January 4: NASA’s Spirit Rover powers up its systems for a pioneering three-month operation to Mars. Later in the month, scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory send their second Mars rover, Opportunity, to the red planet
January 29: The MyDoom worm wreaks more havoc after becoming the biggest Internet virus ever.
February 29: Faced with an armed rebellion and mounting international pressure, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide leaves the troubled Caribbean nation. The US deploys a contingent of Marines to Haiti as violence erupts in the wake of Mr Aristide’s departure.
Parmalat’s accounting and bankruptcy scandal rocks Italy’s financial industry.
March 11: More than 170 people are killed and around 600 injured in a series of blasts which rip through Madrid railway stations. The number of dead later climbs to more than 200. While initial blame for the blasts in Spain are attributed to the Basque separatist group ETA, it later emerges that an Al Qaeda-related group is responsible. Days later the Socialists win the national election, an outcome attributed to the party’s policy of bringing the troops home from Iraq
US space agency Nasa successfully launched an experimental hypersonic jet which travelled at 5,000mph – smashing the world speed record for an aircraft
NATO expands to include 7 former Warsaw pact nations.
April 29: Images of US soldiers allegedly abusing Iraqi prisoners at a notorious jail near Baghdad have sparked shock and anger.
May 1: EU newcomers welcomed to the club. The EU is now the world’s largest trading bloc. The 15 old members welcomed in Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia at midnight.
June 7: Tens of thousands of Allied veterans who survived the D-day campaign of World War II are honoured in poignant ceremonies 60 years after the battle.
After a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, former US President Ronald Reagan died.
June 18: A European constitution has been agreed, creating a landmark new EU rulebook, after marathon talks in Brussels.
European Union leaders agreed to appoint Portuguese prime minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso as EC president.
June 28: The US-led coalition has handed over sovereignty to the new Iraqi government, two days earlier than expected.
July 23: A national commission probing the September 11 attacks in the US finds “failures of imagination, policy, capabilities and management” by the United States government and recommends a sweeping overhaul of intelligence services.
A ceremony marked the beginning of construction of the new Freedom Tower at the World Trade Centre site
Claims about Iraq’s WMD that led to the war were wrong and based on false CIA analyses, said a US Senate report
August 5:Even 5 months past its release date, many enterprises are holding off on installing Windows XP Service Pack 2, but Microsoft is pushing its deployment by eliminating security fixes for older operating systems such as Windows 2000. SP3’s firewall, browser and system-service modification make the free SP2 a worthwhile upgrade, but it needs thorough testing to avoid application-compatibility issues.
August 13: The Olympic Games return to their birthplace of Athens. The Games of the 28th Olympiad are opened in a spectacular ceremony, which bring the myths of Ancient Greece to life through the magic of 21st century technology.
August 19: Google Inc. initial public offering. The shares innitialy offered at $85 topped $200 briefly this fall before settling to approximately $170.
September 1: Armed militants attack a school in the southern Russian province of North Ossetia near Chechnya and hold teachers, school children and parents hostage. The siege, in the town of Beslan, ends three days later with more than 300 people killed.
October 1: US light crude settled at $50.12 a barrel, up 48 cents, the first time it closed above $50 in its 21 years of trade on New York’s Mercantile Exchange
October 4: The rocket plane SpaceShipOne has shot to an altitude of more than 100km for the second time inside a week to claim the $10m Ansari X-Prize
October 28: Australian scientists announce the discovery of a new human species after remains of a small bodied hominid are found on the Indonesian island of Flores. The creature is quickly dubbed the ‘hobbit’ and heralded as one of the biggest finds since the discovery of the Neanderthal man more than a century ago.
November 2: The US election is held and Republican President George W Bush is re-elected to govern for a second term defeating Democrat candidate Senator John Kerry.
November 9: Somewhat unexpectedly, browsers became a hot issue in 2004 as security problems plagued MS’s Internet Explorer. Rather than keeping up to date on a constant stream of security patches, some IT managers switched to the Mozilla Foundation’s Firefox browser.
November 11:Yasser Arafat, who triumphantly forced his people’s plight into the world spotlight but failed to achieve his lifelong quest for Palestinian statehood, has died aged 75.
November 22: Tens of thousands of protesters have rallied to contest the official victory for Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, amid Western concern over the vote.