Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer, a powerful Sunni Muslim tribal leader and critic of the U.S.-led occupation, is named president of Iraq's incoming government, after Iraqi leaders reject the Americans' preferred candidate for the post.
Scaled Composites announces that the world's first private manned space flight is scheduled for June 21, 2004. (BBC)
U.S. government prosecutors, preparing for an upcoming trial of four former executives of Merrill Lynch and two former executives of Enron released a document that could prove helpful to the defense—indicating that the intent of the allegedly fraudulent transaction was, at the least, a bit equivocal. Trial begins Monday. (NYT)
New Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi gives his first televised national address. Five U.S soldiers are killed and another five wounded when their convoy comes under attack from roadside bombs and RPGs near Sadr City. The Mahdi Army agrees to a truce in Najaf with U.S forces and vows to withdraw if the Americans make a similar commitment.
Marvin Heemeyer goes on a rampage with a 50-ton armour-plated Komatsu D355A bulldozer in Granby,Colorado resulting in 13 buildings destroyed and $7 million in damage.
Kurdish leaders in Iraq state that the Kurds would "refrain from participating in the central government" should the interim constitution be modified or replaced with a constitution that diminishes Kurdish political role in the central government. (NYT)
An explosion injures at least 17 in a commercial district of Cologne, Germany. Authorities are treating it as a bomb attack. (CBC)(BBC)
Voting begins in the four-day-long European Parliament election; the United Kingdom and the Netherlands vote today. The Dutch authorities, in breach of an EU-wide reporting embargo, release their results in the early evening. (BBC)
A polling organization announces that there is broad support in the U.S. state of California for a November ballot measure to limit the effect of the "three strikes" sentencing law. The Field Poll shows the measure, which would impose the 25-years-to-life only if the third felony is a serious or violent crime, is supported by 76% of those asked, opposed by 14 percent. (Sacramento Bee)
Eleven Chinese road construction workers and an Afghan guard are murdered in their sleep 20 miles (32 km) south of the Afghan city of Kunduz. Four more Chinese are hospitalized for wounds suffered in the same attack. The dead are among more than 100 engineers and workers engaged on a World Bank project to build a road from Kabul to the Tajikistan border. Mullah Dadullah, one of the top Taliban commanders, recently issued orders to his fighters to strike at road builders. (NYT)
A meteorite plunges into a family's living room in the Auckland, New Zealand, suburb of Ellerslie on Saturday afternoon. No one is hurt. Weighing 1.3 kilograms (2.9 pounds), it is the ninth ever meteorite to be found in the country, and the first to hit a home. (TVNZ)(Stuff)(Reuters)
In a Constitutionalreferendum in Ireland, the electorate approves a constitutional amendment denying Irish citizenship to all children born in Ireland unless one of the parents is an Irish citizen or the parents were legally resident for three years prior to the birth. This closes a perceived loophole where considerable numbers of women in the late stages of pregnancy were allegedly arriving in Ireland, since the parents of citizens were also allowed to remain in the country. (BBC)
Near-complete preliminary results show general defeat of governing parties and slight perceived rise of eurosceptic parties, but the balance of power in the Parliament remains similar despite the 10 new member states. (BBC)
Bombs detonated against oil pipelines in Iraq result in the main Iraqi oil terminal being shut down for at least 10 days, an estimated revenue loss of USD600 million to the Iraqi government. (NYT)(BBC)
A militant Islamic group that has been identified as connected to Al Qaida releases a video-tape where they state they will kill an American hostage, Paul Johnson, if group members are not released from Saudi Arabian prisons in 72 hours. (BBC)
The US's 9/11 Commission states that although meetings between al Qaeda representatives and Iraqi government officials had taken place, it has found "no credible evidence" of a "collaborative relationship" between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and al Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks or in any other strike against U.S. interests. It also finds that the original plan involved ten jets and that there was dispute within the terrorist network about its implementation until only shortly before September 11. (Washington Post)(AP)(BBC)
A report by the New York Times alleges that the United States administration overstated the intelligence value and importance of the prisoners held at the controversial prisoner camp at Guantanamo Bay. The report, based on interviews with government officials, concludes that only a relatively small percentage of the prisoners were sworn members of Al Qaeda, and that most were relatively unimportant, low-level people. (NYT)(IHT)
SpaceShipOne, the first privately and commercially funded aircraft/spaceplane designed for space travel without funding from any government, successfully embarks upon its maiden flight into outer space. Designed by legendary aerospace designer Burt Rutan and funded by billionaire Paul Allen, the ship was launched from a larger plane and, after igniting its burners, flew 62 miles (100 km) into space and back down again, an altitude that officially makes test pilot Michael Melvill an astronaut. (BBC)(Space.com)
Three former top bankers in the United Kingdom, accused of stealing more than US$7 million from NatWest (now part of the Royal Bank of Scotland) in a scheme that helped to bring about the collapse of Enron vowed to fight attempts to extradite them to the United States.
The first official group of Hmongrefugees from the Wat Tham Krabok camp in Thailand begin arriving in the United States. 14,300 to 15,000 refugees are expected to arrive by the end of the year. The camp is one of the last remaining from results of the Vietnam War. One family had left early on June 16 due to a medical emergency. (BBC)(MPR)
Francisco Ortiz Franco, editor of Mexican newsweekly Zeta, is ambushed and killed by gunmen in Tijuana. Ortiz Franco and Zeta were particularly well known for their work in investigating drug trafficking and reporting government corruption. (BBC)
U.S. policy on (a) the use of torture to extract information from captured enemy combatants and (b) on whether the Taliban and al Qaeda detainees qualify as "prisoners of war" under the Geneva Convention:
Gordon B. Hinckley, 15th president of the LDS church, awarded presidential medal of Freedom from George W. Bush.
The U.S. administration releases a U.S. Justice Department memo asserting that the legal opinion that the president had "the legal authority to order prisoners to be tortured". The memo indicates that Donald Rumsfeld denied approval to strongly coercive physical measures, but approved what has been described as "mild, noninjurious physical contact", and use of "detainee's individuals phobias (such as fear of dogs)". (VOA)(News24)
The U.S. administration asserts that it refused to permit the use of torture, even if to do so would be legally permissible.
Princess Caroline of Monaco obtained a judgment from the European Court of Human Rights condemning Germany for non-respect of her right to a private life. The seven judges who examined her request ruled that German jurisdictions have misunderstood this right by refusing to forbid publication of photographs depicting Caroline in scenes of her daily life.
Murder of Ronald Gajraj, who had made Guyanese death squad allegations.
Ralph Nader holds a second convention in Portland to put his name on the presidential ballot in Oregon. This attempt is supported by conservative groups who hope his name will draw votes in this swing state from Democratic hopeful John Kerry. (Portland Oregonian) The outcome of the convention is still unknown: 943 forms were collected, but 1000 valid signatures are needed; many forms had more than one signature on them, however, the state elections board will require several weeks to validate all of the signatures.
Palestinians detonate 150 kg (330 lb) of explosives placed in a 300-meter (1000 ft) long tunnel against an Israeli army position in the Gaza Strip. 2000 Palestinians rush into the streets of Gaza City to celebrate. (Guardian)
Chinese lawyers visit the victims of last year's deadly accident involving an abandoned WWII-era cache of mustard gas in Qiqihar. The chemical weapons were left behind by invading Japanese troops during the war. The lawyers are preparing to sue the Japanese government. (Xinhuanet)
The Israeli Supreme Court issues a landmark ruling that a 30-kilometer planned stretch of the separation barrier in eastern Jerusalem violates the legal rights of the local Palestinian population to an extent not justified by security concerns, and therefore must be changed. (Haaretz)