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December 2004

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Title: December 2004  
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December 2004


December 2004 was the twelfth and final month of that leap year. The month, which began on a Wednesday, ended on a Friday after 31 days.


  • Portal:Current events 1
    • December 3, 2004 (Friday) 1.1
    • December 4, 2004 (Saturday) 1.2
    • December 5, 2004 (Sunday) 1.3
    • December 6, 2004 (Monday) 1.4
    • December 7, 2004 (Tuesday) 1.5
    • December 8, 2004 (Wednesday) 1.6
    • December 9, 2004 (Thursday) 1.7
    • December 10, 2004 (Friday) 1.8
    • December 11, 2004 (Saturday) 1.9
    • December 12, 2004 (Sunday) 1.10
    • December 13, 2004 (Monday) 1.11
    • December 14, 2004 (Tuesday) 1.12
    • December 15, 2004 (Wednesday) 1.13
    • December 16, 2004 (Thursday) 1.14
    • December 17, 2004 (Friday) 1.15
    • December 18, 2004 (Saturday) 1.16
    • December 19, 2004 (Sunday) 1.17
    • December 20, 2004 (Monday) 1.18
    • December 21, 2004 (Tuesday) 1.19
    • December 22, 2004 (Wednesday) 1.20
    • December 23, 2004 (Thursday) 1.21
    • December 24, 2004 (Friday) 1.22
    • December 25, 2004 (Saturday) 1.23
    • December 26, 2004 (Sunday) 1.24
    • December 27, 2004 (Monday) 1.25
    • December 28, 2004 (Tuesday) 1.26
    • December 29, 2004 (Wednesday) 1.27
    • December 30, 2004 (Thursday) 1.28
    • December 31, 2004 (Monday) 1.29
  • References 2

Portal:Current events

This is an Current events Portal from December 2004.
Armed conflicts and attacks
  • Ivorian Civil War
    • French officials acknowledge troops killed around 20 people during clashes with anti-French protestors, but maintain the French troops acted in self-defense and gave warning shots, contrary to Ivoirian police claims. (BBC)
  • Rwandan troops are spotted by UN personnel in eastern Congo where Congolese officials say the troops are attacking and burning villages. The last invasion started the Congo Civil War, which resulted in the deaths of 3–4 million people. (Reuters)
Arts and culture
Disasters and accidents
  • The head of Brazil's AIDS program, Pedro Chequer, says the government will violate patents on anti-AIDS drugs by copying them, citing unsustainable increases in cost. (BBC)
International relations
Law and crime
  • Serbia's interior minister says the "assassination attempt" on president Boris Tadić was a case of road rage against his motor convoy in Belgrade traffic. (Reuters)
  • A French appeals court reduces former Prime Minister Alain Juppé's disqualification from holding public office from ten years to one, opening up the way for him to contend in the 2007 presidential election. (BBC)
Politics and elections
Armed conflicts and attacks
Disasters and accidents
  • India announces a new effort to survey and decontaminate the area affected by the December 3, 1984, Bhopal chemical disaster. (BBC)
International relations
Law and crime
Politics and elections
<< December 2004 >>
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12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31
Deaths in December

Ongoing events

Ongoing armed conflicts

Election results

Ongoing trials

December 3, 2004 (Friday)

December 4, 2004 (Saturday)

December 5, 2004 (Sunday)

December 6, 2004 (Monday)

December 7, 2004 (Tuesday)

December 8, 2004 (Wednesday)

December 9, 2004 (Thursday)

December 10, 2004 (Friday)

December 11, 2004 (Saturday)

December 12, 2004 (Sunday)

December 13, 2004 (Monday)

December 14, 2004 (Tuesday)

December 15, 2004 (Wednesday)

December 16, 2004 (Thursday)

December 17, 2004 (Friday)

December 18, 2004 (Saturday)

  • Hundreds of Sikh demonstrators protest outside a Birmingham, England, theatre against a play (Behzti) depicting sex abuse and murder in a Sikh temple. Theatre stormed by a few demonstrators. (BBC)
  • 2004 U.S. presidential election controversy:
    • Voting machine manufacturer Diebold Election Systems will pay a $2.6 million settlement to the State of California over the lawsuit filed by the state in September alleging that Diebold was not truthful about the security and reliability of its electronic voting machines. (
    • In a sharp change from their traditional role, several members of the Electoral College have filed a protest of the official election results, one even casting his electoral vote provisionally upon a revote. These electors have called for a member of the U.S. Senate to protest the election results on January 6. (AP) )Sacramento Bee( )Burlington Union(
  • In Topeka, Kansas, US, infant Victoria Jo Stinnett is returned to her father three days after her mother was allegedly strangled to death and she was cut from her mother's uterus and abducted. The AMBER Alert system is credited with helping to safely recover the child. (CNN)
  • Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
    • Palestinians fire several Qassam rockets at the civilian town Sderot and the northern Negev, causing damage but no casualties. )Haaretz(
    • Another three Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers on Saturday during an Israeli incursion into the Khan Younis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, raising the death toll to 11. According to Palestinian sources, three of those killed were civilians, the rest were militants from Hamas and Fatah's Abu Reish Brigades. The IDF has officially ended Khan Yunis raid, dubbed "Operation Orange Iron", and threatened to return if mortar shelling will be renewed by militants. (BBC), (Haaretz)
    • Palestinians have been unable to bury the dead because Israeli forces were in control at the local cemetery, medics told the Reuters news agency. (BBC)
    • Six Palestinians were rescued from a collapsed tunnel under an Israel-controlled corridor in the EgyptGaza border area. (BBC)
  • Former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet has been taken to hospital after suffering a stroke. (BBC)
  • Darfur conflict: The African Union has given both sides involved in the Darfur conflict a deadline of 1700 GMT to halt the fighting in the region which currently violates the ceasefire agreement. If this condition is not met, talks in Nigeria to find a solution to the conflict would end. (BBC)
  • Conflict in Iraq:
    • Former senior Iraqi official Ali Hassan al-Majid (aka "Chemical Ali") is questioned by Iraqi judges in a pre-trial hearing. He is accused of crimes committed by the regime, such as the gassing of Iraqi Kurds in 1988. (BBC) (Reuters)
    • Iraqi insurgents attack election offices in northern Iraq, killing two people and wounding nine, six weeks before the country is due to go to the polls. (Reuters)

December 19, 2004 (Sunday)

  • Conflict in Iraq: Bomb blasts in the Iraqi Shia cities of Karbala and Najaf kill up to 60 people and injure a further 120. (BBC)
  • Russia auctions off the main production unit of oil giant YUKOS to the small Baikalfinansgroup for 260.75bn rubles (US$9.37bn). Before the sale, YUKOS was said to owe US$27bn in unpaid taxes, specifically an average of 90% of its revenue. Former CEO jailed Mikhail Khodorkovsky and other YUKOS officials maintain it is politically motivated. (BBC)
  • The people of Turkmenistan go to the polls to elect a new parliament. Voters will choose between candidates, all of whom have pledged support to President Niyazov, the "Turkmenbashi" or "leader of Turkmens". (BBC)
  • Person of the Year" by Time magazine. (CNN)
  • Rice University computer scientists find a security hole in Google's desktop search program. )New York Times(

December 20, 2004 (Monday)

  • Analysts attribute a sharp drop in the price of crude oil to the unexpected outcome of the auction of Yukos' Siberian production unit yesterday. The value of the January futures contract fell 64 cents to $45.64 on the Nymex.
  • China announces reforms to its legal system effective in 2005, including the introduction of jury trials and a 10% increase in the number of judges. Jurors will be elected to a five-year term, and must have at least two years' university education. (BBC) (Xinhua)
  • The Head of the Egyptian Coptic Christian Church, Pope Shenouda III, has gone into seclusion in a desert monastery to draw attention to grievances among Egyptian Christians. (BBC)
  • U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has admitted that he had used a machine to sign letters of condolence to relatives of more than 1,000 troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, but pledged to sign the letters personally in future. (BBC)
  • In Sudan, fighting has not stopped after a ceasefire between government troops and rebels. Although the government of Sudan has said that they have stopped the Darfur offensive, there are still reports of battles. Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail rules out any withdrawal from the positions government troops have taken. An observing African Union helicopter was shot at. (BBC)(Iafrica)
  • Prachanda, leader of the Maoist guerillas in Nepal, announces his intention to disrupt elections if the government refuses to abolish the monarchy. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has given them until January 13, 2005, to begin peace talks. (Reuters)
  • An explosion in a Chinese coal mine kills 14. (Reuters)(BBC)
  • African National Congress of South Africa accuses U.S. officials covering up adverse side effects of AIDS medications. (Iafrica) (Reuters)

December 21, 2004 (Tuesday)

  • European Union ministers postpone a controversial vote on the proposed Directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions in the EU after Poland asks for more time to think about it. (Reuters)(BBC)
  • The Boeing Delta 4 Heavy rocket launches successfully for the first time. (MSNBC)
  • Conflict in Iraq:
    • US forces say twenty-two people have been killed and at least 67 injured in an attack at a US military base in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The dead include 13 US Soldiers, making the attack one of the deadliest attacks on US forces since the start of the war. (BBC) (CNN)
    • Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, the two French hostages held in Iraq since August, are freed. Their captors claim they were freed because of France's anti-war stance. (BBC)
  • Former British Home Secretary David Blunkett's office is found to have assisted in the fast-tracking of his lover's nanny's visa-application, thereby confirming the allegation that led to his dismissal. (BBC)
  • The White House announces that allegations of abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay by US military personnel will be "fully investigated". The allegations were prompted by a memo, obtained by ACLU FOIA requests, dated two months after the Abu Ghraib scandal broke which reference an executive order that authorized questionable interrogation techniques. The White House spokesman flat out denied this in saying "there is no executive order on interrogation techniques". (BBC) (White House) (ACLU)
  • Japan issues a tourist visa to former Taiwanese leader Lee Teng-hui despite protests from the People's Republic of China that such a move would harm bilateral relations. The PRC considers Lee a Taiwan independence agitator. (BBC)
  • Same-sex marriage in Canada: The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador finds the banning of same-sex marriage unconstitutional, making that province the eighth of Canada's provinces and territories to legalize same-sex marriage. (CBC)
  • Palestinian state an absolute priority at their annual meeting, which is being held in Bahrain. (BBC)
  • UK Prime Minister Tony Blair makes a surprise visit to Baghdad. (BBC) (Guardian) (Number 10)
  • Author J.K. Rowling announces that the sixth book in her Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, will be published on 16 July 2005. The share price of her British publisher, Bloomsbury, rises 7.5% on the news. (Reuters)
  • Up to £30 million are reported stolen from the headquarters of the Northern Bank in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Two members of the bank's senior staff and their families are reported to have been held hostage before the robbery. This is likely to be the second biggest bank robbery in British history, and the fourth largest in the world. (BBC) (Reuters) (Glasgow Evening Times)
  • Pakistan's Anti Terrorism Court cancels the bail of Asif Ali Zardari, leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party and husband of Benazir Bhutto. Zardari was released last month after eight years in prison. He was charged with corruption and conspiracy to murder. (GEO) (BBC)
  • A court in Chile upholds the indictment and house arrest of Augusto Pinochet. Prosecution lawyers claim that his hospitalization for a heart condition was a political ploy. Pinochet's lawyers intend to appeal. (BBC) (Bloomberg)
  • A court in Nigeria upholds the election of Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo. Opposition parties, led by Muhammadu Buhari, have challenged the result, and the EU and U.S. question the election's validity. (AllAfrica) (BBC) (Vanguard, Nigeria)
  • Archaeologists in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, find the remains of a 7,500-year-old man on the island of Marawah. (Khaleej Times) (Reuters)
  • French President Jacques Chirac demands improved hospital security after two nurses are killed. A suspected mental patient was released. (Reuters Alertnet)
  • The US government decides to settle a suit in which Hungarian Jews have demanded compensation for a train full of valuables the US Army took at the end of World War II. (Wired News) )New York Post(
  • The US pressures Iceland not to grant Bobby Fischer sanctuary. (Reuters)
  • Zaheera Sheikh, a key witness in the Best Bakery case, is declared hostile by the prosecution after she goes back on her police statement during retrial of the case. (Times of India) )Indian Express(

December 22, 2004 (Wednesday)

  • Gambian journalists march in protest of the murder of Deyda Hydara, newspaper editor who had criticised new strict press legislation. UNESCO also condemns the killing. (BBC) (UNESCO portal)
  • Switzerland increases its financial support for the forthcoming re-run of election in Ukraine. (NZZ)
  • The Police Service of Northern Ireland confirm that the haul in last Monday's Northern Bank Belfast bank heist was £22 million, comprising £1.15 million in new Northern Bank £100 and £50 notes, £12 million in new Northern Bank £20 and £10 notes, £5 million in used Northern Ireland notes issued by various banks, and the remainder in other sterling banknotes. Since Northern Irish notes are rarely seen outside Northern Ireland, the gang may have difficulty in laundering most of their haul. (Scotsman)
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
  • The British Save the Children withdraws from Darfur after rebels kill their aid workers. (BBC) (IAfrica) (AllAfrica)
  • The Indian election commission investigates railways minister Laloo Prasad for allegations of electoral bribery. He has given money to dalit women in public. (ExpressIndia) (BBC)
  • A Pakistani court restores bail for Asif Ali Zardari. (BBC) (GEO)
  • In Mozambique, the national election commission declares Armando Guebuza, presidential candidate of ruling party Frelimo, the winner of the election. He received 64% of the vote despite alleged irregularities. (AllAfrica) (Afrol) (BBC)
  • In the Philippines, the funeral of Fernando Poe, Jr, movie star and presidential candidate, attracts large numbers of supporters. Security is high due to rumors of potential anti-government revolt. The detained ex-president Joseph Estrada condemns incumbent president Gloria Arroyo in his eulogy. (Reuters) )Philippine Daily Inquirer(

December 23, 2004 (Thursday)

December 24, 2004 (Friday)

  • 400 m asteroid 2004 MN4(later named 99942 Apophis in July 2005) is estimated to have a roughly one-in-forty chance of colliding with Earth in 2029. Its Torino Scale rating is 4. ( (

December 25, 2004 (Saturday)

  • Colombia's FARC guerrillas kidnap a group of between seven and ten holidaymakers from a spa resort near San Rafael, Antioquia. (BBC)
  • The ESA's Huygens probe separates from NASA's Cassini spacecraft at approximately 02:00 UTC, with deployment confirmed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The probe will reach Saturn's moon Titan in 22 days, where it will make an atmospheric descent to the surface and relay scientific information. (Spaceflightnow)
  • Queen Elizabeth II sends her annual Christmas Message to the UK and the Commonwealth. Her theme is religious and cultural diversity and the benefits of a tolerant society. In a break from tradition, the Queen also sends a special radio Christmas Message to the UK armed forces – the first time she has made a separate radio broadcast. (BBC) (BBC)
  • Portions of South and Southeast Texas south of I-10 had their first White Christmas ever as snow was recorded falling from Brownsville to Beaumont with as much as 13 inches (33 cm) in Brazoria. The snowfall began on Christmas Eve as a deep layer of below freezing (below 32 °F/0 °C) temperatures settled across the region after the passing of an Arctic cold front and an upper level low pressure system crossed the region and dumped snow in its wake. Very little snow fell north of I-10 because of the lack of moisture further from the coast. (National Weather Service)

December 26, 2004 (Sunday)

  • The first survey of language use in the People's Republic of China reveals that 53% of its population can communicate in Standard Chinese, the official spoken language of the country. (China Daily)
  • An earthquake of magnitude 9.3, the strongest earthquake in 40 years, strikes in the Indian Ocean off the western coast of Sumatra. While initial reports state that the resulting tsunamis killed approximately 100 people, by the end of the day 250,000 people in coastal areas of Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, India, Bangladesh, Burma, Indonesia and Malaysia had been reported dead or missing. Tremors are also felt as far as Singapore, eastern countries of Africa, and north-western Australia. A state of emergency is declared in Sri Lanka, where over 31,000 people are feared dead. (USGS) (CNN) (BBC) (The Star) (Wikinews) (Channel News Asia) (The Times of India)
  • Ukrainians go to the polls in a rerun of the presidential runoff vote, supervised by about 12,000 international observers. Turnout is reported to be comparable to the two previous votes, just short of 55 percent at 1300 GMT. Early exit polls suggest opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko has won by a wide margin (Reuters) (Guardian) (BBC)

December 27, 2004 (Monday)

  • Astrophysicists from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching near Munich measure the strongest burst from a magnetar. At 21:30:26 UT the earth is hit by a huge wave front of gamma and X-rays. It is the strongest flux of high-energetic gamma radiation measured so far.
  • In Mulhouse, France, a suspected gas explosion kills 17 people (BBC) (Scotsman)
  • Newly discovered observations from March 2004 rule out the possibility that asteroid 2004 MN4 (later named 99942 Apophis in July 2005) will hit Earth in 2029. (
  • The U.S. dollar hits a new low against the euro: USD 1.3640 to EUR 1.00. (AP)
  • Ukrainian Transport Minister Heorhiy Kyrpa, a staunch supporter of Viktor Yanukovych, is found shot dead at his home just outside of Kiev. It is unclear whether he was murdered or committed suicide. (BBC) (Reuters)
  • Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Israeli police arrest Palestinian presidential candidate Mustafa Barghouti. A Jerusalem police spokesman says Mr Barghouti was "detained for questioning because he has the right to transit through Jerusalem but not be in Jerusalem itself".(BBC)
  • The death toll from tsunamis resulting from the Indian Ocean earthquake is known to be at least 20,000 and possibly as high as 45,000. (BBC) London Free Press Independent Online
  • Ukrainian opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko claims victory. Official results may not come out for days. (Reuters) (BBC)
  • Conflict in Iraq:

December 28, 2004 (Tuesday)

December 29, 2004 (Wednesday)

December 30, 2004 (Thursday)

December 31, 2004 (Monday)


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  2. ^ "Vanuatu gov. reshuffled after Taiwan controversy". Retrieved 4 October 2015. 
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