March 27, 2003: The White House defended its war plan as Iraq blamed the United States for an explosion in a Baghdad market that it said killed 58 civilians. … Meanwhile, a Turkish Airlines flight on its way from Istanbul to Ankara was hijacked and flown to Athens, where all 190 passengers were released. The hijacker had no known terrorist connections and appeared emotionally unstable. … Islamic militants cut off the noses of six Muslim Kashmiris after accusing them of helping the Indian army; the mutilation came days after a massacre of 24 Hindus in the contested region. … In Nepal, the government offered to hold peace talks with Maoist rebels. … A meteor the size of a Volkswagen Bug exploded in the sky over the Midwest; grapefruit-sized rocks hit some houses in the region.
March 26, 2003: One thousand U.S. paratroopers opened a northern front in Iraq as forces in the south fought toward Baghdad. … Meanwhile, three Americans died when their Cessna crashed in Colombia; they were searching for three other Americans captured by rebels after their plane crashed a month ago. … The Senate passed a $2.2 trillion federal budget with only half the $726 billion tax cut President Bush requested while the House passed the whole tax cut. … A tanker carrying chemicals was briefly seized by armed men in speedboats in the Strait of Malacca. Fears of terrorism abated when the pirates merely stole the crew's possessions and communications equipment. ... Former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, 76, died in a Washington, D.C., hospital of complications from a ruptured appendix. … Russia's defense minister criticized American U-2 spy plane flights over the nation of Georgia, rejecting the American claim that they are part of the war on terror. … Federal regulators said Enron and more than 30 other companies manipulated California energy markets during 2000 and 2001 to drive prices higher.
March 25, 2003: Sandstorms blanketed southern Iraq as British military officials in Basra reported signs of an Iraqi uprising against Saddam Hussein. … Meanwhile, the Air Force announced that it would replace four officers who run its academy in Colorado Springs. Dozens of women cadets who reported being raped said they were ignored or themselves investigated while their attackers went unpunished. … The Senate amended the budget proposal to halve President Bush's tax cut, as three Republicans joined Democrats in limiting the next decade's tax reductions to $350 billion. … The World Health Organization reported that the Chinese government had refused WHO inspectors access to the Guangdong province, where they hoped to investigate the origin of the SARS epidemic. … In Japan, a court ruled that the government did not owe reparations to South Korean women who were forced to provide sex to Japanese soldiers in World War II. … A Kentucky ethics panel accused Gov. Paul E. Patton of improperly sending lucrative state contracts to his mistress's construction company.
March 24, 2003: Coalition forces fought in the streets for control of Nasiriyah while two U.S. chopper pilots were taken captive. … Meanwhile, Supreme Court justices refused to allow civil liberties advocates to appeal a federal court ruling upholding the USA Patriot Act's broad new wiretapping authority. … At least 150 Congolese travelers died when their Burundi-bound ferry capsized on Lake Tanganyika. … Israeli forces shot and killed a 14-year-old boy, claiming he had been trying to steal the machine gun off an armored vehicle. Palestinian witnesses say he was throwing stones at Israeli tanks. … A South Carolina man pleaded guilty to murdering two Los Angeles-area police officers 46 years ago; he was captured after a new FBI database linked his fingerprints to those at the crime scene in 1957. … The U.S. Mint issued the Alabama quarter, which features Helen Keller and is the first American coin with words in Braille.
March 23, 2003: Iraqi forces ambushed U.S. troops near Nasiriyah, killing 16 GIs and taking members of an Army maintenance unit prisoner. … Meanwhile, in a referendum, 96 percent of Chechen voters supported a new constitution that would declare Chechnya part of Russia. The referendum was proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin; some critics said it offered Chechens a sham choice between the new charter and more war. … Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry announced that he would not tap his wife's $550 million fortune to finance his campaign. … In Kashmir, Muslim separatists reportedly killed 24 Hindu villagers in the biggest outbreak of violence there since September. … Slovenia elected to join the European Union and NATO despite diminishing local support for NATO since the war began. … At the 75th Academy Awards, Chicago won Best Picture, but The Pianist scored two notable upsets when Roman Polanski won Best Director and Adrien Brody snagged Best Actor.
March 22, 2003: American and British troops seized a key bridge near Nasiriyah while fighting continued in Basra and Umm Qasr. … The French oil company TotalFinaElf joined several competitors in ceasing operations and evacuating workers from Nigeria because of continuing ethnic unrest. … North Korea postponed talks with South Korea, claiming U.S.-South Korean military exercises were "driving the situation in Korea to the brink of war." … US Airways struck a deal with its pilots for a new, reduced pension plan, resolving a dispute that threatened the company's planned emergence from bankruptcy. …The former wife of a Cuban spy attempted to lay legal claim to a plane that was hijacked two days ago from Cuban airspace and landed in Florida. She was seeking compensation in a $27 million American court judgment she won against the Cuban government. … Taliban supporters killed three men and injured three more in two attacks on Afghan government troops. … Pacific Rim nations expressed interest in a new Japanese technology that could provide electricity and drinking water by exploiting temperature differences in ocean water at different depths.
March 21, 2003: Coalition forces moved toward Baghdad as Marines secured Iraq's Rumaila oil field. … Meanwhile, a move to halve George W. Bush's $726 billion, 10-year tax-cut plan—sponsored by two Democratic and two Republican senators—failed to pass in the Senate. … Defense Department adviser Richard Perle disclosed that Global Crossing Ltd. would pay him $725,000 to help secure U.S. government approval for a plan to sell the bankrupt telecommunications company to two Asian firms. … Peru introduced a U.N. resolution criticizing Cuba for arresting at least 72 dissidents, journalists, and opposition figures. … The Bush administration amended a Clinton-era plan to declassify government documents, making it easier to reclassify information that could damage national security. … The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission finished its work but warned the government not to issue a blanket amnesty to apartheid criminals. … The World Figure Skating Championships kicked off amid controversy over a new judging system designed to eliminate the scandals that plagued the 2002 Olympics.
March 20, 2003: U.S. and British troops entered Iraq. … Meanwhile, Asian doctors and nurses fearing infection stayed home rather than treat patients suffering from SARS. … Six asylum-seekers were charged with hijacking after they took over a Cuban airliner at knifepoint and diverted it to the Florida Keys. … The state of Texas executed its 300th inmate, a man who killed a convenience store clerk in 1994. … A Montgomery County ethics committee ruled that Police Chief Charles Moose could not profit from his memoirs of last fall's sniper attacks. … Saudi Arabia was earning an extra billion dollars a week from oil revenue as global anxiety drove up oil prices, and the kingdom neared full production capacity. … NASA hoped the discovery of an intact flight data recorder would shed light on the shuttle Columbia's demise. … A retired Air Force master sergeant was sentenced to life in prison for attempting to sell intelligence secrets to Iraq and China.
March 19, 2003: American forces in the Persian Gulf launched the first strikes on Baghdad. … Meanwhile, the Senate narrowly rejected Bush's plan for oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Proponents tried to tuck the ANWR drilling measure into the 2004 budget plan to ease its passage, but opponents had the votes to block them. … Yasser Arafat handed some of his power over to longtime deputy Mahmoud Abbas, who was named Palestinian prime minister and given three weeks to draft "the broad outlines" of a future Palestinian government. … 1,000 U.S. troops raided southeastern Afghanistan, looking for al-Qaida operatives in the largest U.S. military operation there in more than a year. … Bush administration officials cited intelligence reports that North Korea's efforts to restart its nuclear reprocessing facility had so far been unsuccessful. … Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia accepted a free speech award and forbade the use of tape recorders or video cameras during his remarks. … After 48 hours, tobacco farmer Dwight W. Watson was persuaded to surrender to police. No explosives were found on his tractor, and no changes were made to U.S. tobacco policy.