2002 events in history

Jan 1 Euro banknotes and coins become legal tender in twelve of the European Union's member states
Jan 1 The Open Skies mutual surveillance treaty, initially signed in 1992, officially comes into force
Jan 3 Israeli forces seize the Palestinian freighter Karine A in the Red Sea, finding 50 tons of weapons
Jan 8 President George W. Bush signs into law the No Child Left Behind Act
Jan 16 The UN Security Council unanimously establishes an arms embargo and the freezing of assets of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and the remaining members of the Taliban
Jan 17 Mount Nyiragongo erupts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, displacing an estimated 400,000 people
Jan 18 Sierra Leone Civil War is declared over
Jan 22 Kmart becomes the largest retailer in United States history to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
Jan 23 Reporter Daniel Pearl is kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan and subsequently murdered
Jan 23 "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh returns to the United States in FBI custody
Jan 27 An explosion at a military storage facility in Lagos, Nigeria, kills at least 1,100 people and displaces over 20,000 others
Jan 28 TAME Flight 120, a Boeing 727-100 crashes in the Andes mountains in southern Colombia killing 92
Jan 29 In his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush describes "regimes that sponsor terror" as an Axis of evil, in which he includes Iraq, Iran and North Korea
Feb 1 Daniel Pearl, American journalist and South Asia Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal, kidnapped January 23, 2002, is beheaded and mutilated by his captors
Feb 12 The trial of Slobodan Milošević, the former President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, begins at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands. He dies four years later before its conclusion
Feb 12 An Iran Airtour Tupolev Tu-154 crashes in the mountains outside Khorramabad, Iran while descending for a landing at Khorramabad Airport, killing 119
Feb 14 The Budapest Open Access Initiative, one of the cornerstones of the Open access movement, was released to the public
Feb 19 NASA's Mars Odyssey space probe begins to map the surface of Mars using its thermal emission imaging system
Feb 22 Angolan political and rebel leader Jonas Savimbi is killed in a military ambush
Feb 27 Godhra train burning: A Muslim mob torches a train returning from Ayodhya, killing 59 Hindu prigrims
Feb 27 Ryanair Flight 296 catches fire at London Stansted Airport. Subsequent investigations criticize Ryanair's handling of the evacuation
Feb 28 During the religious violence in Gujarat, the 97 people killed in the Naroda Patiya massacre and 69 in Gulbarg Society massacre
Mar 1 The peseta is discontinued as official currency of Spain and is replaced by the euro (€)
Mar 1 The Envisat environmental satellite successfully reaches an orbit 800 kilometers (500 mi) above the Earth on its 11th launch, carrying the heaviest payload to date at 8500 kilograms (8.5 tons)
Mar 1 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan: Operation Anaconda begins in eastern Afghanistan
Mar 2 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan: Operation Anaconda begins, (ending on March 19 after killing 500 Taliban and al Qaeda fighters, with 11 Western troop fatalities)
Mar 4 Afghanistan: Seven American Special Operations Forces soldiers and 200 Al-Qaeda Fighters are killed as American forces attempt to infiltrate the Shahi Kot Valley on a low-flying helicopter reconnaissance mission
Mar 19 Zimbabwe is suspended from the Commonwealth on charges of human rights abuses and of electoral fraud, following a turbulent presidential election
Mar 27 Nanterre massacre: In Nanterre, France, a gunman opens fire at the end of a town council meeting, resulting in the deaths of eight councilors and the injury of 19 others
Mar 27 Passover massacre: A Palestinian suicide bomber kills 29 people partaking of the Passover meal in Netanya, Israel
Mar 29 In reaction to the Passover massacre two days prior, Israel launches Operation Defensive Shield against Palestinian militants, its largest military operation in the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War
Apr 2 Israeli forces surround the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem into which armed Palestinians had retreated; a siege ensues
Apr 4 The Angolan government and UNITA rebels sign a peace treaty ending the Angolan Civil War
Apr 11 Over two hundred thousand people marched in Caracas towards the Presidential Palace of Miraflores, to demand the resignation of president Hugo Chávez. 19 of the protesters are killed, and the Minister of Defense Gral. Lucas Rincon announces Hugo Chávez resignation on national TV
Apr 11 The Ghriba synagogue bombing by Al Qaeda kills 21 in Tunisia
Apr 12 A female suicide bomber blows herself up at the entrance to Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda open-air market, killing 7 and wounding 104
Apr 14 Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez returns to office two days after being ousted and arrested by the country's military
Apr 26 Robert Steinhäuser infiltrates and kills 16 at Gutenberg-Gymnasium in Erfurt, Germany before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot
Apr 27 The last successful telemetry from the NASA space probe Pioneer 10
May 3 A military MiG-21 aircraft crashes into the Bank of Rajasthan in India, killing eight
May 4 An EAS Airlines BAC 1-11-500 crashes in a suburb of Kano, Nigeria shortly after takeoff, killing 149 people
May 7 A China Northern Airlines MD-82 plunges into the Yellow Sea, killing 112 people
May 9 The 38-day stand-off in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem comes to an end when the Palestinians inside agree to have 13 suspected terrorists among them deported to several different countries
May 10 F.B.I. agent Robert Hanssen is sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for selling United States secrets to Moscow for $1.4 million in cash and diamonds
May 12 Former US President Jimmy Carter arrives in Cuba for a five-day visit with Fidel Castro becoming the first President of the United States, in or out of office, to visit the island since Castro's 1959 revolution
May 20 The independence of East Timor is recognized by Portugal, formally ending 23 years of Indonesian rule and three years of provisional UN administration (Portugal itself is the former colonizer of East Timor until 1976)
May 22 In Washington, D.C., the remains of the missing Chandra Levy are found in Rock Creek Park
May 22 American civil rights movement: a jury in Birmingham, Alabama, convicts former Ku Klux Klan member Bobby Frank Cherry of the 1963 murders of four girls in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church
May 23 The "55 parties" clause of the Kyoto Protocol is reached after its ratification by Iceland
May 24 Russia and the United States sign the Moscow Treaty