March 2005

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff


  • Leftist Government Assumes Power in Uruguay (March 1): Tabaré Vázquez, a Socialist, sworn in as president. Inauguration marks the first time in the country's history the left is in control.
  • Members of Iraqi Tribunal Assassinated (March 1): A judge and his son, a lawyer, who were both part of a special tribunal that will try Saddam Hussein, are shot and killed in Baghdad.
  • UN Troops Battle Congo Militia (March 1): More than 50 militiamen, who have terrorized northeastern Congo, and nine UN soldiers are killed in the fighting.
  • Indonesian Cleric Acquitted (March 3): Court finds Abu Bakar Bashir not guilty of terrorism charges in the bombings of Jakarta's Marriott Hotel in 2003 and a Bali nightclub in 2002.
  • Saudi Arabia Demands Syrian Withdrawal from Lebanon (March 3): Crown Prince Abdullah advises Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to withdraw troops from Lebanon and tells him Arab League does not support Syria.
  • Syria Announces Pullback from Lebanon (March 5): President Bashar al-Assad tells Parliament that he will gradually order troops back toward Syrian border. Syrian officials later say troops would eventually be moved to Syrian territory. (March 12): Assad confirms withdrawal to within Syrian borders.
  • U.S. Troops Shoot Italian Journalist (March 5): Soldiers shoot at car carrying Giuliana Sgrena, who had been held hostage by Iraqi insurgents and just released from captivity. Sgrena is wounded and an Italian intelligence agent is killed.
  • Bolivian President Resigns (March 7): Amid protests over a tax on foreign oil and gas companies that opponents feel isn't sufficient, Carlos Mesa tells Congress he will step down. (March 8): Congress rejects Mesa's offer to resign and gives him a vote of confidence.
  • Chechnyan Separatist Leader Killed (March 8): Russian troops kill Aslan Maskhadov in a raid in a village near Grozny.
  • Thousands of Syrian Supporters March in Lebanon (March 8): Militant group Hezbollah organizes pro-Syria demonstration in Beirut. Crowd estimated at 500,000.
  • Lebanese Prime Minister Reelected (March 9): Omar Karami reelected by Lebanese Parliament. He stepped down in February.
  • Suicide Bomber Strikes in Mosul (March 10): Kills himself and about 40 others in a Shiite shrine in Iraq.
  • Hong Kong Leader Resigns (March 10): Tung Chee-hwa steps down as chief executive after eight years in office. His deputy, Donald Tsang, will succeed him.
  • Hamas to Participate in Elections (March 12): Islamic militant group says it will run candidates in July's elections for the Palestinian legislature. Move ends a 10-year boycott of elections.
  • Fraud Alleged in Kyrgyzstan Elections (March 13): The opposition and international monitors declare the elections, which hand victory to parties that support President Askar Akayev, seriously flawed. (March 24): Akayev flees to Russia. Parliament elects opposition leader Ishenbai Kadyrbekov as interim president and prime minister.
  • China Passes Anti-Secession Law (March 14): Bill says the country can use force if Taiwan moves toward achieving independence.
  • Iraqi Assembly Meets (March 16): Diverse group of 275 newly elected leaders convene for the first time in a largely ceremonial meeting. Shiites and Kurds, who fared best in January elections, have not yet appointed leaders. (March 29): Assembly meets for the second time and fails again to agree on the composition of the new Iraqi government.
  • Palestinians Take Control of Jericho (March 16): Move is first stage in truce agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that will give Palestinians control of five towns in the West Bank.
  • Afghan Elections Postponed Again (March 20): Electoral commission reschedules parliamentary elections for September 18. They were originally set to be held in June 2004, then in May 2005.
  • Israel to Expand Settlement (March 21): Government announces plans to build 3,500 housing units in Maale Adumim, a West Bank settlement near Jerusalem. Palestinians call the move a violation of the peace plan.
  • U.S. to Sell Fighter Jets to Pakistan (March 25): President Bush announces the U.S. will sell Pakistan F-16 fighter jets.
  • Independent Panel Clears UN Chief (March 29): Committee investigating Iraq's oil-for-food program reports that Kofi Annan was not involved in wrongdoing when the UN awarded a contract to his son's employer. The panel, headed by Paul Volcker, did criticize Annan for not investigating the contract further once he was made aware of the potential conflict of interest.
  • Commission Criticizes U.S. Intelligence Agencies (March 31): Panel set up by President Bush calls assessment on Iraq's weapons capabilities “dead wrong” and finds that agencies exaggerated evidence and relied on shaky sources in making the case for war in Iraq.


  • Bush Nominates UN Ambassador (March 7): Selects John Bolton, state department official and critic of the United Nations, as American envoy to the organization.
  • EPA Introduces Rules to Cut Pollution (March 10): Clean Air Interstate Rule, announced by the Environmental Protection Agency, aims to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide in the eastern U.S. by 60% by 2015.
  • Report Finds Aviation System Still at Risk (March 13): Government study indicates that al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups could charter planes and helicopters to launch an attack against the U.S.
  • Congress Intervenes in Case of Brain-Damaged Woman (March 20): The House and Senate vote to allow a federal court to rule whether the feeding tube should be reinserted into the mouth of Terri Schiavo, a woman who has been in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years. (March 22): Federal judge James Whittemore refuses to order that the feeding tube be reinserted. (March 23): A federal appeals court upholds Whittemore's decision. (March 24): The U.S. Supreme Court declines the case. (March 31): Schiavo dies, 13 days after her feeding tube was removed.
  • Bush Hawk to Lead World Bank (March 31): Paul Wolfowitz, former deputy defense secretary and one of the chief advocates of the war in Iraq, unanimously confirmed by World Bank's executive board.


  • Greenspan Urges Action on Deficit (March 2): Urges Congress to work toward reining in budget deficit, saying it is “unsustainable.”
  • Man Makes Circumnavigation Record (March 3): Steve Fossett completes a 23,000-mile journey when his plane GlobalFlyer lands in Kansas. He's the first person to make the solo nonstop journey around the world.
  • WorldCom Chief Found Guilty (March 15): Bernard Ebbers convicted of securities fraud, conspiracy, and seven counts of filing false reports. Fraud cost the telecommunications giant about $11 billion.
  • Obesity Shortens Life Expectancy of Children (March 16): Report in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that if childhood obesity continues, the current generation of children may be expected to live two to five fewer years than adults today.
  • Baseball Players Testify at Hearings (March 17): Ten players, including home-run kings Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, appear before the House Government Reform Committee to answer questions on steroid use in major league baseball.
  • Fed Raises Interest Rates (March 22): Increases short-term rates a quarter point, to 2.75%.
  • Indonesia Hit by Earthquake (March 29): Temblor, with a magnitude of 8.7, strikes the island of Nias. Residents, fearing another deadly tsunami, flee for higher ground. Hundreds are killed.
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