Wednesday, December 31, 2008


20O8 year in review.

2008 (MMVIII) was a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Common Era (or Anno Domini).

January 1 - Cyprus, Malta, adopt the euro.
January 1 - A suicide bombing occurs in Zayouna, Baghdad, killing over 25 people during a funeral over the deaths from the preceding attack.
January 2 - The price of petroleum hits $100 per barrel for the first time.
January 3 - A car bomb detonates, killing at least 4 and injuring 68, in Diyarbakır, Turkey. Police blame Kurdish rebels.
January 8 - An attempted assassination of Maldivian president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is thwarted after a Boy Scout grabs the attacker's knife. The Boy Scout is injured, but after a scuffle police arrest the attacker.
January 12 - A Macedonian Army Mil Mi-17 helicopter crashes in thick fog southeast of Skopje, killing all 11 military personnel on board.
January 14 - At 19:04:39 UTC, the MESSENGER space probe is at its closest approach during its first flyby of the planet Mercury.
January 15 - The Federal Court of Australia orders a Japanese whaling company to stop research whaling within their Exclusive Economic Zone.
January 21 - Stock markets around the world plunge amid growing fears of a U.S. recession, fueled by the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis.
January 22 - Russia stages the largest naval exercise since the fall of the Soviet Union in the Bay of Biscay. The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, along with 11 support vessels and 47 long-range bomber aircraft, practises strike tactics off the coast of France and Spain, and test-launches nuclear-capable missiles in foreign waters.
January 23 - Polish Air Force EADS CASA C-295 crashes on approach to the 12th Air Base near Mirosławiec. All 20 personnel on board die.
January 23 - Thousands of Palestinians cross into Egypt, as the border wall with Gaza in Rafah is blown up by militants.
January 24 - A peace deal ends the Kivu war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
January 25 - China's worst snowstorm since 1954 kills 133, delays traffic, and causes massive power outages in central and southern parts of the country.
January 29 - Iran's judiciary sentences to prison 54 Bahá'í Faith followers for 'anti-regime propaganda'.

February 2 - Rebels attack the capital of Chad, N'Djamena.
February 4 - Iran opens its first space center and launches a rocket into space.
February 4 - A Palestinian suicide bomber kills 1 and wounds 13 in a Dimona, Israel shopping center.
February 5 - U.S. stock market indices plunge more than 3% after a report shows signs of economic recession in the service sector. The S&P 500 fall 3.2%, The Dow Jones Industrial Average 370 points.
February 56 - A tornado outbreak, the deadliest in 23 years, kills 58 in the Southern United States.
February 7 - STS-122: Space Shuttle Atlantis launches to deliver the European-built Columbus science laboratory to the International Space Station.
February 10 - The 2008 Namdaemun fire severely damages Namdaemun, the first National Treasure of South Korea.
February 11 - President of East Timor José Ramos-Horta is seriously wounded in an attack on his home by rebel soldiers. Rebel leader Alfredo Reinado is killed by Ramos-Horta's security guards during the attack.
February 12 - PDVSA, a state oil company in Venezuela, suspends sales of crude oil to ExxonMobil, in response to a legal challenge by them.
February 12 - Bridgestone, under investigation for an alleged price-fixing cartel, uncovers improper payments of at least 150 million Japanese yen to foreign governments and withdraws from the marine hose business.
February 13 - Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia delivers a formal apology to the Stolen Generations.
February 17 - Driver Ryan Newman wins the 50th Daytona 500 NASCAR race.
February 17 - A suicide bombing by a Taliban member kills up to 80 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
February 17 - Kosovo formally declares independence from Serbia, with support from some countries but opposition from others.
February 18 - The British government introduces emergency legislation to temporarily nationalize Northern Rock, the 5th largest mortgage bank in the UK, due to the bank's financial crisis.
February 18 - A general election is held in Pakistan, delayed from January 8 due to riots in the wake of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Opposition parties, including Bhutto's, take more than half of the seats, while President Pervez Musharraf's party suffers a huge defeat.
February 19 - Fidel Castro announces his resignation as President of Cuba, effective February 24.
February 20 - The United States Navy destroys a spy satellite containing toxic fuel, by shooting it down with a missile launched from the USS Lake Erie in the Pacific Ocean.
February 20 - A total lunar eclipse crosses North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia.
February 22 - Former building society Northern Rock is the first bank in Europe to be taken into state control, due to the U.S. subprime mortgage financial crisis.
February 22 - No survivors are found after a rescue helicopter discovers the wreckage of Santa Bárbara Airlines Flight 518 just northeast of Mérida, Venezuela. The commercial plane had 46 people on board, including crew.
February 24 - Raúl Castro is unanimously elected as President of Cuba by the National Assembly.

MarchApril - Rising food and fuel prices trigger riots and unrest in the Third World.
March 1 - In Gaza Strip, at least 52 Palestinians and 2 Israeli soldiers are killed in the most intense Israeli air strikes since 2005.
March 2 - 2008 Andean diplomatic crisis: Venezuela and Ecuador move troops to the Colombian border, following a Colombian raid against FARC guerrillas inside Ecuador's national territory, in which senior commander Raúl Reyes is killed.
March 6 - Eight Israeli civilians are killed and 9 wounded when a Palestinian attacker opens fire at a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem.
March 9 - The first European Space Agency Automated Transfer Vehicle, a cargo spacecraft for the International Space Station, launches from Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.
March 14 - Demonstrations by Tibetan separatists turn violent as rioters target government and Han Chinese-owned buildings.
March 15 - A huge gun factory explosion in Gërdec, Albaniakills more than 30 people. Over the following week, Albania, Kosovo, and some surrounding countries supply and support Gërdec's population with food, blood, etc.
March 19 - An exploding star halfway across the visible universe becomes the farthest known object ever visible to the naked eye.
March 24 - Bhutan holds its first-ever general elections.
March 25 - A 414 square kilometer (160 sq. mi.2) chunk of Antarctica's Wilkins Ice Shelf disintegrates, leaving the entire shelf at risk.
March 25 - African Union and Comoros forces invade the rebel-held island of Anjouan.
March 29 - Presidential and parliamentary elections are held in Zimbabwe.

April 8 - Privy Council of Sark dismantles its feudal system to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. and the first elections under the new law will be held in December 2008 and the new chamber will first convene in January 2009.
April 15 - A Hewa Bora Airways DC-9 crashes into a residential area of Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
April 17 - Raila Odinga becomes the new Prime Minister of Kenya after the formation of a coalition government, ending the political crisis in Kenya.
April 22 - Surgeons at London's Moorfields Eye Hospital perform the first operations using bionic eyes, implanting them into 2 blind patients.
April 27 - The Taliban attempts to assassinate Afghan President Hamid Karzai in a military parade in Kabul.
April 28 - India sets a world record by sending 10 satellites into orbit in a single launch.
April 28 - 71 die in a train crash in Shandong, China.

May 3 - Over 133,000 in Burma/Myanmar are killed by Cyclone Nargis, the deadliest natural disaster since the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004.
May 11 - Burma/Myanmar holds a constitutional referendum.
May 12 - Over 69,000 are killed in central south-west China by the Chengdu quake, an earthquake measuring 8.0 Moment magnitude scale. The epicenter is 90 kilometers (55 miles) west-northwest of the provincial capital Chengdu, Sichuan province.
May 13 - A series of bomb blasts kills at least 63 and injures 216 in Jaipur, India.
May 14 - NASA announces the discovery of Supernova remnant G1.9+0.3.
May 15 - An oil pipeline explosion in Ijegun, Nigeria kills 100.
May 23 - The Union of South American Nations, a supranational union, is created by a union between the Andean Community and Mercosur.
May 23 - The International Court of Justice awards Middle Rocks to Malaysia and Pedra Branca to Singapore, ending a 29-year territorial dispute between the 2 countries.
May 25 - NASA's Phoenix spacecraft becomes the first to land on the northern polar region of Mars.
May 25 - General Michel Suleiman is elected the new President of Lebanon, a post vacant since November 2007.
May 28 - The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal is established after the Assembly votes overwhelmingly in favor of abolishing the country's 240-year-old monarchy. Girija Prasad Koirala becomes temporary head of state.

June 2 - A car bomb explodes outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing at least 5.
June 8 - In the Akihabara area of Tokyo, Japan, a 25-year-old man stabs 7 to death and wounds 10, before being arrested.
June 10 - Fire engulfs Sudan Airways Flight 109 after it lands in Khartoum, killing 44.
June 11 - The Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope is launched.
June 11 - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologizes to Canada's First Nations for the Canadian residential school system.
June 12 - Ireland votes to reject the Treaty of Lisbon, in the only referendum to be held by a European Union member state on the treaty.
June 14 - A 6.9 magnitude earthquake in Iwate Prefecture, Japan, kills 12 and injures more than 400.
June 14September 14 - Expo 2008 is held in Zaragoza, Spain, with the topic of "Water and sustainable development".
June 22 - Typhoon Fengshen hits the Philippines and capsizes the ferry MV Princess of the Stars, leaving hundreds dead or missing.
June 27 - President Robert Mugabe is reelected with 85.5% of the vote in the second round of the controversial Zimbabwean presidential election.
June 27 - After 3 decades as the Chairman of Microsoft Corporation, Bill Gates steps down from daily duties to concentrate on philanthropy.

July 2 - Íngrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages are rescued from FARC by Colombian security forces.
July 4 - Tun Muhammad Joehari bin Jamhari Jamaluddin celebrate his 18th birthday.
July 7 - A suicide-bomber drives an explosives-laden automobile into the front gates of the Indian embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing 58 and injuring over 150.
July 79 - The 34th G8 summit is held in Tōyako, Hokkaidō, Japan.
July 10 - Former Macedonian Interior Minister Ljube Boškoski is acquitted of all charges, by a UN Tribunal accusing him of war crimes.
July 1520 - World Youth Day takes place in Sydney, Australia. Pope Benedict XVI appears at the event.
July 21 - Radovan Karadžić, the first president of the Republika Srpska, is arrested in Belgrade, Serbia on allegations of war crimes, following a 12-year long manhunt.
July 22 - The United Progressive Alliance-led government in India survives a crucial no-confidence vote, based on disagreements between the Indian National Congress and Left Front, over the Indo-US nuclear deal.
July 23 - Ram Baran Yadav is sworn in as the first President of Nepal.
July 25 - A series of 7 bomb blasts rock Bangalore, India, killing 2 and injuring 20; the next day, a series of bomb blasts in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, kills 45 and injures over 160 people.
July 27 - At least 17 are killed and over 154 wounded in 2 blasts in Istanbul.
July 28 - At least 48 are dead and over 287 injured after bombs explode in Baghdad and Kirkuk, Iraq.

August 1 - George Tupou V is crowned as the new King of Tonga, an event that had been delayed for over 2 years following the 2006 Nuku'alofa riots.
August 3 - A stampede at a Hindu temple at Naina Devi in Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh, India kills 162 and injures 400.
August 4 - Two members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which had threatened to attack the Beijing Olympics, kill 16 and injure another 16 officers at a police station in Kashgar, Xinjiang, China.
August 6 - President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi of Mauritania is deposed in a military coup d'état.
August 7 - The 2008 South Ossetia war begins, as Georgia and Russia launch a major offensive inside the separatist region of South Ossetia after days of border skirmishes between the 2 sides.
August 824 - The 2008 Summer Olympics take place in Beijing, China.
August 15 - Pushpa Kamal Dahal (known as Prachanda) is sworn in as the first Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, after the Nepalese monarchy was abolished in May.
August 17 - Michael Phelps surpasses Mark Spitz in Gold Medals won at a single Olympics, winning 8.
August 18 - Pervez Musharraf resigns as President of Pakistan, under impeachment pressure from the coalition government.
August 19 - Taliban insurgents kill 10 and injure 21 French soldiers in an ambush in Afghanistan.
August 19 - A suicide bomber rams a car into an Algerian military academy, killing 43 and injuring 45.
August 20 - Spanair Flight 5022, from Madrid to Gran Canaria, skids off the runway and crashes at Barajas Airport with 172 on board. 154 of them are killed and only 18 survive.
August 21 - At least 60 die following twin suicide bombings outside the Pakistan Ordnance Factories in Wah, Pakistan.
August 22 - Pirates hijack German, Iranian, and Japanese cargo ships off the coast of Somalia, in 7 such attacks since June 20.
August 24 - An aircraft crashes in Guatemala, killing 10, including 4 Americans on a humanitarian mission.
August 24 - Iran Aseman Airlines Flight 6895 crashes upon takeoff near Manas International Airport in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, killing 68.
August 26 - Russia unilaterally recognizes the independence of Georgian breakaway republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
August 26September 1 - Hurricane Gustav makes landfall on Louisiana as Category 2 and kills 7 in the United States, after making landfall on western Cuba as Category 4, and killing 66 in Haiti, 8 in the Dominican Republic, and 11 in Jamaica.
August 28September 7 - Hurricane Hanna causes 7 deaths in the United States, and 529 in Haiti, mostly due to floods and mudslides.

September 114 - Hurricane Ike makes landfall on Texas as Category 2 and kills 27 in the United States, after killing 4 in Cuba, 1 in the Dominican Republic, and 75 in Haiti.
September 2 - Prime Minister of Japan Yasuo Fukuda resigns, less than a year after taking office following Shinzo Abe's resignation.
September 2 - Political crisis in Thailand: Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej of Thailand declares a state of emergency in Bangkok.
September 3 - Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani of Pakistan survives an assassination attempt near Islamabad, while on his way to meet British Leader of the Opposition David Cameron.
September 3 - President's Dimitris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat hold peace talks in Nicosia, aimed at reunifying Cyprus.
September 6 - Asif Ali Zardari is elected President of Pakistan by the Electoral College of Pakistan.
September 6 - At least 8 boulders dislodge from a cliff near Cairo, Egypt, killing at least 18 and burying an estimated 500 people.
September 9 - Political crisis in Thailand: The Constitutional Court of Thailand orders Prime Ministe Samak Sundaravej to resign, after he is paid for appearing on a television cooking show.
September 10 - The proton beam is circulated for the first time in the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, located at CERN, near Geneva, under the Franco-Swiss border.
September 12 - A Metrolink train collides head-on into a freight train in Los Angeles, California, killing 25 and injuring 130.
September 14 - Aeroflot Flight 821 crashes near the city of Perm, Russia, killing all 88 on board.
September 15 - Following negotiations, President Robert Mugabe and opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara sign a power-sharing deal, making Tsvangirai the new Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.
September 15 - Lehman Brothers files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
September 17 - The International Astronomical Union classifies Haumea as the 5th dwarf planet in the Solar System.
September 1925 - Typhoon Hagupit kills 17 in China, 8 in the Philippines, 1 in Taiwan, and 41 in Vietnam.
September 20 - A suicide truck bomb explosion destroys the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing at least 60 and injuring 266.
September 21 - President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa resigns after accepting a call by the African National Congress.
September 24 - The Diet of Japan elects Taro Aso as the new Prime Minister of Japan.
September 25 - Kgalema Motlanthe is elected by the National Assembly of South Africa as the President of South Africa, succeeding Thabo Mbeki.
September 25 - Shenzhou 7, the third manned Chinese spaceflight and the first with 3 crew members, is successfully launched. China becomes the third country ever to conduct a spacewalk.
September 28 - SpaceX Falcon 1 becomes the world's first privately developed space launch vehicle to successfully make orbit.
September 30 - A Jodhpur temple stampede in western India kills over 224 people, and injures 400.

October 3 - Global financial crisis: U.S. President George W. Bush signs the revised Emergency Economic Stabilization Act into law, creating a 700 billion dollar Treasury fund to purchase failing bank assets.
October 6 - NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft makes its second of 3 flybys of Mercury, decreasing the velocity for orbital insertion on March 18, 2011.
October 6 - An earthquake measuring 6.6 magnitude kills at least 65 in Kyrgyzstan.
October 7 - Global financial crisis: Russia agrees to provide Iceland with a 4-billion-euro loan.
October 7 - The meteoroid 2008 TC3 impacts Earth, becoming the first such object to be discovered prior to impact.
October 9 - Global financial crisis: Following a major banking and financial crisis in Iceland, the Icelandic Financial Supervisory Authority takes control of the 3 largest banks in the country: Kaupthing Bank, Landsbanki, and Glitnir.
October 17 - The United Nations General Assembly elects Turkey, Austria, Japan, Uganda, and Mexico to 2-year terms on the Security Council.
October 21 - The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is officially inaugurated. It is a collaboration of over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.
October 22 - The Indian Space Research Organisation successfully launches theChandrayaan-1 spacecraft on a lunar exploration mission.
October 29 - Global financial crisis: Hungary's currency and stock markets rise on the news that it will receive an international economic bailout package worth $25 billion from the IMF, European Union, and World Bank.
October 29 - Delta Air Lines merges with Northwest Airlines, forming the world's largest commercial carrier

November 4 - United States presidential election, 2008: Barack Obama is elected the 44th President of the United States and Joe Biden is elected the 47th Vice President. Barack Obama becomes the first African-American President-elect.
November 6 - King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan is crowned, having ascended to the throne in 2006.
November 7 - The2008 Pétionville school collapse kills at least 92 in Pétionville, Haiti.
November 8 - An accident aboard Russian submarine K-152 Nerpa kills 20.
November 11 - The RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 departs on her last voyage from Southampton, UK to Dubai, UAE. She will become a floating hotel at Palm Jumeirah.
November 14 - STS-126: The Space Shuttle Endeavour uses the MPLM Leonardo to deliver experiment and storage racks to the International Space Station. There will only be 3 more launches of Space Shuttle Endeavour after this mission.
November 19 - Claudia Castillo of Spain becomes the first person to have a successful trachea transplant using a tissue-engineered organ.
November 20 - The 2008 Prairie meteoroid falls over Canada.
November 2223 - The APEC Peru 2008 Summit is held in Lima.
November 22 - Frozen water is found on Mars.
November 24 - The 2008 Santa Catarina floods in Santa Catarina, Brazil kill 126 and force the evacuation of over 78,000 people.
November 25 - Greenland holds a referendum for increased autonomy from Denmark. The vote is over 75% in favour.
November 25 - Political crisis in Thailand: Protesters from the People's Alliance for Democracy party storm into Suvarnabhumi Airport and block flights from taking off. More protesters seize control of Don Mueang Airport the following day.
November 26 - November 29 - A series of terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India kills 195, and injures at least 250.
November 29 - Riots in Jos, Nigeria kill 381, and injure at least 300.

December 1 - A triangular conjunction formed by a new Moon, Venus and Jupiter is a prominent object in the evening sky.
December 2 - Political crisis in Thailand: After weeks of opposition-led protests, the Constitutional Court of Thailand dissolves the governing People's Power Party and 2 coalition member parties, and bans leaders of the parties, including Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, from politics for 5 years. As such, Wongsawat promptly resigns and is replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul as caretaker Prime Minister.
December 4 - Political crisis in Canada: Governor General Michaëlle Jean grants the request of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to prorogue Parliament until January 26, 2009, averting a motion of no-confidence by the new opposition coalition led by the Leader of the Opposition Stéphane Dion, and the New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton, with Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe as a coalition partner.
December 5 - The remains found in 1991 are finally identified as Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, using DNA analysis.
December 6 - Riots spread across Greece after a 15-year-old boy is shot dead by a special guard of the Greek Police.
December 10 - The Channel Island of Sark, a British crown dependency, holds its first fully democratic elections under a new constitutional arrangement, becoming the last European territory to abolish feudalism.
December 12 - Switzerland becomes the 25th European country to join the Schengen Agreement, whereby cross-border passport checks will be abolished.
December 12 - The Moon moves into its nearest point to Earth, called perigee, at the same time as its fullest phase of the Lunar Cycle. The Moon appears to be 14% bigger and 30% brighter than this year's other full moons. The next time these 2 events coincide will be in 2016.
December 16 - Ruins of an ancient Wari city are discovered in northern Peru.
December 18 - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda convicts Théoneste Bagosora and 2 other senior Rwandan army officers of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and sentences them to life imprisonment.
December 21 - Gwadar port, Pakistan becomes fully operational.
December 23 - A military coup d'état is announced in Guinea shortly after the death of long-time President Lansana Conté.
December 27 - Israel initiates a series of airstrikes against the Gaza Strip, killing at least 375 (including at least 60 civilians) and wounding over 1,700.
December 28 - Bangladesh holds its general elections after 2 years of political unrest over the interim government.
December 31 - An extra leap second (23:59:60) is added to end the year. The last time this occurred was in 2005.

good bye 2008!

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