April 2005

World

  • Ruling Party Takes Elections in Zimbabwe (April 1): President Robert Mugabe's party, Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), dominates parliamentary elections, taking 55 out of 120 seats. The opposition, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, wins 34 seats. Tsvangirai and international observers say the election was rigged and marred by fraud.
  • Iraqi Assembly Moves Toward Forming a Government (April 3): Members name Hajim al-Hassani, a Sunni, as speaker; and Hussain al-Shahristani, a Shiite, and Arif Taifour, a Kurd, as deputies. (April 6): Assembly selects Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani as president; Shiite Adel Abdul Mahdi as vice president; and Sheik Ghazi al-Yawar, the Sunni president of the interim government, as the second vice president. (April 7): National Assembly names Shiite Ibrahim Jaafari as prime minister. Interim prime minister Ayad Allawi resigns. (April 28): Assembly approves 32-member cabinet of 17 Shiite Arabs, 8 Kurds, 6 Sunni Arabs, and 1 Christian.
  • President of Kyrgyzstan Resigns (April 4): Askar Akayev signs resignation letter at the Kyrgyz Embassy in Moscow. The move clears the way for a new presidential election.
  • Sinn Fein Leader Calls on IRA to End Violence (April 6): Gerry Adams advises Irish Republican Army to use political means to achieve independence from Britain.
  • Bus Service Begins in Kashmir (April 7): Families divided for more than 50 years by Line of Control are reunited when buses transport passengers across Peace Bridge.
  • Bush Speaks Out Against Settlements (April 11): At a meeting at Bush's Texas ranch, president tells Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon that he opposes the construction of any new settlements in the West Bank.
  • Lebanese Prime Minister Quits (April 13): Pro-Syrian prime minister Omar Karami announces his resignation, citing his failure to form a government. (April 15): President Emile Lahoud names Najib Mikati, a pro-Syrian member of Parliament, as interim prime minister.
  • Two Indicted in Connection with Oil-for-Food Scandal (April 14): Texan David Bay Chalmers, Jr., and his Houston company, Bayoil U.S.A., charged with paying Saddam Hussein millions in illegal kickbacks in exchange for oil contracts in Iraq. Separately, South Korean businessman Tongsun Park charged with making as much as $2 million as a liaison between Iraq and the United Nations.
  • Iraqi President Says Dozens of Bodies Found (April 20): Jalal Talabani says the bodies of about 50 kidnap victims were recovered from Tigris River. Other Iraqi officials, however, dispute the claim. Disclosure comes amid increased insurgent violence in Iraq. (April 21): Iraqi police say they have pulled bodies from the river over several days and are not sure if the victims were all killed at the same time.
  • Italian Prime Minister Resigns (April 20): Under pressure after a weak showing in regional elections, Silvio Berlusconi steps down and dissolves government. (April 23): Berlusconi reclaims his post by forming a new government.
  • Ecuador's Congress Ousts President (April 20): Lucio Gutierrez removed from office and takes refuge in Brazil. Vice President Alfredo Palacio assumes the presidency.
  • Civilian Helicopter Shot Down in Iraq (April 21): Eleven people, six of them Americans working for security company Blackwater U.S.A., die in attack.
  • Sept. 11 Suspect Pleads Guilty (April 22): Zacarias Moussaoui enters guilty plea but denies involvement in Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Instead, he says he was part of a separate plan to fly a plane into the White House.
  • Syrian Military Exits Lebanon (April 26): Troops, which had been stationed in Lebanon for 29 years, complete withdrawal.
  • Iraqi Legislator Murdered (April 28): Sheikha Lameah Khaddouri al-Sakri, Shiite member of National Assembly, gunned down by three men in front of her Baghdad home.
  • Taiwanese Opposition Leader Travels to China (April 29): Lien Chan, head of Taiwan's Nationalist Party, and Chinese president Hu Jintao promise to collaborate to end Taiwan's drive for independence. Meeting is the first between a Taiwanese Nationalist and Chinese Communist since 1949.
  • Insurgent Attacks Kill Dozens in Iraq (April 29): More than 40 people die in a series of coordinated attacks in and around Baghdad.
  • U.S. Soldiers Cleared in Death of Italian Intelligence Agent (April 30): Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi outraged that troops are exonerated in death of Nicola Calipari.

Nation

  • Education Department Revises New Legislation (April 7): Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announces increased flexibility to states in conforming to requirements under No Child Left Behind Act.
  • U.S. Arrests Thousands in Dragnet (April 10): Justice Department arrests up to 10,000 fugitives across the country in a week-long roundup.
  • Three Indicted in Terror Plot (April 12): Federal grand jury in New York indicts three Britons for an alleged plan to attack financial institutions in New York, New Jersey, and Washington. They were arrested in 2004.
  • Olympic Bombing Suspect Pleads Guilty (April 13): Eric Rudolph pleads guilty to bombings at the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996, a gay club and a family-planning clinic in Atlanta in 1997, and an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1998. He'll serve four consecutive life sentences rather than face the death penalty.
  • Amtrak Halts Acela Service (April 15): High-speed service between Boston, New York, and Washington shut down when inspectors find cracks in the brakes of hundreds of trains.
  • Teachers' Union and States Sue Education Department (April 20): The National Education Association and school districts in Michigan, Texas, and Vermont file suit, claiming the government has required states to fund requirements mandated by federal government—a violation of the No Child Left Behind Act.
  • Senate Confirms Intelligence Director (April 21): Career diplomat John Negroponte wins resounding approval to become country's first director of national intelligence.
  • Army Officers Cleared in Abu Ghraib Scandal (April 22): Investigation exonerates top officers, including Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, of wrongdoing in abuse controversy. One officer, Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, found guilty of dereliction of duty.
  • Bush Nominates Chairman of Joints Chiefs of Staff (April 22): Selects Gen. Peter Pace to succeed Gen. Richard Myers.
  • House Reverses Ethics Rules (April 27): Votes, 406–20, to overturn rules changes enacted in January, which were widely believed to have passed to protect majority leader Tom DeLay.
  • House Passes New Abortion Restrictions (April 27): Child Interstate Notification Act, approved 270–157, requires parental consent for an underage girl to cross state lines to have an abortion.
  • Bush Outlines Social Security Plan (April 28): In primetime press conference, president says benefit cuts will be necessary for future generations of retirees with highest incomes to keep funds solvent over the long term.

Business/Science/Society

  • Pope John Paul II Dies (April 2): John Paul, the first Polish pope and the first non-Italian pope since 1522, dies after a long struggle with Parkinson's disease. (April 8): John Paul II is buried at the Vatican. Leaders from more than 70 nations gather for the largest funeral for a pope in history. (April 19): Conclave of cardinals selects Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany as the new pope. He will call himself Benedict the 16th. (April 24): Benedict XVI is installed as pope at outdoor mass at St. Peter's Square.
  • Agriculture Department Releases New Food Pyramid (April 19): Government calls MyPyramid an “interactive food guidance system.” There are 12 versions of the new pyramid, allowing people to choose one based on their age, sex, and level of physical activity.
  • Overweight People Face Lower Risk of Death Than Those of Normal Weight (April 20): Federal researchers also find that being very thin can increase one's risk of death. Study seems to contradict earlier reports.
  • Dozens Die in Train Accident (April 25): Derailment of speeding commuter train near Osaka, Japan, kills more than 100 people and injures about 400.

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