18 years, announces he will retire at season’s end.


13: The California Supreme Court voids thousands of gay marriages conducted in San Francisco, ruling unanimously that Mayor Gavin Newsom did not have the legal authority to issue the marriage licenses.


September


3: In Beslan, southern Russia, at least 250 people, including children, their parents and teachers, are killed by the end of a 52-hour siege in which the armed Islamic guerrillas who had stormed the school and taken hostages battled with Russian troops.


7: Number of Americans killed in Iraq surpasses 1,000.


7: A Thurston County Superior Court judge becomes the second trial judge in four weeks to strike down Washington’s Defense of Marriage Act, which bans gay marriage. Issue headed to Washington Supreme Court.

 

Sept. 12: Hurricane Ivan slams into the Cayman Islands, ready to approach Cuba with 150 mph winds after already causing at least 65 deaths and hundreds of injuries as it churned through the Caribbean.


12: The New York Times reports the Bush administration recently received intelligence reports that some experts believe could indicate that North Korea is preparing a test explosion of its first nuclear weapon.


16: Hurricane Ivan pounds communities in four Gulf states, leaving at least 23 people dead, including two who were carried 400 yards by a twister in the Florida Panhandle. The third of four hurricanes to hit Florida, Ivan destroys hundreds of buildings. One million homes and businesses are left without power.

 

Sept. 18: Britney Spears does it again when she marries backup dancer Kevin Federline in a hush ceremony. In January she wed childhood friend Jason Allen Alexander. That marriage was annulled after 55 hours.


21: Officials divert a Washington, D.C.-bound flight and detain Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, after discovering the “Peace Train” singer had boarded in London despite being on a no-fly list.


26: Newly rumbling Mount St. Helens is closed to climbers after the magnitude of the earthquakes ticks up a bit.


29: The first privately funded, manned rocket to reach space completes the first part of the competition for the $10 million X Prize by soaring 64 miles high.


October


1: Ichiro breaks George Sisler’s 84-year-old record for major-league hits in a season. He ends the year with 262.


1: Darleen Druyun is sentenced to nine months in prison for awarding defense contracts to Boeing in exchange for jobs at Boeing for herself, her daughter and son-in-law.


1: For 24 minutes, steam and ash erupt from Mount St. Helens.


2: John Kerry rejuvenates his campaign in the first presidential debate; President Bush’s facial expressions give the impression he’d rather be elsewhere.


3: Highest-level advisory for Mount St. Helens continues, indicating an eruption is probable within hours or days.


7: U.S. House and Senate conferees kill $23.5 billion Air Force deal for Boeing refueling tankers. The action follows an expanded federal investigation of the tanker deal.

 

Oct. 12: Seattle Storm win WNBA title at KeyArena, beating the Connecticut Sun, 74-60. It is the first national championship for a Seattle professional sports team since the Sonics’ NBA title win in 1979.


8: Wangari Maathai of Kenya, who mobilized women in a crusade against deforestation, wins the Nobel Peace Prize.


8: Martha Stewart reports to prison in rural West Virginia. She had hoped for Danbury, Conn.


21: Paul Hamm gets to keep his Olympic gold in the all-around gymnastics event. The Court of Arbitration for Sport declares Korea’s protest of a scoring error came too late.


27: Boston Red Sox beat St. Louis to win their first World Series since 1918.


28: The final Boeing 757 — the last of 1,050 produced since 1982 — rolls off the assembly line.




29:
In a new video, Osama bin Laden appears healthy and claims responsibility for the Sept. 11 attacks.


November

 

Nov. 2: President Bush elected to second term. With Ohio failing him, John Kerry concedes the following day.


2: Washington’s governor’s race too close to call.


2: Oregonians vote to ban same-sex marriage, putting into limbo the marriages of 2,961 gay couples who wed this year in Multnomah County.


8: U.S. and Iraqi forces storm into Fallujah.


10: Spokane archdiocese announces it will file for bankruptcy in the wake of the sexual-abuse scandal.


11: Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat dies at 75.


11: State Democratic chairman Paul Berendt says his party is “exploring all options” in the governor’s race, including a lawsuit.


13: U.S. military says no more major concentrations of insurgents are still fighting in Fallujah.


16: Marie G. Robinson of Kent appears in court on suspicion of second-degree murder. Her children, Justice, 16 months, and Raiden, 6 weeks, likely died of starvation days before their bodies were found in an apartment littered with trash and beer cans. A third child survived.


17: Republican Dino Rossi wins governor’s race by 261 votes.


17: Kmart announces it will buy Sears to form the nation’s third-largest retailer. Both chains would live on, but the blue light will dim as several hundred Kmarts likely transform into Sears stores.


22: Edmonds police investigate as a murder-suicide the deaths of Hayley Byrne, 9; sister Kelsey, 11; and their father, Stephen Byrne. Said to be upset over custody issues, he is found shot to death.


23: CBS’ Dan Rather says he will resign as evening anchor March 9, exactly 24 years after succeeding Walter Cronkite.


December


1: The United States will add 12,000 troops in Iraq, to reach a total of 150,000, the highest level since at least May 2003, officials announce. About 148,000 U.S. troops were on the ground when President Bush declared major combat operations over.


1: NBC’s Tom Brokaw anchors the final evening of 21 years’ worth of evening-news broadcasts.


2: Census Bureau figures for 2003, released this week, show one-third of men and nearly one-quarter of women between 30 and 34 have never married, nearly four times the rates in 1970.


3: Ukraine’s Supreme Court tosses out results of last month’s disputed presidential runoff election.


8: Hand recount in Washington governor’s race begins.


14: President Bush awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to Gen. Tommy Franks, who led the Iraqi invasion; L. Paul Bremer, who led the occupation; and George Tenet, who, as CIA director, helped build the case for war.


17: New evidence emerges that Celebrex, the popular arthritis drug, can increase risk of heart attack and stroke. A similar drug, Vioxx, was removed from the market in October. Questions follow about Aleve, an over-the-counter pain medication.


17: A Pierce County judge sides with Republicans and blocks King County from counting hundreds of disqualified ballots in the race for governor. King County had said election workers mistakenly rejected 735 ballots.


22: Washington Supreme Court overrules lower court and orders King County to count the rejected ballots. Even without them, Christine Gregoire takes a 10-vote lead on the strength of the preliminary King County count.


Beth Kaiman: 206-464-2441 or bkaiman@seattletimes.com




Staff researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.


Sources: Seattle Times news services