Top News Stories from 2002

World Events

World Statistics

Population: 4.378 billion
population by decade
Nobel Peace Prize: Jimmy Carter
More World Statistics...
  • Tamil Tigers and Sri Lankan government sign a cease-fire agreement, ending 19 years of civil war (Feb. 22). Background: World in Review
  • India's worst Hindu-Muslim violence in a decade rocked the state of Gujarat after a Muslim mob fire-bombed a train, killing Hindu activists. Hindus retaliated, and more than 1,000 died in the bloodshed (Feb. 27 et seq.). Background: World in Review
  • U.S. and Afghan troops launch Operation Anaconda against remaining al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan (March 2). Background: Taliban Timeline and Afghanistan
  • International Criminal Court wins UN ratification; U.S. refuses to ratify (April 11).
  • Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez ousted in coup, then reinstated (April 12, 14).
  • U.S. and Russia reach landmark arms agreement to cut both countries' nuclear arsenals by up to two-thirds over the next 10 years (May 13).
  • East Timor becomes a new nation (May 20).
  • Terrorist bomb in Bali kills hundreds (Oct. 12).
  • Government suspended in Northern Ireland in protest of suspected IRA spy ring (Oct. 14).
  • North Korea admits to developing nuclear arms in defiance of treaty (Oct. 16).
  • Chechen rebels take 763 hostages in Moscow theater (Oct. 23). Russian authorities release a gas into theater, killing 116 hostages and freeing remainder (Oct. 26). Background: Chechnya Timeline
  • China's Jiang Zemin officially retires as general secretary; Hu Jintao named as his successor (Nov. 14).
  • UN Security Council passes unanimous resolution calling on Iraq to disarm or else face "serious consequences." (Nov. 8).
  • UN arms inspectors return to Iraq (Nov. 18).
  • Israeli tanks and warplanes attack West Bank towns of Nablus, Jenin, Bethlehem, and others in response to string of Palestinian suicide attacks (March 29–April 21). In the first three months of 2002, 14 suicide bombers kill dozens of Israeli civilians, and wounded hundreds. Background: World in Review
  • Former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic’s trial on charges of crimes against humanity opens at The Hague (Feb. 12).

U.S. Events

U.S. Statistics

President: George W. Bush
Vice President: Richard Cheney
Population: 290 million
More U.S. Statistics...
  • President Bush's first State of the Union address vows to expand the fight on terrorism and labels Iran, Iraq, and North Korea "an axis of evil" (Jan. 29).
  • Kenneth L. Lay, chairman of bankrupt energy trader Enron, resigns; company under federal investigation for hiding debt and misrepresenting earnings (Jan. 24). Background: 2002 News of the Nation
  • U.S. withdraws from International Court treaty (May 6).
  • FBI lawyer Coleen Rowley criticizes FBI for thwarting terrorist efforts in a letter to the FBI director (May 21).
  • U.S. abandons 31-year-old Antiballistic Missile treaty (June 13). Background: 2001 News of the Nation
  • Bush announces change in Middle East policy: U.S. will not recognize an independent Palestinian state until Yasir Arafat is replaced (June 24).
  • Bush signs corporate reform bill (July 30) in response to a spate of corporate scandals: Enron, Arthur Andersen, Tyco, Qwest, Global Crossing, ImClone, and Adelphia, among others, were convicted or placed under federal investigation for various misadventures in fraud and crooked accounting. Background: 2002 News of the Nation
  • Pennsylvania miners rescued after spending 77 hours in a dark, flooded mine shaft (July 28).
  • Bush addresses United Nations, calling for a "regime change" in Iraq (Sept. 12).
  • Bush signs legislation creating cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security (Nov. 25).
  • Boston archbishop Cardinal Bernard Law resigns as a result of the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandals and cover-up of priest-child molestation. (Dec. 13). Background: 2002 News of the Nation
  • Republicans retake the Senate in midterm elections; gain additional House seats (Nov. 5). Background: 2002 News of the Nation
  • Snipers prey upon DC suburbs, killing ten and wounding others (Oct. 2–24). Police arrest two sniper suspects, John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo (Oct. 24).


Federal spending: $2,011 billion
Federal debt $6,228 billion
Consumer Price Index: $179.9
Unemployment: 5.8 %
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.37


Super Bowl
New England d. St. Louis (20-17)
World Series
Anaheim d. SF Giants (4-3)
NBA Championship
LA Lakers d. New Jersey
Stanley Cup
Detroit d. Carolina
Women: Serena Williams d. Venus Williams (7-6 [7-4] 6-3)
Men: Lleyton Hewitt d. David Nalbandian (6-1 6-3 6-2)
Kentucky Derby Champion
War Emblem
NCAA Basketball Championship
Maryland d. Indiana
World Cup
Brazil d. Germany


Entertainment Awards

Academy Award, Best Picture: A Beautiful Mind, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, producers
Nobel Prize for Literature: Imre Kertész (Hungary)
Record of the Year: "Walk On," U2
Album of the Year: O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack, Various Artists (Lost Highway Records)
Song of the Year: "Fallin'," Alicia Keys, songwriter (Alicia Keys)
Miss America: Katie Harman, Gresham, Ore.
More Entertainment Awards...


  • See 2002 People in the News for biographies of entertainers and newsmakers.
  • The soundtrack to the film O Brother Where Art Thou recording wins five Grammy awards, including album of the year award and best country vocal. Newcomer Alicia Keys also nets five awards (Feb. 27).
  • The MTV reality show The Osbournes debuts. It follows the daily events of aging heavy metallist Ozzy Osbourne and his family. The offbeat and often bizarre show became an instant hit, delivering about six million viewers a week to MTV, its largest audience in history. The Osbournes won an Emmy Award in September for best reality series (March 5). Other Emmy Awards
  • Black actors won top Oscars. Denzel Washington and Halle Berry honored for Training Day and Monster's Ball, respectively (March 24). Other Oscar winners
  • Eminem, the controversial white rapper notorious for his hate-saturated lyrics, enters the mainstream with the release of his movie 8 Mile and its soundtrack, The Eminem Show, which was the year's top-selling album (Nov. 8).
  • The movie Spider-Man was the year's box-office blockbuster, grossing more than $406 million. In all, Americans spent $9.3 billion on about 1.6 billion movie tickets in 2002—a 10% increase over 2001 figures (Dec. 31).


  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  • About Schmidt
  • Far From Heaven
  • Adaptation
  • The Hours
  • Chicago
  • Gangs of New York


  • Bruce Springsteen, The Rising
  • Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
  • Norah Jones, Come Away with Me
  • Avril Lavigne, Let Go
  • Dave Matthews Band, Busted Stuff
  • Beck, Sea Change
  • Cee-Lo, Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections
  • The Hives, Veni Vidi Vicious
  • The Roots, Phrenology
  • Coldplay, A Rush of Blood to the Head


  • Atonement, Ian McEwan
  • Emperor of Ocean Park, Stephen L. Carter
  • The Crimson Petal and the White, Michael Faber
  • The Nanny Diaries, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
  • Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold


Nobel Prizes in Science

Chemistry: John B. Fenn (U.S.) and Koichi Tanaka (Japan)
Physics: Raymond Davis, Jr. (U.S.) and Masatoshi Koshiba (Japan)
Physiology or Medicine: Sydney Brenner (UK), H. Robert Horvitz (U.S.), and John E. Sulston (UK)
More Nobel Prizes in 1998...
  • U.S. health officials issue new guidelines on mammograms, strongly recommending that breast cancer screening beginning at age 40, instead of 50. Recommendation follows months of controversy over the effectiveness of breast cancer screening (Feb. 21).
  • Hormone replacement questioned. Study finds that drug therapy for menopausal women can cause increases in rate of breast cancer, heart attacks, blood clots, and strokes (July 9).
  • AIDS deaths are projected to skyrocket. The UN announced that the toll could reach an additional 65 million by 2020 if preventative measures are not expanded (July 2).
  • Scientists report a new type of black hole. Hubble Space Telescope finds evidence of a middleweight class of gravitational sink, adding to earlier identified small and super classifications (Sept. 17).
  • Early skull is discovered in Chad. French scientists report in the journal Nature that they have unearthed a 7-million-year-old member of the human family, Sahelanthropus tchadensis, who has been nicknamed "Toumai." Fossil combines human and chimpanzee characteristics (July 11).
  • Scientists compare mouse and human genomes. The first analysis of two complete genomes reveals striking similarities. Scientists hope finding will hasten understanding of genetic diseases. (Dec. 5).
  • National Academy of Sciences issues report opposing human reproductive cloning, but supports therapeutic cloning—the creation of embryonic stem cells to aid in cures for such illnesses as Parkinson's Disease and diabetes (Jan. 18).


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